Happiness to horror: mum’s fatal act

The update on the horrific story of a mother and three children being found dead in their home at Tullarmarine.

As usual, the first suspect was the father, to the extent that he was HANDCUFFED and surrounded by SIX POLICE OFFICERS. Just imagine how he felt after discovering his wife, and his three children dead, to then be treated in such a disgusting way! (Eds comments)








Tomislav and Katie Perinovic with children, from left, Claire, Anna and Matthew in a Christmas photo; below, forensic police at their home on Friday












Mark Stephens and daughter Sienna lay a tribute at the Perinovics’ house in Tullamarine on Friday

On Monday, as the mercury soared in Melbourne’s northwest, Daniel and Vicky Schembri were listening to the joyful squeals of the three young children next door playing in their pop-up swimming pool.

Mr Schembri was prepping his back door, which he was about to paint, when he heard them.

“They were yelling and screaming and having fun and all that,” he said.

Two weeks earlier, the children — Claire, 7, Anna, 5, and Matthew, 3 — had popped over with lollies to share on New Year’s Day. On Wednesday, their mother, Katie Perinovic, visited in the late afternoon to drop off some plums. “We were watching TV, she knocked on the door and said I have a bag of fruit for you, Daniel,” Mr Schembri said.

By Thursday, Mrs Perinovic, 42, and her three children would be dead, the subject of a police homicide investigation.

Her husband Tomislav, 48, who had been helping police with their inquiries after making a call to triple-0 about midday, was released without charge on Friday, confirming what many neighbours on the quiet street did not want to believe.

According to Victoria Police, homicide investigators had formed “the preliminary view” that Mrs Perinovic, 42, was responsible for all four deaths.

“On completion of their investigation, a report will be provided for consideration of the coroner,” police said.

“Victoria Police would like to thank everyone who assisted in this distressing and challenging investigation.”

Residents of the suburban neighbourhood in Tullamarine, a mixture of elderly couples and young families, were struggling to make sense of the tragedy.

Kevin and Clare Harrison, who live opposite the family, cried when they heard the news.

“We shared coffees, we have sat on their front veranda and just laughed at the kids and the way they just ran around in the yard,” Mr Harrison said.

“I used to talk to Tom while he was teaching Matthew how to ride a bike … everyone around here was involved with them because of the kids.

“Christmas Day, every year we have given the kids Christmas presents because we have known them from birth.”

This year was no different.

“We sat with them for a little while and Tom was on the floor playing with little Matthew with the cars that we gave him,” he said. “He was helping the girls unpack their bits and pieces. We were just laughing and joking about stuff.”

Mrs Perinovic only recently went back to work as a physiotherapist, said neighbour and friend Marie Groves.

“She only started working again really in the last year and a bit because of Matthew, she loved her kids and did everything for her kids,” Mrs Groves said.

“The last time we saw them was the end of November for my seven year-old’s birthday,” said Mrs Groves’ husband Steve .

Mrs Groves added: “She seemed a bit withdrawn, a bit quiet and that was the first time I had ever seen her that way.”

The Perinovics had lived on Burgess Street since the children were born. Claire attended nearby St Christopher’s Catholic School in Airport West, where younger sister Anna was due to start in a few weeks.

Principal Adrian Glasby said on Friday: “Claire was a kind, diligent, and much-loved student at St Christopher’s and we were looking forward to welcoming Anna, with her huge smile, into prep to begin her school journey in just a couple of weeks’ time.”

Parish priest Peter Hoang wrote to members of the community on Friday confirming the news “with deep sadness”. “As is being reported in the media … Katie Perinovic, her daughters Claire … and Anna and son Matthew, aged 3, died tragically at the family home on Thursday,” Father Hoang wrote.

“We are deeply shocked to receive this news and extend our sincere sympathy and prayerful support to Tom, the Perinovic family and all those struggling to comprehend this sudden and tragic loss of life … As a Catholic, faith-filled community, we draw strength and solidarity from our Loving God at this sad and challenging time.

“May God’s grace be found in the kindness of those supporting the Perinovic family. May we also take some comfort in our faith that God’s arms are already welcoming Katie, Claire, Anna and Matthew to their eternal home.”

Mrs Perinovic had worked at the Glenroy Physiotherapy Centre in Melbourne’s northwest, about a 10-minute drive from her home, and studied at Melbourne University ›

Neighbours said Mr Perinovic was a mechanic, working at Ford.

He had lived with his sister at the Burgess Street property after he bought it in the late 1990s and then he met Katie.

