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Perth family murders: Australian killer given landmark jail sentence

A police car outside a house in Perth where the five victims were found

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The five victims were attacked inside a house in Perth, Australia

An Australian man has been handed a landmark jail sentence of life without parole for murdering his wife, three children and their grandmother.

Anthony Robert Harvey, 25, killed the five at their home in Perth last year.

The bodies of Mara Lee Harvey, 41, two-year-old twins Alice and Beatrix, three-year-old Charlotte, and Beverley Quinn, 73, were found a week later.

The state of Western Australia has never previously jailed a person without the possibility of release.

“There is no other case that is truly comparable,” Justice Stephen Hall told the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

Murders planned in advance

Harvey pleaded guilty to the murders, which he carried out with a knife and a piece of pipe last September.

He first attacked his wife after she returned one night from work, before killing his daughters as they slept. One child was stabbed 38 times.

Ms Quinn was murdered the following day after arriving at the house as usual to see the children.

The court heard Harvey had planned for weeks to kill his family, including writing in a journal about “eliminating” them.

He remained with the bodies for five days, before driving about 1,430km (900 miles) north to the town of Pannawonica, where his parents live.

After hearing his son confess to the crimes, Harvey’s father phoned police. Harvey was in custody a short time later.

Sentencing precedent

Harvey’s lawyers had argued that he deserved a sentence with the possibility of parole due to his young age and prospects for rehabilitation.

A psychologist’s report shown to the court said that Harvey had fantasised about becoming a serial killer, reported news outlet WA Today.

It also said Harvey had spoken about his anxiety and depression, but that it was difficult to say whether he had autism or narcissistic personality disorder.

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Forensics officers at the scene in September last year

Justice Hall said Harvey’s claims of remorse were inconsistent with other evidence, arguing the killer had gone beyond “a mere record of dark fantasies” to actively planning the murders.

The judge said the crimes were so horrific that Harvey should never be eligible for parole, a sentenced that has been permitted – but not previously applied – since 2008.

Ms Harvey’s sister, Taryn Tottman, described the sentence as “extremely suitable”, but added that “we ourselves have been given a life sentence”.

“In an ideal world, now that sentencing has been handed down, my family would return,” she said outside court.

“But I know that this will never happen.”

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