Daughter killings 'made sense at the time'

STEVE BUTCHER
Last updated 10:22 23/08/2014
MURDERED: Savannah, 4, and Indianna, 3.
MURDERED: Savannah, 4, and Indianna, 3.

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A man who bought new shoes and ballerina dresses for his daughters, aged four and three, then watched them dance before killing both has pleaded guilty to murder.

Charles Amon Mihayo, 36, told police he had played hide and seek with the girls on Easter Sunday this year and then suffocated them in a unit in Watsonia.

Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Friday that Mihayo then bathed their bodies and, as he dressed them, asked the police who arrived to wait "a minute please".

He then opened the door and told the officers who asked what had happened that he had "killed his two little girls".

In a summary tendered by Chief Crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert, QC, Mihayo stated there was "no good reason for what he did but it made sense to him at the time".

"The accused stated that he did not plan to kill his children and stated that it did not matter what reason he had at that particular moment," the summary said. "He was not supposed to have done it and he shouldn't have acted on it but he did."

Mihayo pleaded guilty at a committal mention hearing to two charges of murder committed on April 20.

In the summary, the girls' mother told police in an emergency call at 2.44pm - nine minutes after Mihayo had also called them to report a double murder - that something had happened to her children "who were visiting their father".

About two minutes later, he unlocked the door and was arrested by police after admitting he had "killed his kids".

The summary said that in one of a number of texts received by the mother on the previous day he asked her to pass by when convenient so he could "say goodbye" to the girls - who lived with her - and "see them one last time".

After a meeting was arranged for Easter Sunday, Mihayo watched the movie Captain America at Northland then bought two "Little Lady" white children's dresses and two pairs of girls' formal shoes for a "5 and 3 year old", said the summary.

When the mother and the children arrived at the premises, a self contained unit that Mihayo rented from the children's grandmother, he asked how long he had with his daughters and took them inside.

The mother and the grandmother could hear the children playing before one of the girls appeared on the verandah in a white "flower girl type dress and white shoes" her father earlier had bought her.

She "danced around" and was the told by her father to "come back inside and we'll show mum something else in 10 minutes".

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Soon after, the mother and grandmother noticed the girls had gone quiet inside the unit. The mother knocked on the door and as told by Mihayo to wait a minute and then she knocked again.

Mihayo "yelled out 'you will know when they get here' and the mother ran into the primary residence and rang the police".

When police knocked on the locked door and asked him to open it he replied: "I'm just finishing up."

When he opened the door, wiping his hands with a towel, he told police: "It's done, I've killed them."

Mihayo, who admitted suffocating the children, later told police he was "excited" that their mother was bringing them over so he could "say goodbye to them", according to the summary.

It continued: "Inside the unit (he) stated he put the ballerina dresses he had purchased on the girls and they started twirling around and playing.

"They went outside and showed their mother their new clothes."

He said the girls returned inside and he filmed them with his mobile phone dancing to the song "Let it Go" from the movie Frozen.

Mihayo told police that after the song they continued playing and started a game of hide and seek. The summary said he stated that at that time "something happened and he put a pillow on top of both the children's faces and held the pillow until they stopped moving".

Mihayo said he then rang police and took the children into the bathroom, bathed and dressed them and as he was doing this police arrived.

"(He) stated that police were calling out to him," the summary said "and he yelled 'a minute please' whilst he finished dressing the girls."

Mihayo would not give a reason for killing his children, but stated that investigators would "not understand what he has been through and providing a reason would not make any difference".

Magistrate Luisa Bazzani remanded Mihayo - who appeared from prison via video link - to appear later in the Supreme Court.

- The Age

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