Axe killer accused had time to order breakfast

By Greg Ansley

The man alleged to have killed his wife and two grandchildren before axing his daughter has been remanded in custody until next week.

The identities of the man and his victims were suppressed when he appeared in a court at Deniliquin, New South Wales, yesterday on three charges of murder and one of attempted murder.

The 69-year-old man was captured in the southern NSW country town of Hay on Monday night after a motel owner - a former policeman - recognised him from TV news coverage.

He had driven from Cowra, west of Sydney, where he is alleged to have used an axe to kill his 52-year-old wife and two grandchildren, 7 and 5, before attacking his 31-year-old daughter.

The daughter, a policewoman serving in the nearby town of Parkes, suffered a fractured skull when she called at her parents' home to collect her children. The alarm was raised when the woman, bleeding from the head, fled to a neighbour's house.

She is now in hospital in Sydney.

Police had feared the man was armed and was on his way to Newcastle, north of Sydney, possibly with the intention of killing again.

But motel owner Tony Whitehead told ABC radio that he had recognised the man after he had taken him to his room and returned to reception to watch the evening news.

"I realised the description of the car [sought by police] fitted [the man's] car, " he said.

The man appeared calm, had ordered bacon and eggs for breakfast, and had returned to reception to ask for milk as Whitehead and his family waited for the police to arrive.

- NZ Herald

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