Australian feminists deny mental health crisis behind Margaret River murder-suicide
26 May 2018
In the early hours of May 11, Peter Miles, 61, allegedly shot his wife Cynda 58, his daughter Katrina, 35 and his four grandchildren, Taye, 13, Rylan, 11, Arye, 10, and Kadyn Cockman, 8. At around 5.00 a.m., he reportedly rang the police to inform them and then turned the gun on himself. It is said to be the worst mass shooting in Australia since the Port Arthur massacre of 1996, when 35 people were killed.
The family of seven had lived on the 12-hectare property in the hamlet of Osmington for three years, after Peter and Cynda Miles moved there from the nearby small town of Margaret River—a surfing and tourist area in southwest Western Australia renowned for its wineries.
Peter Miles had worked as a farm manager at Margaret River Senior High School for 20 years and had a farm maintenance and repair business. Reports indicate the couple had bought the property and moved there with their daughter and her children following her marriage breakdown. The four autistic children had briefly attended the local primary school but were withdrawn to be homeschooled.
Interviews with the family’s friends and neighbours reveal a community desperately seeking to probe and understand the social and personal crises that led to such an outcome. They indicate that the family was experiencing financial hardship, prompting Peter, in the days before the tragedy, to seek casual “vineyard and farm work.”
According to people who knew the family, Peter had suffered depression “for some years” following the suicide death of one son and news that another required an organ transplant. Just hours before her death, Cynda, who was becoming increasingly concerned about her…