Cairns memorial
© Tom Steinfort
Family members arrive at the Manoora shrine in Cairns
The 37-year-old Cairns mother accused of murdering eight children had recently turned to religion and banned technology from her home.

Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, who remains under police guard in hospital, had taken to giving fiery sermons in the street and had cut the power to her home and threw away the television, neighbours told News Corp.

She warned locals not to use their mobile phones because they were the "work of the Devil" and posted a handwritten sign on a front window of her public housing home that read: "No alcohol, cigarette, and drunken people allowed in this area".

Others said the house, where she is accused of killing seven of her own children and a niece in a frenzied knife attack last Friday, was often the scene of wild all-night parties.

Meanwhile, preliminary autopsy reports are detailing the horrific injuries sustained by some of the eight children in the knife attack.

It is alleged some suffered multiple stab wounds, with one child sustained at least 12 knife wounds to the front and 10 more on the back, according to pathology results.

Senior police yesterday declined to comment on the autopsy findings, pending final reports.

Yesterday Ms Thaiday was formally charged with eight counts of murder at a bedside hearing at Cairns Hospital, where she is being treated for self-inflicted injuries.

Police are investigating whether the accused killer was on the drug ice at the time and suffered a possible psychotic episode.

Her case is expected to be heard in court today, although Ms Thaiday herself will not appear as she is still recovering from stab wounds.

Detective Inspector Bruno Ansicar told reporters yesterday the horrific scene was taking its toll on police.

"It's clearly the most tragic event we've had to deal with (in Cairns)," Insp Ansicar told reporters.

Vigils and memorials for the slain children, who ranged in age from two to 14, were held throughout Queensland on yesterday.

Relatives, including one distraught man believed to be the father of some of the children, were among those at the scene yesterday morning while a service was held at a Cairns school in the evening.

Townsville and the Brisbane suburb of Inala also hosted memorials yesterday.