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

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 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.”

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.

Bikie taskforce Echo raid Seabrook home in Melbourne’s west


 an hour ago

Bikie taskforce Echo police are currently executing warrants on a home in Melbourne’s west. Picture: Nicole Garmston

A SENIOR Mongol bikie has been arrested and a 3D printer seized during a raid in Melbourne’s west this morning.

Echo Taskforce detectives arrested two men and a woman, all with links to the Mongols OMCG, after raids in Seabrook and Oakleigh South earlier today.

A man arrested at the Seabrook property. Picture: Nicole Garmston

A woman is arrested during raids at the property. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Homes in Mintaro Way in Seabrook and Fleming Court in Oakleigh South were raided at 6am.

Ammunition, 3D printers, equipment for manufacturing firearms and a small amount of drugs were seized from the Seabrook property.

A 26-year-old Seabrook man and a 27-year-old Seabrook woman were arrested.

An allegedly stolen motorbike was seized from the Oakleigh South property and a 29-year-old man was arrested.

Middleton was bailed last month after he was arrested for drug and violence offences.

He was released with conditions a magistrate described as the “strictest she’s ever set”.

The 26-year-old’s partner Renee Comeadow was also arrested.

Evidence gathered in relation to bikies. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Police leave the scene with evidence. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Middleton was granted bail last month by magistrate Margaret Harding, who said he needed to be reunited with his family after five months on remand.

Ms Harding had wanted Middleton to hand in his bikie colours as a condition of bail, but backed away after she was told other bikies could threaten Middleton’s family because that was a “sign of disrespect”.

Police seized his Mongols vest this morning.

A police officer carrying a Mongols jacket leaves the scene. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Visitor outside the property. (black top)  Picture: Nicole Garmston

Middleton had told the magistrate he would not wear the club’s colours while on bail.

Other conditions included a $300,000 surety, daily reporting to police, a strict curfew, non association with witnesses and bikies.

Middleton, a father of a two-year-old, also promised to stay out of parts of Port Melbourne and Werribee as a condition of release.

Middleton and his partner Comeadow turned up at Sunshine Hospital at 8.15pm on November 1 last year after the OMCG member was shot in the knee.

Police arrived and searched Comeadow’s car where they allegedly found around 500 grams worth of ecstasy, a rubber gun grip and 4.2mm ammunition cartridges.

Middleton was charged with trafficking a commercial quantity of ecstasy and possession of ammunition.

Detective Senior Constable Andrew Broad, a member of the Echo Taskforce, told Melbourne Magistrates’ Court at the time that a search carried out at the couple’s home in Seabrook also resulted in officers finding a gun and a “substantial” amount of drugs.

Comeadow was charged with possessing a commercial quantity of ecstasy and storing ammunition after police searched her car at the hospital.

The search of the couple’s home allegedly uncovered a handgun and more drugs, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Sarah Pratt, representing Comeadow last year, said: “There is no allegation Ms Comeadow is in an OMCG.”

Police spokeswoman Melissa Seach said: “The warrant is part of an ongoing Echo Taskforce investigation in relation to perverting the course of justice.”

david.hurley@news.com.au

VISAS cancelled: Bikies protest at Federation Square

FEATURE: How we’re smashing outlaw bikie power

TARGETED: Outlaw bikie gangs feel heat

DRIVE-BY: Bikie war link to strip club shooting

SPECIAL: More outlaw bikie reports


 

Caleb Jakobsson charged over fatal Carrum Downs mini-motorbike crash to remain on bail despite breaches


(I’m having a few issues publishing images so hang 5, they will show up soon.)

This is not within community standards surely? Who cares if he misses his girl blah blah? He killed and expectant mother because he did not give a fuck! Why should we about him. Back to jail son and think about your crimes.

8 breaches whilst on parole and the magistrate says nothing wrong here…continue!

