Tiahleigh Palmer: Foster father Rick Thorburn charged with murder over schoolgirl’s death

Featured


 BTW I have heaps of Video and court Docs just waiting to post  legally

Inside the idyllic rural property where 12-year-old Tiahleigh Palmer’s spent 10 months before her murder

IT WAS a house of misery where Tiahleigh Palmer spent 10 months of her life before her murder.

The schoolgirl was placed with former truck driver and muscle-car enthusiast Rick Thorburn and his family in the house on an isolated stretch of road at Chambers Flat, a rural pocket of strawberry farms and horse paddocks in the Logan area south of Brisbane.

The seemingly idyllic 2ha property where Tiahleigh made her new home with the Thorburn family is modern, with two bathrooms, a swimming pool, rolling green lawns and horses in the yard.

But inside the four-bedroom brick house just eight minutes from where Tiahleigh was last seen attending her high school, the young girl was allegedly preyed on by her foster brother Trent Thorburn.

The house in Chambers Flat in a rural area where Tiahleigh Palmer spent her last months in 2015.

The house in Chambers Flat in a rural area where Tiahleigh Palmer spent her last months in 2015.Source: Supplied

An occasional truant, Tiahleigh was well-liked at school.

An occasional truant, Tiahleigh was well-liked at school.Source :News Corp Australia

Tiahleigh Palmer attended school minutes from the Thorburn’s property.

Tiahleigh Palmer attended school minutes from the Thorburn’s property.Source:News Corp Australia

Tiahleigh came to live with the Thorburns, Rick and Julene and their sons Trent and Josh in the isolated family farmhouse south of Brisbane before she was murdered.

Tiahleigh came to live with the Thorburns, Rick and Julene and their sons Trent and Josh in the isolated family farmhouse south of Brisbane before she was murdered.Source: Supplied

The 19-year-old, who lived with his brother Josh, 20, and mother Julene has been charged with incest while Rick Thorburn, 56, has been charged with Tiahleigh’s murder.

Not all was well with the Thorburn family. Following a serious back injury which forced him to give up his job as a truckie, Rick Thorburn had tried a number of jobs to feed his family.

A car enthusiast, he had sold vehicle and engine parts from the property.

He was also a devotee of American culture and came up with the idea to sell US food from a truck he drove to festivals and other events in the Logan area.

A month after Tiahleigh moved into the Thorburn’s home, Rick Thorburn took his food van — which he named Nothing Healthy Here — and travelled around with his sons Trent and Josh selling hot dogs, hot jam doughnuts, churros and pancakes from the van.

This is the house in Flesser Rd at Chambers Flat where Tiahleigh lived with her foster parents.

This is the house in Flesser Rd at Chambers Flat where Tiahleigh lived with her foster parents.Source:News Corp Australia

The swimming pool at the house rented by the Thorburns.

The swimming pool at the house rented by the Thorburns.Source: Supplied

Rick Thorburn, at his Chambers Flat home before his arrest. Picture: Liam Kidston

Rick Thorburn, at his Chambers Flat home before his arrest. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia

“We saw the quality of food at other places and decided we could do it bigger and better. We try to keep it unique and we have food you can’t get anywhere else,” he told the Jimboomba Times.

Mr Thorburn said he looked forward to being able to provide guests with a good old-fashioned feed.

“We do sell one healthy thing – water,” he joked in September last year.

Mr Thorburn made the comments almost eight weeks before Tiahleigh Palmer vanished.

While she lived with the Thorburns, Tiahleigh had been attending Marsden State High School, where Chaplain Ian Pratt said she was a free spirit who passionately threw herself into a range of creative pursuits.

The seventh grader was also described as “not always perfect” and an occasional truant from classes, but there was no suggestion of the alleged abuse that was unfolding at her new foster home.

Tiahleigh, 12, lived on the property which is among farms and horse paddocks south of Brisbane.

Tiahleigh, 12, lived on the property which is among farms and horse paddocks south of Brisbane.Source: Supplied

Rick Thorburn had lost his trucking job after a back injury and was selling American fare from a food truck. Picture: Liam Kidston

Rick Thorburn had lost his trucking job after a back injury and was selling American fare from a food truck. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia

Tiahleigh Palmer allegedly kept a terrible secret while living at the Thorburn home and attending the local school.

Tiahleigh Palmer allegedly kept a terrible secret while living at the Thorburn home and attending the local school.Source: Supplied

The Thorburns property looked idyllic, but police allege Tiahleigh was being abused while she lived there.

The Thorburns property looked idyllic, but police allege Tiahleigh was being abused while she lived there.Source: Supplied

Tiahleigh had been placed with the Thorburns after spending a happy three years with a foster mother in Gympie, just over 200km north of the Chambers Flat house where she spent her final months.

The schoolgirl lived with Julie Pemberton in the Logan area for years until December 2014, when Ms Pemberton decided to stop acting as a foster carer.

Tiahleigh had been removed from the care of her biological mother, Cyndi Palmer, who was

in and out of police custody with drug problems between 2011 and 2013.

During that time Tiahleigh had experienced some of the lows of the Queensland foster care system, in which she sometimes stayed with carers for as little as 24 hours before being moved to another home.

Despite living in foster care, Tiahleigh remained close to her mother.

The 12-year-old lived with the Thorburns at this house between January and October last year before she was murdered and her body dumped.

The 12-year-old lived with the Thorburns at this house between January and October last year before she was murdered and her body dumped.Source :Supplied

Police divers found Tiahleigh’s shoe but not her uniform after fishermen discovered her body floating in the Pimpama River. Picture: QPS

Police divers found Tiahleigh’s shoe but not her uniform after fishermen discovered her body floating in the Pimpama River. Picture: QPSSource: Supplied

Rick Thorburn, above before his arrest, at the gate of the property his family shared with Tiahleigh Palmer. Picture: Channel 9

Rick Thorburn, above before his arrest, at the gate of the property his family shared with Tiahleigh Palmer. Picture: Channel 9Source: Supplied

At the time Ms Pemberton gave up her role as a foster carer and Tiahleigh was placed with the Thorburns, Cyndi Palmer had been trying to regain custody of her daughter.

Following Tiahleigh’s murder, Ms Pemberton said that Cyndi Palmer had “got it together” and that she “might have made a few mistakes but she is lovely and absolutely adores her daughter”.

Cyndi Palmer has posted on Facebook that she had endured an “evil” 2011, but had turned her life around but had “learned from it and … well prepared and educated for making 2012 the start of everything I want it to be for my family and I”.

But Tiahleigh’s return to her mother’s care never happened.

After almost a year with the Thorburns and allegedly involved in an incestuous relationship with her foster brother, Tiahleigh was dropped off at Marsden High School at 8.10am on October 30 by Rick Thorburn.

Witnesses say she entered the school briefly, but then left.

Six days later, fishermen found Tiahleigh’s badly decomposed body floating in the Pimpama River, 30km south of where she was last seen.

Police divers found one of Tiahleigh’s shoes, but her school uniform and pink backpack were missing.

Queensland Police have also charged Tiahleigh’s foster mother Julene Thorburn and her son Josh with perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Rick Thorburn is in hospital in an induced coma after an alleged attempt at self harm following his arrest.


Tiahleigh Palmer’s 19-year-old foster-brother told a cousin he’d had sex with the 12-year-old and was worried she was pregnant, a court has heard.

In successfully keeping Trent Jordan Thorburn behind bars, prosecutors argued he had deliberately misled and lied to police throughout the 11-month investigation into the alleged murder of the Logan schoolgirl.

Foster brother admitted sex

The foster-brother of Tiahleigh Palmer is refused bail, charged with incest and lying to police. 7 News Queensland

Police prosecutor Sergeant Ellen French alleged a Facebook Messenger conversation between Mr Thorburn and his cousin two days before Tia went missing showed him disclosing that he’d had sex with her.

“He says he had sex with the victim on the prior Monday and he had only done so because she had threatened to kill his dog,” Sergeant French said, of a conversation that was allegedly handed over to police.

“The defendant said he was concerned about her being pregnant…” she told the court.

“The defendant further outlines the victim had spoken to his mother about it.”

Mr Thorburn’s defence lawyer John Ide argued he should have been granted bail on charges including incest considering his age, lack of criminal history and potential time behind bars awaiting trial.

“He’s a young man with no criminal history whatsoever,” he said.

Trent Thorburn.
Trent Thorburn.  

“In my submission it couldn’t be said he’s an unacceptable risk of any of the things that’s asserted by the prosecution.”

Sergeant French told the court Mr Thorburn had denied any involvement or sexual conduct with Tia on five separate occasions and colluded with his family to mislead police.

Tiahleigh Palmer's mother Cindy waits with supporters outside court.
Tiahleigh Palmer’s mother Cindy waits with supporters outside court. Photo: Glenn Hunt

“Eventually the defendant has admitted to the authorities that he had lied on multiple occasions in order to conceal the  sexual intercourse between himself and Tiahleigh,” she said.

A friend of Tia’s told police the young girl had approached her about a month before her alleged murder, saying “Trent tried to touch me”, Sergeant Ellen alleged.

Former foster carers Cameron and Wayne Pemberton speak to media outside court.
Former foster carers Cameron and Wayne Pemberton speak to media outside court. Photo: Glenn Hunt

“She further said that the victim claimed to have disclosed this to her foster-mother,” she said.

Mr Thorburn has been charged with incest, perverting the course of justice and two counts of perjury relating to Crime and Corruption Commission hearings in July and September this year.

Cindy Palmer arrives at the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning.
Cindy Palmer arrives at the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning. Photo: Jorge Branco

Prosecutors argued he was “highly likely” to interfere with witnesses and “would attempt in every way shape and form to evade and avoid every risk” of imprisonment.

Magistrate Pamela Dowse kept Mr Thorburn behind bars, saying he was “not a candidate for bail at this point in time” but another application could be made in the future.

Tiahleigh Palmer.
Tiahleigh Palmer.  Photo: Supplied

Outside court, Mr Ide said he would consider applying to the Supreme Court for bail.

Police allege Mr Thorburn’s father, Richard Thorburn, killed Tia in an attempt to cover up his son’s alleged crime.

Richard Thorburn has been charged with the murder of his foster child.
Richard Thorburn has been charged with the murder of his foster child. Photo: Jorge Branco

The alleged killer was remanded in custody after his matter was heard on Wednesday morning as he remained in an induced coma in hospital after collapsing in the watchhouse on Tuesday.

EARLIER

A member of Tiahleigh Palmer's foster family arrives at Logan police station on Tuesday.
A member of Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster family arrives at Logan police station on Tuesday.  Photo: Glenn Hunt

The man accused of murdering Queensland schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer and dumping her body in a Gold Coast river is in an induced coma and won’t appear in court before a crowd of her mother’s supporters.

Foster father Richard Neville Thorburn, 56, was due in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning, ahead of an application for bail by his son on related charges.

But the father remained in the intensive care unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital on Wednesday, after collapsing in the watchhouse on Tuesday afternoon.

Defence solicitor Kelly Thompson, from Robertson O’Gorman solicitors, told the court she’d spoken with doctors at the hospital.

