As Mara Harvey drove home from her night shift at a local supermarket, she was looking forward to getting back to her family.
Although she knew her three young girls would be sound asleep, Mara couldn’t wait for morning cuddles and mum duties.
It was close to 11pm on 3 September 2018 when she pulled up at her home in Bedford, near Perth in Western Australia, but the lights were on, so she knew her husband Anthony was still up.
Mara, 41, had met Anthony, 25, five years earlier when they both worked in hospitality at the Sino Steel mine in Cape Preston.
Although she was older than him, the couple both wanted the same thing – a family.
They quickly had Charlotte, three, before they married. Then two-year-old twins, Alice and Beatrix, followed.
With more life experience, Mara had already wisely invested in property before meeting Anthony, and after they’d married, she’d bought into a gardening franchise – Jim’s Mowing – so Anthony could support their fast-growing family.
But business was quiet, so Mara had been working in the local Coles supermarket.
She’d do whatever it took to give her family everything they needed.
On that fateful night, Mara parked up and stepped inside her suburban home.
As soon as she walked in, she was violently murdered – by her own husband.
Anthony hit her with a metal pipe then stabbed her repeatedly.
He plunged the blade, which was as big as a machete, into his wife at least 12 times.
With Mara dead, he went into the bedrooms of his three sleeping children with a smaller knife and stabbed them all to death.
It was fast and utterly brutal.
Anthony arranged his family as though ‘they were cuddling’ and surrounded their bodies with the children’s favourite toys.
He covered them in blankets and placed flowers on top.
Anthony wrote handwritten notes, which he left near the bodies.
‘To my beautiful wife, I’m so sorry.'
' I would give anything to undo what I’ve done. I think I’ve lost my mind,’ he wrote.
‘Take care of those little girls like you always do.'
'I love you so much.’
But despite saying he was remorseful, he didn’t call the police or hand himself in.
Instead, he went to sleep with his murdered family in the same house, knowing there was one last victim to come.
The next day, Mara’s mum, Beverley Quinn, 73, arrived as usual to help out with the kids.
She was a warm woman who loved her family as much as Mara.
Anthony used the same pipe he’d attacked his wife with to hit his mother-in-law, before stabbing her to death.
He left another note on her body.
‘Beverley, I’m so, so, so very sorry.'
'You all deserved so much better, I truly hope you are somewhere better, I know I never said it, but I love you, I’m so sorry.’
Anthony lied to Mara’s employer saying she was too ill to come to work, then remained in the house for several days.
Five days after slaying his family, he left and withdrew money from the account he shared with Mara.
Then he drove 1,500km north to the Palbara town of Pannawonica where his parents lived and made a shocking confession to his dad.
‘I’ve done something really wrong,’ he said.
‘I hurt all of them.’
His father called the police and helped his son turn himself in.
Police rushed to Mara’s home and found the bloodbath.
When officers arrested Anthony, they found photographs of his dead victims in his car.
They also found a journal he’d been writing in extensively during the lead-up to the killings, giving a glimpse into his mindset.
Anthony said it helped him ‘document his journey’.
He talked about life having no meaning.
‘I must embrace my darkness and my animal instincts, I must do the unthinkable,’ he wrote.
‘I am no psycho, I feel too much, I care too much, I always have… I will regret what I do.’
There were pages dedicated to outlining his ‘options’, including divorce or simply leaving.
But then he turned to killing, writing about ‘eliminating’ his family and making them ‘disappear’.
One of Anthony’s entries read: ‘Tonight, I will kill my wife, bludgeon her to death, then smother my children and, in the morning, murder my mother-in-law.’
It was clear the killings had been planned, and up to 11 days before the murders, he’d sold belongings and bought two knives, including the giant one he’d killed Mara with.
But when questioned, Anthony told the authorities his marriage was good, and he hadn’t been angry with his family.
And yet Anthony told officers he’d stabbed his wife repeatedly to ‘finish her off quickly’.
Was he overwhelmed with the pressure of family life?
Their three children had come along quickly.
Or motivated by money?
Business hadn’t been good.
When the community found out about the killings, they were stunned.
Anthony seemed like a doting father, and there were no obvious problems.
Hundreds of people donated money towards the funeral costs, and large numbers turned out to mourn over the heartbreakingly small pink coffins.
Mara’s only sister, Taryn Tottman, spoke about her beloved nieces and how they were Mara’s whole world.
In April this year, Anthony pleaded guilty to murdering his wife, three children and mother-in-law.
As the details of the killings were read out in court, Anthony covered his ears, while many in the public gallery quietly sobbed.
Some of the details were so horrific they were suppressed to spare even more hurt.
Anthony’s sentencing was unprecedented in Western Australia, as the prosecution was pressing for life in prison without the chance of parole.
No judge in Western Australia had ever agreed for a convicted murderer to ‘never be released’.
At the sentencing hearing, Anthony’s defence said although the crimes were ‘incomprehensibly and indescribably serious’ it wasn’t enough to lock him up forever.
Assessments suggested he could have high-functioning autism and lacked empathy.
They said he’d admitted what he’d done, shown remorse, and he was young enough to be rehabilitated.
The prosecutor described Anthony’s crimes as ‘abhorrent’ and because the murders had been planned, it did justify life behind bars.
‘Inexplicable violence was used against people who were entitled to his protection and his love,’ she said.
‘Any rational, reasonable and informed citizen would say he has given away the opportunity… the right to ask for a meaningful life outside custody.’
In her victim impact statement, Taryn spoke about the lasting impact of losing her sister, mum and nieces.
‘Nine-and-a-half months ago, everything I knew, believed and counted on was taken away from me,’ she said.
‘In a time where I needed either my mum or my sister the most, I had neither.'
'I felt lost. I have fears of walking into dark rooms and Anthony will be there waiting.'
'Every minute of every day I think about my family and their last moments.’
In July thist year, Anthony was sentenced to life without parole.
The judge suggested he could have a narcissistic personality.
‘Frankly, I struggle to find words that are adequate to convey the magnitude of your offences,’ he said to Anthony.
‘Your actions are so far beyond the bounds of acceptable human conduct that they instil horror and revulsion into even the most hardened of people.’
He said the family had been killed in an ‘exceedingly brutal manner’ and pointed out the girls had been so young.