The parents of the three Australian children who died in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash have described the pain of losing their family as "a hell beyond hell."
The children, Mo, 12, Evie, 10 and Otis, 8, boarded the ill-fated flight with their grandfather Nick Norris. They were returning to Australia after a European holiday and were due to go back to school this week.
In a heartbreaking statement, their devastated parents Anthony Maslin and Marite Norris said they now faced a life of endless pain.
"We live in a hell beyond hell. Our babies are not here with us – we need to live with this act of horror, every day and every moment for the rest of our lives."
The couple said that they would not wish the agony of losing three children on anyone. "Not even the people who shot our whole family out of the sky."
A total of 298 people were killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed in the Ukraine, including 193 Dutch passengers.
The Boeing 777 was shot down over Ukrainian airspace with a ground-to-air missile, according to a Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser.
Condemning the gross act of violence committed against civilians in the midst of escalating political tensions in the region, the couple said: "No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for our children, for Mo, for Evie, for Otis."
Earlier this week, it was announced that Mr. Maslin would be taking indefinite leave from his job as managing director of the Perth-based mining company Buxton Resources, following the tragedy.
The couple, who had stayed on in Amsterdam after the family holiday, returned to their hometown in Perth at the weekend.
They attended a public tribute for their children at Mo's junior football club on Sunday. Twelve-year-old Mo had played for the Scarborough Sea Eagles Year 7 team for three years and had planned on being there for his first game after his holiday.
His teammates held a minute's silence to remember their young friend and green, yellow and black balloons in the team's colours were released into the air in tribute to the three children and their beloved grandfather.
Club President Steve Cross said the whole family would attend Mo's games together and were 'very popular' in the community.
"Being a parent, it really hits home to you. Things in life don't seem so bad when you see things like this,' he said.
"My heart goes out to Maz (Anthony) and Rin, how do they cope from now on?' Coach Troy Ramshaw said.
Ms Norris's father, Nick Norris, was a government consultant who formally worked as a school principal.
Mr Norris is survived by his wife Lindy, their four adult children and surviving grandchildren.
The statement can be read in full below.
THE FULL STATEMENT FROM ANTHONY MASLIN AND MARITE NORRIS
A message to the soldiers in the Ukraine, the politicians, the media, our friends and family.
Our pain is intense and relentless. We live in a hell beyond hell.
Our babies are not here with us – we need to live with this act of horror, every day and every moment for the rest of our lives.
No one deserves what we are going through.
Not even the people who shot our whole family out of the sky.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for our children, for Mo, for Evie, for Otis.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for Grandad Nick.
No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for each other.
This is a revelation that gives us some comfort.
We would ask everyone to remember this when you are making any decisions that affect us and the other victims of this horror.
So far, every moment since we arrived home, we've been surrounded by family and friends. We desperately pray that this continues, because this expression of love is what is keeping us alive. We want to continue to know about your lives, all the good and all the bad. We no longer have lives that we want to live by ourselves. So we'd like to take the chance to thank everyone, all our incredible friends, family and communities, and to tell you all that we love you very much.
We would also like to thank the people at DFAT; the local coordinator Claire and most sincerely, Diana and Adrian from The Hague, without whom we would not be here. We ask the media to respect the privacy of our family and friends – pain is not a story.
Anthony Maslin & Marite Norris.