“He’s currently in an induced coma and there’s no indication as to when he might be brought out of that at this stage,” she said.

A crowd of people expecting the appearance packed Beenleigh courtroom, leaving standing room only for a host of people due to appear on other matters, with supporters flanking Tia’s biological mum, Cindy Palmer.

Among them were Tia’s former foster father Wayne Pemberton and his son Cameron, who paid tribute to the “good girl”.

Wayne said the “feisty” 12-year-old lived with them for two and a half years and described his “total shock” at hearing the man who cared for Tia after him had been accused of her murder.

“You don’t expect that from a carer,” he said.

“That’s not what you’re here to do.

“To hear that and for everyone in the family to (allegedly) be involved it’s just unthinkable.”

Ms Palmer declined to comment as she made her way into the courthouse in suburban Beenleigh, just off the highway roughly halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Wayne, who remembered Tia’s love of waterskiing and other watersports, said it couldn’t be said Ms Palmer was happy but she was glad of an outcome.

Trent Jordan Thorburn, 19, has been charged with incest, perjury, and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He’s due to appear in court on Wednesday.

He was set to apply for bail after midday in a hearing his lawyer indicated would take about 45 minutes.

Richard Thorburn’s hearing went ahead without him and was adjourned for a committal mention on December 21.

He won’t be required to appear, meaning Ms Palmer again won’t have a chance to come face to face with her daughter’s alleged killer.

Mr Thorburn told police he dropped his foster daughter off at school about 8.10am that morning but police will allege that was a lie.

They’ll allege he instead murdered the 12-year-old at the family home in the Logan suburb of Chambers Flat on the night of October 29, before dumping her body in the river that night or the next.

The killing was sparked by a discovery made that night, which led Mr Thorburn to kill the girl in an attempt to cover up a crime Trent had committed against Tia, police will allege.

The younger brother was charged with incest, among other alleged crimes.

A missing person alert for Tia wasn’t put out until November 5, hours before her badly decomposed body was found on the banks of the Pimpama River.

The delay drew criticism, sparked wide-ranging changes to authorities’ responses to missing children in care and further condemnation from Wayne Pemberton on Wednesday as “very frustrating”.

“It’s not a good thing to have to wait around for someone to put an alert out but it finally got done,” Cameron said.

“It should have got done quicker. It shouldn’t have taken so long.”

Another supporter, who didn’t know the family, said she was “disillusioned” with the government’s handling of children in care.

Being charged with murder, Mr Thorburn must apply for bail to a higher court if he wants to be released.


The younger son, Trent, 19, described himself as a dancer, metal fabrication apprentice, and classic car builder.

Police believe the teenager sexually abused Tiahleigh. He was denied bail on charges for incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in court this afternoon.

In court, the prosecutor argued he “took advantage of (Tiahleigh) as her big brother and as a result her young life has been taken”.

The foster brother was concerned he had impregnated the child, the court heard. Police are expected to allege the boy’s father killed Tia to cover for his son.

THE foster family at the centre of allegations into the death of Tiahleigh Palmer buried the Brisbane schoolgirl in a heartfelt ceremony attended by more than 600 people last November.

Back then, Rick Thorburn, 56, Tia’s foster father and accused killer, appeared to hold back tears as he solemnly carried her child-sized coffin, acting as a pallbearer.

He blended in to the crowd of purple, Tia’s favourite colour, which mourners had chosen to wear to pay tribute to the young girl. The colour also became a symbol of commitment to the desperate search for answers over what had happened to her.

His shirt read “in love memory of Tiahleigh R.I.P.” At the service, he comforted her grieving mother.

The truck driver turned food van proprietor and his wife had taken in Tia as a foster child while her biological mother, Cyndi Palmer, worked to get her life on track after struggling as a teen mum and spending time in the prison system.

Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:AAP

Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:Supplied

She lived with the couple and their two adult sons in their Chambers Flat home where Thorburn’s wife Julene, 54, also ran a home daycare service.

The eldest of the two boys, Josh, 20, was qualified to work as an assistant in the home business and had been unemployed in recent years while recovering from injury.

The younger son, Trent, 19, described himself as a dancer, metal fabrication apprentice, and classic car builder.

Police believe the teenager sexually abused Tiahleigh. He was denied bail on charges for incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in court this afternoon.

In court, the prosecutor argued he “took advantage of (Tiahleigh) as her big brother and as a result her young life has been taken”.

The foster brother was concerned he had impregnated the child, the court heard. Police are expected to allege the boy’s father killed Tia to cover for his son.

A facebook photograph of Rick Thorburn and family Josh, Julene and Trent. Rick and Trent have been charged in relation to the murder of Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:Facebook

A Crime Stoppers tip led police to swoop on the family on Tuesday, arresting Rick, Julene, Josh, and Trent at various addresses in the Logan area.

Following police interviews Rick was yesterday formally charged with Tia’s murder. Trent, the youngest of Tia’s foster brothers, has been charged with incest.

Julene and Josh have been charged with one count each of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

All four family members are awaiting court, Trent’s today and Julene’s and Josh’s next month, though father Rick’s has now been delayed. The murder-accused was expected to face a bedside hearing at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, but is in an induced coma following a suspected self-harm attempt while in custody.

When his case returns to court, now scheduled for December, police are expected to allege the foster father murdered the girl in his car to protect his teenage son according to the Courier-Mail. Police will allege Trent sexually abused Tia.

Trent Thorburn was Tiahleigh’s foster brother.Source:No Source

Trent Thorburn, 19, has been charged with incest, perverting the course of justice and perjury in relation to the death of Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:No Source

Tia’s foster father and relatives have long been persons of interest throughout the 11-month investigation of the schoolgirl’s disappearance and murder, senior police sources told the Brisbane paper.

Less than a month after Tia’s death, the foster father published a post on Facebook saying the family had accommodation for one or two people in their “happy home environment on acreage”.

He described the residence as a clean and safe home.

The case has prompted the Queensland government to review the approval process for foster carers and working with children checks.

Acting Premier Curtis Pitt says both will be examined by extending a review already under way, with a report expected back early next year. “We will be very, very careful to ensure that the young people who are in our foster system as well as, of course, the broader child protection system are given all the protections,” he said.

Announcing details of the review, Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman confirmed the foster parents continued to run a child care business from their home after Tia’s death.

Tiahleigh’s mother, Cyndi Palmer at Beenleigh court on Wednesday where Rick Thorburn was due to appear. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia

Tia went missing at the end of October last year. Her foster father was reportedly the last person to see her alive, dropping her off near Marsden State High school just after 8am on October 20.

Despite calls for action from her biological family, Tia wasn’t reported missing for six days. The delay was explained away at the time as taking care with concerns around identifying a child in care.

The same morning an alert was distributed by police appealing for help finding the girl, a trio of fishermen discovered her semi-naked decaying body on the banks of the Gold Coast’s Pimpama River.

The water and dirt had washed away any signs of what had happened to Tia, and police had few clues to work with while going about investigating how she had died.

Investigators were worried they may never solve the case.

Tia’s biological mother and grandmother were outspoken in appealing for witnesses and calls to Crime Stoppers from members of the public who may have seen or heard anything that could assist with finding out what happened to their little girl.

But her foster family was silent.

Foster father Rick Thorburn has been charged with murder. He is in an induced coma in a Brisbane hospital. Picture: Jack TranSource:News Corp Australia

Again speaking out, Tia’s grandmother Sue Palmer last night revealed her shock and anguish over the Thorburn family’s charges.

She said the news had “knocked the wind right out of my sails”.

“When it happens to your own it just is like a twisted knife in your heart,” she told A Current Affair on Tuesday.

“I’m just absolutely addled with thoughts of how she died, and that’s something that I really want to know.”

Ms Palmer criticised the Thorburn family’s behaviour following Tia’s death, which was made all the more alarming following yesterday’s allegations.

“They took pride of place at the funeral which I didn’t think they deserved and people treated them as though they were parents of long standing which they weren’t,” she said.

“It’s really really scary. It’s awful trying to raise little girls and boys nowadays. You can’t fix kids once you’ve wrecked them. You can’t fix Tiahleigh.”

Ms Palmer said she gained no relief from the arrests and charges, bringing her and the rest of Tia’s family closer to finding answers.

“To be really truthful it’s not a relief at all, it’s not even closure, it’s pain on pain,” she said.

Rick Thorburn remains in an induced coma and is due to face court on charges of murder and interfering with a corpse in December. His son Trent will face Beenleigh Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday charged with incest, perjury and perverting the course of justice. He is expected to apply for bail.

Thorburn’s wife Julene and other son Josh have both been charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice, and have been bailed to return to court on October 10.

20/09/2016 Update
2016-09-20_16-13-36
a charge of incest has also been laid against one of the young males arrested.
tiahleigh-palmers-foster-father-has-been-arrested-over-the-schoolgirls-murder-9news

Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father Rick Thorburn has been charged with murder over the 12-year-old’s death, hours after he and his wife were arrested by homicide detectives south of Brisbane, police say.

Thorburn arrived at Logan police station in handcuffs just before 11:30am.

His wife Julene Thorburn arrived at the police station separately a short time later.

Less than two hours later, Detective Inspector Damien Hansen emerged from the police station to tell the media Thorburn would be charged with murder at the Beenleigh Police Station watch house.

“He will be appearing in court tomorrow,” Inspector Hansen said.

Earlier today, homicide detectives arrested four people in connection with the murder investigation.

“A woman aged 54, as well as three men aged 19, 20 and 56 were taken into custody by officers attached to Operation North Mizzen — a joint Homicide and Logan District investigation,” a police statement said.

“All four are known to each other and were located at various addresses in Logan.”

The ABC understands the two younger men also arrested are related to the Thorburns.

The arrests came shortly after police confirmed Tiahleigh’s foster father was the former owner of a car seized by police last week.

The 12-year-old’s body was found on the banks of the Pimpama River last November, almost a week after she vanished.

A week ago, detectives seized a 2009 blue-coloured Ford XR6 sedan they believed was linked to Tiahleigh’s murder.

Police said last week the car’s current owner was not considered a suspect.

Today, Detective Inspector Damien Hansen confirmed Thorburn was the car’s former owner.

His link to the investigation had been revealed in the media, which Inspector Hansen said could have hindered the progress of detectives.

“It didn’t help us,” he said.

Inspector Hansen admitted the investigation had moved quickly in the past 24 hours.

“Due to certain factors we’ve moved quicker than than we possibly would have wanted to,” he said.

Car still under forensic examination

He said police had received no further information in relation to the car since it was seized.

“We’ve looked at every person who had involvement with Tiah in this investigation,” Inspector Hansen said.

He declined to say what police, if anything, had found in the car.

“It’s still being examined,” he said.

He said detectives had also updated Tiahleigh’s biological mother on the investigation.

“She’s comfortable with our response at this stage,” Inspector Hansen said.

“But I will take the opportunity to say that also with the family that there are certain times we can’t pass on information, when the information is at a critical stage.

“It’s possibly been one of the most difficult investigations I’ve been involved in.”

