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Kiwi woman killed alongside two children in ‘horrific’ Perth homicide ‘provided strength, hope and inspiration’ - former boss remembers

Fundraising efforts to pay for the funerals of three former New Zealanders killed in Perth have now met and exceeded their target, as the 19-year-old accused of committing the crime remains locked up in a mental health unit.

Michelle Peterson, 48, her son Rua, 8, and daughter Bella, 15, were all killed on Sunday, with Australian police describing the scene as "horrific".

Michelle's son Teancum, 19, stands accused murdering his mother and two siblings and remains in a secure mental health unit at Graylands Hospital awaiting a court date next week.

A fundraising page set up to pay for the funeral of the family has reached and exceeded its target of $20,000, with tributes and well wishes flowing in from the numerous donors in both English and Te Reo Māori.

WA Today reports the family had only moved to the home, in the suburb of Ellenbrook, about six months ago, and that they were all well-liked.

Michelle Peterson, 48.
Michelle Peterson, 48. Source: Michelle Peterson/Facebook

Michelle volunteered at a non-profit centre helping people overcome substance abuse problems, and former boss Carol Daws said Michelle "provided strength, hope and inspiration" to those who she worked with.

"Her work positively impacted on many lives, and her loss is being very keenly felt across our organisation and will continue to be into the future," Daws told WA Today.

"Her death, and those of her children is an immense tragedy for her family."

Bella Peterson, 15.
Bella Peterson, 15. Source: Supplied

Bella was a student at Ellenbrook Secondary college and loved playing rugby - a friend said she was "a very good sister, and was always looking after her little brother" and she had many friends outside of her own school.

Rua Peterson, 8, on his fifth birthday.
Rua Peterson, 8, on his fifth birthday. Source: Michelle Peterson/Facebook

Rua shared his big sister's love of rugby, receiving an All Blacks jersey-shaped cake on his fifth birthday, but he was also a little shy at heart, sometimes preferring his own company.

He posted videos on his YouTube channel of Asian martial arts demonstrations, as well as one video of himself playing Tiki Taane's 'Always On My Mind'.

Teancum, after graduating high school, reportedly spent more time with his twin brother on his father's side (he was a Petersen-Crofts), working with him as a labourer.

The family were active members of a local church, with neighbours describing them as "polite and friendly".

Teancum Peterson-Croft, 19.
Teancum Peterson-Croft, 19. Source: Facebook

But other neighbours said the sound and sight of police sirens had grown more frequent in past months, and a number of loud altercations had taken place at the Peterson home.

Friends described Teancum as "a little bit weird" and said he sometimes had anger issues.

His behaviour had become erratic and he presented at a local hospital's emergency department in a psychotic state the day before he allegedly killed his family.

Doctors there ruled his issues were not medical in nature and he was sent on his way - hours later his family was killed.

Western Australia police have defended their actions, with Commissioner Chris Dawson confirming Teancum was known to police.

"I am confident that the actions taken by police officers have been appropriate in the circumstances," he said.

"Police officers are trained to deal with any situation that they are tasked to deal with but you cannot adequately prepare someone despite training for tragic events such as what took place last weekend."

In court yesterday, Teancum appeared delusional, interrupting the judge with non-sensical statements as he was read the charges against him.

"A criminal wanted to take me out bush - he did it, and he came back for my family," Petersen-Crofts said.

The magistrate told him he didn't need to say anything, but he replied: "I have to 'cos mamma is with me".

the magistrate said Teancum would be sent to a psychiatric facility, to which he replied: "I was painting a picture of Jesus and stayed there for two months".

"He punched me in the head so hard ... I left because I had to ... I was that scared he was going to kill me.

"Mamma told me to save myself."

WA Health Minister Roger Cook told WA Today that procedures will be examined during the police investigation, including what police they knew about Teancum's behaviour before the deaths, and what they did about it.

The Ellenbrook Murders
The Ellenbrook Murders. Source: 1 NEWS