’Broken’: Plea in wake of murder-suicide

 

The priest of the Perinovic family's primary school has called on the community to support the grieving father, after the mother and three children were found dead in their home.

Claire, 7, Anna, 5, and Matthew, 3, died in a believed murder-suicide carried out by their mother Katie Perinovic, 42.

Father and husband Tomislav Perinovic, 48, found the bodies of his entire family about 12.30pm on Thursday.

St Christopher's Catholic Church and School priest Peter Hoang said he wanted to "express the pain of all the parishioners here".

"We are in shock," he said.

"I'm very emotional now. It was so sudden.

"God have mercy."

He asked parishioners to pray for the family and "especially for Tom".

Katie Perinovic, right, is believed to have killed her three children and then herself. Father Tomislav Perinovic called triple-0. Picture: Facebook
Katie Perinovic, right, is believed to have killed her three children and then herself. Father Tomislav Perinovic called triple-0. Picture: Facebook

Mr Perinovic called triple-0 and neighbours saw him looking "numb" before being taken away by police.

He was questioned and released that night, and is not a person of interest in the deaths.

"Homicide Squad investigators have formed the preliminary view that the 42-year-old woman is responsible for all four deaths," Victoria Police said in a statement on Friday.

"Investigators do not believe the 48-year-old man was involved in the incident and police are not looking for anyone further in relation to the matter."

Mary D’Amico prays on Friday at the front of the home in Burgess Street. Picture: David Geraghty
Mary D’Amico prays on Friday at the front of the home in Burgess Street. Picture: David Geraghty

By Saturday morning, dozens of bouquets of flowers had been placed against the front fence of the Burgess Street home.

Balloons and rosary beads hung from the upper railing.

Three soft toys - a blue dinosaur, and two stuffed dogs - had been left, along with children's drawings and loving messages.

Victorian Council of Churches chaplains visited the home on Saturday morning. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Victorian Council of Churches chaplains visited the home on Saturday morning. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

Father Hoang said the children were "angels".

Claire was going into Year 2 at the school and Anna was going into prep.

"They were pure," Fr Hoang said. "They were innocent."

"We cannot see them anymore."

He said the school had communicated with parents about the tragedy and called on them to pray for Mr Perinovic.

"My heart is broken," he said.

"We want to express our condolences, and our thoughts and prayers."

Priest Peter Hoang said the two eldest Perinovic children, who attended St Christopher’s Primary School, were “angels”. Picture: Facebook
Priest Peter Hoang said the two eldest Perinovic children, who attended St Christopher’s Primary School, were “angels”. Picture: Facebook

Mr Perinovic works as a technician at Ford in Gladstone Park.

Ford Australia president Andrew Birkic said the company was "deeply saddened by the recent tragic events".

"Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to Tomislav and all those who knew the family," he said.

"We consider our employees as family, and are offering individual counselling support and care to Tomislav and his close colleagues, and making these services available to our whole Ford team."

St Christopher's Catholic School principal Adrian Glasby said on Friday it was a "tragic loss of life".

"Our school community is deeply shocked to receive this heartbreaking news and extends sincere sympathy and prayerful support to the Perinovic family, and all who are struggling to comprehend this tragic loss of life," he said.

He said Claire was kind, diligent, and much-loved.

"We were looking forward to welcoming Anna, with her huge smile, into prep to begin her school journey in just a couple of weeks' time," he said.

The discovery of the bodies sent shockwaves through the quiet Tullamarine community.

Local residents described a happy, normal family who doted on their children and were always friendly.

Detectives remove evidence bags on Friday from the Tullamarine home. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Detectives remove evidence bags on Friday from the Tullamarine home. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

Next-door neighbours Daniel and Vicky Schembri saw Katie less than 24 hours before the deaths when she dropped off a bag of plums at their door.

The children were seen in the street almost every day, riding their bikes or walking with their parents.

"Now, in heaven," Mr Schembri said on Friday.

"How could this happen?" 

Victoria Police acting deputy commissioner Robert Hill said police would work to support the families of those involved.

"I know there will be many people in the community struggling to understand and come to terms with this tragedy," he said.

"This has also been an incredibly difficult time for both the police and paramedics who responded and attended the scene.

"This has been an incredibly heart-wrenching experience for all concerned."

Police are preparing a report for the coroner.

Originally published as 'Broken': Plea in wake of murder-suicide


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