A teenager charged with the murder of a mother and her two children has had an apparent ‘psychotic episode’ during his first court appearance.
Teancum Vernon Petersen-Crofts faced a Perth court on Monday morning, just a day after allegedly killing mother Michelle Petersen, 48, her daughter Bella, 15, and son Rua, eight.
Peterson-Crofts, 19, is charged with three counts of murder in relation to the deaths at the home at Ellenbrook, in Perth’s north-east, in the early hours of Sunday.
Appearing before Midland Magistrate’s Court without a lawyer, Peterson-Crofts broke down and rambled over the top of Magistrate Greg Smith, before attacking security.
‘He’s a criminal,’ Mr Petersen-Crofts told the court, speaking of an unknown person.
Teancum Vernon Peterson-Crofts (left) had a ‘psychotic episode’ in court after being charged with the murder of Michelle Petersen (right), her daughter, 15, and eight-year-old son in Perth
Ms Petersen’s daughter Bella (left), 15, and her son Rua (right), eight, also died at the home
The 19-year-old has been charged with three counts of murder over the deaths at the family home (pictured) in Ellenbrook, in Perth’s north-east, in the early hours of Sunday
‘He went to take me out bush. He did it. He came back from my family.
‘I needed to because mama is with me… I was painting a picture of Jesus and stayed there for two months. He punched me so hard in the head. So hard.
‘I left because I was that scared he was going to kill me. Mama told me to save myself.’
When court security attempted to calm him, Petersen-Crofts hit out at a guard, WA Today reports.
‘What are you looking at, serial killer? He looks like a serial killer and he’s a security guard,’ he said.
Petersen-Crofts was remanded in custody to be held in a mental health unit until his next court appearance on Monday, July 23.
A day earlier, experienced police officers described the scene that confronted them when they arrived at the house as ‘the most horrific they had ever been called to’.
Police were first made aware of the crime when the teenager arrived at a 7-Eleven convenience store on The Broadway, a street in Ellenbrook, and asked the shop attendant to call for police.
Experienced police officers have described the scene that confronted them when they arrived at the family’s home (pictured) as ‘potentially the most horrific they had ever been called to’
Police performed a search around the property and found a pair of scissors in the front yard
Officers arrived at the shop about 1.30am on Sunday, before being led to the nearby family home.
There they allegedly found the mother and her son dead inside, before discovering the critically injured teenage girl in the backyard. She died on her way to hospital.
Heartbroken relatives have paid tribute to the mother and two children on Facebook, while a GoFundMe page already set up to help pay for their funerals.
‘Help us raise some much needed funds and relieve just a little of the load her surviving kids now have on their shoulders,’ the fundraising page reads.
‘Shelly was kind, happy, loved her kids, all of them unconditionally. At times in her life she was rough , she was flawed, but we all are, no one is perfect and Shell tried.
‘Let’s give Shelly, Bella and Rua a wonderful send off.’
It is understood Ms Petersen has several other children and relatives living in New Zealand who are now flying to Western Australia.
Neighbours chat with a police officer at the scene of the crime in Ellenbrook, Western Australia
The shattered friends of the family break down after hearing about the ‘horrific’ crime scene
WA Police Assistant Commissioner Paul Steel described the crime scene to reporters on Sunday afternoon.
‘A senior homicide squad investigating officer said to me today it is potentially the most horrific crime scenes he has ever been called to,’ Mr Steel said.
During a search around the property police found a pair of scissors, which they took away in an evidence bag.
Mr Steel said it could take days for the scene to be processed.
According to records, the home is part of the state government’s public housing.
‘A senior homicide squad investigating officer said to me today it is potentially the most horrific crime scenes he has ever been called to,’ Assistant Commissioner Paul Steel said
Police found Ms Petersen and her eight-year-old son dead inside the home (pictured), before discovering the critically injured teenage girl in the backyard. She died on the way to hospital
Neighbour Matthew Schreck said he had heard the commotion about an hour before police arrived in the street.
‘I just heard a lot of screaming and yelling and a bit of fighting, and the cops flew past here and headed up this way,’ he told reporters.
‘It was real loud yelling and screaming. It sounded pretty bad. It sounded like a man.’
The incident comes two days after neighbours called police who reportedly saw a man ‘aggressively waving a length of wood’ in the front yard, Nine News reported.
A 19-year-old man has been charged with murder after being arrested at Ellenbrook early on Sunday
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