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40yo woman charged with murder after three Timaru children killed

Newshub logo Newshub 17/09/2021
a group of people standing next to a man © Provided by Newshub

A 40-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with murder following the death of three young siblings in Timaru on Thursday night.  

The woman is scheduled to appear in the Timaru District Court on Saturday morning.

"Police would like to reassure the community that this was a tragic isolated incident and we are not seeking anyone else," a spokesperson said.

"An earlier release stated one child was aged seven and two were three. This is incorrect, they were aged six and two. We apologise for this error. "

A scene examination will continue at the Queen St address on Saturday.

A woman located at the property after the incident took place was taken to Timaru Hospital in a stable condition.

"Those involved had arrived in Timaru from South Africa last week," Detective Inspector Scott Anderson said.

Area Commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said the incident "will be incredibly distressing for Timaru residents, particularly coming so soon after the town lost five of their young people in a crash", even if the family hadn't been in town very long.  

"Police are working with our partner agencies to ensure that support is wrapped around those most directly affected by the tragic events of last night, and the wider community and we urge anyone who needs support to reach out."

'Noise like a deep moan'

Speaking to Newshub earlier on Friday, neighbours say they were watching television on Thursday night when they "heard sort of a noise like a deep moan".

Jade and Rob Whaley say they went outside to investigate, but couldn't see anything of interest. They went back inside and about five minutes later heard "a loud bang", prompting them to go back out.

"We couldn't see the spotlight had come on so we knew someone wasn't on the property," Rob says. "It sorta sounds liked a car door being slammed or a car being kicked. We couldn't hear anything so we went back inside again."

But while they were inside, Jade said they heard more moaning "going on and on", perhaps from the offender. 

"They were moaning and making lots of noise like, 'What have I done?'" 

The police arrived shortly afterwards.

The town's Mayor, Nigel Bowen, told Newshub locals were already struggling after the fatal crash in August which left five teenagers dead, and the COVID-19 lockdown. 

"The young boys who passed earlier in the year, that was just absolutely devastating for us. I think the last funeral was just the day before everyone went into lockdown... now to have something like this, you can't say that it won't have an effect on the community. It's going to be really tough.

"It will have a ripple effect on families and friends who knew these victims and their families. It's going to be really tough in the times ahead. Bad luck comes in threes I believe, so hopefully that's it and we're good moving forward." 

Police are expected to hold a press conference at some point later on Friday.

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