1. “At no point did I think he was in danger.” Dad’s heartbreaking message after the murder of his eight-year-old son.
The father of an eight-year-old boy allegedly killed by his mother in Victoria has shared his heartbreak in an emotional statement, saying he never felt his son was in danger.
"Brodie and I had a weekly FaceTime session together when he would share with great enthusiasm all that he had done that week," Lee Finch, the father of murdered Brodie Moran, said in the statement released yesterday.
"At no point did I, or anyone around Brodie, feel that he was in danger."
Brodie's body was found at a Tootgarook house on the Mornington Peninsula last week, following a call to Ambulance Victoria, AAP reports.
The boy's mother, Joanne Finch, 42, is in custody after being charged with murdering the Tootgarook Primary School student.
Lee said he and Joanne separated in July 2015 but that he "never stopped loving, caring and supporting" his son, "both emotionally and financially".
He said not being there to prevent Brodie's death is his "biggest regret" and described the boy as "very loved, kind, considerate and caring".
"Brodie's passing has touched so many people," he said.
"If I could be half the person my son was I would be proud.
"He lived a life in his eight short years that many others may not live in a lifetime.
"When remembering Brodie it is with happiness of his warm cheeky smile and loving caring nature, and this is a gift he has left us all."
Lee said he was touched by the warmth and support people, including from strangers from the other side of the world, had shown him.
He also thanked police and medical services and requested people allow him, his family and friends grieve in private.
Joanne appeared in court last week and did not apply for bail. She was remanded to next appear in court on June 29.
2. Woman cried "there's blood everywhere" in a fake triple-zero call after arranging the murder of her partner, the father of her child.
"There's blood all over the bedroom, and he's on the floor. Oh my God, there's blood everywhere," are the phrases of apparent distress from Melony Attwood as she called triple-zero on April 22, 2016.
She told the operator she had arrived home to find her partner of nine years, Alan Taylor, who is also the father of her young son, bleeding on the floor of the bedroom they shared in their Girrawheen home in Western Australia.
But not all was as it seemed. Taylor, 42, was a fly-in fly-out worker and Attwood, then 35, had "tired" of him, ABC reports.
This week, she was found guilty of plotting to kill Taylor and faking the triple-zero call, in order to access his life insurance and carry on her relationship with her lover, the killer, Robert Edhouse.
Edhouse, the president of a white supremacist group, and two of his 'Aryan Nations' associates bashed Taylor with a hammer in his bed, the day after the father had returned home from the mines.
Although Attwood did not take part in the actual killing, the court heard how she and Edhouse plotted different ways to murder Taylor, including pushing him off a balcony and giving him drugs, ABC reports.
Attwood helped cover up the murder by playing loud music as it was happening, and by altering the house and knocking in the front door to make it appear like a crime scene.
Edhouse and his associates went to see the movie Jungle Book directly after the killing, in an attempt to create alibis.
And Attwood boasted to neighbours about the money she received from Taylor's life insurance.
She faces a possible life term in prison, and will be sentenced alongside Edhouse in May.
Toys R Us says it is business as usual at its Australian stores despite the apparent demise of the business in the US and UK, AAP reports.
The US company filed for bankruptcy protection in September, and after a sharp decline in sales over the Christmas period now reportedly plans to sell or close all 885 stores in the United States.
Chief executive David Brandon has told employees that the company is also likely to liquidate in Australia, France, Spain and Poland, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In the UK, administrators have already closed a quarter of the company's 100 stores, and will close the remainder in the next six weeks after failing to find a buyer.
A spokesperson for Toys R Us Australia said it is business as usual for the local operations for the time being.
"Toys R Us Australia stores are open for business and continue to serve customers," the spokesperson said.
Toys R Us Australia has more than 2,500 employees at more than 40 stores, including several Babies R Us stores.
The US parent has been weighed down by billions of dollars in debt accumulated since it was bought by a real estate investor and two private equity firms in 2005.
It announced plans in January to close up to 20 per cent of its US stores as part of efforts to restructure and emerge from bankruptcy.
#BREAKING: Reports an Australian has been killed in an explosion at an army base in Kampong Speu province in Cambodia.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) March 15, 2018
An Australian and a Cambodian have been killed in an explosion which also injured another Australian during a military training exercise in Cambodia, according to AAP.
The Australians are understood to be military trainers and two others wounded on Thursday in Kampong Speu province were Cambodian soldiers, the Phnom Penh Post reports.
The blast happened at a shooting range within the base of an armoured vehicle unit in Phnom Sruoch district, the paper says.
Kampong Speu Provincial Governor Vy Samnang said it was believed the casualties were shooting at targets about 2pm local time on Thursday when they noticed something on the ground.
"He said they went to pick up the object, a Russian-made bomb, which then exploded," The Post reported.
Samnang said the two Australians were bomb experts while the ABC has reported they are military trainers.
5. A Sydney beauty queen is going to prison for dealing ice, after a judge found she was "driven by a desire for money".
"No sentence other than full time imprisonment would be appropriate," a Sydney judge yesterday told a former beauty queen convicted of dealing methamphetamine, or 'ice'.
Najah Jackson-Ghamrawi, 20, sobbed as her sentence was handed down, Nine News reports, and is now facing a two-year stint behind bars.
"Her offending was driven by a desire to make money," Judge Andrew Colefax told the Parramatta court on Thursday.
She was arrested on December 21, 2016 at age 18 after police pulled her over for erratic driving. Inside the car, officers found 22g of ice and $9000 in cash, Nine News reports.
Jackson-Ghamrawi, who was named Miss Lebanon Emigrant Australia in 2016, claimed the incident was a "one-off" but text messages sent from her phone in December 2016, proved otherwise.
"You're looking at 35 to 37 max. You'll be paying 37 max because prices have gone up now,” read one message sent on December 1, Nine News reports.
"This is the best on the market. Are you happy? If you think too expensive, then go elsewhere."
Two weeks later, on December 15, there was this: "So you want me to get the half tonight because I need cash ASAP. 60K I get him to weigh it in front of me."
Judge Colefax said these messages show Jackson-Ghamrawi has a "pattern of dealing in drugs" and "provides context to her criminality".
In six weeks, a judge will decide if she fulfills her two-year sentence in prison or under house arrest.
6. Handshakes aren't just a measure of intimidation, it turns out they reflect the health of your heart.
A weak handshake could be an early sign of a failing heart, British scientists say.
An association has been found between a limp grip and unwelcome changes in heart structure and function, and experts believe hand grip could be used as a broad measure of heart health, AAP reports.
Researchers analysed heart scan images from almost 5000 study participants, including people with floppy and vice-like handshakes.
They found a stronger grip was associated with higher volumes of blood being pumped by the heart and healthier heart muscle.
This in turn led to a lower risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.
People with weak handshakes were more likely to have enlarged, damaged hearts.
Professor Steffen Petersen, who led the team from Queen Mary University of London, said: "Our study shows that better hand grip strength is associated with having a healthier heart structure and function.
"Hand grip strength is an inexpensive, reproducible and easy-to-implement measure and could become an easy way of identifying people at high risk of heart disease and preventing major life-changing events such as heart attacks."
For the study, hand grip strength was measured by asking people to grasp a device called a dynamometer for three seconds.
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