He ran over an innocent mum walking to the shops using a crossing…


Andrea Lehane pictured with her husband James

Andrea Lehane pictured with her husband James

Updated 3pm 16/05/2016

Caleb Jakobsson court sketch

A teenager charged over the death of a Melbourne mother in a mini-motorcycle crash will remain on bail despite committing eight breaches, with a magistrate citing evidence that he is a “changed individual”.

Caleb Jakobsson is accused of running over Andrea Lehane outside a Carrum Downs shopping centre in September last year.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court was told the 19-year-old had breached the conditions of his bail at least eight times since being released from protective custody in prison in October.

The breaches included failing to adhere to a curfew and another incident which was suppressed by the court.

Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg said he expected someone on bail while facing the serious charge of culpable driving causing death “would toe the line to perfection”.

“It is not so with you,” he said.

Magistrate Rozencwajg said Jakobsson had acted in a way that was disrespectful to Ms Lehane’s loved ones, but that bail was about risk.

Jakobsson breached bail because ‘he’s in love’

The 19-year-old has been staying with a relative in country Victoria.

A hearing last week was told Jakobsson had broken his curfew imposed by court after falling in love with a single mother.

The relative Jakobsson is living with gave evidence after reporting him to police over eight breaches, telling the court he had been out with his girlfriend and new friends.

“He’s in love, I know it’s not an excuse. Often I knew he was local and wouldn’t pose a threat,” she said.

“I thank God I went to the police because he’s had a real change of heart.”

The woman had to re-pledge she would immediately report any further breaches of bail.

Magistrate Rozencwajg said the family member had told the court “since the last hearing, [Jakobsson] has been a changed individual”.

He granted Jakobsson bail with more stringent conditions until his next court hearing in June.

From other news sites:

Herald Sun: Monkey bike death accused Caleb Jakobsson to stay on bail

Teen charged over fatal Carrum Downs mini-motorbike crash granted bail


By Karen Percy

Updated 20 Oct 2015, 4:45pm

A court sketch of Caleb Jakobsson, who has been granted bail. (Supplied)

Caleb Jakobsson court sketch

A teenager facing charges over the death of a mother of two who was fatally injured in a mini-motorbike crash in a Melbourne shopping centre has been granted bailed.

It is alleged Caleb Jakobsson was driving a mini-motorbike in the car park of the Carrum Downs complex when he struck Andrea Lehane.

Justice Phillip Priest imposed 14 conditions in granting bail.

He will be subject to a 10:00pm to 9:00am curfew, he has to report to police three times a week, and he cannot leave the state or the country.

He has also been banned from contacting the other teenagers charged in this case, including by social media, as well as being ordered to live with his relative, who cannot be identified because of a suppression order.

“It was a very close run thing that you got bail,” Justice Priest told the teenager.

The 18-year-old is due back in court in January.

Photo: Andrea Lehane pictured with her husband James. (Supplied: Andrea Lehane fund-raising page)


Mini-motorbike hit-and-run: Bail refused for teen charged over death of woman at Carrum Downs shopping centre

Updated 30 Sep 2015, 5:15pm
Related Story: Teen charged over mini-motorbike hit-and-run ‘unlikely’ to get bail: magistrate
An 18-year-old man charged over a mini-motorbike hit-and-run that killed a mother of two at Carrum Downs, in Melbourne’s south-east, has been refused bail in court.

Caleb Jakobsson, 18, faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court for a second day in a row, charged with culpable driving over the death of Andrea Lehane, 34, who was hit by a mini-motorcycle at a pedestrian crossing at a Carrum Downs shopping centre last Wednesday.

She died in hospital on Friday after suffering what her husband described as “unsurvivable” injuries.

Jakobsson was charged with culpable driving, failing to stop and render assistance, unlicensed driving and driving an unregistered vehicle.

A relative, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court that if Jakobsson were to be released on bail, he could live with her on a property in rural Victoria.

She told the court there would be plenty of opportunity for Jakobsson to be involved in volunteering, and he would have lots of support.

“We all want to help Caleb,” she said.

