A search for highly ionising, penetrating particles with electric charges from vertical bar q vertical bar = 2e to 6e is performed using the ATLAS detector at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. Proton-proton collision data taken at root s = 7 TeV during the 2011 running period, corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 4.4 fb(-1), are analysed. No signal candidates are observed, and 95% confidence level cross-section upper limits are interpreted as mass-exclusion lower limits for a simplified Drell-Yan production model. In this model, masses are excluded from 50 GeV up to 430, 480, 490, 470 and 420 GeV for charges 2e, 3e, 4e, 5e and 6e, respectively. (c) 2013 CERN. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.