Courier Mail

Girl escapes murder-suicide

Phil Bartsch and Ben Dorries
The Courier Mail

A MOTHER who tied three nooses in the stairwell of her Gold Coast home told her two young daughters she was "playing a game" as she prepared to hang them and herself yesterday.

Her elder daughter, believed to be aged about six, escaped the deadly "game".

But in a grisly murder-suicide the girl's two-year-old sister was hanged before their mother took her own life.

Police were alerted after the woman's eldest daughter received a phone call from her grandparents and she described the horrific scene to them.

On their arrival, even experienced police and ambulance officers were shocked by the heartbreaking discovery of the dead child and her mother.

Police said a suicide note was left by the woman, in her 30s, that revealed she was distressed over several matters including some disputes within the townhouse complex at West Burleigh.

"We think it's a culmination of different things," said Acting Inspector Bob Bennett.

Neighbours said the woman had moved into the complex in Mattocks Rd about six months ago.

"She was very quiet and kept to herself," one resident said.

"We never had any problems with her."

In emotional scenes, distraught relatives and friends gathered at the complex where they openly wept outside the woman's townhouse and comforted each other.

Insp Bennett said police would prepare a report for the coroner into the deaths.

"It does appear the mother wanted to kill the six-year-old as well but she's managed to get away," Insp Bennett said.

Police spoke briefly with the surviving child at the scene.

"She's with the grandparents," Insp Bennett said.

"She's got her teddy bear so she seems okay. We can only hope that she's young enough not to be mentally affected by it."

© 2002 Queensland Newspapers