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

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.


 

Mother confesses to murder of her daughter Sanaya Sahib


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

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


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

5.01pm MOTHER CHARGED WITH MURDER

Post mortem reveals Sanaya Sahib was smothered


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanaya Sahib. Picture: Facebook

Sanaya Sahib. Picture: Facebook Source:Supplied

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

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

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

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

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

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

She is said to be “hysterical”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—additional reporting: AAP


Update 10am 11/04/16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No charges have been laid over Sanaya’s death.

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

Any witnesses have been urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

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

ANTHONY GALLOWAY AND DAVID HURLEY Herald Sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EARLIER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We just don’t know what to do.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We are shaken up over the situation.

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

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

“They support each other,” Ms Smith said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

andrea.hamblin@news.com.au


 

12.16pm 10/04/16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I was hoping she was alive.”

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

From other news sites:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Update 17th March 2016

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

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

Key points:

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Madafferi vehemently denied the allegation.

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

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

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

Accusations against Madafferi ‘fanciful’: lawyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acquaro’s former client ‘furious’ over trial result

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

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

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

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


 

 Gangland Lawyer dead

Joe Acquaro found dead on footpath in Brunswick East

Mark Buttler, Anthony Dowsley and Anthony Galloway Herald Sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

Young lawyer Joseph Acquaro outside court in 1995.

Young lawyer Joseph Acquaro outside court in 1995.

Mr Acquaro was a former lawyer of Francesco Madafferi.

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

 

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

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

Francesco Madafferi.

Francesco Madafferi. Source: News Limited

Rocco Arico.

Rocco Arico. Source: News Corp Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homicide squad detectives remain at the scene.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mark.buttler@news.com.au


 

abc.net.au

Melbourne gangland lawyer shot dead in ‘targeted attack’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Detective Inspector Hughes believed it was a targeted attack.

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

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

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

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

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

Gelobar was damaged by a suspicious fire two months ago.

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

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

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

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


 

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

March 15, 2016 – 11:59AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gelobar was severely damaged in a suspicious fire in January.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The street was reopened about 12.50pm.

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

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

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

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

– With Marissa Calligeros

The Great Bookie Robbery took place in 1976


Defence barrister Philip Dunn on Australia’s most notorious robbery

The Victoria Club in Queen Street where the Great Bookie Robbery took place in 1976.

Olivia Lambert news.com.au

IT WAS a crime of greed, maybe even one of revenge.

But it was one that was planned for months and pulled off so meticulously, nobody was ever convicted.

The Great Bookie Robbery is one of Australia’s most notorious crimes, where six bandits filled totes with millions of dollars in just minutes. It was even the basis for a 1986 television miniseries.

Still nobody knows what happened. The money was never found and the thieves either disappeared or were killed.

The closest this crime got to being solved was the arrest of bandit Norman Lee, the only gang member to face court over the robbery — but he was acquitted.

It’s been 40 years since the brazen crime and Lee’s solicitor at the time, defence barrister Philip Dunn, QC, reveals what he knows, what questions still remain and his sneaking regard for their bold heist.

THE CRIME

It was autumn in Melbourne, April 1976. The city was no doubt windy and cold with amber leaves cluttering the gutters.

Six men gathered a couple of weeks before Easter and plotted to steal from bookies who were sorting money to give to punters.

“The men who executed it were not only experts in their particular trades, but brave and bold in what they did,” Mr Dunn said.

It was in the days when bookmakers did all their business in cash at the Victoria Club on Queen Street. Bookies would secure their money on the third floor of the Victoria Club before it was picked up by the National Bank. It was a prime opportunity to steal.

In the weeks prior to the robbery, one of the bandits bypassed the club’s security system and removed a number of bolts from the fire escape access door.

He cut them in half and lightly glued them back together, so the bandits could just push the door to gain entry to the building later on.

Six weeks prior to the robbery, they tampered with the elevators so they would continuously jam and get stuck between floors.

Nobody would be able to go up or down the lift while these men committed their third-floor robbery.

It was April 21, the day they finally pulled off the heist.

They hid while waiting for the Armaguard truck to deliver the cash to the building.

