Osmington shooting leads to public inquiry

WA attorney general John Quigley.
WA attorney general John Quigley.

WA Attorney General John Quigley is hopeful there will be a public inquiry into the Osmington deaths of the Miles family in 2018.

Mr Quigley met with Margaret River father Aaron Cockman on October 27 to discuss the coroner's refusal for a coronial inquest into the mass murder.

On May 11, 2018 Peter Miles killed his four grandchildren, his daughter and wife before turning the gun on himself.

Mr Quigley received advice that as the attorney general, he did not have the power to direct the coroner to overturn its decision.

As part of the discussion, Mr Quigley and Mr Cockman, along with his parents found a more effective avenue to express their concerns would be through a public inquiry held by the legislative assembly.

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The hope of the inquiry would be for potential recommendations of change to the family court system.

Mr Quigley said a decision on whether the inquiry would occur would be in November.

Because of the state election in March, there is not enough time for the inquiry to happen before then.

Despite the result of the election, if the inquiry is approved it would be the 'first cab off the rank' when parliament resumed, Mr Quigley said.

Mr Cockman said he believed that when parents separate, the issue should not go through the court system.

"It is a health issue and should stay out of the courts and away from lawyers," he said.

He said he spent six months without seeing his children and it was as a result of the family court.

Mr Cockman hopes the inquiry would bring some good out of the death of his children.

The Miles family, which includes Neil Miles, as well as, Taye, Rylan, Arye Kayden Cockman, released a statement shortly after Mr Quigley's announcement.

They thanked the attorney general for his decision not to overturn the coroner's refusal for an inquest.

"We are still deeply affected by this tragedy and continue to be grateful for the support we have received from our friends, family and the wider community," the Miles family said.

"On May 11, 2018, we lost seven members of our family in this devastating incident.

WA Police Commissioner on scene in Osmington in 2018.

WA Police Commissioner on scene in Osmington in 2018.

"The coroner's report shows that Peter Miles mental health was the key factor in the tragedy rather than an act of domestic violence.

"It was an act at odds with everything about Peter's character which stood for family.

"He bought the Margaret River property as a way to support his wider family and was more of a father figure than a grandfather to the children.

"This incident highlights how important mental health is to a family and an individual.

"Mental health issues can break a person's character, pulling them apart, using low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.

"It can remove rationality and replace it with irrational thoughts that probably seemed logical at that point in time, but were of course, clearly illogical.

"As a family we continue to put one foot in front of the other in the hope we can eventually recover."

Statement from an anonymous supporter in Margaret River

"As the mother of four kids who knew Kat and her kids I would like the person making this decision to realise the further damage that can be done to these children by running a public inquiry," the person said.

"Their friends have died and there is no benefit to them of a public inquiry.

"However, the damage to the children left behind could be immense.

"Every detail will be covered time and time again in the media.

"And although my children won't have direct access, they will certainly hear things from friends and other kids in the playground, and adults talking who are not aware that my children are directly affected.

"My 11 year old daughter has only just started talking about the tragedy in the last few weeks.

"That's over two years down the line. It has been too hard for her up until now. All that hard work will be gone, if this comes into the public domain again."

Health services

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
  • Headspace on 1800 650 890
  • Rural Link on 1800 522 002
  • Alcohol and Drug Support Line on 1800 198 024
This story Potential inquiry into Osmington mass murder first appeared on Augusta-Margaret River Mail.