Friday, 16 May 2008

A cry in the mist, then death discovered

Too much to bear … a woman in her 60s weeps on the shoulder of a policeman outside the Berowra Heights house yesterday morning.

THE calm of a foggy dawn was broken in Berowra Heights yesterday with a father's cry for help.

The man raised the alarm after his wife was fatally stabbed and his two daughters, aged four and five, were injured in a home in Sydney's north.

A nine-year-old boy at the house was unhurt.

It is still unclear whether the woman found dead was killed or whether she attacked herself after stabbing her children.

A neighbour, Jenny Coombes, said she heard the man's cry about 5am.

"I heard someone say 'help'. It was just that one word I heard. You would have thought there would be more noise."

The girls were taken to hospital with stab wounds. A NSW Ambulance spokesman said the four-year-old was in a serious but stable condition and her sister was stable.

A woman in her 60s, believed to be the paternal grandmother, arrived about 8.15am and asked reporters: "Which house is it?" before approaching police.

The woman then began sobbing loudly and was led by police to a house. Her car, left idling in the middle of the road, had to be moved by a policewoman.

A younger woman arrived at 8.30am and spoke briefly to police at the scene before driving away in tears.

A family friend reacted with horror at the news that the 29-year-old woman had been found dead at the Cambewarra Crescent home, after reports of a domestic-related incident.

The friend, who arrived at the house about 11.30am, confirmed that the dead woman's mother, Helen Darlington, had been in Queensland, but said he believed she was travelling back to Sydney yesterday.

The Ku-ring-gai Local Area commander, Superintendent Craig Rae, said the dead woman had multiple stab wounds to her upper body.

"There were a number of children at the scene also - a nine-year-old male was not injured, a five-year-old female who has minor injuries, and a four-year-old female with some significant injuries."

He said the five-year-old had a minor stab wound to her hand. The 31-year-old man had not been injured.

Asked to comment on reports the woman might have attacked the children before harming herself, Superintendent Rae said: "It's certainly part of our inquiry.

"We will be keeping an open mind in terms of the investigation. We are obviously at the very early stages of what occurred this morning."

He said the nine-year-old boy was with his father.

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