Real Life

Grieving father Aaron Cockman shares new insights on the Margret River murder-suicide and what could have made Peter Miles snap

The incident was the worst mass shooting since the Port Arthur massacre of 1996.

By Holly Royce

Aaron Cockman's eyes stare straight through the hoards of cameras and microphones that point at his direction.

"Peter [Miles], um... didn't snap," Aaron falteringly tells the keenly awaiting press. He's ringing a plastic water bottle in his hands, but it does little to hide the fact his hands are shaking.

"He's thought this through," he continues. "I think he's been thinking this through for a long time."

This was the first time the father of four had spoken to the media following the horrific news all his children, along with his estranged partner, had been shot and killed while they were sleeping in their beds by their maternal grandfather, Peter Miles last month. Peter had also shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself.

Arron Cockman speaking to the press.
Arron Cockman speaking to the press.

The Margaret River family massacre has been labelled the worst mass shooting since Port Arthur, and one of Western Australia's greatest tragedies.

Over the last month, Mr Cockman has been left to deal with the deaths of his immediate family, alongside having to refute allegations that he is the one to blame for pushing his father-in-law over the edge - this, despite the fact Police have only ever focused their person-of-interest inquiries on Peter Miles.

Could a custody dispute be the reason Peter Miles killed three generations of his family and then himself?

The bitter custody dispute

"I think if I hadn't been cut off from those kids for six months, I wouldn't have the strength to stand here and talk to people... or talk in front of cameras... I wouldn't have that strength," the self-employed carpenter told reporters.

Mr Cockman was referring to the fact that he and his estranged partner, Katrina Miles, had been in the midst of a custody battle over their 4 children: Taye, 13, Rylan, 12, Ayre, 10 and Kayden, 8.

"A lot of things that Kat did, through the court process, I'm pretty sure wasn't her, at all,"

"Kat's Mum said to me once, 'You'll see Kat will make sure that you and your parents will never see those kids again'."

Mr Cockman said this statement was made to him when he first got cut off from his children.

The acrimonious split is allegedly the reason Katrina Miles and the couple's four children went to live with Peter Miles (Katrina's father) and his partner on their rural property.

Katrina and Taye, Rylan, Ayre and Kayden
Katrina and Taye, Rylan, Ayre and Kayden

The 'truth' comes out on Seven's Sunday Night

"To answer your question, yes I thought he was dangerous," a stony faced Mr Cockman tells Seven's Sunday Night reporter Denham Hitchcock in a preview for the show's upcoming episode investigating what could have caused Peter Miles to 'snap'.

Along with the assertion the children were used as "pawns", reporter Hitchcock if the incident could have been prevented, the grieving Father doesn't mince words.

"Definitely," he replies.

Story continues after video

WA Police have continued to work with Mr Cockman over the last month to discover what could have triggered the murder-suicide that killed his entire immediate family.

If you or anyone you know is suffering, please contact Lifeline (lifeline.org.au) on 1311 14 or visit Headspace at (headspace.org.au). Visit Beyond Blue at (beyondblue.org.au) or call 1300 22 4636. You can also contact the Kids Help Line on 1800 55 1800.