News in 5: 7-yo dies hours after falling ill; School car crash driver charged; Postal survey closes.

1. Seven-year-old Summer was on holiday with her family in Perth when she fell fatally ill with pneumonia.

Seven-year-old Summer Griffiths had flown to Western Australia with her mum and stepfather from Melbourne for a fun, family holiday.

But in the early hours of Sunday morning, Summer fell ill with a cough and a raised temperature, The West Australian reports.

When her parents noticed she was having difficulty breathing, they rushed her to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. Summer was placed in an induced coma. She died just hours later.

Summer – who dreamed of one day becoming a nurse – had contracted an aggressive form of pneumonia and had quickly entered her bloodstream and could not be treated.

“Doctors said the bacteria was super aggressive,” Summer’s mother, Ashleigh Griffiths, told The West Australian.

“Eventually her heart gave out.

“I’m still a bit numb right now. I honestly can’t believe I’m not getting my baby girl back.”

Ashleigh posted a tribute to her “little boofhead” who “never woke up without a smile” on Facebook, writing, “Mummy loves you always and forever.”

The family are now raising funds to transport the little girl’s body back to Melbourne. A GoFundMe page started by a friend of the family, Rachel Kenny, has raised more than $20,000 in just 24 hours.

“I know Summer is watching over all of us and would be very proud of how much love you are showing,” Rachel wrote.

“This money will help in more ways then you all can imagine.”


2. The driver of the car that crashed into a Sydney school, killing two students, has been charged.

The 52-year-old woman who was behind the wheel of a car that crashed into a weatherboard building at Banksia Road Primary School in Greenacre yesterday morning has been charged, AAP reports.

Two young boys, both just eight years old, were killed when the Toyota Kluger crashed into the building that was housing a class of 24 students aged between 7 and 11 around 9:45am.

Five students were hospitalised and the two boys died in hospital of “multiple traumas”, police said at the time.

The woman has since been charged with two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death and one count of negligent driving occasioning death.

Her licence was suspended and she was granted conditional bail ahead of an appearance at Bankstown Local Court on November 29.

The school will be open today, with extra support from counsellors for any student who wishes to attend, staff said on the school’s Facebook page.

Parents and students left flowers at the school gates following the accident and a brief vigil was held in the evening, including a minute of silence to remember the victims

3. More than 12.6 millions Aussies have had their say on same-sex marriage as the postal vote comes to a close.


Australians have had their say in the same-sex marriage debate, with more than 12.6 million ballots received before the survey officially closed.

According to the latest estimate, 78.5 per cent of eligible voters had returned a ballot as of Friday, AAP reports.

Same-sex marriage advocates on Tuesday issued a public call for anyone who’d left it until the last minute to hand-deliver their vote by the 4.30pm cut-off.

“We are grateful for the amount of Australians who have participated in this process,” equality campaign Alex Greenwich told reporters outside the Australian Bureau of Statistics office in Sydney.

“A strong majority of Australians support a fair go for all and want everybody to be able to marry the person that they love in the country that they love.”

City of Sydney councillor Christine Forster, the sister of former prime minister and outspoken ‘no’ vote advocate Tony Abbott, said the signs were looking positive.

“All the signs are really positive; the high turnout, exit polling and that would really be a seminal national moment for Australia; it will be a unifying moment,” she said.

In a new Essential Poll of 1792 people, published in The Guardian on Tuesday, 64 per cent of respondents said they had ticked the ‘yes’ box.

Thirty-one per cent were ‘no’ voters and five per cent declined to answer.

The ABS will now devote its resources to counting the ballots before the result is announced and published on its website on November 15.

4. Racehorse Regal Monarch has been put down following a horror Melbourne Cup fall.


Regal Monarch, the horse that fell during race four on Melbourne Cup day, has been euthanised.

The horse was taken to Werribee Veterinary Hospital after the fall at Flemington on Tuesday, but could not be saved, said Racing Victoria’s chief vet Grace Forbes, according to AAP.

“It is with sadness that we can confirm that the horse has been humanely euthanised on veterinary advice as a result of the injuries sustained,” she said.

“Our sympathies are extended at this time to the owners of Regal Monarch, trainer Chris Waller, and his staff who cared deeply for their horse and are naturally devastated by their loss.”

Jockey Joao Moreira was cleared of serious injury but was unable to ride in the main race.

Activist groups including the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses are outraged, demanding reforms in the industry.

“It’s time for the racing industry to ban the whip and phase out two-year-old racing so that racehorses aren’t overworked and over-exerted,” Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses campiagn director Elio Celotto said in a statement.

5. Pauline Hanson had a bizarre response when asked whether or not she is a dual citizen.


One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has denied she is a dual citizen but says she has not checked with Britain’s Home Office.

Responding to rising speculation she was British, Senator Hanson says both her parents were born in Australia although she did have English grandparents on one side of her family.

“I can assure everyone I am not eligible for British citizenship,” she said in Gladstone during a regional blitz in the Queensland election campaign.

Senator Hanson reportedly told Woman’s Day magazine in February 2010 she was relocating to Britain where she could hold dual citizenship.

When asked by a journalist on Tuesday whether she had checked her eligibility with the British Home Office she said: “Honey you know what, I’ll leave it up to you to do it on my behalf.”

“I have nothing to answer to, I clear section 44 of the Australian constitution.

“I know what the laws are in England.”

Last month the High Court ruled five federal politicians, including deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, held dual citizenship and were therefore ineligible to remain in parliament.

Liberal backbencher John Alexander was this week caught up in the scandal after it was revealed he may hold British citizenship by descent.

Senator Hanson said she supported Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s call for all parliamentarians to prove they were not dual citizens.

“I’m quite happy to present my paperwork of what’s required,” she said.

6. Teen with “unnatural interest” in death sentenced to 21 years behind bars for the stabbing death of her own grandfather.


A young Queensland woman, with an “unnatural interest” in seeing people die, has been jailed for at least 21 years for the stabbing murder of her grandfather amid a plot to steal his life savings, AAP reports.

Brittney Jade Dwyer stabbed 81-year-old Robert Whitwell four times, then paused to do the dishes, as she waited for him to die at his Adelaide home.

Just 19 at the time, she had driven to Adelaide from Brisbane with her 21-year-old friend Bernadette Burns in August last year with the intention of robbing her grandfather of more than $100,000 he kept stashed in his backyard shed.

The pair pleaded guilty to murder, with Burns jailed for at least 13 years and six months for her part in the killing.

Sentencing the women in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Justice Kevin Nicholson described Dwyer’s offending as evil and abhorrent and she remained a danger to the community.

The judge said she was motivated by greed and an “unnatural interest with violence and with seeing people die”.

“This murder was brutal, callous, cold-blooded and dispassionately planned,” he said.

When they arrived in Adelaide in February, the killers went to Mr Whitwell’s northern suburbs home.

Mr Whitwell’s body was found slumped in a chair three days later.

Justice Nicholson detailed Dwyer’s problems with drug and alcohol abuse and said she had been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder along with anti-social traits and problems with rage.

He said the killing was a tragedy on two fronts.

“The very same people who have been badly damaged by the sudden and violent end to the life of Mr Whitwell are simply shattered by the fact that it was such a close member of the family, you Miss Dwyer, who so callously and brutally murdered him,” he said.