Photo: Andrea Lehane pictured with her husband James. (Supplied)

“We’re a tight family, everybody will get involved.”

But the prosecution argued Jakobsson posed an unacceptable risk of reoffending.

Magistrate Frank Holzer agreed, adding Jakobsson could face a lengthy prison sentence if found guilty of culpable driving.

Jakobsson will return to court next year.

Yesterday in court, police described the “chaotic” scenes at the pedestrian crossing in the aftermath of the crash, which was caught on CCTV.

Detective Senior Constable Leigh Miller said he thought Jakobsson was driving at 30 kilometres per hour in a 10kph zone.


 

 

Teen charged with hitting and killing mother-of-two with his mini-bike is granted bail AGAIN despite breaching his curfew eight times and being ‘insolent and disrespectful’ to her family

  • Caleb Jakobssen, 19, faced court in relation to a hit-and-run accident 
  • He was charged with a string of offences relating to a woman’s death
  • Andrea Lehane, 34, a mother of two, died after being hit by his motorcycle
  • Jakobssen has avoided being returned to custody after breaching bail
  • When granted bail in 2015  he was given a curfew between 10pm and 9am 

By Aneeta Bhole For Daily Mail Australia and Aap

Published: 16:29 EST, 16 May 2016 | Updated: 16:35 EST, 16 May 2016

A teenager charged with killing a mother-of-two with his mini-motorbike has been granted bail despite repeatedly breaching a court-imposed curfew and ‘acting disrespectfully’ toward his victim’s family.

Melbourne Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg once again granted Caleb Jakobsson, 19, bail at a hearing on Monday after prosecutors asked for it be revoked because of the curfew breaches.

The ruling came even though the magistrate said Jakobsson had ‘an attitude that can only be described as insolent’.

‘Not only have you breached your bail conditions but you do so in a way that is disrespectful to the family and loved ones of the deceased,’ Rozencwajg told the teenager.

Scroll down for video

Caleb Jakobsson (pictured), 19, accused of striking a mother-of-two with his mini-motorbike as she crossed a pedestrian crossing will avoid going back to custody despite breaching bail conditions

Jakobsson was first granted bail last year after being charged with culpable driving causing the death of nurse Andrea Lehane, 34, in September.

The teen is accused of striking Ms Lehane with his mini ‘monkey’ motorbike as she walked across a pedestrian crossing at a shopping centre in Carrum Downs – It’s alleged the teen then sped away.

The mother-of-two died on September 25 when her family turned off her life support after being told she wouldn’t survive her brain injuries.

When Jakobsson was granted bail, his conditions included a curfew between 10pm and 9am.

Prosecutors applied in April to have his bail revoked after it was revealed the teen had breached his curfew multiple times – and that the relative he is staying with had not immediately reported it to police.

Mr Jakobsson fronted the Melbourne Magistrates Court last month after the relative he was staying with, who cannot be identified, reported him to police for breaching his curfew.

At the April hearing, Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg added more conditions to Jakobsson’s (pictured) bail, including he attend court for regular reviews

Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg told Jakobsson that he would not not revoke the teens bail this time at a bail review hearing, but mentioned that Jakobsson had a an attitude that can only be described as ‘insolent’

At the April hearing, Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg added more conditions to Jakobsson’s bail, including he attend court for regular reviews.

The teen’s relative said she had failed to report Jakobsson’s breaches, despite giving an undertaking to the Supreme Court that she would, because she was trying to show mercy.

She said: ‘I didn’t think he was a threat. In every one of those instances he was somewhere local.’

Jakobsson is scheduled to attend a review in June before facing a committal hearing in July.

