Police have been told to follow their "gut instinct" after a Kiwi father killed his two children in the three hours it took for officers to respond to their mother's desperate call for help.

A coroner in Perth has delivered her findings into the deaths of 5-year-old Zaraiyah-Lily Headland and 3-year-old Andreas Headland, who were found dead at in October 2016.

New Zealander Jason Craig Headland - who was also found at the home with self-inflicted injuries - pleaded guilty to their murders and was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 31 years to be served.

Jason Headland is serving a life sentence for killing his children Andreas Headland, 3, and Zaraiyah-Lily, 5. Photo / News Ltd
Jason Headland is serving a life sentence for killing his children Andreas Headland, 3, and Zaraiyah-Lily, 5. Photo / News Ltd

Coroner Sarah Linton said the inquests were "two of the worst I have dealt with," the West Australian reported.

Advertisement

Their murders were an act of revenge against his wife, Anatoria Takiwa, who had asked him for a divorce days earlier.

The inquests previously heard that the children's mother, formerly of Paraparaumu, had gone to Joondalup police station to request a welfare check after she received a disturbing phone call from her estranged partner.

In the call, Headland said: "I'm going to hurt you ... I'm going to break your heart into 50 million pieces. Say goodbye to your kids. This is the last time you're going to speak to them."

The coroner found that the outcome might have been different if police had trusted their instincts after a police recruit admitted she had a "weird feeling" when Takiwa and her friend reported the chilling phone call.

READ MORE:
Jason Headland jailed for horrific killing of kids in revenge act
Australian police officer cries in court over Kiwi mum's call for help before murders
Inquest hears police too late to save Kiwi mum Anatoria Takiwa's kids
Mother looking for fresh start after children killed by Kiwi Jason Headland

It took three hours to send a car to the property for a welfare check and when police arrived they found the children dead.

"I can't help wondering whether things might have been different if [the recruit] in particular, as she had the strongest instinctive sense of concern, had been allowed to rely more on her gut instinct... I am not suggesting that the deaths would definitely have been averted, as it is clear Jason had formulated a plan from at least early afternoon, and was intent on putting that plan into effect," Linton said.

Three-year-old Andreas and 5-year-old Zaraiyah-Lily were drugged and smothered by their father Jason Headland. Photo / GoFundMe
Three-year-old Andreas and 5-year-old Zaraiyah-Lily were drugged and smothered by their father Jason Headland. Photo / GoFundMe

"In the end, I am left with a feeling of disquiet, as the police recruit who took the initial report had a very strong, instinctive feeling that something was amiss, and it was through the advice of her superiors, and following police procedures, that she was directed to take a less direct path to checking on the children's welfare."

Advertisement

The recruit had initially called Headland, who promised to bring the children to the station, but when he failed to arrive the recruit tried to call him back before calling Takiwa and being told he could be at the marital home.

A job was then logged with a lower priority, meaning police gave themselves a full hour to respond.

In that time, Headland had crushed sleeping tablets into his children's juice before asphyxiating them.

Headland pictured with his son Andreas, 3. Photo / Supplied
Headland pictured with his son Andreas, 3. Photo / Supplied

During the inquest, Takiwa said she went to police because "I just wanted to make sure the kids were ok," and "I didn't want him to be alone with them after that phone call."

Senior Constable Christine Darlington, who had been at the station on the fateful day, started to cry as she addressed Takiwa.

"We'd like to extend our sincerest condolences for the tragic loss of your beautiful children," she said.

"We joined police to save lives and make a difference. On this rare occasion, we were unable to do that. We too carry that burden every day. Please accept our deepest sympathy for your loss."

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - DO YOU NEED HELP?

If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.

• Run outside and head for where there are other people.

• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.

• Take the children with you.

• Don't stop to get anything else.

• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633

• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450

• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584

• Ministry of Justice:

• National Network of Stopping Violence:

• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent.

How to hide your visit

If you are reading this information on the

Herald

website and you're worried that someone using the same computer will find out what you've been looking at, you can follow the steps at the link

to hide your visit. Each of the websites above also have a section that outlines this process.