Bali police murder: British man David Taylor admits to hitting officer with beer bottle


Bali police murder: British man David Taylor admits to hitting officer with beer bottle, lawyer says

23/08/16

A British man accused of the murder of a police officer in Bali has confessed to hitting the man with a beer bottle and an old mobile phone, his lawyer says.

Key points:

  • Taylor’s lawyer said his client had wrestled with the police officer
  • Lawyer also said the couple burned their clothes
  • Connor’s lawyer said she was not involved in the murder

After almost 12 hours of interrogation, David James Taylor dramatically changed his story and told police he had struggled with the officer and admitted to punching him, although his lawyers said he could not remember how many times.

Taylor and his Australian girlfriend Sara Connor, a 45-year-old mother of two from Byron Bay, have been detained for allegedly murdering local policeman Wayan Sudarsa.

He was found with 42 wounds to his body, including his head and neck, on Kuta Beach.

Taylor’s lawyers said he had asked the policeman where Connor’s missing bag was, and after he had tried to check the man’s pocket, they had begun to “wrestle”.

“When he is struggling with this man apparently he found this bottle and then he is trying to hit this man with this bottle,” Taylor’s lawyer Erick Sihombing said.

“He found an old cell phone, he hit the guy’s head on the back maybe twice. There is a bottle and an old phone.

“After the fight was done, he went out on the street, he found his girlfriend on the street and then he’s just said to his girlfriend the bag has already gone so let’s go back to the hotel.”

Taylor also confessed that he and Connor burned their clothes.

“On Friday the 19th of August, they found on their clothes and trousers a stain of blood and hair, that’s why they tried to get rid of them by burning their clothes,” Mr Sihombing said.

The Australian woman has told police when she had tried to separate the men while they were fighting, the police officer bit her on her thigh and hand.

She said she had no idea the police officer was dead and her boyfriend had told her he was just unconscious.

“According to the result of the investigation today, Sara said that she was not involved in this murder, she was not involved at all with this murder,” her lawyer Erwin Siregar said.

“Sara tried to separate David and the victim, but she could not do it and then because of that the victim bit the right hand of Sara and also the leg on the left side.”

 

Officer also hit with binoculars, lawyer says

Earlier, Taylor’s lawyer had said he had also bashed the man in the head with a pair of binoculars that were hanging around his neck.

“During the wrestle, Sara tried to keep them apart during which David saw they’re were binoculars on the victim’s neck. Then he smashed the binoculars to the victim’s head,” Mr Sihombing said.

“He hit the cop’s head twice using the binoculars.”

Connor and Taylor both faced questioning late into the evening on Monday.

It is understood Connor and Taylor first met in Byron Bay, where Connor runs a pasta-making business and Taylor hosted a weekly radio show.

Police have up to 100 days to build their case against the two, who face a maximum of 15 years in jail.

From other news sites:

Woman and baby boy in 20th-floor death plunge-Murder Suicide


Woman, child die falling from internal balcony from Docklands apartment

Police tape marks the scene where a woman and child died after a balcony fall in Melbourne’s CBD. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

Wes Hosking, Anthony Dowsley

A WOMAN and a four-month-old baby have died after an apparent fall from an apartment balcony in Melbourne’s CBD.

The pair were found just after 10.30am in an apartment building at the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets.

Family are at the scene with one yelling “oh no” when told of the news.

It is understood the woman, 31, plunged from a balcony high in the City Point building.

Police are with distraught family. The deaths are not being treated as suspicious.

The bodies of a woman and child were found just after 10.30am. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

The bodies of a woman and child were found just after 10.30am.

The exact circumstances of where the child was are unknown at this point.

It is believed the woman may have been residing above 20th floor.

Paramedics entered the building to attend to someone who may have become distressed about 1.30pm.

Later, a family could be seen talking with police and social workers in the foyer of the building just before 2pm.

A priest earlier entered the building to console family, and the coroner is on the scene.

A senior police officer has told media they will not be making any comment about the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, but police confirmed the ages of the pair in a statement.

“A 31-year-old woman and a 4-month-old child were located deceased at an apartment building in Docklands this morning,” a statement read.

The Melbourne CBD location where a mother and child have died in a horror fall.

The Melbourne CBD location where a mother and child have died in a horror fall.Source:Herald Sun

The pair are believed to have fallen from an internal apartment balcony. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

The pair are believed to have fallen from an internal apartment balcony.


A resident, Alex Champ, said he was unaware of the incident. He said families, children and travellers stayed in the high rise.

“You get all people and young ones (living here), he said. “There is an internal area where there is a drop.

“It’s just crazy to think it’s just a few floors above me.”

A small section of the east bound Bourke street lane has been reopened by police near where it meets Spencer St.

Police are working to identify the mother and child. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

Police are working to identify the mother and child.

Police have been speaking to staff at the Chocolate Frog Cafe, which is in an older building which fronts the tall apartment complex behind it.

Earlier Victoria Police spokesman Alistair Parsons said: “Police are currently at an apartment building on the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets in Docklands where a woman and a child were located.”

“The yet to be identified woman and child died at the scene,’’ he said.

“At this early stage it is believed they may have fallen from an internal balcony.”

The exact circumstances surrounding the incident were yet to be determined.

Police have cordoned off the area and are speaking to witnesses.

Paramedics were called to the area but could not assist the pair.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

The pair died near the corner Spencer and Bourke Streets. Picture Yuri Kouzmin <br />

The pair died near the corner Spencer and Bourke Streets.

Originally published as Woman, baby die in balcony fall


Woman and baby boy in 20th-floor death plunge: ‘Gut-wrenching scream’ as woman, 31, jumps from balcony of her luxury Melbourne apartment holding 4-month-old ‘believed to be her son’

 

  • Woman and baby plunged to their deaths from a balcony in Melbourne
  • The four-month-old boy is believed to have been her son
  • The father ‘collapsed in shock’ when he arrived at the Docklands building
  • Emergency services were unable to revive the woman, 31, and baby
  • The pair’s identities are yet to be determined as investigations continue

Witnesses heard a ‘gut-wrenching’ scream as a woman, 31, and a four-month-old baby boy died in an apparent murder-suicide when they plunged to their deaths from a balcony in central Melbourne.

The woman was carrying the baby, believed to be her son, when she took her own life at the City Point apartment building on the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets in Docklands.

Police confirmed they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths and a report would be prepared for the coroner

Witnesses heard 'gut-wrenching' screams after a woman, 31, and a four-month-old baby died when they plunged to their deaths from a balcony in central Melbourne. Police speak to a witness

Witnesses heard ‘gut-wrenching’ screams after a woman, 31, and a four-month-old baby died when they plunged to their deaths from a balcony in central Melbourne. Police speak to a witness

They say the pair fell from a balcony inside the 35-storey building about 10.30am on Thursday and died at the scene.

Police have also said a damaged balcony was not the cause of the woman and baby’s fall.

Their bodies were discovered in a courtyard of the building, where apartments have sold for more than $400,000.

The 31-year-old woman lived on the 20th floor with the baby boy’s father who is said to be devastated, according to Herald Sun.

He collapsed in shock when he arrived at the scene and was taken to hospital, 7 News reported.

Police are looking to establish if she had leapt to her death from a sixth-floor balcony, according to the ABC.

She is believed to have been holding the baby at the time.

Witness Christine Harms told The Age she heard someone yell out, ‘Oh no, oh no’, after the incident.

‘A lady went into the alleyway and then there was some screaming,’ Ms Harms said.

‘It was gut-wrenching to hear.’

The woman was carrying the baby when she took her own at the City Point apartment building on the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets in Docklands. Pictured are police at the scene

The woman was carrying the baby when she took her own at the City Point apartment building on the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets in Docklands. Pictured are police at the scene

Police say the pair plummeted from a balcony inside the 35-storey building about 10.30am on Thursday and died at the scene

Police say the pair plummeted from a balcony inside the 35-storey building about 10.30am on Thursday and died at the scene

Relatives and friends visited the apartment block early on Thursday afternoon.

A man who knew the woman said they were left shocked by the incident, adding: ‘We don’t know what happened.’

A Victoria Police spokesperson said initial investigations led them to believe the pair fell from an ‘internal balcony’.

‘The exact circumstances surrounding the incident are yet to be determined,’ she said.

Police were unable to confirm the relationship between the woman and baby.

Paramedics were also called to the scene but they were unable to revive the pair, a Victoria Ambulance spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.

More than a dozen uniformed and plain-clothed police and eight police cars closed off the scene – at one of Melbourne’s busiest intersections – with some taking bagged items out of the building.

Investigators started to leave shortly after 3pm and the footpath at the front of the building was reopened as police tape was removed.

Traffic detours were in place until about 1.30pm.

For confidential help, call Lifeline at 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Pictured is an apartment inside the City Point building on Bourke Street

Pictured is an apartment inside the City Point building on Bourke Street

She reportedly lived on the 20th floor but police are looking into if she leapt to her death from a sixth-floor balcony. Above is an image of another apartment at City Point

She reportedly lived on the 20th floor but police are looking into if she leapt to her death from a sixth-floor balcony. Above is an image of another apartment at City Point

The foyer inside the City Point building, where apartments have sold for more than $400,000

The foyer inside the City Point building, where apartments have sold for more than $400,000

The family of the woman, who lived on the 20th floor, are said to be devastated by the tragedy. Pictured is the City Point apartment building

View to a kill: the death of Jamie Gao


Jamie Gao murder: Rogerson and McNamara should be jailed for life, prosecutor says

Updated about 2 hours ago

The notorious corrupt former detective Roger Rogerson and his co-accused Glen McNamara should be jailed for life for the murder of drug dealer Jamie Gao, a Sydney court has been told.

Rogerson and McNamara are facing a sentencing hearing today, after being found guilty of murdering Sydney man Mr Gao during a drug deal at a Padstow storage facility on May 20, 2014.

Rogerson, 75, and McNamara, 57, pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Gao and dumping his body in waters off Cronulla the next day.

New South Wales Crown prosecutor Christopher Maxwell QC told the hearing in the NSW Supreme Court, life sentences have been applied in the past for contract killings.

“They together executed a young drug dealer for their financial gain. The contract killing is a category for which a life sentence can be given and has been given by this court over the years,” he said.

“There is no distinction between killing for payment … or killing for the purpose of financial gain, which is what this was about.

“This was a killing to enable both offenders to obtain the drug … colloquially known as ice … a drug that results in much crime itself.

“The attitude that both accused had towards the deceased after the murder amounted to a completely cold, calculated, lack of feeling, which was all about making him disappear.”

Mr Maxwell said the pair had used their “experience and training for the complete antithesis of what was intended”.

“There is nothing to suggest they would..not be a danger to society.”

Mr Maxwell told the judge the offence was made even more serious because of their intention to “obtain and distribute a drug that is a scourge of our society”.

The crown said the both men were part of a joint criminal enterprise and a great deal of thought was put into it.

“There is nothing ludicrously incompetent about this,” he said.

“There’s a boldness in Mr Rogerson’s attitude.”

He told the judge they planned to make sure Mr Gao’s body would disappear.

