Mother arrested for murder after children found dead in Australian home

SYDNEY, (Reuters) – The 37-year-old mother of most of the eight children found dead in a mass stabbing in Australia’s tropical northern city of Cairns was arrested yesterday for murder.

Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said the woman is under police guard in hospital, where she was taken yesterday with stab wounds. She has not yet been formally charged.

“She’s awake and lucid and able to speak,” Asnicar told reporters. “At this time we are not looking for anybody else.”

The woman was the mother of seven of the eight children, aged 18 months to 15 years, Asnicar said. The eighth child was her niece.

The tragedy has shocked Australia, coming just days after police stormed a Sydney cafe early on Tuesday morning to end a 16-hour hostage standoff in which three people were killed, including the hostage-taker.

With the country already on heightened alert, Queensland police stressed that the stabbings were a domestic incident and there was no cause for alarm in the wider community.

Asnicar said forensics teams had completed their investigation and the children’s bodies had been removed from the house.

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