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Monday, February 1, 2016

Port Denison double murder suicide

The bodies of Jane and Jessica Cuzens were found alongside the body of their mother, Heather Glendinning. Photo: Facebook

The father of two girls killed by their mother in an apparent double murder suicide in Port Denison said his estranged wife's drug use had led to psychosis, ABC News reports.

The statement was made during a coronial inquest starting on Monday, aimed at shedding light on a double murder-suicide that rocked a small crayfishing town near Geraldton in December 2011.

In what was described at the time by investigating police as "one of the worst crime scenes ever encountered", 46-year-old Heather Glendinning was found dead next to her two daughters, ten-year-old Jessica Cuzens and 12-year-old Jane Cuzens at their home in Port Denison.

In the five day inquest Coroner Barry King will try to uncover the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Ms Glendinning and her two daughters.

According to ABC News, counsel assisting the coroner Kate Ellson told the Geraldton court the deaths occurred in horrific circumstances and the inquest would not seek to examine them in detail.

Ms Ellson said the hearings would seek to determine whether anything could have been done to prevent the deaths.

'Drug induced psychosis'

Ms Glendinning's estranged husband, Harley Cuzens, a Broome livestock manager, said his ex-partner started using marijuana early in their relationship and had developed mental health problems, ABC News reported.

"Everything you read about what happens to people who use marijuana happened to her," he said.

"Erratic behaviour, psychosis, paranoia, schizophrenia. This made her impossible to live with.

"She wasn't coping at all at home, she couldn't cope with the children, she couldn't cope with anything."

He said he found it difficult to deal with his ex-partner's ongoing issues.

"She was unable to cope with day to day tasks," Mr Cuzens said.

"There was never a doubt in my mind the kids were by far and away better off with me."

Counsel Ellson said friends and family had noticed Ms Glendinning was under increasing stress but she did not seek help for mental health issues, fearing it could be used against her during a prolonged custody battle with her ex-partner.

The inquest heard that between 2007 and 2011, there were several opportunities where further or different mental health care options could have been explored through the Family Court, Geraldton Mental Health Services, and friends and family.

"Bearing in mind it was for Ms Glendinning alone to choose to co-operate and be truthful with people, this inquest will attempt to explore whether any intervention by medical services may have changed the outcome for her and her children," Ms Ellson said.

The inquest was deemed warranted by Mid West coroner Geoff Lawrence after a two-year investigation by police.

The availability of mental health services in regional WA will be examined at the inquest, which will hear from representatives from the Department for Child Protection and WA Country Health.

Killings rock small crayfishing community

At the time of the tragic event Detective Inspector Dave Bryson from the major crime squad had ruled out any third party being involved in the killing.

"As with all homicide investigations we remain open-minded; as more evidence comes in we will look at that, having said that on the basis of the evidence we don't believe there is another party involved in the [case of] the deceased females," Inspector Bryson said at a press conference on December 8, 2011.

The crime scene had been described as so gruesome that officers had to be offered counselling.

Heather Glendinning had moved to the newly developed estate of Bluewater Gardens in Port Denison only a short time before the tragedy.

The girls' father was in Broome at the time of the murders while a third daughter, Grace Anne Cuzens, was believed to be living with her grandparents in Perth.

Friends of Ms Glendinning had expressed their shock and dismay, claiming she was not the kind of mother or person to commit such an act.

Emails raised questions

A short time after the gruesome event former police officer Wayne Glew came forward with emails apparently written by Heather Glendinning in which she expressed concern for her own life.

In one of the emails, he said she wrote about finding a ring with skeletons on her bedside table and a knife missing from her home.

"A knife is missing from my bedroom that looks like [a] filleting knife with a wooden handle," the email says.

"I feel I am going to be set up in some way or sent off to a psychiatric ward or knocked off...  I think I'm in serious danger here."

In the days after the murders, WA Police Inspector Bill Munnee said the investigation had turned up a lot of "unanswered questions" surrounding the violent deaths.

*Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling SANE Helpline 1800 18 7263; Lifeline 131 114; Salvo Crisis Line (02) 8736 3295; beyondblue 1300 22 46 36.

Coronial inquest to shed light on Port Denison double murder suicide February 1, 2016

Uccide i due figli e si suicida January 30, 2016

Virginia man fatally shoots five family members and himself January 29, 2016

Antidepressants doubles the risk of suicide January 29, 2016

Mass Murders in America 2 December 12, 2015

AMERICAN ROULETTE Murder-Suicide in the USA November 2, 2015

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