Floreat shooting: Commissioner says it is wrong to suggest police did not help killer Mark Bombara’s family

Phil Hickey
The West Australian
3 Min Read
Police Commissioner Col Blanch said two — not one — family violence information reports related to the Bombara family were generated by police in the weeks leading up to the shooting. 
Police Commissioner Col Blanch said two — not one — family violence information reports related to the Bombara family were generated by police in the weeks leading up to the shooting.  Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

WA’s top cop claims it is “wrong” to suggest police did nothing to help the family of Mark Bombara before he murdered two women in a horrific double-murder suicide.

Col Blanch said two — not one — family violence information reports related to the Bombara family were generated by police in the weeks leading up to the shooting.

At least one of those reports was forwarded to a third party for further possible action.

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Mr Blanch on Wednesday released the new information surrounding the Floreat tragedy, after it emerged on Tuesday that police were warned “repeatedly” by Bombara’s daughter about the “imminent” threat he posed weeks before Friday’s horrific shooting.

In a heartbreaking statement released to the media on Tuesday, Ariel Bombara revealed that she and her mother had warned police about the dangers her father posed well before Friday’s shooting.

She said she raised serious concerns about the” imminent threat” he posed early as March 30.

But Ms Bombara said her warnings — many of which were relayed to male WA Police officers — were “repeatedly ignored.”

Ms Bombara also said she asked police if it was possible to take out a 72-hour temporary protective order against her father, but said this request was rejected.

In radio interviews on Wednesday, Mr Blanch said “a lot was done” in reaction to the concerns being raised.

The top cop has now also flagged possible changes to the threshold needed to impose 72-hour temporary protective orders, of which about 25,000 are issued each year.

“To say that nothing was done is wrong, a lot was done,” Mr Blanch said.

“On this particular occasion when Ariel and her mother attended Mirrabooka police station, the police officer there took the family violence incident report.

“That immediately triggers ... a number of functions. It does a risk assessment based on what was known at the time.

“It sends information to the family domestic violence response team, so they can triage that information, that was done.

“There was a triage meeting, it was referred to a third party through the Department of Communities for action. All of those things did happen.

“Now, Ariel’s experience is of concern to me because that’s how she felt and that’s something that we are investigating that we’ll look at, but it is wrong to say police did nothing.”

Mr Blanch said he was in favour of lowering the threshold needed to impose 72-hour temporary protective orders.

“Myself and the minister (for police) have spoken specifically about this issue,” he said.

“I think we should lower the threshold (so) that we can get those orders and we can seize guns at a very low threshold when we are having those those acrimonious marriage separations.

“That would be a good thing for our community and will prioritise public safety.”

In her statement issued yesterday, Ms Bombara said the gun reforms being discussed in WA currently were an “important step.”

“But it is my unwavering belief that even without his guns, my father would have committed a horrific act of violence which likely would have claimed lives,” Ms Bombara added.

“What my father did was an act of domestic violence. My mother and I made clear that lives were at risk, and we were repeatedly ignored. Repeatedly failed. Those failures have cost the lives of two incredible women.

“My father should always be considered accountable for his actions. They were his and his alone, however, there are authorities who should have helped us to stop him, and they failed.”

For confidential information, counselling and support: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

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