“The truck actually got a flat tyre on the way and they were 15 minutes late,” Mr Dunn said. “The bandits were actually very bold and brave because they were waiting, ready to go, and the truck didn’t come.”

Once the money was delivered, the bandits stormed the building. They were masked and some were armed with M60 machine-guns.

A scene from a TV miniseries based on the robbery.

A scene from a TV miniseries based on the robbery.Source:Supplied

“They made a lot of noise and made people lie on the floor, there were more than 100 people in the building when they raided it,” Mr Dunn said.

“There was little conversation but there was one thing said that gave people a clue about who they were.”

Among the hostages was prize fighter Ambrose Palmer and while the bandits were yelling at everybody to get down, one turned to Palmer and said “that means you Ambrose”.

“That meant the bandit was either from Melbourne or he was a person who went to the fights,” Mr Dunn said.

In less than 10 minutes they had escaped with millions of dollars.

The exact amount stolen was never known, but it has been said it could have been as much as $15 million.

Lee was the only person arrested after he used new bank notes that had only been delivered to the bookie club.

In the end, however, there wasn’t enough evidence and police could not prove a link between the robbery and the fact Lee was in possession of the notes.

“It didn’t mean he did it, it just meant he had the money,” Mr Dunn said. “He was pretty bold, when police went to the dim sim factory where he worked they wanted to look at the safe but he refused.

“The police got a safe cracker and cut it open and when they opened it nothing was inside. He was just one of those blokes who didn’t want to help.”

Police display guns used in the robbery at Victorian Club, Queen Street.

Police display guns used in the robbery at Victorian Club, Queen Street.Source:News Limited

THE RUMOURS

Nobody quite knows how the gang, Raymond “Chuck” Bennett, Norman Lee, Ian Carroll, Laurence Prendergast and Brian and Leslie Kane, smuggled the money out of the Victoria Club.

Mr Dunn said he heard two stories about what happened to the millions.

“One is that money was removed in a laundry van,” he said. “The other, I heard they actually rented another office in the building and moved the money upstairs and left it there for several weeks, but who knows? They were smart guys.”

Despite defending Lee during his court case, Mr Dunn said he was airtight about what happened.

“Norman Lee wouldn’t have told a priest in confession what happened,” he said. “That’s how it was in those days.”

Lee’s parents made dim sims and spring rolls and there was a rumour among those in the underworld that several people who went missing, were put through Lee’s dim sim machine and later eaten by those who attended the footy.

“That’s part of the rumour mill in Melbourne’s underworld,” Mr Dunn said.

Over the years there have also been many rumours about what the gang did with the money they stole.

“Some said a couple of bandits went to Manila and opened up some bars there,” he said. “Others believed some of the money was wisely invested.”

Norman Leung Lee, a member of the gang who committed the Great Bookie Robbery. Picture: Kaine Pinder

Norman Leung Lee, a member of the gang who committed the Great Bookie Robbery. Picture: Kaine Pinder Source:News Limited

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Lee was shot dead in another brazen robbery at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne in 1992.

He was trying to intercept millions of dollars being transported. He was killed by police during a shootout.

Leslie was allegedly killed in 1978 by Bennett, the mastermind behind the Great Bookie Robbery. Bennett was accused, but later acquitted.

Bennett was then believed to have been shot by Leslie’s brother Brian — the other Kane bandit involved in the bookie robbery — in 1979 outside a Melbourne courthouse.

Brian was shot by two masked men while at his local drinking spot, the Quarry Hotel, in 1982. Carroll was also shot dead in 1983.

Nobody knows what happened to Prendergast, he went missing in 1985 and has never been found.

“He could be an old man now sitting in front of a radiator in winter having chicken soup,” Mr Dunn said. “There are few people who can reminisce about the good old days.”

Ian Carroll, believed to have taken part in the Great Bookie Robbery, was murdered in 1983.

Ian Carroll, believed to have taken part in the Great Bookie Robbery, was murdered in 1983.Source:News Limited

Brian Kane was shot dead by two masked men at the Quarry Hotel.

Brian Kane was shot dead by two masked men at the Quarry Hotel.Source:News Limited

‘THEY PLANNED IT LIKE A HEIST MOVIE’

“Those were the days when crime was crime,” Mr Dunn said. “They were bandits and not drug addicts.”

As an older criminal barrister, Mr Dunn said he looked at those days and in a funny way, had a sneaking regard for those old-fashioned villains who didn’t just rely on drugs or guns.

“They plotted and planned their activity like a heist movie.”

Being one of the most notorious crimes in Australia’s history, Mr Dunn said nobody had come close to pulling off something of the same scale. But he said it was a lot harder to catch crims back then.

“In those days the underworld had a code of silence,” he said. “These days, drug addicts will snitch on one another as soon as a policeman says boo.

“Law enforcement also uses a variety of modern technology now to track people’s movements and find out what they are doing. That was never possible 40 years ago.”

Despite being Lee’s solicitor, Mr Dunn said he doesn’t really remember him as a person.

“I remember him as an old-fashioned crim who wouldn’t betray anybody and wouldn’t say much of anything to anybody and lived in code of the underworld as it then was,” he said.

Defence Barrister Philip Dunn, QC, represented Norman Lee during the Great Bookie Robbery trial. Picture: Rob Baird

Defence Barrister Philip Dunn, QC, represented Norman Lee during the Great Bookie Robbery trial. Picture: Rob Baird Source:News Limited


Former top Vic Lib Damien Mantach charged over $1.5m taken from party


 Updated 18/11/15 2.30pm

Not the first time either…. he had a go at making some extra bucks in the apple isle of Tassie too a while back and was moved on…mmm just like those priests who have rumours made about them tongue in cheek)

Former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach.

Former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach.

Former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach has been charged with 44 counts of obtaining financial advantage totalling about $1.5 million.

In August, Mantach was accused of embezzling election campaign funds, with the money alleged to have vanished over four years to fund his lifestyle.

An audit of the party’s finances after last year’s state election loss uncovered unauthorised financial transactions, with money missing from both state and federal campaign funds.

Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad were called in to investigate.

Police said a 42-year-old man from Ocean Grove is to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court this afternoon.


Victoria Police investigate Liberal Party state director over embezzlement claims worth $1.5m

Updated 20 Aug 2015, 7:27pm

The police fraud squad is investigating allegations former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach embezzled around $1.5 million of election campaign funds.

The money is alleged to have vanished over four years to fund Mr Mantach’s lifestyle.

An audit of the party’s finances after last year’s state election loss uncovered unauthorised financial transactions linked to Mr Mantach, with money missing from both state and federal campaign funds.

The Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad has been called in to investigate.

Liberal Party president Michael Kroger said Mr Mantach had admitted to wrongdoing.

“We feel profoundly betrayed and terribly disappointed with what’s happened,” Mr Kroger said.

Key points:

  • Liberal Party accuses former state director of embezzling $1.5m
  • Alleged theft happened over four years
  • Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad called in to investigate
  • Party believes Mantach took the money to fund his lifestyle

He said the party believed Mr Mantach had acted alone.

“We’re not aware that anyone at the party head office or any officials had any involvement at all,” he said.

It also emerged that Mr Mantach repaid tens of thousands of dollars during his time as state director of the Tasmanian branch.

In a letter to members posted on Facebook, Tasmanian Liberal president Geoff Page said in March 2008 that when he left the role, Mr Mantach fully repaid a liability of nearly $48,000 for personal expenses.

Mr Page said the division considered the matter closed and had robust internal financial processes.

Mr Kroger said he did not believe the missing money influenced the 2014 election result, or that it would affect the next federal election.

Liberal leader Matthew Guy said the party was furious at what he called a “pretty basic effort at embezzlement”.

“We want our money back,” he said.

“We want this matter sent to the police and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that justice is done.

“I saw someone making a comment that we’re white hot with anger, that’s just the start of it.”

Mr Kroger said the missing money was confined to the party’s Victorian division and he was confident some of it could be recovered through assets bought with the funds.

Mr Kroger conceded the Liberal Party had failed to properly monitor spending.

“Obviously it should have been picked up years ago — it wasn’t,” he said.

Former premier Denis Napthine, who led the party during last year’s campaign, said he was surprised and bitterly disappointed by the allegations.

The party’s administrative committee met this morning to discuss how to deal with the missing money.

Mr Mantach has been contacted for comment.


 

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