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Parents who lost three-month-old baby in Bourke St attack describe the haunting day, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. ‘I watched his little chest stop moving.’ Parents who lost three-month-old baby in Bourke St attack relive the tragic day.


The father of a baby boy killed in Melbourne’s Bourke Street rampage has described listening to his final heartbeats and “trying desperately to hold onto the moment”.

Three-month-old Zachary Bryant was in a pram with his big sister Zara when James Gargasoulas, now 29, drove his car along footpaths and through a busy pedestrian mall while in a drug-induced psychosis on January 20, 2017.

He killed six people and injured dozens more.

Zachary and Zara were thrown from the pram, which became wedged in the smashed windscreen of a stolen car driven by Gargasoulas.

Zara survived despite suffering serious head injures, but Zachary died in hospital.

On his way to be by their side, dad Matthew had no idea of their condition.

“At that point all I could do was pray, pray for some kind of miracle that they would pull through, but in my heart I already knew my son had already left us,” Mr Bryant told a plea hearing for Gargasoulas in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday.

“I held him for the last time, trying desperately to hold onto the moment, not wanting to let go.”

After his life support was turned off, the next time Mr Bryant and wife Nawwar Hassan-Bryant saw their baby son, he was “freezing cold” before his burial.

“When Zachary left us, I felt a part of me die with him,” Mr Bryant said.

“I feel a constant guilt and failure that I was not there to protect my son and daughter.”

Ms Hassan-Bryant described Zachary as a “gentle and calm soul who was always so easy to please”, and who they’d welcomed to the world only months earlier.

“My Zachary was gone,” she said. “My beautiful, innocent, perfect baby was gone. I watched his little chest stop moving as he lay in my arms. He was still just perfect.”

Their statements were two of about 50 that were read or tendered in court this week before Gargasoulas is sentenced.

Melinda Tan, the wife of victim Matthew Si, 33, told the court Gargasoulas was a coward.

“I wear the label of a widow and you of a murderer,” she said to the killer.

“May you suffer the consequences of your actions and live in eternal fear.”

Melinda Cleland was in the city to meet a friend for lunch when she was bounced off a concrete wall during the attack.

She said she had a “split second” to decide what to do to save her life.

“I often wish I had no memory of the event,” she said, adding she remembers “every sickening moment” and suffers flashbacks.

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“(I remember) the sound of my bones crunching inside me as I bounced off a concrete wall,” she said.

“I have physical injuries that remind me daily that life has changed.”

Gargasoulas previously pleaded not guilty to killing Zachary, Mr Si, Yosuke Kanno, 25, Bhavita Patel, 33, Jess Mudie, 22, and Tahlia Hakin, 10, but was found guilty by a jury.

Gargasoulas’ barrister Theo Alexander previously submitted that his client’s moral culpability should be reduced because of his mental illness and that he should one day have the opportunity for parole.

The plea hearing continues on Thursday.

Anyone needing support is urged to contact beyondblue (1800 22 4636) or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

2. Rafael Nadal announces engagement to long-term girlfriend Xisca Perello.

After 14 years together, Rafael Nadal has revealed he finally popped the question to his girlfriend Xisca Perello.

They are planning to marry on the Spanish island of Mallorca, where Nadal was born and lives, later this year.

According to Hello! magazine, the 32-year-old tennis legend proposed to Perello in May 2018 during a trip to Rome, but the pair are only making it public now.

Insurance worker Perello is not often seen at Nadal’s matches, but she recently joined him at the Australian Open for just the second time since they began dating in 2005.

Perello is notoriously private. In one of her only interviews, she told the Telegraph in 2011 that she chooses not to attend most of his matches as she is concerned about disrupting his focus.

“He needs his space when he is competing, and just the idea of me hanging around and waiting on his needs all day tires me out.

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“It would asphyxiate me. And then he would have to be worrying about me… No. If I followed him everywhere, I think there’s a risk we might stop getting along.”

Nadal has previously said he would love to have children: “Obviously, I have the intention of forming a family. I love children and I would like my children to do what they like,” he told Hello!