“They did everything to make that happen.”

Differing accounts of Gao’s death heard during trial

During the trial, both men denied pulling the trigger and instead pointed the blame at each other.

McNamara’s defence told the trial it was Rogerson who shot and killed Mr Gao before threatening McNamara and his family, forcing him to help dispose of the body.

Rogerson claimed the 20-year-old was killed during a struggle with McNamara and the student was dead on the floor when he entered the shed.

The trial was told by prosecutors both had given “far-fetched and unbelievable” versions of what happened.

Mr Gao told his cousin Justin Gao he was going to be involved in a massive drug deal with a man called ‘Glen’ that was going to make him rich.

He held a number of meetings with McNamara in the months before his death — McNamara claimed these meetings were for a book he was writing about Asian crime gangs.

This explanation was dismissed by prosecutors, who said McNamara and Rogerson were preparing for the killing.

Prosecutors told the court the crown did not have to prove which of the defendants killed Mr Gao, just that there was an agreement to kill or seriously injure the victim.

It took the jury just under a week to reach the verdicts.

Justice Geoffrey Bellew thanked them for their service and excused them from ever serving again, unless they wished to do so.


Surveillance camera footage creates a detailed timeline of the 2014 killing of Jamie Gao. 

Jamie Gao and Glen McNamara cctv stillEarly January, 2014 Jamie Gao and Glen McNamara meet up at least 27 times in the lead up to Gao’s death, often at the Meridian Hotel in Hurstville.

Rent a Space unit 803Early March, 2014  Roger Rogerson obtains keys to storage unit 803 at Rent a Space, Padstow, from a friend called Michael McGuire. Rogerson says he wanted to look at office furniture. Gao is eventually killed inside the shed.

April 27, 2014  A white Ford Falcon station wagon with number plates BV67PX is purchased ­at Outback Used Cars in Lethbridge Park. The car is later used to transport Gao’s body. Rogerson and McNamara deny involvement in the car’s acquisition, but Rogerson’s fingerprints are found on the receipt.

McNamara removes his 4.5 metre boat cctv stillMay 19, 2014  McNamara removes his 4.5 metre Quintrex boat from Hunter Self Storage at Taren Point without notifying staff. This is later used to dump Gao’s body at sea.

Rogerson and office chairs cctv stillMay 19, 3.15pm CCTV footage from Rent a Space captures Rogerson removing office chairs from storage unit 803 and placing them in the back of his silver Ford station wagon.

A white Nissan Silvia, consistant with Gao's car cctv stillMay 19, afternoon A white Nissan Silvia, consistent with Gao’s car, does a U-turn outside Rent a Space.

Jamie Gao and Glen McNamara Meridian Hotel, Hurstville cctv stillMay 19, 7.50pm  The night before Gao is killed, McNamara and Gao meet at the Meridian Hotel, Hurstville. The meeting lasts about 30 minutes.

McNamara walks to Cronulla Mall cctv stillMay 20, 11.37am McNamara uses a payphone in Cronulla Mall to call Gao. CCTV from Cold Rock Ice Creamery captures him walking towards to the phone.

McNamara opening and shutting the door cctv stillMay 20, 1.17pm Rogerson and McNamara drive in separate cars to Rent a Space. McNamara is seen opening and closing the door four times in nine minutes.

Gao walking down Arab Road cctv stillMay 20, 1.35pm Gao is seen walking down Arab Road, Padstow, dressed in dark-coloured clothes, towards a white Ford station wagon that McNamara is in.

McNamara at front gate cctv stillMay 20, 1,42pm McNamara drives to the front gate of Rent a Space and enters the gate code – his hood is up and sunglasses are on.

Gao getting out of a white Ford station wagon cctv stillMay 20, 1.46pm Gao is seen getting out of the back of a white Ford station wagon and shielded by McNamara as he slips into storage unit 803. It is the last time he is seen alive.

Rogerson opens the door cctv stillMay 20, 1.49pm Rogerson opens the door to storage unit 803 exactly three minutes and 16 seconds after Gao and McNamara entered.

McNamara comes out of unit cctv stillMay 20, 2.03pm McNamara comes out of the storage unit, retrieves a silver Ocean & Earth surfboard bag from the white Ford station wagon, and returns to the storage unit.

McNamara and Rogerson are both seen dragging surfboard cover cctv stillMay 20, 2.18pm McNamara and Rogerson are seen dragging a surfboard cover containing Gao’s body, and load it into the boot of the white Ford station wagon.

Rogerson and McNamara are seen buying a two tonne chain block cctv stillMay 20, about 4pm Rogerson and McNamara are seen at Kennards Hire in Taren Point, buying a two-tonne chain block that was later used to lift Gao’s body into McNamara’s boat.

Rogerson and McNamara share a six pack of James Boag's cctv stillMay 20, about 5.15pm A few hours after the killing, Rogerson and McNamara share a six-pack of beer at McNamara’s unit in McDonald St, Cronulla. (McNamara claims he only helped to dispose of Gao’s body because his life was threatened by Rogerson.) 

Quintrex Boat being towed cctv stillMay 21, 7.28am A Quintrex boat carrying the body of Gao and a blue tarpaulin leaves McNamara’s Cronulla unit block.

McNamara and Rogerson are seen in the lift cctv stillMay 21, 7.32am McNamara and Rogerson are seen carrying fishing rods in the lift of McNamara’s unit block.

Quintrex boat being towed cctv stillMay 21, 11.05am After disposing of Gao’s body, McNamara brings his Quintrex boat back to Hunter Self Storage at Taren Point.

McNamara at Kmart cctv stillMay 22 McNamara says he was so worried when he found 3kg of ice in his car that he went to Kmart and bought two pillowslips, a measuring jug and a spoon. He claims this was to “seal” the drugs to stop them from exploding.

detectives arrest McNamaraMay 25, 6.30pm Robbery and Serious Crime Squad detectives arrest McNamara at a vehicle stop at Kyeemagh. He is refused bail and appears at Kogarah Local Court the following day.

Jamie Gao afloat inside a surfboard bag 2.5 kilomtres off the shoreMay 26 Fishermen spot the body of Jamie Gao inside a surfboard bag wrapped in blue tarpaulin about 2.5 kilometres offshore of Shelley Beach, Cronulla.

Rogerson arrested at Padstow Heights homeMay 27, 11am Police swoop on Rogerson’s Padstow Heights home. He is escorted out in handcuffs and taken to Bankstown police station, where he is refused bail.

Standover man and convicted killer Walid “Wally” Ahmad shot dead at Bankstown


“Despite extensive searches by detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, a 48-year-old, who is wanted by virtue of an arrest warrant, has not been found,’’ police said today.

A senior officer has told the Daily Telegraph that while Elmer could be hiding from police there is a possibility he has been killed.

Police said he may also be hiding for fear he may be targeted by associates of Walid Ahmad.

 

Police inspect the burnt-out remains of a vehicle used during the Ahmad shooting. Picture: Getty Images

 

SYDNEY’S escalating gangland war in the southwest may have claimed another victim with the disappearance of a man wanted for questioning over the murder of major crime figure Walid Ahmad.

Ahmad, 40, a Mr Big of Sydney crime, was shot dead as he sipped coffee at a rooftop cafe at Bankstown shopping centre. It’s believed it was payback for the shooting of Safwan Charbaji, 32, outside Ahmad’s business on April 9.

Fawaz Mohammed Elmir is wanted for his alleged involvement in the shooting at the smash repair shop and warrants have been issued for his arrest.

Elmir, who was at the smash repair yard and related through marriage to Mr Charbaji, has vanished.

Fawaz Mohammed Elmir.Source:Supplied

Walid Ahmad.Source:Channel 7

 

“Despite extensive searches by detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, a 48-year-old, who is wanted by virtue of an arrest warrant, has not been found,’’ police said today.

A senior officer has told the Daily Telegraph that while Elmer could be hiding from police there is a possibility he has been killed.

Police said he may also be hiding for fear he may be targeted by associates of Walid Ahmad.

Originally published as Man wanted over gangland shooting disappears

Police are investigating a shooting in Sydney’s south-west that left one man dead and two people injured.

MOMENTS before shots rang out at a Bankstown shopping centre this morning, a man rushed into a shop inside screaming, “There’s not enough f***ing time”.

Standover man and convicted killer Walid “Wally” Ahmad was shot dead and two others were injured at the centre when an unknown person opened fire inside Bankstown Central, in Sydney’s southwest, just before noon.

Police are now hunting two people over the attack, a man who opened fire and another who drove a getaway car.

A 32-year-old woman, believed to be friends with Ahmad, is recovering in hospital alongside Ahmad’s bodyguard, a 53-year-old man.

A woman working in a cosmetics store inside the centre told news.com.au that a man and a woman rushed into the shop moments before the shooting.

“Where’s store security? Where’s store security? Can you call them?” the distressed woman said.

She banged her hand on the counter, saying “call them, call them!”

But the man said: “There’s not enough f***ing time.”

The pair then ran towards an escalator, which leads to the third-level gym, cafe and carpark, where the shooting occurred.

It is not known who the people were or if they were hurt in the shooting.


Shooting victim Walid “Wally” Ahmad.

‘IT’S CLEARLY TARGETED’

Bankstown police commander Detective Superintendent David Eardley confirmed a 40-year-old man is dead and two others were injured in the shooting.

Police believe the gunman did not act alone and a burnt-out white Mercedes connected to the crime has been found in Greenacre.

While police have not confirmed the identity of the victim, he said police would also be looking at the connection with another shooting at Condell Park earlier this month.

“It’s clearly targeted; this is not a random shooting,” Det Supt Eardley said.

“People need to understand and feel safe to go about the streets and their daily lives.”

He also urged those connected to the crime not to take matters into their own hands.

“Leave it to us to investigate … there is no need to resort to any activity that would jeopardise themselves or others.”


A burnt-out Mercedes car that was found shortly after a shooting in Bankstown. Picture Craig Greenhill

‘COME GET ME! HE’S DEAD!’

The niece of the victim Walid “Wally” Ahmad told news.com.au: “It’s my uncle. He’s the victim.”

The woman was at a family gathering at a home nearby when she received a phone call that her uncle had been shot.

She said she received a panicked call from Ahmad’s daughter, her cousin, as she raced to the Bankstown Central shopping centre.

“She said, ‘Come get me! He’s dead! He’s dead!’” the shocked niece told news.com.au

“I need to get to her. She’s all by herself, she’s alone.

When asked who may have targeted Ahmad, the niece said: “I don’t know. The most important thing is finding my cousin.”

Later, news.com.au witnessed the niece and the daughter hug as they were reunited.

The shopping centre’s management ushered family members to a nearby coffee house, where more than a dozen police officers were gathered.

An elderly woman, believed to be the mother of the victim, was seen slumped in a wheelchair, quivering, with her hands covering her face.

The family were agitated as they left the area, demanding that no pictures be taken.


One of the victims of the Bankstown Centro Shopping Centre shooting being loaded into an ambulance. Picture: Channel 10 / Twitter

MISTAKEN IDENTITY?

