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Floreat murders: Police Commissioner Col Blanch orders internal investigation after Ariel Bombara’s comments

Phil HickeyThe West Australian
Police Commissioner Col Blanch has ordered an internal investigation into the interactions police had with the ex-wife and daughter of the Floreat gunman before he murdered a mother and her teenage daughter.
Camera IconPolice Commissioner Col Blanch has ordered an internal investigation into the interactions police had with the ex-wife and daughter of the Floreat gunman before he murdered a mother and her teenage daughter. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Police Commissioner Col Blanch has ordered an internal investigation into the interactions police had with the ex-wife and daughter of the Floreat gunman before he murdered a mother and her teenage daughter.

Mr Blanch called a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, hours after Mark Bombara’s daughter, Ariel Bombara, released a powerful statement saying she had raised the alarm on three separate occasions about her father.

“Between March 30th and April 2nd, I spoke with police on three separate occasions to raise the alarm about my father. On each occasion, I alerted officers to my father’s guns and told them my mother, and I felt there was a real and imminent threat to our lives,” she said.

Mr Blanch called a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, hours after Mark Bombara’s daughter, Ariel Bombara, released a powerful statement saying she had raised the alarm on three separate occasions about her father.
Camera IconMr Blanch called a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, hours after Mark Bombara’s daughter, Ariel Bombara, released a powerful statement saying she had raised the alarm on three separate occasions about her father. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

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After reading the statement, Mr Blanch said he had requested WA Police’s internal investigations unit to carry out an investigation into those three interactions.

“That investigation will determine what was done, what was said, what police responses were decided upon at the time, and the information that they had at the time,” he said.

“It’s important that they do this investigation thoroughly. The CCC (Corruption and Crime Commissioner) may choose to oversee that investigation. But certainly, our report to the Coroner and the Coroner’s investigation will contain all of that information.”

Mr Blanch said he and the entire police force were “extremely saddened by the tragic events of Friday, and if there’s anything that we can do to improve the way we police going forward, the internal investigation will no doubt bore those details out.”

The Commissioner confirmed that a request for a 72-hour police order had been made but was not granted because “the circumstances would not have met the threshold of a 72-hour order”.

“A police order is issued when we are concerned about an imminent threat or risk to a person. Whether or not they are staying there we have to separate those people.

“I want to remind people that this happened some seven weeks earlier to this tragedy.

“It’s what we knew at the time. It’s the risks that we observed at the time. It’s the information we had at the time. We are all standing here today with the benefit of hindsight of a real tragedy in our community.”

In her statement, Ms Bombara said that when police gave herself and her mother an escort to their home to collect their belongings on April 2, they warned police about her father’s guns. She said this was the third time she did so.

“One officer said, ‘Oh, don’t worry, we know all about the guns’, and when he called for backup, he warned his fellow officers to wear bulletproof vests’,” she said.

When Mr Blanch was asked why “protection wasn’t afforded” to the women, he said what was said and what was asked for would be subject to the probe. He said he would review body-worn camera footage.

Mr Blanch said that while he was “greatly” concerned by Ms Bombara’s statement, he had no plans to meet with her personally yet.

“Ariel’s statement concerns me greatly,” he said.

“I want to make sure that every domestic violence victim in Western Australia gets an appropriate response; I am committed to that outcome.”

Mr Blanch said that a family violence report was lodged in relation to the Bombara family at the Mirrabooka police station on or around March 28.

He said what happened with that report – which would have been lodged and recorded into a police database – would be investigated further as part of the internal investigation.

“All of those things will be subject to investigation about where did that information report go? Who did go to, and what actions were then taken,” he said.

Mr Blanch said what occurred on Friday night “was absolutely domestic violence.”

“We all know in our hearts and minds exactly what this is. It is domestic violence,” he said.

Mr Blanch said he could not say for how long the internal investigation would run.

“I’ll make sure and we will make sure that we do a very thorough investigation into the circumstances,” he said.

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