“He was single and then one day he got a girlfriend and she came in and said ‘we are getting married’ and the next thing we knew she was pregnant,” Mr Schembri said.

According to the Schembris, when they saw Mrs Perinovic on Wednesday she had seemed to be her normal, friendly self.

But it became clear the next afternoon that the seemingly ordinary family next door had become embroiled in something unsettling.

“We came outside and saw Tom sitting down and the police said get inside and stay there (to Tom),” Mr Schembri said.

“He looked numb,” Mrs Schembri said.

She added that Mr Perinovic was handcuffed and surrounded by up to six police officers.

Across the road, Ms Harrison returned home from an appointment to find police cars and paramedics on the street.

“We couldn’t understand what was going on, then I looked at the house and said ‘that’s Tom’,” Ms Harrison said. “We are in a state of shock. There is nothing that could describe how it is.”

The Harrisons described the Perinovic family as “the friendliest, loveliest people” and said they may never get over the incident.

If you or anyone you know needs help, call Lifeline 13 11 14.

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Queensland judge sets precedent, allowing Mum to consent to child’s transgender treatment

A Queensland judge has made an urgent and important precedent-setting decision for a child who wants to stop developing as a boy and live life as a girl.

A 13-YEAR-OLD child, born as a boy but living as a girl, has been given urgent permission to have male puberty bocking drugs without the father’s consent in an extraordinary Queensland first.

The landmark legal case is the first of its kind to be heard in the Supreme Court, with decisions regarding consent for treatment for children with gender dysphoria having previously only been made in the Family Court.

The child, “A”, has been living as a girl for several years and is terrified of her voice deepening and her male genitalia getting bigger, the judge was told.

The mother applied for an urgent order for her to be able to consent to stage one male puberty blocking treatment for her child, without the father’s consent.

“From the age of four, A would declare that she was something other than her male gender and began to declare she was a girl and not a boy and had been born in the wrong body,’’ Justice Ann Lyons said.

“She is uncomfortable wearing boys’ clothes and prefers girls’ clothes, preferably in the colour pink.’’

The mother and child have not seen the father for more than three years, with the mother claiming he had a criminal history for drug and weapons offences and was violent.

She and the child moved to regional Queensland to escape the father, whom she claimed was emotionally, verbally and physically abusive towards both of them.

He did not support the child’s desire to be female, the court heard.

The Supreme Court heard the mother did not know the father’s whereabouts and there were concerns that if the application was made in the Family Court there could be long delays.

The girl is being home schooled, but while she attended a supportive State school she had worn a female uniform and chosen a female name on the school roll and on her bus pass.

A treating team recommended A receive reversible treatment that would block her puberty as a male.

The child, who has autism spectrum disorder, had a history of self-mutilation because of her distress about her genitalia and had previously had suicidal thoughts, a psychiatrist said.

The child recently became upset when experiencing erections.

The doctor said he was concerned if she did not get treatment the child would be at significant risk of depression, anxiety, social isolation, suicide or self-harming of her genitalia.

Justice Ann Lyons. Picture: Peter Wallis

Justice Ann Lyons. Picture: Peter Wallis

Justice Lyons heard the application on December 18, two days before the child turned 13.

The judge said the application was brought in the “parens patriae’’ jurisdiction, in which the court acted as a parent to protect children who are unable to look after their own interests.

It allowed the court to make orders contrary to the wishes of a child’s parent, if satisfied it was in the best interests of the child.

Justice Lyons said she was satisfied that A had gender dysphoria, that she and her mother consented to the puberty blocking treatment and the treating team considered it was in the child’s best interest that it not be delayed.

She said considerably delaying treatment to obtain the father’s consent was not in the child’s best interest.

Justice Lyons allowed the mother to consent to the puberty blocking drug treatment without the father’s consent, because of the time of year and concerns about delay.

However, the judge said any future applications for stage two treatment should go before the Family Court of Australia, given its expertise in such matters.

Australian Transgender Support Association of Queensland president Gina Mather applauded the decision of Supreme Court Justice Lyons, which she said was for the betterment of the child.

“We understand the heartache and desperation of trying to contact an absent parent regarding medical assistance for a child,” Ms Mather said.

“The Supreme Court judge should be commended for acting quickly to make this urgently-needed decision,.

“Family law is too slow regarding children under the age of 16 whose parents are of differing opinions with regards to gender dysphoria and puberty blockers.

“This medication is reversible and allows breathing space for everyone, the child, the parents and so on.’’

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