Today’s shooting took place at a major shopping centre, formerly known as Bankstown Centro, on the corner of Stacey St and Rickard Rd, in Sydney’s southwest.

Witnesses told news.com.au that the shooting happened in the centre carpark outside Michael’s Coffee House, near Crunch Fitness gym and Rebel Sports store.

People who parked close to the scene have been told by police they could not move their cars, and some have resorted to taking the bus home.

Early reports said a man aged about 40 went into cardiac arrest. The body is believed to still be at the scene.

It is understood two people have been detained at the scene, including an unidentified, handcuffed man pictured. Police told news.com.au that nobody had been formally arrested.

A Bankstown resident working at the shopping centre, who asked not to be named, told AAP that “police arrested the wrong people to start with”.

He said a Mercedes was stopped and searched by police on the corner of Jacobs St and Rickard Rd, but police failed to find a weapon.

“It happened in front of us,” he said. “They handcuffed the wrong person.” He said police found the right car, a black four-wheel drive, at the rooftop car park near the gym.


A man is detained at the scene. Picture: TNV

Police have warned drivers to avoid the area around the centre because of traffic delays.

“There were a couple of screams and you just wondered if they were kids or something,” Mr Davis said.

“It was surreal really.

“I suppose I’m feeling really fortunate that I wasn’t there (at the tome of the escalator).”

STANDOVER MAN

The victim is a known standover man with a previous manslaughter conviction.

It is believed Ahmad is connected to a fatal shooting at smash repair business, A Team Smash Repair, where one man, Safwan Chabaji , was shot dead in April in Condell Park.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that he has been on the run since the fatal shooting.

Mr Ahmad was previously convicted of the 2002 killing of Mayez Dany in Greenacre.


A woman was taken to hospital after a shooting at a Bankstown shopping centre. Picture: Channel 9

Officers were called to the shopping centre about 11.50am after reports of a shooting. There were unconfirmed reports of eight shots being fired in the carpark.

A witness having coffee outside a nearby cafe said she heard the commotion and everybody got up and started walking away.

A Channel 7 video shows one of the victims being asked whether he was OK as he was being wheeled away on a stretcher.

When asked what happened, the victim said: “Firework”.


Shooting at Bankstown shopping centre. Picture: TNV

The previous shooting at the smash repair business left one man, Safwan Charbaji, 32, dead with gunshot wound to the chest. Another, Abdullah El Masri, 35, was left in a critical condition after being shot in the face. He remains in an induced coma.

The shooting happened on the afternoon of April 9 in Condell Park, a suburb of Bankstown.

Witnesses reported hearing an argument before a number of shots were fired.

At the time, authorities said the men were known to police.

“We believe that the people did know each other,” a police spokesman told media on Saturday, adding that it was unclear whether the men were shot by a third party.

“It’s quite possible that a meeting has taken place.”


A man is being taken to hospital on a stretcher after a shooting at Bankstown. Picture: Channel 9

A local shop worker told news.com.au Ahmad was one of her “favourite customers.”

“When I had first met Walid he had recently been out of jail,” she said.

“But he was always a sweet man, had brought in his little girl and his wife a few times.

“Could never say no to the lollies she’d want to buy.

“Anyway I understand people are different, but I only had an employee-customer relationship with him.

“I’m sure his wife is very heartbroken though.”

At least six ambulances and a dozen police cars were at the scene and television footage showed paramedics putting a man on a stretcher.

Police said they arrived to find two men and a woman injured; one of the men died at the scene.

A crime scene has been established, which will be examined by detectives and forensic specialists.

The shopping centre car park has been closed as a precaution.

Anyone with information that could assist police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Man shot dead outside Sydney shopping centre

Fri 29 Apr 2016, 3:52pm

A gunman is at large after a “targeted” shooting in Sydney’s south-west that has left one man dead and two other people injured.

  • A 40-year-old man is dead after shooting at Bankstown Central Shopping Centre
  • A man and a woman who were injured have been taken to hospital
  • Police say the shooting was targeted and the gunman did not act alone

Emergency crews were called to the car park of Bankstown Central Shopping Centre on Rickard Road just before midday.

On arrival police found three injured people – two men and a woman. A 40-year-old man died of his injuries at the scene.

A 60-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman were treated by paramedics for wounds to their lower legs before being taken to hospital.

Detective Superintendent David Eardley said the shooting was targeted.

“This isn’t a random shooting, it was clearly targeted to the man who has died of gunshot wounds,” he said.

“I can assure the Bankstown and neighbouring communities not to be concerned about this incident.

“You will see a large number of police resources around the Bankstown area. That’s purely a proactive stance by us to again provide some reassurance to the community that it is safe.”

Detective Superintendent Eardley said he was unaware of any arrests so far, but there was evidence the gunman did not act alone.

“We had information of a white Mercedes vehicle being used and I can confirm that vehicle has been located burned-out in the Greenacre area,” he said.

He urged anyone associated with the incident not to take matters into their own hands.

“Leave it to us to investigate and leave it to us to identify the people involved. We will put them before the courts, they will be dealt with under our law,” he said.

“There is no need to revert to any type of action that will jeopardise their family and the public.”

Detective Superintendent Eardley said the incident could be connected with a fatal shooting at nearby Condell Park earlier in April.

“We’re certainly not ruling out any links. We’re looking at all opportunities and all avenues of investigation. Certainly there has been a shooting in this area, in the Condell Park area,” he said.

“That is subject to Strike Force Admiralty. Those detectives will be reviewing the incident today and see if they can identify any linkages.”

The shopping centre car park has been closed as a precaution and drivers have been asked to avoid the area.

Fatema Islam was in the shopping centre car park when the shooting happened.

She said she initially thought the gunshot sounds may have been someone dropping something at the nearby gym.

“I looked back and there was nothing, and then suddenly one lady came running and crying and saying ‘oh there’s a gunshot, there’s a gunshot’. And I just freaked out,” she said.

“I looked back, but there was nothing, no car was there, no person or nothing.

“I didn’t see any dead body or nothing. When I went inside [the shopping centre], at that time, all the police and everyone came.”

Bankstown resident Bessy Axiotis said she did not feel safe shopping at the centre.

“[It’s] very sad, because there’s children around, there’s families. It’s a very busy time,” she said.

“I came up and at that time that’s when everyone was screaming and running around. I didn’t actually see what happened, but it was just chaotic.

“Everyone was running, everyone just ran back in and then the police came.

“I shop here all the time, but now you think ‘OK, I’ve got to shop somewhere else now, because Bankstown isn’t safe’. It’s very upsetting.”

Mother confesses to murder of her daughter Sanaya Sahib


What a tragic situation, the precious little Sanaya who was abducted has been found in the creek nearby.Anyone who could do that needs to be locked up and the key thrown away!

Update : Taking an awful shift with investigators actions.Sadly this could become some else all together. I hope not


THE mother of 14-month-old Sanaya Sahib has confessed to the murder of her toddler after she was charged by homicide detectives earlier today.

5.01pm MOTHER CHARGED WITH MURDER

Post mortem reveals Sanaya Sahib was smothered


IT HAS been revealed that an ambulance was called a week before the murder of toddler Sanaya Sahib because the little girl had suffered a seizure.

Sanaya’s body was found in a creek early Sunday hours after her mother Sofina Nikat claims a shoeless African man smelling of alcohol abducted her 15-month-old daughter while she was walking with her in Melbourne’s Olympic Park on Saturday afternoon.

A post mortem is expected to show she died of smothering, however police media said the results have not been finalised.

Meanwhile, her uncle Habib Ali has told the Herald Sun an ambulance was called to his Heidelberg West home, where the mother and daughter had been staying, a week before her murder because Sanaya suffered a seizure.

Mr Ali dismissed the episode as “nothing really”, but paramedics were worried the seizure had been triggered through a lack of oxygen via smothering, the Herald Sun reported.

Sanaya Sahib, 15 months, with her mother Sofina Nikat. Picture Facebook

Sanaya Sahib, 15 months, with her mother Sofina Nikat. Picture Facebook Source:Supplied

Sanaya Sahib. Picture: Facebook

Sanaya Sahib. Picture: Facebook Source:Supplied

Memorial for 15 month old baby Sanaya Sahib, murdered at Darebin Creek.

Memorial for 15 month old baby Sanaya Sahib, murdered at Darebin Creek.Source:News Corp Australia

Habib Ali, brother of Sofina Nikat and uncle of Sanaya Sahib. Picture: Hamish Blair

Habib Ali, brother of Sofina Nikat and uncle of Sanaya Sahib. Picture: Hamish BlairSource:News Corp Australia

Police have not commented on what — if anything — was captured on CCTV cameras located have near the park where the abduction took place.

No independent witnesses have come forward to confirm the 22-year-old mother’s account. She is being kept in an undisclosed location and hasn’t yet been interviewed by homicide squad detectives.

She is said to be “hysterical”.

Ms Nikat gave chase after the alleged abductor but then returned home with the stroller.

Mr Ali told media outside his home Sanaya “didn’t deserve” what happened to her. She’s such a cute little kid … I don’t know why this happened. Whoever done it, shame on him, he is a coward.”

Ms Nikat and Sanaya had been living with Mr Ali after she split with Sameer Sahib, Sanaya’s father.

He said Ms Nikat was shocked and “crying a lot”.

“She doesn’t know what to do or what’s going on, obviously.” He said the family still did not know what had happened to Sanaya or how she died.

Darebin Creek, where Sanaya’s body was found early on Sunday morning.

Darebin Creek, where Sanaya’s body was found early on Sunday morning.Source:News Corp Australia

He said the family had a lot of sympathy for Mr Sahib, who is struggling to understand what has happened.

Fairfax reported on Tuesday two men that Sanaya had contact with in recent days were facing serious criminal charges, including family violence and assault.

Victoria Police have not commented officially on the inquiry for almost 24 hours, other than to confirm no arrests had been made. But according to The Age, detectives were expected to investigate the links the men had to the slain toddler.

The tributes for Sanaya continued last night with soccer players from Heidelberg United Football Club last night observing a minute’s silence for Sanaya before their match against Port Melbourne.

Dozens of people have also left flowers and cards for the toddler near the creek where her body was found.

One crying woman said she didn’t know the family bit couldn’t believe something so tragic could happen in their community.

“RIP sweetheart. So very sorry for your family, our heart breaks with them,” read one of the many cards left alongside a soft pink toy.

—additional reporting: AAP


Update 10am 11/04/16

Police make desperate appeal for information about toddler Sanaya Sahib’s death

Police have made a desperate appeal for information as they hunt for the person responsible for the death of Melbourne toddler Sanaya Sahib.

The 15-month-old girl’s body was found in Darebin Creek, Heidelberg West, in the early hours of Sunday.

Sanaya’s mother, Sofina Nikat, 22, said her daughter was snatched by a stranger from her pram.

Police have searched a home in Heidelberg West where Ms Nikat had been staying.

On Sunday afternoon, police were seen searching through bins and leaving with forensics bags.

It is understood Ms Nikat is helping police with their inquiries.

