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Thursday afternoon's news in under five minutes.

1. Police hunting for a man who brutally assaulted a Batemans Bay woman.

New South Wales Police are continuing the search for a man who brutally attacked and sexually assaulted a 37-year-old woman in Batemans Bay last month.

The Daily Mail reports that the woman was knocked unconscious and raped in a public toilet , while her six-year-old daughter hid in a neighbouring cubicle.

NSW Police have posted an image online of the hat worn by the man and renewed calls for anyone with information to come forward:

“The man police are looking for is described as being about 175cm tall with a medium build, a rounded stomach and an olive complexion,” they said in a statement released this afternoon.

“He was wearing a distinctive baseball cap which was tattered and a faded blue colour. The front brim was worn through to reveal a dark blue underneath, while the material on the top of the cap had also worn to reveal a top button.

“He was also wearing a grubby white T-shirt, shorts and dirty white sneakers. The woman reported he also had a strong body odour and bad breath, and smelt of cigarettes and alcohol.”

The hat believed to belong to the attacker.

Detective Sergeant Nick Sprowles from the Sex Crime Command described the attack as “a brutal crime with extreme violence”.

A local resident, who was interviewed by Daily Mail Australia, said she was “shocked” by the attack

“We have never heard of something like this happening before. No one knows what happened, no one saw a thing,” she said.

“We never expected anything like that in the day time.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward – particularly anyone who was in the area at the time of the attack, as well as anyone who might have seen a man fitting the description in the area in recent months.

Due to a phone fault at Batemans Bay Police Station in late November, police are also appealing for anyone who was unsuccessful in contacting the station after the first media appeal to call again.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

2. Alleged Tinder killer apparently defends himself in online forum

A person claiming to be alleged murderer Gable Tostee has taken to an internet body building forum to protest his innocence and blasts the media’s coverage of the alleged crime.

The 28-year-old is out on bail accused of murdering New Zealand tourist Warriena Wright, 26, who fell 14 stories from the balcony of a Gold Coast apartment after meeting up with Tostee who she connected with on dating app Tinder.

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 Gable Tostee

The post, which is a whopping 2334-words long includes images, apparently taken inside Tostee’s apartment and an audio recording.

In the post, a person purporting to be Tostee describes Wright’s death as a “tragic and distressing event” that had left him “permanently scarred”.

“So far I’ve been silent about the whole thing which has left my hands tied while so many misconceptions and untruths are being circulated in the media and in the public,” the author  says.

“This has been extraordinarily difficult, and I have grown to believe my silence may have done more harm than good.”

3. Government “failed in its duty” to protect Reza Berati, Senate enquiry finds.

The violence at the Manus Island detention centre in February that resulted in the death of an Iranian asylum seeker was “eminently foreseeable” according to a Senate committee report.

The committee, dominated by Labor and Greens senators, recommended the Government pay compensation to the victims, although that has been rejected by Coalition MPs on the committee.

The Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee today released its report into the incidents that led to the death of 23-year-old Iranian man Reza Barati.

Around 70 asylum seekers were injured, some seriously, in what the Government described as a “disturbance” on Manus Island.

The committee blamed the vexed process for assessing asylum claims and a “massive influx” of single adult males to the centre after Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd announced the offshore-resettlement policy.

A version of this story was originally published on ABC and has been republished with full permission 

4. Is this the most expensive photograph of all time?

Australian-born fine art photographer Peter Lik has made history by selling his photograph, Phantom, for $7.8 million – setting a world record.

The most expensive photograph of all time was taken at one of Lik’s favourite places to shoot, in the south-western region of the United States.

Phantom, a black-and-white depiction of a ghostlike figure, was taken in Arizona’s Antelope Canyon and sold to a private collector.

“The purpose of all my photos is to capture the power of nature and convey it in a way that inspires someone to feel passionate and connected to the image,” Lik said.

A version of this story was originally published on ABC and has been republished with full permission 

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