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Cairns mum on murder charges after eight children killed

By Staff Reporter

A woman has been charged with murder over the deaths of seven of her children and her niece whose bodies were found inside her home.

Mersane Warria (37) was charged with eight counts of murder in a bedside hearing at a Queensland hospital where she is recovering from stab wounds.

The children, four girls and four boys, were aged between two and 14.

Police found the children's bodies after they were called to the home in the Cairns suburb of Manoora last Friday morning after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries.

Police have not said how the children died, but Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar of Queensland police said they were examining several knives in the home. Suffocation was also a possible cause of death, he said.

"We are considering that and that's why it's taking a bit of time," he said. "It could be a range of things, from suffocation to 1,000 other things."

Police are not looking for any other suspects.

Dozens of weeping mourners have visited a makeshift memorial of flowers, stuffed animals and candles set up in a park next to the family's home. "My babies, my babies," one man wailed. A church service was held for the children yesterday and a candlelight vigil is planned.

A hearing is scheduled today, but Warria was excused from attending. Police planned to oppose any request for bail, Mr Asnicar said.

"This is very raw and it is a very emotive time for everybody," he said. "The family is deeply upset but the community is pulling together."

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