Police said the only suspect is the attacker, described as a barefoot man with dark skin between the ages of 20 and 30.

He was wearing black pants and a black zipper top, and smelled heavily of alcohol, police said.

Detectives are investigating all possibilities and will today doorknock streets in Melbourne’s north-east.

The body was found just before 3:00am Sunday by a local family who had once lost a child and wanted to assist.

Heidelberg West residents left a floral tribute near the scene, which is less than a kilometre away from the Northland shopping centre.

The Mayor of the City of Banyule, Craig Langdon, said the community was grieving.

“I know the area well enough to know the area will be grieving greatly because it’s a very close community,” he said.

“My thoughts are with the family. It would be a tragic loss to any family, to find a child like that in the Darebin Creek, I can not imagine the grief they’re going through.”

Mr Langdon said counselling would be made available through the council to anyone who needs it.

No charges have been laid over Sanaya’s death.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out on the body.

Any witnesses have been urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Body found in search for toddler missing from Olympic Park, Heidelberg West

ANTHONY GALLOWAY AND DAVID HURLEY Herald Sun

THE GRIEVING mum of toddler Sanaya Shaib has left her home as investigators continue to hunt for the 15-month-old’s killer.

The police forensics team are now searching a home address of the mother of the dead toddler. They have been joined by members of the homicide division. Forensics Police said they were expected to stay at the house for several hours.

Local residents paid tribute to the 15-month-old with flowers and teddy bears near where her body was found.

Forensic police have started their search of the house by checking discarded rubbish near the property and in the back garden.

Homicide Squad detectives were investigating after the discovery of the body at Heidelberg West this morning. The body was found in the Darebin Creek by four people searching together, about 2.45am.

Earlier police said the only suspect in the toddler’s death is described to be a man of African appearance, between the ages of 20 and 30, six-feet-tall, wearing black pants, a black hooded zipper top, no shoes and smelling heavily of liquor.

Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey said parents in the area should be alert and mindful of what they do.

“This is obviously extremely concerning for Victoria Police if this is a random abduction,” he said.

“We think it’s completely random at this point in time.

“We need to be careful and alert, given what’s taken place at this present time.”

The warning comes after the body of a child, believed to be that of Sanaya, was found in a creek in Melbourne’s north-east at 2:45am this morning.

The body was found by a family of four, including a child, who were searching for the girl after seeing a Facebook post requesting help from volunteers.

The family, who had also lost a child in the past whom they later found alive and well, found the toddler partially submerged as they were walking along the western side of Darebin Creek. The child will be taken back to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine for a postmortem today.

Sanaya Shaib with her mother Sofina Nikat. Picture: Supplied.

Sanaya Shaib with her mother Sofina Nikat. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied

Sanaya was abducted from her pram in Olympic Park yesterday. Senior Sergeant Bailey said the toddler’s mother, Sofina Nikat, noticed the suspect walking towards her around 10:10am.

“That male has then folded behind her and has then pushed her to the ground, taken the child from the pram and run in a south-westerly direction on the eastern side of Darebin Creek, and crossed over a footbridge that takes you to the Northland Shopping Centre area and then pershaps towards Wood St,” he said.

“Once the child has been abducted, she (the mother) has chased the offender for a short period of time, realised she wasn’t making any ground there, so she has returned back to her home with the stroller and notified authorities there.

“We notified both the mother and father at 6:45am this morning (that the body had been found) and they are obviously in an extremely distressed state.”

Police don’t know how long the body had been in the creek.

A body has been found on the banks of Darebin creek. Picture: David Crosling

A body has been found on the banks of Darebin creek. Picture: David CroslingSource:News Corp Australia

EARLIER

Crews armed with torches scoured Darebin Creek in Heidelberg West until late last night. Ms Nikat was assisting police, but they stressed she was not being held in custody.

Inspector Paul Tymms urged anyone who knew the location of the child to come forward. He said authorities were hopeful Sanaya was still alive.

Ms Nikat’s older brother, Habib Ali, said the family had been supporting the young mother after she ­recently separated from her partner. He said his sister had taken an unsettled Sanaya out for a walk but ­returned home soon after with dirt on her clothing.

Mr Ali said: “She came screaming and crying, she said, ‘Somebody’s snatched my baby’. She was mumbling out of ­control.

“I just pray to God that whoever’s done this, please ­return the baby.”

The mother’s family claimed her daughter had been snatched from her pram at a popular park in Melbourne’s northeast.

Inspector Paul Tymms confirmed on Saturday evening that the disappearance was being treated as suspicious.

Sanaya’s uncle Habib Ali told the Herald Sun his sister had been hysterical when she arrived home from a walk without the baby.

“I’m devastated,” Mr Aly said. “This is shocking … why would anyone want to hurt this little girl?

“We just don’t know what to do.”

Sanaya and her mother were visiting Mr Aly’s Heidelberg West home for the day, he said.

He said his sister told family that as they sat down on a park bench she noticed a man watching her.

“She said someone was standing and watching her … but she didn’t make anything of it,” Mr Aly said.

The man then undid the clips in the toddler’s pram, picked up the girl and ran away toward Northland shopping centre, Mr Ali said he’d been told.

Next-door neighbour Melynda Smith said the family were quiet and she had not heard any disturbances.

“We’re just terrified,” Ms Smith said.

“We are shaken up over the situation.

“You hear it in other states, you hear it in other countries … you don’t expect it to happen in your own backyard.”

She said the family was close and had hosted Sanaya’s first birthday party at Mr Aly’s Perth St home.

“They support each other,” Ms Smith said.

“I always see the mother out walking with her, getting fresh air … they are always spending time with the bub and the bub is never out of the mum’s sight.

“She is a very well cared for and looked after little girl.”

Mr Aly said he and his family had been supporting his sister through her separation from her partner, who lived in Hallam.

He said his sister and Sanaya had been staying in Mitcham but visited his home regularly.

The toddler was last seen wearing a short-sleeved white top with pink and yellow hearts, koala print pants, socks, and a black necklace with an oval locket.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

andrea.hamblin@news.com.au


 

12.16pm 10/04/16

A toddler who was found dead in a creek in Melbourne’s north-east this morning was snatched from a pram while walking with her mother in a park yesterday, homicide detectives say.

Police said 15-month-old girl Sanaya Sahib, who had been missing since yesterday morning, was found in Darebin Creek in Heidelberg West by four people searching together just before 3:00am.

Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey said the toddler was with her 22-year-old mother, Sofina Nikat from Mitcham, at Olympic Park about 10:00am, when the little girl was grabbed and taken.

“[Ms Nikat] noticed a male walking towards her, that male has folded in behind her and has then pushed her to the ground, has taken the child from the pram and run in a south-westerly direction on the eastern side of Darebin Creek,” he said.

“He crossed over a footbridge that then takes you into the Northland Shopping Centre area and perhaps towards Woods Street.

“This is obviously extremely concerning for Victoria Police if this is a random abduction.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Bailey said police believed it was a random attack.

The man has been described as between 20 and 30 years of age, about six feet tall with short dark hair and not wearing shoes.

Police said he was wearing black pants and a black zipper top.

They said he had dark skin and smelt heavily of alcohol.

Detective Senior Sergeant Bailey said Ms Nikat had tried to chase the man, but was unable to and returned to her friend’s home and contacted police.

He said authorities had worked hard to find the girl when she was reported missing, but she was found in the early hours by a local family who had once lost a child and wanted to assist.

Police said clothing on the body found in the creek matched that reported on the missing toddler.

Heidelberg West residents Michelle and Faye left a floral tribute near the scene and said they knew of the family.

“I just wanted to put flowers for the baby,” Michelle said.

“I couldn’t sleep knowing she was out here somewhere.

“I was hoping she was alive.”

Anyone who saw the incident has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

From other news sites:

http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2016/04/10/body-found-in-search-for-missing-toddler.html#ooid=FwOXJwMjE6J1zstYobPFuToZCYxBx0bN

Vic kidnapped girl’s body found in creek | SBS News

A toddler who was snatched from her pram in a Melbourne park has been found dead in a nearby creek.

Police say 15-month-old Sanaya Sahib was with her mother at Olympic Park in Heidelberg West about 10am on Saturday when she was grabbed by a man who smelt strongly of alcohol and was not wearing shoes.

Sofina Nikat, 22, told officers she was pushed to the ground by the man, who ran off with her daughter towards a nearby shopping centre.

Ms Nikat gave chase but when she realised she couldn’t catch him, she raced home to alert police.

She never saw the face of the man, who is described as being of African appearance, between 20 and 30 years old and about six feet tall.

The toddler’s body was found in Darebin Creek just before 3am on Sunday by a family of four who had seen social media posts about her disappearance and wanted to help.

The family, who had once lost a child who had later been found, spent the night looking for little Sanaya.

Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey said it wasn’t known how long the body had been in the water.

“It is obviously extremely concerning for Victoria Police if this is a random abduction,” he told reporters at the scene on Sunday.

“We need to be careful, alert, given what’s taken place at this present time, but we’ll wait and see how the investigation unfolds.”

He appealed for anyone who saw the incident, the child or her blue and yellow pram to come forward.

It’s believed Sanaya and her mother, from Mitcham, were staying with friends in Heidelberg West near the former 1956 Olympic Village following a separation from the tot’s father.

A large orange tarpaulin was erected on Sunday morning around a part of the creek where the girl’s body was found.

An air ambulance hovered above as police, positioned at the southern end of Northland shopping centre, diverted traffic, cyclists and pedestrians from the area.

Sanaya’s tiny body, on a large stretcher, was later taken away by forensic police.

Both parents have been helping police and are said to be extremely distressed.

The tot is yet to be formally identified and a post-mortem examination will be carried out later on Sunday.


MELBOURNE gangland lawyer Joseph Acquaro executed -$200,000 bounty revealed


Update 17th March 2016

Tony Madafferi behind $200,000 bounty on Melbourne lawyer Joseph Acquaro, police told court

A businessman with alleged mafia links, Antonio ‘Tony’ Madafferi, was suspected by police of putting a $200,000 bounty on the head of Joseph Acquaro after he formed the apparent belief the slain lawyer was leaking information about him to a journalist, the ABC have confirmed.

Key points:

  • Police told Tony Madafferi they believed he put contract on lawyer’s life
  • Mr Madafferi denies any knowledge of the contract
  • Former client with organised crime links believed Mr Acquaro had not adequately represented him

Mr Acquaro, also known as ‘Pino’, was gunned down in what detectives believe was a targeted attack near his business in Brunswick East in the early hours of Tuesday.

The 54-year-old had previously represented a number of prominent Italian-Australian crime figures, and had strong links to the Calabrian community.

Supreme Court Judge John Dixon has lifted an order suppressing reporting about Mr Madafferi, Mr Acquaro and the alleged contract, which was originally disclosed in affidavits filed for a defamation case Mr Madafferi launched against journalist Nick McKenzie and Fairfax.

The affidavits said detectives visited Mr Madafferi at his Noble Park fruit shop and told him they believed he was soliciting a hit on Mr Acquaro, warning him if anything happened to the lawyer, Mr Madafferi would be top of their list of suspects.

