WA premier Roger Cook says murder of mother and daughter in Perth home ‘senseless’ and ‘chilling’

<span>The Western Australian premier Roger Cook says the murder of a mother and daughter in Perth is ‘senseless’. He says more must be done to combat family violence. </span><span>Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP</span>
The Western Australian premier Roger Cook says the murder of a mother and daughter in Perth is ‘senseless’. He says more must be done to combat family violence. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP

Western Australia’s premier says more needs to be done to combat domestic violence after the “chilling and horrific” murder of a mother and daughter by a gunman searching for his ex-wife, though police say they cannot classify it as a family violence matter.

Cook also said he would consider strengthening WA’s tough gun laws, which were recently updated and are in the process of passing through the parliament.

The gunman, 63, shot Jennifer Petelczyc, 59, and her 18-year-old daughter, Gretl, on Friday at their Floreat home, where his ex-wife was believed to have been staying, before taking his own life.

The premier, Roger Cook, said the shooting was “senseless” and the women were “innocent people” who had died helping a friend in need.

Cook told Perth radio station 6PR on Sunday: “This is a circumstance in which a woman has sought refuge from a friend.

“As a result of that, that friend and her daughter have come to harm.”

Cook said the community should reflect on the deaths and “how we can all continue to make the world a safer place”.

“They’re innocent people ... simply doing what we’d all want someone to do when we’re facing difficult circumstances,” he said.

“A friend that would stand by you and provide you with a bit of comfort and safety in their home.

“By every measure, it looks senseless, chilling and absolutely horrific.

“We all stand together in absolute condemnation of this sort of violence.”

He said more needed to be done to combat family violence.

“This is a community, society-wide issue, and we all need to stand as one to condemn family and domestic violence,” he said.

Det Insp Dave Gorton said police were not treating the incident as a family violence matter in a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

“The 63-year-old man and the 59-year-old woman were not related in these circumstances, so therefore it’s not a family violence-related incident,” Gorton said.

“Obviously we’ll still be preparing a report for the coroner in relation to all of the circumstances surrounding this and whether or not the relationships form part of this incident.”

Gorton said they had the ex-wife and one of the daughters in the care of the homicide squad on Friday night. “We are providing any support we can to them. Obviously they are very distressed by these circumstances.”

Jennifer and Gretl Petelczyc were both members of the University of Western Australia’s Water Polo Club, where Jennifer was a team manager and Gretl a player.

Frank Di Costa, the chief executive of the club, said the women made a wonderful contribution to the water polo community and that the members who grew up and played with the women were “doing it really tough at the moment. It’s a difficult time.”

In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14 and the national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732.