Andrea Lehane(left), 34, died on September 25 2015 leaving behind a son and daughter (right)

The 19-year-old (pictured) was granted bail last year with conditions that included a curfew between 10pm and 9am.  Prosecutors asked for Jakobssons bail to be revoked because he breached curfew eight times

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Former priest John Joseph Farrell jailed for at least 18 years over child sexual assaults


This is what the bloody church does, try to hide away filthy disgusting sexual offenders for years. BUT the time is up for the pathetic excuse, up until now known as Father F…Real name former priest John Joseph Farrell


‘Clear evidence’ of Catholic Church cover-up over Father ‘F’: former DPP director

Updated about an hour ago

The former director of the NSW Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) says there is “clear evidence” the Catholic Church covered up the crimes of a paedophile priest.

John Joseph Farrell, formerly Father “F” under a decades-old suppression order, was sentenced to a minimum 18 years’ jail after being found guilty of 62 counts of child sex abuse in Armidale in the 1980s.

Pressure is mounting on the DPP to investigate the Catholic Church over its role in the cover-up of Farrell’s crimes, with the possibility of further criminal prosecution of senior Catholic Church leaders.

Since 1990, it has been against the law to conceal serious offences under 316 of the Crimes Act.

“I think this is very clear evidence of continuing cover-up,” former DPP director Nicholas Cowdery said.

“I don’t see how you can get away from that.”

Farrell has offered to give evidence against senior Catholic leaders who have repeatedly denied covering up his child sex crimes.

In documents obtained by 7.30, Farrell insists he admitted to Reverend Monsignor Usher and Father Brian Lucas he sexually abused five boys between 1982 and 1984.

They have denied witnessing Farrell’s admission to child sex crimes.

Do you know more about this story? Email 7.30syd@your.abc.net.au

Farrell’s legal representative wrote to the Special Commission into Child Sex Abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in October 2013, saying Farrell offered to give evidence “contrary to the accounts given by Fathers Usher and Lucas”.

“Importantly, such evidence supports the proposition of a ‘cover-up’ and may provide evidence of offences such as misprision of a felony and the failing to disclose information concerning a serious offence,” the letter reads.

The confession

On September 3, 1992, Farrell was called to a meeting with senior Catholic church leaders in the in the presbytery of St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

Present were Father Wayne Peters (now deceased), Reverend Monsignor Usher and Father Lucas, now the national director of The Catholic Mission.

They have said Farrell admitted to “nothing specific” and that Farrell spoke about his “sexual fantasies”, according to the Whitlam Report into the affair, commissioned by the Parramatta and Armidale Diocese in 2012.

“Farrell said nothing on that occasion where he mentioned any names or any matters of child sexual abuse,” Reverend Monsignor Usher told 7.30.

A secret internal letter about the meeting sent in 1992, signed by Reverend Peters and addressed to the Bishop of Armidale, includes details of graphic sexual abuse inflicted upon five boys.

“Some of the boys involved may bring criminal charges against the Rev Farrell with subsequent grave harm to the priesthood and the church.”

Reverend Monsignor Usher disputes the letter’s version of events.

“He [Farrell] talked a lot about homosexuality or gayness but whatever Wayne Peters wrote did not come out of that meeting,” Reverend Monsignor Usher said.

“He may have had access to other information.”

‘Facts constitute serious indictable offences’

Mr Cowdery said it was in the public interest that clergyman that may have known about crimes, yet failed to report them to police, are referred to the DPP on the basis of Farrell’s testimony and the 1992 letter.

“In that letter, there is a very clear description of facts that would constitute serious indictable offences,” he said.

“That is, criminal offences that carry a penalty of five years’ imprisonment or more.”

Associate Professor David Hamer, a specialist in the law of evidence at the University of Sydney, said it is at the discretion of the DPP whether or not to prosecute.

“I’d imagine that someone senior in the NSW DPP would take a very close look at any charges that were laid in this case,” Associate Professor Hamer said.

Father Lucas has always maintained Farrell did not make any admission that required going to the police, and did not agree to an interview with 7.30.

NSW Police Strikeforce Glenroe, the DPP, the Sydney Archdiocese and the Bishop of Armidale have all been contacted for comment.