Mr Madafferi vehemently denied the allegation.

The ABC does not suggest Mr Madafferi is involved with Mr Acquaro’s death.

Police also warned Mr Acquaro of the alleged contract, and advised him to beef up his personal security, which he apparently declined to do.

Do you know more about this story? Email investigations@abc.net.au

Accusations against Madafferi ‘fanciful’: lawyer

Mr Acquaro represented Mr Madafferi’s brother, Frank, an alleged mafia heavyweight who was jailed with a number of other men linked to the Calabrian mafia in 2014 over the world’s largest ecstasy bust.

He also represented at least one of Frank Madafferi’s co-accused in that case.

It is believed Mr Acquaro fell out with the Madafferi brothers over business dealings, and over the belief Mr Acquaro’s adult sons were becoming close to the Madafferi brothers, which their father did not want.

Soon afterwards, Fairfax reporter McKenzie wrote a number of articles about the Madafferi brothers, their alleged organised crime links and their ties to Liberal politicians.

Tony Madafferi formed the view Mr Acquaro was providing information to McKenzie, and as part of a still-running defamation suit against Fairfax, tried unsuccessfully to force McKenzie to reveal his sources.

McKenzie said in an affidavit he had been warned by police Tony Madafferi was trying to place him under surveillance, and that he was deeply fearful of what could happen to his sources if their names were revealed.

In reply, Tony Madafferi’s lawyer, Georgina Schoff, said it was “absolutely fanciful” somebody would try to “knock off” one of McKenzie’s sources.

Acquaro’s former client ‘furious’ over trial result

In a separate potential lead for police, Mr Acquaro had made an enemy of a former client with organised crime links who believed Mr Acquaro had not adequately represented him at a major criminal trial.

The ABC understands the man, who has strong ties to the Calabrian mafia in Australia, is canvassing legal avenues to appeal against his heavy sentence, but is believed to have been furious with Mr Acquaro over the result of his trial.

The falling out between Mr Acquaro and his client illustrates the difficulty for police in finding the killer of a man who had apparently made many enemies.

Victoria Police announced earlier on Thursday that Purana Taskforce, which was originally set up to investigate Melbourne’s notorious gangland killings, would join the homicide squad in investigating the death of Mr Acquaro.


 

 Gangland Lawyer dead

Joe Acquaro found dead on footpath in Brunswick East

Mark Buttler, Anthony Dowsley and Anthony Galloway Herald Sun

A garbage truck driver found the body of Joe Acquaro on a footpath in St Phillip St, about 100m from Gelobar, at 3am.

Court documents revealed there was a $200,000 murder contract put out on Mr Acquaro, 55, last year.

Police at the crime scene in St Phillip St. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Police at the crime scene in St Phillip St. Picture: Nicole Garmston Source: Herald Sun

Emergency crews outside Joe Acquaro’s cafe, Gelobar, in Lygon St this morning. Picture: AAP

Emergency crews outside Joe Acquaro’s cafe, Gelobar, in Lygon St this morning. Picture: AAP 

Young lawyer Joseph Acquaro outside court in 1995.

Young lawyer Joseph Acquaro outside court in 1995.

Mr Acquaro was a former lawyer of Francesco Madafferi.

Madafferi is in jail after being convicted of large-scale drug trafficking for his connection to the importation of 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy tablets hidden in tomato tins in 2007.

 

Mr Acquaro had more recently been representing accused underworld figure Rocco Arico.

He appeared for Arico in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court last week where he was answering extortion and assault charges.

Francesco Madafferi.

Francesco Madafferi. Source: News Limited

Rocco Arico.

Rocco Arico. Source: News Corp Australia

Detective Inspector Michael Hughes said Mr Acquaro had closed Gelobar on Lygon St about 12.40am and was walking to his car when he was attacked.

“We have an early report that a witness has heard a car travelling down that street (St Phillip Street) away from Lygon St at reasonably high speed,” he said.

“So if anyone has seen cars in the area prior to the shooting, or just after the shooting please contact Crime Stoppers.”

He would not say how many gunshot wounds Mr Acquaro suffered or what type of gun was suspected in the murder.

“It’s always a concern when someone meets their death like this in a public place,” Det-Insp Hughes said.

The garbage truck diver who found the body speaks to the detectives. Picture: Nicole Garmston

The garbage truck diver who found the body speaks to the detectives. Picture: Nicole Garmston Source: News Corp Australia

Gelobar workers and associates at the scene. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Gelobar workers and associates at the scene. Picture: Nicole Garmston Source:News Corp Australia

Det-Insp Hughes said police were investigating whether Mr Acquaro’s death was linked to a fire at Gelobar in January.

“That appears to be a minor dispute, so we don’t necessarily believe it is connected but we will certainly look at that possibility,” he said.

“There’s a number of possibilities we will obviously look at.

“He (Mr Acquaro) is certainly known to police but he is certainly not a convicted person. He is known to police through other associations.”

Homicide squad detectives remain at the scene.

Gelobar workers and associates speak to detectives. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Gelobar workers and associates speak to detectives. Picture: Nicole Garmston Source: News Corp Australia

Nearby business owner Giovanni Di-Micco described Mr Acquaro, who also served as head of Melbourne’s Reggio Calabria Club, as a “top bloke” and a “very good man”.

“I was upset (when I heard), I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

“I’m renting out a shop just here, I’ve known him for four or five months.

“He was a very good man, he always had time for everybody and that’s just the kind of guy he was.”

Business owner and friend George Mirabella, who had known Mr Acquaro for most of his life, said he had no idea why he was killed.

“I’m upset. My staff are crying in my office,” he said.

“I’ve known him on a personal scale, we’re friends from many many years ago. His mother and his father – beautiful people.

“He was just a down-to-earth guy like all of us. It’s an impossibility that such a thing can happen.”

If you have any information about the shooting contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

mark.buttler@news.com.au


 

abc.net.au

Melbourne gangland lawyer shot dead in ‘targeted attack’

Updated 33 minutes agoTue 15 Mar 2016, 1:20pm

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Video: Melbourne businessman shot dead in ‘targeted’ attack (ABC News)

Melbourne businessman and gangland criminal lawyer Joseph ‘Pino’ Acquaro has been shot dead in a targeted attack in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick East, Victoria Police homicide squad detectives say.

  • Acquaro’s body was found at 3:00am on St Phillip Street by a garbage truck driver
  • A car was heard driving at speed away from scene
  • Acquaro represented a number of Melbourne gangland figures

Mr Acquaro, 54, was found at 3:00am by a garbage truck driver, on St Phillip Street, just a few hundred metres from a popular cafe strip in the inner-city Melbourne suburb.

He was a prominent criminal lawyer who has represented several Melbourne gangland crime figures.

He was also a past president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and was involved in the Brunswick Reggio Calabria Club.

Mr Acquaro was a director of the popular ice-cream and Italian cake shop, Gelobar, around the corner from where his body was found.

Detective Inspector Mick Hughes said Mr Acquaro was shot while walking to his car after shutting his business about 12:40am.

“A witness has heard a car travelling down that street away from Lygon [Street] at a reasonably high speed,” he said.

“If anyone has seen cars in the area prior to the shooting [and] just after the shooting, please contact Crime Stoppers.

Detective Inspector Hughes believed it was a targeted attack.

“It’s always a concern when someone meets their death in a public place,” he said.

“From a safety perspective, it does appear to be targeted and as our investigation unfolds today, and over the next few days we’ll probably know more about that.

“But certainly at this stage it certainly looks as if it’s a targeted attack.

“The other possibility we’ll certainly look at is robbery.”

Detective Inspector Hughes said Mr Acquaro was known to police “through other associations”, not because he had been convicted of any crime.

Gelobar was damaged by a suspicious fire two months ago.

“There was a previous incident here that police were aware of,” Detective Inspector Hughes said.

“From what I’ve been told, it appears that was a very minor incident that wouldn’t result in something as tragic as this.”

A woman who is understood to run the shop arrived at the scene and was visibly distressed.

SES workers conducted a line search in the area where the body was found.


 

Mafia lawyer and gelati bar owner Joseph ‘Pino’ Acquaro gunned down on Brunswick East street

March 15, 2016 – 11:59AM

A Melbourne cafe owner’s body is found in a Burnswick East laneway, in what is believed to be a professional hit. (Vision courtesy Seven news Melbourne)

A Melbourne criminal lawyer allegedly wanted dead by the mafia has been gunned down in Melbourne’s inner north in what is believed to be a professional hit.

The murdered man, Pino “Joseph” Acquaro, had been warned by police that his life was in danger and told that he should take measures to protect his safety. Mr Acquaro refused.

The 54-year-old criminal lawyer, who represented several prominent Melbourne gangland and Calabrian crime figures, was gunned down while walking to his black Mercedes parked in St Phillip Street, Brunswick East.

Forensics officers examine the man's body on St Phillip Street.Forensics officers examine the man’s body on St Phillip Street. Photo: Eddie Jim

It appears he had just locked up for the night at his gelateria and cafe Gelobar in Lygon Street when he was shot by a single gunman just after 12.40am.

Witnesses heard shots and the sound of a car travelling along St Phillip Street away from Lygon Street – the wrong way up a one-way street.

A rubbish truck driver found Mr Acquaro’s body at 3am and phoned emergency services. He was already dead when paramedics arrived.

Police and SES volunteers at the scene.Police and SES volunteers at the scene. Photo: Eddie Jim.

Homicide Squad detectives and forensic police have been on the scene all Tuesday morning. Police found a mobile phone under a car in St Phillip Street not far from the body just after 11am.

Detective Inspector Mick Hughes confirmed the victim, who he would not name, had died from gunshot wounds.

He would not comment on how many times Mr Acquaro was shot, nor what type of weapon was used.

Gelobar was severely damaged in a suspicious fire in January.

Detective Inspector Hughes said that fire was over a “minor dispute” and though there was no clear link to the murder, it would be investigated.

He would also not rule-out that robbery was a motive.

Police block St Phillip Street in Brunsick East after a man's body was discovered.Police block St Phillip Street in Brunsick East after a man’s body was discovered. Photo: 3AW

Mr Acquaro, a father of three adult sons, had severed ties with many of his former Calabrian mafia clients after a falling out.

He was the past president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and, given his Calabrian heritage, was a passionate advocate of his culture and business in Melbourne.

He was strongly involved with Brunswick’s Reggio Calabria club.

He was known in the Calabrian community as a lawyer and businessman who would help disadvantaged community members with their affairs, continuing a tradition started by his father, a Melbourne accountant.

But Mr Acquaro also facilitated the business affairs of notorious Calabrian community members, reputed to be in the ‘Ndrangheta or Honoured Society.

Detective Inspector Hughes said the dead man was known to police but had no convictions.

George Mirabella, owner of Mirabella Lighting nearby, said he had known Mr Acquaro his whole life, from attending Italian social functions together in Melbourne as children.

He said he was a generous, well-loved member of society who was a “total gentleman”.

“He was so down-to-earth, everyone loved him, I’ve got my whole staff in tears,” Mr Mirabella said.

