Philip Layton
Birth name Philip Eric Layton
Occupation Mechanic
Born ca. 1960

March 3, 1982(1982-03-03) (aged 21)
Tweed Heads, Australia

Cause of death Suicide
Attack information
Date March 3, 1982
9 p.m.
Location(s) Tweed Heads, Australia
Target(s) Ross family
Killed 6
Weapon(s) .223-caliber Ruger semi-automatic rifle

Philip Eric Layton was an Australian mechanic who killed six people in Tweed Heads, Australia on March 3, 1982, before committing suicide.[1]

Layton, who was described as a gun enthusiast and owned several weapons, had an affair with Margaret Ross, who had been separated from her husband Craig for seven months, but when it appeared that the couple was reconciling its difficulties Layton became jealous and threatened to shoot them all.

On February 3, 1982 he attempted to slash the tires of Craig Ross's car, but when Ross caught him in the act, Layton attacked and stabbed him, causing minor injuries. He was charged with malicious injury, and was remanded to appear in the Southport Magistrate's court on June 25.

On March 3 Layton withdrew A$1,000 from his bank account, probably to buy the .223-caliber Ruger semi-automatic rifle he then used for the murders. At 9 p.m. the 21-year-old went to the home of Margaret Ross in Stanley Street and shot and wounded her in the living room. Subsequently he killed her husband Craig, and then murdered their four children in their beds by shooting them through their heads. Afterwards he returned to the living room, killed Mrs. Ross with a shot to the head, and committed suicide. In total Layton had fired ten rounds.[2][3]


  • Craig Alexander Ross, 26
  • Margaret Ann Ross, 27, wife of Craig Ross
  • Petrina Ross, 7, daughter of Craig and Margaret Ross
  • Natalie Ross, 6, daughter of Craig and Margaret Ross
  • Clinton Ross, 5, son of Craig and Margaret Ross
  • Vicki Ross, 14 months, daughter of Craig and Margaret Ross