An Australian woman has been charged with the murders of seven of her children and her niece, whose bodies were found inside her home, police have said.
Mersane Warria, 37, was charged on Sunday with eight counts of murder in a bedside hearing at a hospital in the northern city of Cairns where she is recovering from stab wounds, Queensland state police said.
Police were called to the home in the Cairns suburb of Manoora on Friday morning after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries.
When they got to the house, they found the bodies, along with Warria, who was suffering from stab wounds to the chest.
Police have not said how the children died, but Queensland Police Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said they were examining several knives in the home that may have been the weapon used to kill them.
Officials were still trying to determine exactly what happened inside the house, and had collected more than 100 witness statements, he said.
A coroner was conducting autopsies, but police would not be releasing the results as the case was now a matter for the courts, he said.
The children, four girls and four boys, ranged in age from 2 to 14.
Warria is the mother of seven of them; the eighth is her niece.
Police were not looking for any other suspects and planned to oppose any request for bail, Asnicar said.
Asked how the children’s five fathers were coping with the tragedy, Ascinar replied: “I don’t think we need much imagination to understand how they are feeling.”
A hearing was scheduled for Monday, but Warria was excused from attending.