The last time he saw Mr Acquaro was when he came into his store and bought two globes.

“And he bought in some cannoli. That’s the type of gentleman he was. I can’t believe it.”

Mr Acquaro started operating Gelobar about five years ago, when Salvatore Scullino, who owned the business with his wife Rita, died.

Ms Scullino had been inconsolable outside the business on Tuesday morning, and did not speak to the media.

 Her employees gathered on the corner opposite Gelobar, stunned by the death of their boss, as other mourners arrived in shock.

Several stacks of chairs and three tables remained on the footpath outside the gelataria on Tuesday morning, as though the cafe was not completely packed up before closing.

The street was reopened about 12.50pm.

Police are now assessing CCTV footage from a camera mounted outside Gelobar, which points directly at the intersection of Lygon and St Phillip Street, but not as far as where the shooting is likely to have occurred.

The camera view of the intersection appears to be partially obscured by two outdoor umbrellas, but detectives are hopeful it will show the car used by the hit man.

A witness said they heard a car driving the wrong way up St Phillip Street about 12.40am, but did not see the car.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

– With Marissa Calligeros

Ingleburn shooting: Wayne Williams kills one, shoots himself dead after feud over a sign


Update 11/05/2016

Bail denied for Chantelle Strnad who is charged with murder after Ingleburn, Sydney, shooting

Chantelle Strnad is taken away by police from her western Sydney business that was the scene of a siege in March Warren Barnsley

A SYDNEY woman charged with the shooting murder of a man during a business dispute at a Sydney factory has been refused bail.

 

An emotional Chantelle Strnad, 31, appeared in Campbelltown Local Court on Wednesday charged with the murder of her client, 44-year-old Michael Bassal, who was shot dead at an Ingleburn sign factory in March.

Strnad, who was already on bail having earlier been charged with concealing a serious indictable offence in relation to the matter, was arrested on Tuesday.

She also faces a charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder.

Mr Bassal was shot dead during a six-hour siege at the western Sydney factory, of which Strnad is the owner and operator, in what police believe was a business dispute.

His brothers Terry and Mark were with him at the time and were wounded.

The court heard the gunman, 33-year-old Inline Signs employee and Strnad’s former partner Wayne Williams, turned his assault rifle on himself at the end of the siege.

Prosecution lawyer Clint Nasr told the court on Wednesday that Strnad lured the victims to the premises.

Police at the Ingleburn siege. Picture: Channel 9 News

Police at the Ingleburn siege. Picture: Channel 9 NewsSource:Channel 9

Strnad allegedly told Williams to “come and sort these guys out. I am going to f***ing kill them”, Mr Nasr said.

Mr Nasr said that was “clear evidence of her intention”.

He also said she was aware the rifle used in the crime was in Williams’ possession and was “loaded and ready to go”.

Strnad will remain in custody after Magistrate Robert Rabbidge agreed with the prosecution about the seriousness of the alleged offences.

Ingleburn shooting victim Michael Bassal. Picture: Facebook

Ingleburn shooting victim Michael Bassal. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

Wayne Williams.

Wayne Williams.Source:Supplied

Mr Rabbidge said Strnad was “hell-bent” on undertaking the alleged “criminal enterprise”.

“We have one dead and two who almost died,” Mr Rabbidge said. The court also heard Strnad collected the rounds from the rifle after the shooting.

Strnad’s defence lawyer, Karen Watson, argued her client should be granted bail because she had not broken her previous bail conditions and her business had suffered considerably due to the March incident.

She also said the case against her client was weak.

But Mr Nasr warned a number of prosecution witnesses were her employees at the sign factory.


 

March 8, 2016 12:00am

A CRAZED gunman who shot three brothers and held three bystanders hostage for six hours killed himself last night in the bloody final act of a feud believed to be over a sign.

Wayne Williams had opened fire on the Bassal brothers at 10.45am at Ingleburn’s Inline National Signage and Property Services after police believe they went to the business to complain about a sign they had ordered.

Father-of-one Michael “Mick” Bassal — who was friends online with Rebels ­bikies president Alex Vella — died on the grass verge outside the business. His two brothers were taken to Liverpool hospital, where one ­required emergency surgery.

Police today charged a man and woman who were led from the building by police at the height of the siege.

Ingleburn Shooting victim Michael Bassal. Picture: Facebook

Ingleburn Shooting victim Michael Bassal. Picture: Facebook

The 52-year-old man, reported to be Williams’ father Peter, was charged with discharge firearm in a public place and conceal serious indictable offence.

He has been refused bail to appear at Campbelltown Local Court today.

Tonna was so traumatised she could barely walk as police helped her from the warehouse, where three bystanders were taken hostage.

Police believe she knew Williams, who had connections with the Finks bikies gang and who could be heard yelling at police negotiators for hours.

Detectives were last night piecing together the dispute that led to Williams opening fire with a high-powered rifle but one line of inquiry was that the brothers were ­unhappy with sign work.

During the siege heavily armed police armed with ­assault rifles surrounded the business and evacuated nearby premises.

At one point Detective ­Inspector Mark Brett said that the situation had reached a “delicate stage”.

The three terrified hostages were freed from their hiding places just after 5pm by police in “bear cat” armoured truck and reunited with ­anxious family members waiting in a nearby street. The men were checked by paramedics before they were taken to Macquarie Fields police station to be interviewed about their ordeal.

The owner of the sign-making business, Chantelle Tonna, is led away from the scene by police. Picture: Melvyn Knipe

Williams was found inside the property and was believed to have shot himself.

One worker told of his terror as he ushered his wife, who came to visit him at work, into an outside toilet as a ­volley of shots rang out. Machine operator Gurjinder Girn, who has worked at the Heald Rd site for five years, and his wife Navjot Kaur heard a man shouting, “Come out, come out, come out”.

They then heard six shots.

“Nothing like this has happened in front of my eyes with me or this company. It was very terrifying,” Mr Girn said.

“By chance we went outside to go to the bathroom.

“I know there were three other employees inside who were hiding from the gunman.”

The couple heard police arrive about 10 minutes after the shooting and they were soon escorted to safety.

A man in handcuffs, second right, is taken to a police vehicle / Picture: AP

A tactical police officer close to the scene at in Ingleburn. Picture: Richard Dobson

Police patrol the scene outside the incident. Picture: Richard Dobson

Mark Callaghan, owner of nearby A & A Equipment in Shaw Rd, said he heard a commotion at the time. “I heard a woman hysterically screaming down the road. It was a muffled scream and I couldn’t understand the words,” he said.

Family and friends of Mr Bassal gathered at Liverpool Hospital last night to support his two injured brothers.

One of the men was critically injured while the other had superficial wounds.

Police outside the scene at Inline National Signage and Property Services / Picture: Channel 9

A body can be seen covered in a white sheet as police move into position. Picture: Melvyn Knipe

One man was shot dead and two were injured.

AS IT HAPPENED

10.45am: Triple-0 emergency call reports three people shot at Inline National Signage and Property Services at the corner of Heald and Stennett Rds, Ingleburn. Neighbours report hearing up to five shots. Police find three people with gunshot wounds. One man dies at the scene. Two men are taken to Liverpool Hospital, one suffering superficial wounds and another with gunshot wounds to the lower part of the body. Police surround the printing company.

11-11.30am: Police set up a 1km exclusion zone and nearby companies are told to close their doors. Some go into lockdown while others evacuate.

11.25am: Police issue a warning to the public to avoid the area.

11:55am: Heavily armed tactical police can be seen with guns drawn at the door of the printing firm.

12.05pm: The $400,000 police “Bear Cat” armoured truck arrives at the rear of the premises.

12.25pm: Police confirm three people have been shot and one man is dead.

2pm: A man is arrested for “hindering police” near the scene.

2.30pm: Macquarie Fields crime manager Detective Inspector Mark Brett confirms the dead victim was 43 years old.

5pm: Armed tactical response police storm the building and free three hostages, who are taken to safety and attended to by paramedics. The gunman, 33, is found dead at the scene.

Police locked down Moorlands Road and Stennett Road. Picture: Melvyn Knipe

Armed officer inside the BearCat at the scene. Picture: Melvyn Knipe

An armed police officer takes cover behind a car. Picture: Melvyn Knipe

HOSTAGE WAS ON FIRST DAY OF HIS JOB

Relief… Hostage Seksane has spoken of his ordeal. Picture: Kristi Miller

ONE of the three workers held hostage in yesterday’s deadly Ingleburn siege has revealed he was on the first day of his new job.

Seksane had only been at Inline Signage for a few hours when gunman Wayne Williams opened fire, killing Mick Bassal and wounding two of his brothers.

He was trapped in the building after armed police arrived to begin a lengthy standoff with Williams.

“I don’t know – I (was) still working,” he said, adding he was “pretty much okay”.

“That’s the first start to the job, today.”


Ingleburn shooting: Shooter’s father charged after siege in Sydney’s south-west

Updated 47 minutes ago

The father of a man who took his own life after a fatal shooting at Ingleburn in Sydney’s south-west has been charged.

Key points:

  • Business dispute may have led to Sydney industrial estate shooting
  • Gunman shot three brothers, held three bystanders hostage
  • Shooter’s father and woman charged with offences, shooter dead
  • Police say shooting not related to outlaw motorcycle club

Three brothers were targeted in the shooting and subsequent siege at Inline National Signage, in an industrial complex, about 10:45am.

Wayne Williams, 33, shot at the trio when they arrived at the workshop and one of them, Michael Bassal, 43, was killed.

Mr Bassal’s two brothers, aged 41 and 34, were also shot with a semi-automatic weapon but survived.

Wayne Williams’s father Peter, 52, has been charged with discharging a firearm in a separate shooting earlier in the day.

He and a 30-year-old woman were charged with not assisting police with their enquiries.

The pair were taken out of the area by police by force early on in the investigation.

Police said they were investigating whether a business dispute led to the shooting and the siege that followed at Heald Road in Ingleburn.

A police spokeswoman said there had been ongoing tensions at the workshop all day which eventually led to the shooting.

Officers probe outlaw motorcycle club links

Officers said Mr Bassal was shot dead on the grass verge when he went to the premises with his two brothers.

The two brothers were taken to Liverpool Hospital and the 41-year-old brother had to undergo emergency surgery.

Police said the 34-year-old brother suffered only minor injuries.

Wayne Williams then held three male hostages for three hours as police worked to resolve the situation.

Officers managed to free the hostages about 5:00pm and found Wayne Williams’ body inside the property — he is thought to have shot himself.

A police spokeswoman said at this stage it did not look like the matter was related to outlaw motorcycle club conflicts.

But she said that some of the people involved were members of the clubs.

“It doesn’t look like anything to do with bikie gang wars, it looks like a business dispute at this stage,” she said.

Peter Williams was refused bail and will face Campbelltown Local Court today, while the woman was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at the same court on April 4.

Macquarie Fields Police Detective Inspector Mark Brett said on Monday they had yet to determine the motive of the alleged shooter.

Police said they did not believe the shooting was terrorism related.

Witnesses from nearby businesses said they heard five gunshots ring out.


%d bloggers like this: