A 23yo Victorian court clerk died suddenly just weeks after her relationship with a 68yo magistrate became public, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. A 23yo Victorian court clerk has died suddenly just weeks after her relationship with a 68yo magistrate became public.

A court clerk has died after being struck by a car in country Victoria, days after her relationship with a 68-year-old magistrate was reported.

Mirboo North woman Ashleigh Petrie, 23, became engaged to grandfather-of-eight Rod Higgins in September during a 10-day holiday to Fiji.

She was struck and killed by a car about 1am on Monday morning in Metung in East Gippsland.

Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court, where Petrie and Higgins worked, cancelled all hearings yesterday after co-workers learned of the news, reported.

Her sudden death has come as a shock to friends, family and co-workers and Petrie’s social media has been flooded with messages since her death was announced.


View this post on Instagram


Never get sick of this amazing man ❤️

A post shared by Ashleigh Petrie (@ashleighpetrie) on

It was just over a month ago that Petrie shared happy photos from her and Higgins’ holiday to Fiji, where they got engaged after six months together.

“It started with a crush and now I have a ring on my finger. The love of my life asked me to marry him and I said YESSSS,” she wrote.

Ms Petrie and Mr Higgins’ romance moved from private joy to a public controversy after a Victorian Liberal MP called for an investigation by the Judicial Commission of Victoria.


Shadow attorney-general Edward O’Donohue questioned the magistrate’s “capacity to perform his judicial duties” in light of his love life with a colleague, but Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said the relationship broke no rules.

“Recent media attention given to Magistrate Higgins’ relationship with a court clerk, now his fiancée, including alleged influence over his judicial decision-making, raises serious questions about his independence,” O’Donohue wrote in a letter to the Commission, The Age reported.

“Judicial officers hold a very high and important office within the Victorian community and the standards of conduct and integrity to which they are held, are so much higher.”

Higgins is father to three daughters and also a grandfather. He was appointed to the bench in 2017, The Herald Sun reported.

Anyone needing support is urged to contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

2. A teacher has been stabbed by an 11-year-old female student at a Queensland primary school.

An 11-year-old girl has been arrested for allegedly stabbing a teacher at a Queensland primary school.

Police tasered the girl at the school at Heatley, in Townsville, just before midday before taking her into custody.

They say they found her inside the school grounds armed with a knife after responding to reports of a student stabbing a female teacher.

Senior Sergeant Scot Warrick said the girl received immediate medical attention after she was subdued by officers.

“The student was brought under control in a safe manner as quickly as possible, immediate first aid was provided,” he told the ABC.


The teacher, 56, suffered a small non-life-threatening wound to the back of her shoulder and was transported to Townsville Hospital as a precaution.

Sen Sgt Warrick said the knife had been described to him as “a small paring knife”.

Police are now interviewing the 11-year-old girl.

3. Seven Queensland corrections staff set to face court accused of criminal charges ranging from misconduct to assault.

Seven Queensland police guards will face court accused of criminal charges ranging from misconduct to assault following an investigation into alleged corruption at Capricornia Correctional Centre.

The Crime and Corruption Commission says the charges follow recommendations in its Taskforce Flaxton report to address corruption and corruption risks in Queensland corrective services facilities.

The seven are expected to appear in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on November 25, to face a total of 12 charges linked to the northern jail.

A Custodial Corrections Supervisor and a prison guard each face three counts of misconduct in relation to public office. Another corrections officer will face two counts of that same charge.

Two officers were charged with one count each of the misconduct charge.

One officer was also charged with disclosing a confidential notice which relates to a CCC hearing.

The seventh officer was charged with common assault.

The Crime and Corruption Commission handed down its Taskforce Flaxton report last December highlighting excessive use of force, misuse of authority, inappropriate relationships and contraband.


The Queensland government has since agreed to support 33 recommendations of a the scathing report that found the state’s prison system was rife with overcrowding and corruption.

4. A Sydney doctor has admitted to harassing her ex-Tinder date.

A scorned Sydney doctor accused of sending thousands of messages to her former Tinder date and his loved ones has pleaded guilty to four harassment-related offences.

Denise Jane Lee was due to face a five-day hearing in the Downing Centre Local Court on Monday, but admitted four of 10 charges after hours of negotiations between her lawyer and the prosecutor.

The 40-year-old radiologist, who was arrested in February 2017, pleaded guilty to three counts of using a carriage service to harass or menace or offend and one count of intimidation.

Police prosecutor Amin Assaad withdrew the remaining six charges of using a carriage service, intimidation and contravening an AVO.

Lee was accused of becoming obsessive and sending thousands of abusive and threatening texts and emails to Matthew Holberton, his new girlfriend and their family members.

Police previously alleged Lee and Mr Holberton had four dinner dates between July and September 2015 and two sexual encounters before he broke off the relationship and moved to Melbourne.

Magistrate Michael Barko earlier in October refused a defence application for the charges to be dismissed on mental health grounds.

He referred to five volumes of folders containing the 9000 messages said to have been sent by Lee.


The parties told the magistrate on Monday they will now prepare an agreed statement of facts.

Mr Barko adjourned the case for a directions hearing on Tuesday.

5. Man may be charged for WA kookaburra death.

A man who tore the head off a kookaburra at a Perth pub in front of horrified children may still face prosecution.

The man, believed to be aged in his 40s, was at the Parkerville Tavern when he allegedly grabbed the kookaburra – known as Kevin – and pulled the bird’s head off then threw it under the table.

Kevin was known for cheekily stealing food from pub patrons.

An RSPCA spokeswoman told AAP the organisation had not given up possibly pursuing the man but said the Act was unclear.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan has vowed to examine legal avenues surrounding native wildlife protection – depending on the exact species – saying the man’s actions were “pretty disgusting” and everyone was “rightly appalled”.

“We are now checking with the department whether or not this can be characterised as an act of animal cruelty,” she told reporters on Monday.

Ms MacTiernan said if the case had exposed a legal loophole, it could lead to changes to the Animal Welfare Act, which was currently under review.

“Quite clearly we need a law that would stop that appalling behaviour happening,” she said.

In a social media post that has since been deleted, the pub said they were “in disbelief about the barbaric attack on one of nature’s gifts”.