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Shattered father opens up nearly a decade after his ex-wife murdered their two girls before killing herself in a 'completely avoidable' tragedy

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 1/12/2019 Brett Lackey

A shattered father has broken his silence nearly a decade after his ex-wife murdered their two young daughters and then killed herself.  

a man wearing a suit and tie: Harley Cuzens (pictured) said he will never recover as he took a swipe at the courts and government departments he says could have prevented the tragedy © Provided by Daily Mail Harley Cuzens (pictured) said he will never recover as he took a swipe at the courts and government departments he says could have prevented the tragedy Harley Cuzens, 52, said he will never recover as he took a swipe at the courts and government departments he says could have prevented the tragedy. 

Heather Glendinning, 46, murdered her children Jane Cuzens, 12, and Jessica, 10, at their Port Denison home, north of Perth, in December 2011 before she stabbed herself to death in a locked bathroom. 

a close up of a woman: Jane Cuzens was tragically murdered by her mother © Provided by Daily Mail Jane Cuzens was tragically murdered by her mother a woman taking a selfie: Jessica Cuzens her sister also was killed by her mother in a murder suicide © Provided by Daily Mail Jessica Cuzens her sister also was killed by her mother in a murder suicide

The West Australian nurse suffered a massive mental breakdown before the horrific 'mercy murder suicide,' a coroner ruled in 2016. 

Eight years after the attack, Mr Cuzens runs a fishing charter business in Broome.  

'It's destroyed my family and completely broken me, and it was senseless. It was absolutely avoidable - there's been absolutely no accountability. That's what makes it so hard,' he told The Australian. 

Mr Cuzens said he had been warning the Family Court for almost a decade before 2011 that Ms Glendinning was capable of such an attack. 

'Their mother was not sane and fit to have custody of them - and no one wanted to hear that until it was too late,' he said. 

a woman in a swimming pool: Heather Glendinning (pictured), 46, a West Australian nurse, suffered a massive mental breakdown before killing her two daughters © Provided by Daily Mail Heather Glendinning (pictured), 46, a West Australian nurse, suffered a massive mental breakdown before killing her two daughters 'Psychologists and expert witnesses hold a lot of power and their decisions impact your entire family's future. If the court doesn't like what they say, they just appoint another one and the whole thing keeps on going for years and years until you're completely ground down'.  

Mr Cuzens said one thing that still keeps him going is his third daughter Grace - who was 13 at the time of the tragedy and away at boarding school after he convinced the Family Court that was the safest place for her.  

He said he speaks to Grace daily and she is now 21 and studying to become a lawyer. 

Mr Cuzens said he is astonished by the wonderful person she has grown into and everything she has achieved despite the tremendous scars she has from her past. 

a child posing for the camera: Coroner Barry King said in 2016 the system failed and urged all agencies to 'proactively share information' when it is necessary © Provided by Daily Mail Coroner Barry King said in 2016 the system failed and urged all agencies to 'proactively share information' when it is necessary Coroner Barry King ruled in 2016 the tragedy could possibly have been avoided if Ms Glendinning's declining mental state had been discussed between the Family Court, mental health authorities and government agencies.  

Mr King said the system failed and urged all agencies to 'proactively share information' when it is necessary. 

Another inquest held in February 2016 heard Ms Glendinning met her ex-partner Harley Cuzens in 1996 and they had three children together, including Jessica and Jane, before separating in 2001 and becoming embroiled in a custody battle.  

Ms Glendinning's partner up until a few days before her death, Gary Renwick, told the inquest she began keeping bats under her bed and carried knives around the house as her drug use became more frequent.  

'The scene, and the manner in which the deceased died, can only be described as horrific, and it is not my intention, nor the purpose of this inquest, to examine them in any detail,' counsel assisting the coroner Kate Ellson said in her opening address.   

Ms Ellson said Ms Glendinning and her ex-husband were involved in 'prolonged and complex legal proceedings, sullied by high levels of conflict' when she was exhibiting signs of increasing stress and medical professionals noted their concerns for her mental well-being.

There were no documented comprehensive mental health assessments. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with their mental health you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

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