West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has described an alleged unprovoked attack on a pregnant woman in a suburban shopping centre car park as "tragic" and "beyond description."
WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.
Diane Miller, 30, suffered a cardiac arrest after being hit in the head with a lump of concrete while sitting in her car after a shopping trip on Tuesday night and remains in a critical condition in Royal Perth Hospital.
"It’s one of those things that is just beyond description that this could happen to someone," Mr McGowan said.
“It’s all very tragic, very very tragic, and I think the family are obviously going through a very difficult period.
"It’s very very sad for her and her unborn child."
Passers-by spent 20 minutes trying to resuscitate Ms Miller in the Waterford Plaza car park, before she was taken by ambulance to Royal Perth Hospital, where she remains in the intensive care unit.
A duty nurse manager said Ms Miller's condition remained unchanged overnight, and she was still critically ill.
On Thursday afternoon, WA Police revealed Homicide Squad detectives had taken over the investigation.
Family 'destroyed' by attack
On Wednesday, family members told the ABC they had been told she was unlikely to survive.
"Her brain is swollen, it's swollen too much," her brother Malcolm Clifton said.
"They're going to keep monitoring her brain, if it keeps swelling it's going to stop the blood going to her brain.
"She's going to end up brain-dead and once that happens, she'll be dead and the baby will die.
"The baby's too young to come out."
Ms Miller is the mother of an eight-month-old baby, and Mr Clifton said the family had been "destroyed" by what had happened.
Teen charged with assault
A 17-year-old boy made a brief appearance in the Perth Children’s Court on Wednesday charged with grievous bodily harm in relation to the incident and was remanded in custody.
Police said they believed the boy was one of about 15 youths who had gone to the shopping centre "looking for trouble" and had become involved in a melee in the car park.
The teenager is due to appear in court again on December 9, and his lawyer has indicated an application for bail will be made.
Mr McGowan said he would not comment specifically about the case, given the teenager was before the courts, but said it was important to understand there had to be consequences for actions.
He said the 17-year-old was now at the notorious Banksia Hill juvenile detention centre, which has come under sustained criticism in recent months over its treatment of young offenders, who are often locked in their cells for more than 20 hours a day.
"Serious offences in particular need to have consequences that could include detention," Mr McGowan said.
"That's why we have Banksia Hill ... to protect the public, so there is a consequence and that someone who is prone to serious offences or violent offences or repeated offences can be placed somewhere to protect the public and undergo some form of rehabilitation and hopefully get themselves on the right pathway."