The Osmington shooting was a familicide in Osmington, Western Australia, on 11 May 2018, in which Peter Miles, a 61-year-old retired high school farm manager, shot dead his wife, daughter, and four grandchildren, before calling police and then committing suicide.[2] It was the worst shooting incident in Australia since the Port Arthur massacre of 1996.[3][4]

Osmington shooting
LocationOsmington, Western Australia, Australia
Coordinates33°54′22″S 115°13′44″E / 33.906°S 115.229°E / -33.906; 115.229
Date11 May 2018 (2018-05-11)
c. 4.00 am – 5.00 am (WST)
TargetMembers of the Miles-Cockman family
Attack type
Murder–suicide, familicide
WeaponsThree rifles[1]
Deaths7 (including the perpetrator)
PerpetratorPeter Miles



Peter Miles worked in the farm school at Margaret River Senior High School for twenty years.[5] In 2015, he and his wife Cynda moved from the Margaret River townsite to a 12-hectare (30-acre) hobby farm in Osmington. Miles' daughter, Katrina, and her four children (Tay, 13; Rylan, 12; Arye, 10 and Kayden, 8) moved onto the property following the breakdown of her marriage, living in a renovated shed. Katrina believed the children were on the autism spectrum, and they were withdrawn from the local school in order to be home-schooled.[5]

According to Aaron Cockman, Katrina's estranged husband and father to the four children, the Miles family had a history of violence, mental illness and dysfunctional relationships. Peter was "estranged from his own mother and his father had tried to kill him". His son, Katrina's brother, burned down a shed during a family dispute and later committed suicide. Katrina had also "once threatened to kill herself and the children by driving into a tree".[6] Cockman stated that Peter paid an estimated $100,000 of his daughter's legal fees relating to their separation,[6] and that Peter and Cynda had prevented him from seeing his children for six months prior to the shootings.[7]



Authorities arrived at the Miles' 30-acre farm in Osmington following a call to 000 at 5:15 am.[8] Peter (aged 61) was found outside the property deceased in a chair on the veranda, his wife Cynda (58) inside the main house. Their daughter, Katrina Cockman (35) and her four children were found inside a converted shed behind the main house that served as their residence.[9] Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson confirmed that three rifles were recovered at the property, all of which were licensed to Peter, and that police did not believe that anyone outside the residence was involved.[10]

Aaron Cockman held a press conference forty-eight hours after learning of the deaths, stating that he had been told by police that Peter first shot Katrina and her four children while they slept in their beds, before shooting his wife Cynda in the living room of their home. He then placed a two-minute 000 call to police[11] alerting them to the shootings, before committing suicide.[12]

On 17 May, Dawson confirmed that police had completed forensic work and that access to the property was returned to the family, but stated that the investigation would continue for several months.[13] A suicide note was also confirmed to have been found.[14] Peter was also found to be on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class antidepressants at the time of the incident.[15]

Aftermath and criticism


Cockman has criticised the Office of the State Coroner for its secrecy and unwillingness to provide information to him.[6] Ros Fogliani, the State Coroner, rejected his request for a public inquest to be held, stating that it was "not desirable" and that "all relevant lines of inquiry have been followed and that a coroner is now able to make the required findings about the deaths on the evidence that has already been obtained".[16] Cockman subsequently wrote to state attorney-general John Quigley reiterating his request for a public inquest.[6]

Cockman has stated his belief that the Family Court of Western Australia placed the Miles family "under intense financial and emotional pressure" prior to the killings,[6] and supports a royal commission into Australian family law.[16]

See also



  1. ^ Australian Police Identify Victims in Worst Mass Shooting Since 1996
  2. ^ "Margret River murder-suicide: Seven people found dead at home near WA holiday town". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 11 May 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  3. ^ Hastie, Emma Young, Hamish (11 May 2018). "Death of Margaret River family sends 'shockwaves' throughout the nation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 May 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Wolfe, Natalie; Brook, Benedict (14 May 2018). "Seven dead in mass WA tragedy". Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b Carmody, James (13 May 2018). "The mystery of the Miles family and a Margaret River murder-suicide that has shocked the world". ABC News. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e Berkovic, Nicola (23 May 2020). "Six shot dead: 'red flags' missed on killer grandfather Peter Miles". The Australian. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  7. ^ Whitbourn, Michaela; Cormack, Lucy (13 May 2018). "'Peter didn't snap. He thought this through': Father of shooting victims speaks". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  8. ^ Phillips, Kristine; Bever, Lindsey (13 May 2018). "Osmington, Australia, shooting: Peter Miles planned killings, father says". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  9. ^ Carmody, James (11 May 2018). "Margaret River reeling as mass shooting casts a dark pall over a tight-knit town". ABC News. Retrieved 29 April 2023.
  10. ^ Cormack, Lucy (12 May 2018). "Margaret river shooting: Two-minute triple zero call key to murder-suicide". WA Today. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  11. ^ Cormack, Lucy (18 May 2018). "Margaret River shooting: Police investigation turns from who did this, to why". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  12. ^ Carnody, James (14 May 2018). "Margaret River murder-suicides: Peter Miles's Heartache blamed for unspeakable violence". ABC News. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  13. ^ Hickey, Phil (17 May 2018). "Osmington police investigation will go on for months: Commissioner". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Father of murdered Magaret River family reveals suicide note". SBS News. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  15. ^ Paddenburg, Trevor (19 May 2018). "Depression drug clue to murders". PerthNow. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  16. ^ a b Laurie, Victoria (24 February 2020). "Father of slain Margaret River family shocked that inquest was rejected". The Australian. Retrieved 23 May 2020.