3. My Health Record opt-out deadline lands.

Millions of Australians will soon have an electronic health record created for them, if they haven’t already got one or told the government they don’t want it.

That comes as the formal “opt-out” period for the My Health Record system ends on Thursday.

As the deadline looms, Health Minister Greg Hunt has been eager to remind Australians they can delete their record at any time.

“Any Australian can opt in or opt out at any point in their life. It’s completely their choice,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.

He also guaranteed no person’s My Health Record data would ever be wrongfully exposed.

“We listened to the community and we worked on adding safeguards and protections,” he said.

The My Health Record “opt-out” period was to end in November, but was extended to allow time for stronger privacy measures for the system to pass parliament.

Under the changes, people found guilty of improper use of My Health Record will face up to five years’ jail, instead of two, and the maximum fine has more than doubled to $315,000.

Victims of domestic violence will be better protected, with abusive former partners banned from accessing their children’s records.

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Private health insurers will be kept further from the system’s data, being unable to access it even when it has been de-identified.

The refinements were enough to convince the Australian Medical Association to back the system, after campaigning for better protections.

4. Paltrow sued over ski resort crash.

A Utah man has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit accusing Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow of seriously injuring him during a crash at a Utah ski resort in 2016.

Terry Sanderson says in a lawsuit filed in Utah State Court that Paltrow was skiing out of control and knocked him out, leaving him with a brain injury and four broken ribs.

He claims the incident occurred February 26, 2016, on a beginner run at Deer Valley Resort.

Sanderson, now 72, says Paltrow left him injured on the mountain and did not send help.

He says a Deer Valley ski instructor filed a false incident report saying Paltrow did not cause the crash.

A spokeswoman for Paltrow said the lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, is “without merit” and the actress expected to be “vindicated”.

A spokeswoman for Deer Valley Resort, which is also being sued, said it could not comment on pending legal matters.

Paltrow is known for her roles in Shakespeare in Love and the Iron Man movies. She also owns a lifestyle company called goop.

Sanderson said it took him nearly three years to file a lawsuit because he dragged his feet, ran into problems with previous lawyers and was dealing with inability to function properly because of the concussion.

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Sanderson’s lawsuit seeks $US3.1 million ($A4.3 million) in damages.

5. Disease more likely for most disadvantaged.

Australians who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher are less likely to be killed by heart disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease than those who don’t.

The three common conditions are also more likely to be experienced by the most disadvantaged Australians and cause their deaths, according to a new report.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, published on Thursday, found people’s education level, socio-economic status and housing situation have a significant bearing on their disease rates.

Women living in the lowest socio-economic areas are more than twice as likely to have type 2 diabetes than those in the wealthiest areas, analysis of the latest data from 2016 shows.

Men are also 1.7 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes if they live in the lowest socio-economic areas, compared to the highest.

The disparity is also true of heart disease, with men in the lowest socio-economic areas 1.52 times more likely to die from the condition, while women are 1.33 times more likely.

That gap is actually growing, as deaths from heart disease are falling more quickly among people in the highest socio-economic areas.

Education also has an impact, with both men and women aged 25-to-74 with a secondary education or lower more than twice as likely to die by heart disease than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2011/12.

Housing is another factor, with women living in rented houses 1.5 times as likely to die from chronic kidney disease than those in house they owned.

Men in rented houses were 1.4 times as likely to be killed by heart disease.

“Australians as a whole enjoy good health, but good health is not equally shared by all,” the report states.

“Some population groups have higher disease rates, and these higher rates are often associated with earlier disease onset, greater severity and a need for more complex management.”

There are a range of ways that someone’s socio-economic group can impact on their health, including by its impact on their mental health, and behaviours such as smoking and poor diet.

AIHW spokeswoman Lynelle Moon says the report’s insights can help the nation’s policymakers better assist those who are more disadvantaged.

“Governments at all levels can develop stronger, evidence-based policies and programs aimed at preventing and managing these diseases, leading to better health outcomes across our community,” she said.

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