Within hours of allegedly killing his mother-in-law, and leaving her body beside that of his wife and three small daughters, Anthony Harvey went off to mow two people’s lawns and tend to their gardens.
The shaken managing director of Jim’s Mowing business, Jim Penman, said records showed Mr Harvey was assigned two gardening jobs to complete last Tuesday.
Mr Harvey, 24, has been charged with the murder of his wife Mara Harvey, 41, her mother Beverley Quinn, 74, and the couple’s three little girls Charlotte, 3, and twins Beatrix and Alice, 2.
Police allege he killed his wife and daughters on Monday night, soon after Mrs Harvey arrived home from a nightshift at the nearby Coles supermarket.
He then allegedly killed Mrs Quinn on Tuesday morning when she arrived to help get the children ready for pre-school.
Mr Penman, who said the entire lawn mowing business had been rocked to the core by the deaths, said there was another mowing job booked for Mr Harvey to do on Friday but he never arrived to do it.
‘It’s a shock and it’s very close to us,’ Mr Penman said.
Just hours before he allegedly killed Ms Quinn and his children, Harvey sent two quotes to clients at 6.21pm and 6.37pm ‘as if everything was normal’, Mr Penman said.
‘Those quotes are striking to us. Highly courteous and well-mannered but they were sent just before and then suddenly five hours later they’re dead,’ Mr Penman said.
‘He was telling us repeatedly that everything was fine, he was going well, had plenty of work and enjoyed what he was doing.
‘I spent hours going through the notes from his franchisor to figure out what happened, but there was nothing.
‘There must have been something going on we didn’t know about.’ Mr Harvey had a 4.6 star rating out of five, according to Mr Penman.
But he said other franchisees had since commented that Mr Harvey’s moods could go ‘up and down’.
At the pre-school where the Harvey’s eldest child was a student, teacher Shirley Oswald said she will never forget the image of Charlotte walking out the door that Monday hand-in-hand with her mother.
That night she was allegedly killed.
‘She was just a massive ray of sunshine and so bubbly that you knew when she arrived,’ Ms Oswald said.
‘They were such a beautiful, dedicated family – not just victims of a horrible tragedy.
‘The twins were enrolled to attend next year and we were really looking forward to that.
‘Charlotte was bright with a big vocabulary that even stumped her teacher. She had a ‘beautiful relationship’ with her sisters who she always called her ‘little babies’.
The little girl also had a ‘very loud and glorious’ singing voice.
The sudden loss of such a big personality ‘left a devastating hole’ in the class and the other children confused.
‘We’re only a small group of 20 kids per class so the children are asking where she is and it’s been very difficult for the parents because they’re unsure how to explain this to their kids,’ Ms Oswald said.
Mara was usually the one to pick her up but Harvey was also there sometimes, most recently on August 29 – just five days before the murders.
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