Police at crime scene in Gunnedah where a teenager has been charged after a young girl was found dead.
Police at crime scene in Gunnedah where a teenager has been charged after a young girl was found dead.

Girl, 14, charged with murder of cousin, 10

WARNING: Distressing content

A 14-year-old girl has been charged by NSW detectives with murder over the death of 10-year-old girl in the northwest town of Gunnedah.

The teenager will face a children's court today after she was refused bail in the case.

In Aust­ralia, the age of criminal responsibility - the age below which a child is deemed incapable of having committed a crime - is set at 10.

Forensic police spent the night combing for evidence on the property to piece together the series of events that led to the alleged murder.

The girl was found dead early Wednesday morning after emergency services were called to a remote rural property and discovered the body of the 10-year-old at approximately 7am on Wednesday.

At the time NSW Police reported the 10-year-old girl had suffered "serious lacerations".

"Officers from Oxley Police District established a crime scene and commenced an investigation," police said when announcing the charges on Wednesday night.

"A short time later, officers arrested a 14-year-old girl - who was known to the child - nearby.

 

Reports allege the younger girl, who was a cousin of the 14-year-old, had marks carved into her body and was suffering stab wounds.

The mother of the teenager reportedly discovered the child's body inside the home and called triple-0.

Police say the 14-year-old girl was known to the child and have confirmed that despite attempts to revive her, she died at the scene.

Police will not release details of the girl's injuries except to say they were "substantial". An autopsy will be carried out this week.

Police would also not comment on the weapon used in the attack or the extent of the teenager's injuries.

Seven News reported the 10-year-old came from the regional NSW city of Orange and had been visiting the remote property outside Gunnedah for the school holidays.

Upon discovery of the girl's body, officers from Oxley Police District established a crime scene and began investigating.

A short time later, police arrested the 14-year-old girl "nearby". She was taken to Gunnedah Police Station and spent the day with medical experts and local detectives where she was later charged with murder.

On Wednesday at Gunnedah's Court House Hotel, Sarah told news.com.au that "everyone is still trying to get their heads around" the news sweeping the town about the horrific event.

Breanna, who works at the Parkview Hotel in the centre of Gunnedah told news.com.au that people were "totally shocked' by the news of the incident.

"It's a small town, so everyone knows about and it and yes people are shocked about it," she said.

Gunnedah's mayor Jamie Chaffey, told news.com.au the tight-knit country town of around 10,000 people was resilient but would be "devastated" as news of the tragedy spread.

"It's hard to talk about the details as it's a police case, but because we are a small community and people know each other it will certainly touch a lot of people," he said.

Councillor Chaffey said he had not spoken directly with the families involved.

"I can't imagine the pain the families are going through at this time and our thoughts and prayers go out to them," he said.

But he had spoken with his fellow councillors and church representatives "who will be encouraging prayer time on Sunday … to pray for the families in this absolutely horrible situation".

Cr Chaffey said he encouraged anyone who was struggling with the news of the situation to reach out to Lifeline or to contact members of his council to assist them.

"We will be dealing with this for some time," he said.

He said that Gunnedah residents were resilient and very supportive after the hardship of the drought and COVID-19, but this tragedy was "devastating".

Gunnedah is surrounded by mines and by cotton and crop-growing properties which have been ravaged by drought over the past few years.

 

 

Need to talk to someone? Don't go it alone. Please reach out for help. Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au | Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au

candace.sutton@news.com.au or matt.young2@news.com.au

Originally published as Girl, 14, charged with murder of cousin, 10


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