THE last person to see the Hunt family alive on September 8 last year has told an inquest about heightened tensions in the household before she left.
Disability support worker Lorraine Bourke left the Hunt family about 7.25pm.
Her next encounter with them was the next day when she found 41-year-old Kim Hunt dead outside her Lockhart district farmhouse.
Police later found the bodies of her three children – Fletcher (10), Mia (8) and Phoebe (6) – on beds inside the house, while the body of 44-year-old Mr Hunt was found in a farm dam the following day.
All had died from single shotgun wounds.
Asked by counsel assisting the inquest, Dr Peggy Dwyer, if September 8 seemed to be an unusual day, Mrs Bourke replied:
“Yes, it was like you could cut the air with a knife, it was just very tense,” Mrs Bourke said.
But despite the tension, which was a regular occurrence in the household as a result of life pressures following Mrs Hunt’s near-fatal 2012 car crash and a consequence of her traumatic brain injury, Mrs Bourke told the inquest on Wednesday she did not sense a devastating tragedy about to unfold after she left the house.
“What I am very interested in asking you is if you had any suspicions at all something like this would happen to this family?” Dr Dwyer asked.
“No,” Mrs Bourke replied.
She said that night she asked Mrs Hunt if her husband was depressed. ”He was just very quiet, not answering questions, no emotion on his face, looking at the ground when I asked him anything,” Mrs Bourke said.
Earlier, Mrs Bourke said she had never seen Mr Hunt use physical violence towards his wife, nor did she see Mrs Hunt – who was prone to explosive rages because of her medical condition – become violent with her husband.
The last words she heard from the family was from Mr Hunt, who said as she left the family’s Lockhart district farm for the night: “Goodbye Lainie, thanks, see you tomorrow”.
The inquest continues.
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