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Details emerge about home intruder who died after scuffle with Sydney father, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. Details about the home intruder who died after a scuffle with a Sydney father are slowly unravelling.


The home intruder who died following a struggle with a Sydney father inside his family home was a personal trainer and weightlifter who competed in strength competitions around the world.

Bradley Soper, 35, died on Sunday morning after police say he entered a Harrington Park house and was confronted by home owner Johan “Francois” Schwartz.

Francois Schwartz
Johan "Francois" Schwartz with his wife and baby - all three were home at the time of the invasion. Image: Facebook.

Investigators say Schwartz, 44, was woken about 7.30am by his dogs barking and "challenged a male intruder located in the lounge room".

Schwartz's wife and young child were home at the time of the incident.

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The Daily Telegraph reported Soper, 35, is understood to have trashed the house before Schwartz found him hiding behind the couch in his living room.

Soper collapsed and became unconscious following the confrontation. He could not be revived by paramedics.

The ABC reported Soper had spent time in hospital for kidney failure in the weeks leading up to his death. His girlfriend had recently broken up with him, he was struggling financially and living with cocaine addiction, it reported.

Schwartz was questioned for several hours by NSW Police after he confronted the man but was released on Sunday night without charge pending further inquiries.

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Soper was a strength and conditioning coach, according to his Instagram account "school_of_strong_", which showed him competing in various Strongman competitions around the world.

In December, Soper posted a photo to Facebook of himself third on a Strongman Champions League podium in Goa, India.

Another post showed him deadlifting 250kg more than a dozen times.

Friends and clients paid tribute to Soper on social media on Monday, with one describing him as "a great bloke, an inspiration and an awesome coach".

"Very very sad news - I cant believe it - RIP Brad Soper," said another.

Peter Tsikas, a close friend and colleague of Soper's, told the ABC the home invasion was out of character.

"He's a big teddy bear," he said.

"It doesn't make sense and that's why we're trying to put the pieces together, because we don't know what's happening - it just doesn't seem right."

Homicide detectives are assisting in the investigation and are awaiting the outcome of a post-mortem examination of to determine the cause of Soper's death.

Police have already said Schwartz was entitled to use "reasonable force" to protect his home and family.

2. A former NSW cop blackmailed four women into having sex with him, a court has heard.


A former NSW police officer blackmailed four victims into having sexual intercourse as part of an elaborate deception involving social media, a court has heard.

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Vaughan Mark Hildebrand faced a NSW District Court sentence hearing on Monday after admitting to 44 offences involving 15 victims over a decade.

Crown prosecutor John Bowers said Hildebrand initially used social media to demand his victims supply him with explicit images - with some of them complying.

The now 30-year-old had a "modus operandi" where he threatened to share images with friends, family, partners or colleagues if victims didn't meet other demands.

Four of the women were blackmailed into having sexual intercourse, the prosecutor said.

Mr Bowers said Hildebrand concealed his identity online and, in some instances, there were "very high levels of deception".

His offending continued after be became a police officer in 2011.

"This is a case, the Crown says, of elaborate planning and deception by the offender in relation to all of his victims, motivated by a need for sexual gratification," the prosecutor said.

Hildebrand will be sentenced at a later date.

3. Eight-year-old Anita Board died in drag racing crash only two days after becoming old enough to compete.


An eight-year-old girl who died after crashing her drag racer in Perth was going too fast when an official appeared to wave her towards the exit gate, an inquest has heard.

Anita Board suffered a catastrophic brain injury in the crash at Perth Motorplex on November 11, 2017 - two days after her birthday when she reached the minimum age to compete.

girl died drag race
Anita Board was eight when she died in November 2017. Image: Facebook.
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She was trying to obtain her licence and had setbacks before completing her first attempt, including being made to repeat a practical test because she appeared nervous.

After a false start, she sped off, reaching almost 86km/h in her "Pony Power" dragster, which was emblazoned with pictures of her favourite My Little Pony character.

She completed what her father Ian Board described as a "beautiful, straight run".

But after crossing the finish line, she didn't slow down enough to exit the track, so Mr Board panicked and hoped she'd continue on straight ahead as she'd been taught.

Volunteer track official Shaun Rosling came onto the track and says he signalled to Anita to slow down, but others, including Mr Board, thought he might also be waving her towards the exit gate.

"Ian realised she was just doing what an adult told her to do," Senior Constable Turner told the WA Coroner's Court on Monday.