Victim of sexual abuse by Catholic priest felt ‘completely abandoned’ by church

 8 Apr 2016, 5:46pm

Victims of a former Catholic priest who sexually abused children in northern New South Wales in the 1980s have described the devastating impact of his crimes in statements read out in court.

John Joseph Farrell, 62, is awaiting sentencing for 62 offences involving 12 victims.

One victim said in his statement, which was read by his mother, the abuse was compounded by the fact that when he reported what happened to him, he was not believed.

“I felt completely abandoned by the institution I had put so much faith in,” his statement said.

The victim said he had enjoyed a happy childhood until the age of 11.

“When I met Farrell, all of that changed,” he said in his statement.

He said the Catholic Church merely protected Farrell.

The man also said it was no coincidence he started drinking after meeting Farrell.

He said he developed chronic alcoholism, never engaged in study or long-term employment and has had 20 different homes in the past 25 years.

Victim ‘never had a proper relationship’ after abuse

Another victim said that having to re-live the offences against him was traumatic.

“I have never been able to have a proper relationship because of what happened to me,” his statement said.

My experience with John Farrell was always present in my thoughts and never was I prepared to reveal that I was a victim.

Child sexual abuse victim

Another victim who was raped by Farrell was overcome with emotion as he was preparing to read out his victim impact statement in the witness box.

His partner stepped up to read the statement on his behalf.

In it, he said the abuse continues to cause him problems with intimacy.

“I feel unclean until I’ve showered [after sexual activity],” he said. “John Farrell has shown neither remorse nor regret for what he has done to me and others.”

Most of Farrell’s victims were altar boys in the Moree area, but three of the victims were girls.

A woman who was sexually abused by Farrell said in her statement that was submitted but not read to the court: “I naively assumed that God must have been okay with it.”

“My experience with John Farrell was always present in my thoughts and never was I prepared to reveal that I was a victim,” she said.


Convicted paedophile priest John Joseph Farrell given sentence of 29 years for 62 sex crimes

A former priest will got to jail following his conviction on 62 counts of abuse.

A PAEDOPHILE priest, who raped one of his victims on the church’s altar, has been sentenced to almost three decade behind bars.

At Sydney’s District Court on Monday Judge Peter Zahra said former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell “disregarded and took advantage” of his victims who he groomed over long periods of time.

Last month, Farrell was found guilty of 62 offences involving rapes and indecent assaults against three girls and nine boys over nearly a decade in the northern NSW towns of Moree and Tamworth.

As well as the 62 historical sexual crimes against children, a further 17 offences were taken into account when he was handed down a sentence of 29 years, with a non-parole period of 18 years.

He will not leave prison until 2033 at the earliest.

The disgraced ex-priest sat in the dock with his eyes closed as Judge Zahra told the courtroom how Farrell had assaulted his victims between 1979 and 1988.

Farrell was aware of, and exploited, the powerful position he held as a priest, the judge said.

Although some of Farrell’s crimes might have appeared to be spontaneous, they were in fact a result of the offender’s long-term grooming of the boys and girls which included gaining the trust of their parents, Judge Zahra continued.

At Farrell’s trial last month, the jury heard one of the victims, who was just 10 when the abuse began, was so trusting of the then-priest she convinced herself the assaults were “OK with God”.

The disabled victim, who can’t be identified, said in a statement tendered the court that the traumatising sexual abuse had continued throughout her teenage years.

“I naively assumed that God must have been OK with it,” she said.

Another of Farrell’s female victims would often try to escape when he visited her family home.

She would run to a friend’s house which led to her family becoming angry with her for being anti-social, she said in her victim impact statement.

“I kept the abuse quiet from my family as I was afraid of their reaction,” she said.

She told the court she had been robbed of her dream of having a husband and child.

“I have had plenty of boyfriends over the years but have always found sexual relations with them to be unpleasant,” she said.

“Although I made my body participate in the actions, my mind would remain detached.”

Before abusing the girls, Farrell had preyed on nine altar boys at Moree in the early 1980s.

