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Father of slain Melbourne girls Savannah and Indianna silent at court appearance

A man accused of murdering his two young daughters sat quietly and without emotion when he appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Charles Mihayo, 35, had no supporters in court and was represented by a lawyer from Legal Aid.
Mr Mihayo’s daughters, Savannah, 4, and Indianna, 3, were found dead at their grandmother’s home in Watsonia on Sunday.
Flanked by three guards, Mr Mihayo appeared in the dock behind glass, a move that is usually reserved for unruly or high-risk defendants.
Few details were revealed during his 50-second appearance.
Magistrate John Doherty remanded Mr Mihayo in custody to reappear for a committal mention on August 12.
The devastated mother of Savannah and Indianna said they will be “forever missed, loved, and never forgotten”.
Treasured photos of the playful, smiling sisters, hand in hand, were released by the family last night as their mother spoke of her grief.
“We are utterly devastated at the loss of Savannah and Indianna,” she said in a brief statement, released by police.
Mr Mihayo who was living in a granny flat at the back of the property, was married to the girls’ mother, but they separated about a year ago.
The arrangements for care of the girls is not known.
The family had gathered at the Longmuir Rd home on Sunday, but about 2.40pm the Easter celebrations quickly turned to horror.
A relative frantically called 000. Emergency services rushed to the scene, but nothing could be done to save the girls.
Police have not released details about how the girls died or whether a weapon was used.
The double murder, which brought even hardened police officers to tears, has prompted an outpouring of public anger and mourning.
Grief-stricken family returned to the house on Monday to collect some belongings, but declined to speak to media before leaving.
Neighbours, and complete strangers touched by the girls’ deaths, also came to the house to pay their respects.
Local mother Helen Temple was the first to lay a single white flower on the white fence line. “I’ve got a three-year-old daughter too,” she said.
“It’s so awful. How can someone do this?” As the day passed, more and more people visited the usually quiet suburban street — where Savannah and Indianna were often spotted playing — to leave the family flowers and messages of support.
One card read: “Two beautiful angels forever in heaven. May they both be surrounded by angels to protect them.”
A toddler clutched his mum’s leg as he waved at the house, while a girl — no older than Savannah and Indianna — placed a pot plant of pink cyclamen, a plant that symbolises sorrow and sincerity, at the fence.
She held her dad’s hand as the two of them stood briefly in silence on the footpath, staring at the unassuming red brick home.
Neighbour Laura Birckel, who lives “just doors away” said her family was devastated by the tragedy.
“Still feeling so sick in the stomach,” she said. “Such beautiful little girls, such innocent lives.
“May they rest in peace. Absolute heartbreaking times for the families involved.”
A friend of the girls’ mother could not believe the news.
“It is such a tragic event,” the friend said. “Those kids are the mother’s world.”

www.news.com.au (23-4-2014)

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