Anita turned sharply at the last minute, smashed into a barrier and despite being fastened in her harness, hit her head on the steering wheel, cracking her helmet.

Sen Const Turner said it was possible the impact pushed the steering column towards the driver or the seat moved forward.

This could not be confirmed because the Australian National Drag Racing Association cleared the scene and partly dismantled the vehicle before police arrived later that day, when racing had resumed.

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Coroner Sarah Linton said ANDRA hadn't initially appreciated the seriousness of the situation.

"I understand there's pressure on everyone to keep things moving."

Police also didn't "get on the front foot", Ms Linton said, as major crash officers didn't examine the scene until two weeks later.

It was initially believed major crash didn't need to investigate as the track was on private land.

"I believe that they should have gone there on the day," Sen Const Turner said.

He said he believed an eight-year-old was too young to control a vehicle at high speeds, judge distances and take instruction from officials.

Acting detective sergeant Lyn Mead said many previous accidents on the track involved the exit gate, which required a sharp turn and should not be part of licensing tests.

Anita died the day after the crash, and her heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys were donated.

Junior drag racing was banned in WA as a result of the tragedy.

4. "Success over happiness": Naomi Osaka has shared why she split with her coach.


World No.1 Naomi Osaka was adamant that her shock split with coach Sascha Bajin had nothing to do with money.

The 21-year-old Japanese sensation says it was because she was determined that her career would not be about putting "success over happiness".

Naomi Osaka Australian Open Tony Jones
Naomi Osaka at the 2019 Australian Open. Image: Getty.
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The German Bajin had guided Osaka to back-to-back grand slam titles as well as to the summit of the WTA rankings.

But just two weeks after her triumph at the Australian Open, Osaka abruptly severed ties with Bajin.

That led to suggestions the two had fallen out over money.

"Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn't," Osaka told the WTA in Dubai.

"That's one of the most hurtful things I've ever heard.

"I travel with everyone on my team, I see them more than my family. I would never do that to them.

"My reason is I wouldn't put success over my happiness; that's my main thing.

"I'm not going to sacrifice that just to keep a person around."

Bajin, a former hitting partner of Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki, was named as the WTA's coach of the year in 2018 after his success with Osaka.

During their time together, Osaka rocketed from 72nd in the world at the start of 2018 to the top of the rankings last month.

Osaka, the 2018 US Open champion, said it was clear things were not right between them during the season's opening major.

"It was kind of brewing in Australia. I think some people could see that if they saw how we interacted," she said.

"I would not want to split on really bad terms. I'm not going to say anything bad about him because, of course, I'm really grateful for all the things he's done.

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"During the Australian Open, I was just trying to tell myself to get through it.

"I'm not sure but I think you guys noticed."

Osaka said she hopes to have a new coach in place by March at Indian Wells.

5. Martina Natratilova criticised for 'disturbing' comments about transgender athletes.

Trans sportswomen have hit back at Martina Navratilova, after the tennis champion said "its insane and it's cheating" for transgender women to be allowed to compete in women's sport.

"A man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires," 18-times grand slam winner Navratilova wrote in The Sunday Times.

Navratilova's comments are "disturbing, upsetting, and deeply transphobic," said Rachel McKinnon, who in 2018 became the first transgender woman to win a world track cycling title, reigniting a debate over whether trans women have unfair physical advantages in sport.

Under rules brought in by International Olympic Committee in 2016, athletes transitioning from female to male can now participate without restrictions.

Male to female competitors must keep their levels of testosterone, a hormone that increases muscle mass, strength and haemoglobin, which affects endurance, below a certain level for at least 12 months.

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Wimbledon champion Navratilova, who has campaigned for gay rights and suffered abuse when she came out in the 1980s, argued trans women have unfair physical advantages.

"A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood," she said.

Navratilova "trades on age-old stereotypes and stigma against trans women, treating us as men just pretending to be real women," McKinnon told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Scientific research into trans people in sport is rare. A 2015 study of eight male to female trans runners found their race times slowed down to an extent that they retained no advantage over non-trans women.

Jen Wagner-Assali, who finished third to McKinnon in the 35-44 year-old category world championship race, argued the Canadian's victory was not fair. McKinnon said her rival had previously beaten her in 10 of 12 events.

"This idea that men will transition or pretend to transition to enter women's sport is offensive," Natalie Washington, a trans activist who plays amateur women's football in Britain, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"It misrepresents the huge struggle that the vast majority of trans people have to go through."

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