Monday's news in 5 minutes.

1. Mum sentenced to life in prison after drugging and killing her nine-year-old daughter in custody dispute.

A Canadian mother who drugged, burned and killer her nine-year-old daughter has been sentenced to life in prison, the Calgary Herald reports.

Laura Coward was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years after she plead guilty to the second-degree murder of her daughter, Amber Lucius.

Coward and her ex-husband, Duane Lucius, had been involved in a bitter dispute over the custody of their daughter before Amber was killed.

Amber was reported missing in August 2014. Laura was arrested two days later after she was found standing outside a burned truck with her daughter’s body inside.

The court heard Amber had been with her mother for a weekend trip, before Laura drove the nine-year-old to a remote area, gave her a toxic dose of prescription sleeping medication and set the truck she was in on fire.

Amber’s father, Duane, said no prison sentence could ever do his daughter justice.

“I will never get to watch my daughter grow up,” he said after his ex-wife was sentenced.

“I have had to bury my child and nothing will bring her back. I can only hope that other children are not being used as bargaining chips in a divorce roused to hurt the other parent.”

Justice Scott Brooker said Laura’s crime was the “ultimate betrayal”.

“In murdering your own daughter you have committed a vile and evil crime,” he said.


“This court must express society’s disgust and outrage to denounce your evil act.”

2. Brisbane father who killed his own daughter told partner “we can have another one”.

A Brisbane father accused of killing his seven-week-old daughter allegedly told his partner, “It’s OK, we can have another one”, the Courier Mail reports.

Rick Cataldo pleaded guilty to manslaughter last year for the death of his daughter, Lili Cataldo, in May 2012. He was originally charged with murder, but prosecutors downgraded the charge.

Lili’s mother, Michelle Catherine Leask, pleaded guilty to the same charges when she appeared in the Brisbane Supreme Court on February 8.

Rick allegedly made the comment to Michelle when she found her infant daughter lying next to him in bed.

She allegedly replied, “I don’t want another one, I want Lili.”

Police believe the seven-week-old was killed at the couple’s home in Deception Bay, Queensland. At the time of her death, she had sustained numerous skull fractures, and had a spiral fracture in her upper arm and cracked ribs.

Leask told police her partner refused to let her call an ambulance, allegedly so he could dispose of his hydroponic marijuana set-up.

Leask is due back in court for sentencing on April 4, while Cataldo will appear in court on April 7.


3. Byron Bay mother Sara Connor to be sentenced over murder of Bali police officer today.

Australian woman Sara Connor and her British boyfriend David Taylor are poised to learn their fate over the death of a Bali police officer on Kuta Beach, AAP reports.

It has been almost seven months since Wayan Sudarsa’s body was discovered covered in sand in the early hours of August 17, with dozens of wounds across his face, upper body and neck.

Today, three judges at Denpasar Court are set to hand down their decision as to the pair’s guilt and what, if any, time they should serve.

Although Connor has maintained she did nothing during the fatal fight but try to separate Mr Sudarsa and Taylor, prosecutors have called on them to serve the same eight-year sentence for the charge of fatal assault in company.

It’s a “nightmare” Connor says, that started with the hopes of having a relaxing holiday with her boyfriend.

Connor’s lawyers insist she is not guilty of fatal assault and should have been charged with destroying evidence. Due to the fact prosecutors didn’t use this offence, they argue she should be released immediately.

Meanwhile, Taylor’s legal team say he acted in self-defence, is young, has shown remorse and has good chances of rehabilitation.

4. Health officials warn Melbourne shoppers over possible measles risk.


Shoppers in Melbourne’s west are being warned to look out for measles symptoms after a retail worker contracted the infectious disease during a holiday in Bali.

Acting Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says a casual employee at Big W in Werribee worked four consecutive days between March 3 and March 6 while infectious, before being diagnosed.

“We are concerned that more people may have been infected through contact with this individual in the community,” Dr Sutton said on Saturday.

The employee’s co-workers have been advised to look out for symptoms of measles.

Dr Sutton said the person is recovering and is thought to have contracted the disease during a recent visit to Bali.

The symptoms did not become apparent until well after their return to Australia, he said.

Measles have symptoms often associated with the common cold, such as fever, runny nose, red eyes and a cough.

The characteristic measles rash usually appears between three to seven days after the first symptoms, and generally starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. The highly infectious viral disease can cause serious illness, particularly in very young children and adults.

People with measles can develop pneumonia and other serious complications which require hospitalisation.

Dr Sutton said those most likely to develop the illness are unvaccinated people who have travelled overseas, or unvaccinated people who have been in contact with contagious people.


5. Mum’s heartbreaking plea after her 11-year-old son was killed on a quad bike.

Emily Cason’s son Sam was just eleven years old when he lost his life riding a quad bike on his friend’s farm six years ago.

After riding on the quad bike as a passenger while rounding up cattle, Sam then drove the vehicle on his own when the pair found an injured cow in a paddock.

“Sam drove off into the paddock on the quad but never made it up to the dairy,” Mrs Cason told

“We never found out exactly what caused him to fall off. He didn’t hit a tree or a ditch, he was just found flat on his back and the quad bike next to him on its side.”

Sam sustained severe head injuries in the fall, which caused him to die instantly. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Now, Mrs Cason is calling for more regulation on the age at which children can drive a quad bike.

“They are like little cars, they are extremely dangerous and I was naive on how bad they were,” she said.

“My aim would be to see kids under 16 banned from riding them. Not as passengers, or as drivers. I would also like to see more education for the older generation using these bikes, so when their kids reach 16 – then they too can be educated.”


Sam’s parents have also set up a Facebook page in their son’s memory to campaign for quad bike safety.

6. NSW high school to receive extra staff and funding to fight teen suicide rates.

Grafton High School, on New South Wale’s north coast, has been given extra funds, an extra deputy principal and “high-level training” for its teachers after it was hit by a “suicide contagion”, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The Clarence Valley area has lost three male and four female teenagers to suicide in the past 20 months.

Of the seven victims, three were from Grafton High School, two from Maclean High School and two from South Grafton High School.

The Department of Education is providing the teachers at the school “high-level training” in student health and wellbeing.

A new deputy principal has also been appointed to focus on increasing the school’s ability to support the mental health and wellbeing of its student.

The federal government is also providing $600,000 for suicide prevention initiatives in the area, while the state government is funding a rural adversity mental health program worker who will be based in Grafton.

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, Mamamia urges you to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. 

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