Woman stabs her three children to death, kills herself after husband goes out to buy TV for family

Coroner Audrey Jamieson documented the deterioration of Katica Perinovic's mental health that led to the tragic events of January 14, 2021

Woman stabs her three children to death, kills herself after husband goes out to buy TV for family
Tomislav Perinovic's wife Katica fatally stabbed their children Claire, Anna, and Matthew before killing herself (Twitter/@7NewsAustralia)
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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: A coroner has detailed a woman's descent into madness before she murdered her three children and then killed herself while her husband was out buying a new TV for the family. 

Victorian Coroner Audrey Jamieson revealed the findings into the murder-suicide carried out by Katica Perinovic, 42, after she fatally stabbed her children Claire, 7, Anna, 5, and Matthew, 3, before killing herself in the north-western Melbourne suburb of Tullamarine in January 2021. The report was revealed after devastated father and husband Tomislav Perinovic gave a heartbreaking impact statement recalling how he came home from shopping to find his entire family slaughtered

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As reported by the Daily Mail, Tomislav called paramedics as soon as he discovered his toddler son in a pool of blood. After emergency responders arrived at the residence, the father went into the rear living room and discovered the bodies of his wife and two other children, before yelling out, "They're all dead." However, Tomislav was handcuffed as soon as the police arrived. A female police officer reportedly yelled at him as he was arrested and grilled in front of his neighbors. The 48-year-old was taken to Broadmeadows Police Station, where he was interrogated by Homicide Squad detectives. Investigators subsequently examined CCTV footage, phone records, Triple-0 calls, and bank records, and interviewed 77 witnesses while holding the father without charge overnight. Police eventually released him and apologized the next day.

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Tomislav, however, has demanded a formal apology. He told the inquest into the deaths that his children were excited when he left to buy a TV for the family, but they were dead when he returned after two hours. "I went out that day to buy my family a TV ... the kids were so excited," he told the inquest. "I came home to find my family all deceased." Coroner Jamieson documented the deterioration of Katica's mental health that led up to a psychotic episode and resulted in the tragic events that unfolded on January 14, 2021.

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Katica had continued working as a physiotherapist after tying the knot with Tomislav in 2012 and having two daughters and a son together. In late 2020, she adruptly quit her job after suffering from "paranoid thoughts and anxiety." She was ultimately diagnosed with First Episode Psychosis and prescribed a drug called risperidone. However, the coroner found that the mother-of-three hadn't been taking it as recommended and often skipped mental health appointments.  

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The coroner said that "Katica Perinovic suffered from self-inflicted stab wounds after fatally stabbing her three children at their home at Burgess Street in Tullamarine. Despite resuscitative attempts by paramedics, Katica and her children were later declared deceased." The coroner also noted that Katica "had no known history of mental illness or suicidality prior to this, although her personality was described as being a worrier, anxious, abrupt, and impulsive at times. She had a family history of schizophrenia in her sister."

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Coroner Jamieson acknowledged that the North Western Mental Health Service, the health service authority caring for Katica, had changed its policies since the tragedy and now required that "missed appointments are rescheduled for the same or the next day." The coroner described the care as "suboptimal" but acknowledged that "appropriate restorative and preventative measures have been taken by North Western Mental Health since the fatal incident." She concluded that Katica's death was preventable as "there were missed opportunities to intervene in the course of events preceding and leading to Katica Perinovic’s death."

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