He had raped one victim on the church’s altar and targeted others in a local swimming pool and during car trips to nearby parishes.

Many of those sitting in the public gallery of the courtroom wept as the sentence was handed down, while others clapped as the judge imposed a non-parole period of 18 years.

— with AAP


smh.com.au

Ex-Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell jailed for 29 years for child sex assaults

Emma Partridge

John Joseph Farrell during a previous hearing.John Joseph Farrell during a previous hearing. Photo: Barry Smith

Victims stood and clapped as one of the most notorious paedophile priests in NSW was sentenced to 29 years’ jail after committing 62 acts of child sex abuse in regional NSW.

Former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell, 62, sexually abused nine young altar boys and three girls between 1979 and 1988 in Moree, Armidale and Tamworth.

Victim Mark Boughton with his wife Belinda after former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell was sentenced to 29 years in ...Victim Mark Boughton with his wife Belinda after former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell was sentenced to 29 years in jail. Photo: Nick Moir

Farrell, also known as “Father F”, committed 27 acts of sexual assault, 48 acts of indecent assault and four acts of indecency.

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The “predatory” former priest was sentenced to a maximum of 29 years but a minimum of 18 years at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Monday.

He closed his eyes and showed no emotion during the three hour sentencing.

Victim Mark Boughton outside court.

Victim Mark Boughton outside court. Photo: Nick Moir

One of the people who clapped and cried was victim Mark Boughton and his wife, Belinda.

Outside court he said he hoped the outcome would allow himself and other victims to “have a life”.

“I’m very happy with the outcome; maybe it might show everyone else that they can stand up do the right thing and get these so called people off the street,” Mr Boughton said.

“Hopefully, everyone can get on, move on, have a life,” he said.

“Justice is served – he got what he wanted or what he needed, preying on kids. It’s not on – hopefully the world knows that now.”

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Peter Zahra spoke of how Farrell groomed many of his victims and exploited his position as a priest.

“The offender admitted he had a great deal of influence over the altar boys and he abused that position,” Judge Zahra said.

Judge Zahra said the offender, “disregarded and took advantage of the vulnerability of the child victims”.

“In relation to the altar boy victims, the offender knew there would be continuing opportunity because of the relationships he had developed with the victims and their parents.

“The offender created situations where he was confident he would not be detected even where his sexual abuse was, at times brazen in the extreme.”

During the trial, Crown prosecutor Bryan Rowe outlined a series of incidents in which Farrell groped, molested, raped or forced oral sex on the altar boys.

One altar boy who was indecently assaulted in a Moree swimming pool and later raped in the presbytery said, “It was the worst memory of [my] life.”

The victim went to report the sexual abuse to police in 2012 after viewing a Four Corners program.

He said he felt “embarrassed” and “ashamed” and said he hadn’t come forward earlier because “back in 1982 no one would have believed my words against a priest”.

Another victim had told the court that he was forced to perform oral sex on Farrell in a cellar when he was aged 10 or 11.

He said he told one of the brothers that he had been “hurt”.

Someone told him “they would sort it out” so the victim felt safe when he went back to church the following day.

But Farrell pulled his pants down at the altar and raped him.

“It felt like hours,” the victim said.

He said Farrell had threatened to kill him and his family if he told anyone about what had happened.

The former priest also molested three young girls. On one occasion he fondled the vagina of a little girl while she was at the dinner table with her family.

“The offender continued this conduct throughout the course of the meal during which he was engaging in conversation with other members of the family at the table,” Judge Zahra said.

Another victim, who was aged between nine and 11, was in Farrell’s bedroom at the presbytery when he was sexually assaulted with a toothbrush.

“I just want you to tell me if this hurts” or “how does this feel”, Farrell said at the time.

The victim cried and screamed out in pain.

Farrell was not suspended from public ministry until 1992.

His jail term will expire in 2044 but he will be eligible for parole in June 2033.


 

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.


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