“I am so sorry for everything”: Perth mum faces trial after killing her daughters
Content warning: This article contains distressing content, including mentions of suicide, which may be distressing to some readers.
A mentally ill Perth woman on trial for two counts of murder of her young daughters believed she was sparing them from suffering, the court has heard.
Milka Djurasovic is facing a judge-alone trial in the Supreme Court of Western Australia for killing her daughters, Mia, 10, and Tiana, six, before attempting to take her own life.
Mia and Tiana’s bodies were found by their father Nenad at their Madeley home in October 2019.
Ms Djurasovic admitted to killing them, but argues that she isn’t guilty because she was of unsound mind.
After their deaths, the 40-year-old was diagnosed with major depression with psychotic features. The court has heard she had previously struggled with worsening mental health issues, and feared that her children would be forced into care if she had to be hospitalised.
According to an agreed statement of facts submitted to the court, Ms Djurasovic woke up at around 7am on the day of the killings, thought to herself “today’s the day”, and subsequently placed knives, machetes, and rope in the pantry.
Tiana cried when she saw the ropes and knives, asked her mother “are you going to do something to me?”, and said she wanted to go to school.
Ms Djurasovic “snapped out of it” and helped the girls get ready for school. While on the phone with her husband, she sounded upbeat and normal.
When she arrived at the school gates, Ms Djurasovic parked for a few minutes before deciding to return home. She told Tiana they were going shopping.
Later that morning, Ms Djurasovic decided to proceed with her plan to kill the girls and herself, plugging a vacuum cleaner in and leaving it running to drown out any sound.
After killing her daughters, Ms Djurasovic paced around, kissed and hugged the girls, and placed toys next to their bodies.
She then attempted to take her own life several times, and made a video in which she repeatedly apologised and urged her husband, Nenad, to let her die.
When Nenad returned home that afternoon, he discovered Mia’s body. Tiana’s body was later found by paramedics.
Ms Djurasovic was found by police a short time later covered in a blanket in sand dunes at a nearby beach, having attempted to end her life again.
Several notes Djurasovic had handwritten or typed were also found at the home.
“I love my girls more than anyone and anything and I am so sorry for not looking after them better,” she wrote.
“I should have been more ‘connected’ to my husband and friends.
“I did not like talking about my problems. I wish I had. I am so sorry for everything.”
Ms Djurasovic also wrote to her husband about her girls in Serbian, saying they were already nervous and anxious. She added that she didn’t want them to “end up on medication, doing drugs and all that is killing me”.
“I am at fault for everything,” she wrote in the letter.
“I did nothing bad on purpose but that is how it ended up.”
Dr Adam Brett, the psychiatrist who interviewed Ms Djurasovic twice while she was in custody earlier this year, said he was confident the accused had been mentally impaired at the time of the deaths and lacked the capacity to know she shouldn’t do such a thing.
Dr Brett told the court that she had nihilistic delusions and believed she was saving her daughters from the “awful things” she had experienced.
“She loved them so much she didn’t want them to suffer in the same way she did,” Dr Brett told the court.
Ms Djurasovic briefly took the stand on Monday and was questioned by her lawyer Mark Trowell QC. She asserted that she had been honest throughout her interviews with police and Dr Brett.
Her trial continues.
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