Devastated friends and family are searching for answers after Katie Perinovic killed her three children, then herself, inside their home.
Devastated friends and family are searching for answers after Katie Perinovic killed her three children, then herself, inside their home.

Dad heartbroken after his wife kills their children

A mother found dead with her three children in their home in Melbourne's northwest killed her daughters and son before taking her own life.

Homicide detectives believe 42-year-old Katie Perinovic killed the children then took her own life in the family home in Tullamarine.

Investigators reached that conclusion after analysing the crime scene and interviewing the distraught husband and father, Tomislav Perinovic.

He found the bodies of his wife and children inside the family home in Burgess St and made a frantic call to triple-0 on Thursday at 12.20pm.

Homicide squad detectives will now prepare a report for the coroner over the deaths of Mrs Perinovic and Claire, 7, Anna, 5, and Matthew, 3.

Mr Perinovic, 48, was questioned by police on Thursday night and released without charge. Detectives also spoke to many family members, friends and neighbours.

The bodies of Katie Perinovic, 42, and daughters Claire, 7, and Anna, 5, and son Matthew, 3, were found in their Tullamarine house Pictures: Facebook
The bodies of Katie Perinovic, 42, and daughters Claire, 7, and Anna, 5, and son Matthew, 3, were found in their Tullamarine house Pictures: Facebook

Frankie Franjic, a close family friend, visited the home with his wife on Friday evening and said they had been both devastated by the tragic news.

Mr Franjic said he was hoping to find Mr Perinovic at the property to offer his condolences after he was unable to reach him by phone.

"He's not answering calls. He's heartbroken … that's why I want to talk to him," he said.

Mr Franjic, 65, said he had last spoken to Katie about two to three months ago at his grandson's birthday party and she appeared to be in good spirits as usual.

He described her as a loveable and "beautiful, beautiful girl" who would do anything for anyone.

Claire, 7, and Anna, 5 died in the tragedy
Claire, 7, and Anna, 5 died in the tragedy

"And the father (Tomislav), he was the most loving father ever; he would spend more time with the kids than with Katie," he added.

Mr Franjic's wife, Sanja, said of Mrs Perinovic: "She's the type of girl that if you met her you would want to associate with her - that's the type of person she was."

Mr Franjic said the incident that unfolded "just came out of nowhere … what brought this on? No warning signs at all".

Mahesh Gurung, 31, who has been renting a Glenroy apartment owned by Katie Perinovic, said he was shocked after hearing the tragic news.

"She's very helpful. She always ask me if it's very hard to pay our rent just let me know. I didn't expect those things," Mr Gurung said.

Mr Gurung, who was accompanied by two friends as they left a floral tribute at the gates of the Burgess St house on Friday night, said he last spoke with Ms Perinovic when she visited his apartment a week ago to discuss a plumbing problem.

He said she appeared in good spirits and nothing seemed untoward, describing her as "easy going".

Mr Gurung said he had been a tenant at the Glenroy property for the past six years.

He said he never met her husband but said he was "very close with Katie … always messaging, always calling her".

Next-door neighbours Daniel and Vicky Schembri, who were at home at the time the four bodies were found, said Mr Perinovic looked "numb" and "really stressed" as he was handcuffed on Thursday.

The two families were close, regularly exchanging gifts on special occasions.

Less than 24 hours before the tragedy, Mrs Perinovic had called in to give the Schembris some plums.

"It upsets me so much, it breaks my heart," Mr Schembri said. "They were friendly. They were proud, especially with the kids."

Family friends Frankie and Sanja Franjic arrive the home in Tullamarine Picture: David Geraghty
Family friends Frankie and Sanja Franjic arrive the home in Tullamarine Picture: David Geraghty

"It's hard for him. He had so much love for the kids," Mr Schembri said, adding "he's a nice, quiet man".

"I still don't believe what happened."

Mrs Schembri added: "He would be numb I would think."

The couple said they didn't know where Tom was but suspected he was with his parents not far from the Burgess St home.

When asked if the tragedy came out of the blue, Mr Schembris said: "Believe me, to us, yes."

"It's going to take a long time believe me before I believe what's happened."

The Perinovic home remained cordoned off throughout Friday as detectives and forensics officers continued their investigations. Brown bags containing evidence were taken away about 1pm. Crime scene cleaners were at the home for several hours.

Floral tributes were left outside the home, including one bouquet accompanied by a child's drawing of the family.

Another woman stopped and prayed as she too left a bunch of flowers.

Warren McGuire travelled from Essendon with his partner and young daughter to pay their respects at the scene. The family hugged each other after they solemnly laid a bouquet.

A tearful Mr McGuire said he "can't imagine" what the rest of the family was going through.

"I didn't know them, but I have a family of my own and there are just no words," he said.

Tomislav Perinovic and Katica Blazcric at their wedding
Tomislav Perinovic and Katica Blazcric at their wedding

"We broke down crying at the news. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. Our whole family are just lost for words."

Acting Deputy Commissioner Bob Hill said on Friday the incident would leave a lifelong impact.

''Police will particularly work to support the families of those involved over the coming weeks and ensure they have the help they need. This has been an incredibly heart-wrenching experience for all concerned," he said.

 

SHOCK AS KIDS' SCHOOL ROCKED BY FAMILY TRAGEDY

A tight-knit primary school in Melbourne's northwest has been devastated by the loss of two students killed in the Tullamarine tragedy. 

The Perinovic family were sending their two eldest children to St Christopher's Catholic Primary School in Airport West and the school's principal issued a heartfelt statement on Friday. Eldest child Claire, 7, was about to begin Grade 2, while middle child Anna, 5, was due to start Prep. 

Claire, 7, and Anna, 5, and son Matthew, 3, tragically died in their Tullamarine house Pictures: Facebook
Claire, 7, and Anna, 5, and son Matthew, 3, tragically died in their Tullamarine house Pictures: Facebook

"Our school community is deeply shocked to receive this heartbreaking news and extends sincere sympathy and prayerful support to the Perinovic family, and all who are struggling to comprehend this tragic loss of life," principal Adrian Glasby said.

"Claire was a kind, diligent, and much-loved student, and we were looking forward to welcoming Anna, with her huge smile, to begin her school journey in just a couple of weeks' time."

Mr Glasby said he had provided advice to parents about sharing the news and supporting their children through grief.

"Ongoing support and counselling will also be offered to all members of our school community," he said. 

Students are due to return to the Roberts Rd campus in late January. 

 

Originally published as Utter tragedy: Dad 'heartbroken' after wife's horror act

15/01/2021. Flowers and tributes at the front of the home Picture: David Geraghty
15/01/2021. Flowers and tributes at the front of the home Picture: David Geraghty


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