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"She was like a little damaged bird." Courtney Herron's mother on losing her daughter, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. “She was like a little damaged bird.” Courtney Herron’s mother on losing her daughter.

Courtney Herron’s mother has spoken about her 25-year-old daughter, whose body was discovered by dog walkers in Melbourne’s Royal Park on Saturday morning.

Her mother Maxie told The Age her daughter was “believing, trusting, loving, but she was so vulnerable”.

“She was like a little damaged bird.”

Her mother told The Age of Courtney’s struggles with mental health and drugs, and said the last time the family had contact with Courtney was at Greek Easter this year.

In 2015, Courtney met Ahmet Ozkurt, a Kurdish refugee from Turkey who was working as an electrician. The pair fell in love and Ahmet was helping her to control her drug dependency and mental health, Maxie said.

The couple were planning to get married when Ahmet was taken to a detention centre after complications with his visa, which Courtney blamed herself for.

Maxie became Ahmet’s advocate, writing to politicians and immigration to help Ahmet get out. Following Courtney’s death, she plans to keep going.

“She begged me, please, please do whatever you can to make this right for me. If we as a family could right that wrong we would alleviate all that stress and pain and guilt she was carrying,” Maxie told The Age.

On Monday, Maxie visited the site in Royal Park where her daughter’s body had been discovered behind logs. It is now covered in flowers as a makeshift memorial.

Courtney’s friend Jessica Bateman told The Project on Monday night, Courtney was let down by a system that had failed to provide her with the assistance she needed with housing, drug dependency and mental illness.

“She was trying to get into public housing, she was trying to get onto methadone or something that would stop the withdrawal symptoms that she was going to face. The fear of withdrawal is what really kept her using,” she said.

She told host Waleed Aly homeless women were particularly vulnerable.

“Men can attack them, take advantage of them, especially when it concerns mental illness and drugs.”

Police have not released many details about Courtney’s death, but they have said the 25-year-old had suffered extreme violence.

“This was a particularly, particularly horrendous attack,” Homicide squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said.

Insp Stamper said there had been some attempt made to conceal the body and there was no evidence the crime was sexually motivated.

Courtney had been couch surfing and sleeping rough for some time while struggling with drug and mental health issues. The sister of Courtney’s ex-partner, Terrick Edwards, told The Age she should be remembered for “the lovely woman she was and not just another homeless person who died on the streets”.

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Insp Stamper said while she had been in sporadic contact with her family there were “a lot of people out there who knew and loved Courtney”.

Police arrested homeless man Henry Richard Hammond, 27, on Sunday and he faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday on a single charge of murder.

A judge ordered him to be remanded in custody until a committal mention on September 16.

2. Paramedics fought to save the Queensland mum and her four kids who died in a head-on crash.


A pair of “joyful” sisters, their two little brothers and mother are being mourned after dying in a fiery head-on crash on a Queensland highway.

Charmaine Harris McLeod, 35, and her children Aaleyn, 6, Matilda, 5, Wyatt, 4, and Zaidok, 2, died despite the heroic efforts of paramedics who fought through flames to reach them.

Emergency crews are devastated they could not save the family, whose station wagon slammed into an oncoming truck south of Kingaroy on Monday night.

Aaleyn and Matilda’s classmates and teachers at Kawungan State School wrote on Facebook of their devastation.

“A terrible tragedy,” wrote one, “RIP to Charmaine and her beautiful kids.”

School principal Mark Jones said Aaleyn and Matilda were happy girls.

“They were both joyful and friendly children who will be greatly missed by all their friends and teachers,” he said in a statement.

Ebony Lanzi, described her friend as a woman who was always there when she needed a friend.

“And you always gave me the kick up the butt I needed,” she wrote on Facebook.

Paramedics had to fight their way through flames and smoke to reach the vehicle, which was set ablaze along with the truck.

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They managed to pull out one of the girls who’d suffered horrific burns, but there was nothing they could do to save the others.

Ms McLeod and three of the children died at the scene. The girl pulled from the car made it to hospital but died while on a rescue flight bound for Brisbane.

The truck driver was also injured but managed to free himself as the blaze spread to surrounding grass.

Police say the woman was trying to overtake when her car slammed into the truck, which was travelling in the opposite direction.

Ambulance Service Assistant Commissioner Stephen Zsombok said paramedics faced a daunting scene, with victims trapped inside the burning car.

“These are very seasoned officers and they’ve explained this as tragic, extremely traumatic with people obviously involved in the car that’s caught fire,” he said.

“Smoke, fire, our officers have gone though that dangerous scene to get to the child they were able to work on … unfortunately that child died.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those people.”

Police say the family was from Eli Waters at Hervey Bay, about three hours drive from the crash scene on the Bunya Highway at Kumbia, just south of Kingaroy.

“This is a catastrophic incident scene, it’s certainly one of the worst accidents I’ve ever seen. It’s just a tragedy for everyone involved,” a police spokesman said at the scene.

The forensic crash unit is investigating.

3. Serial killer Ivan Milat has been transferred back to jail following his hospital visit.

ivan milat cancer
The serial killer has terminal cancer.
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Notorious serial killer Ivan Milat has been transferred to a Sydney prison where he'll likely die following a two-week stint in a nearby hospital where he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Time is now running out if the backpacker murderer is to confess and give some closure to the families of his victims.

Gaunt and bespectacled, Milat was dressed in prison greens with his hands cuffed and ankles shackled when he was brought to a white four-wheel drive in a wheelchair.

His white hair is balding and the killer's infamous handlebar moustache has also turned completely white.

Milat arrived at Long Bay jail on Tuesday afternoon in the back of the 4WD after a 15 minute trip from Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick where he was diagnosed with oesophagus and stomach cancer.

The frail 74-year-old was transferred in a convoy of two identical Nissan Patrols while a police helicopter hovered overhead.

Milat abducted his victims in the same type of 4WD in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It's believed he sold the vehicle shortly after the backpackers' bodies were discovered in NSW's Belanglo State Forest.

Milat on Tuesday sat in a cage in the back of one of the vehicles which had tinted windows and was swarmed by a dozen reporters and photographers as it left the hospital.

The convoy later sped into Long Bay Correctional Complex without stopping. A dozen media were there to document Milat's arrival.

Milat will be detained at the prison hospital within the complex.

The serial killer was initially taken from Goulburn's supermax jail to Prince of Wales on May 13 for medical tests.

Milat's nephew, Alistair Shipsey, has said his uncle's condition is "very bad" and he may only have a couple of weeks to live.

Milat was found guilty in 1996 of murdering seven backpackers whose bodies were found in makeshift graves in the 1990s.

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin hopes the murderer will now come clean.

"I personally would be very keen for Milat to come forward with the information he is still refusing to share with the people of NSW and the larger Australian community," Mr Severin told reporters on Tuesday.

Corrections Minister Anthony Roberts spoke directly to the killer.

"If you have one ounce of decency in your body, cooperate with the police, and at least bring some closure to those families," the minister said at a joint press conference with Mr Severin.

Milat's impending demise will likely be classified as a death in custody and a report will be prepared for the NSW coroner. His body will then be released to his family.

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Milat's victims were British friends Joanne Walters and Caroline Clarke, Melbourne couple Deborah Everist and James Gibson, German Simone Schmidl and German couple Anja Habschied and Gabor Neugebauer.

He also abducted British traveller Paul Onions who managed to escape.

Milat has been linked to other suspected murders including of two Sydney nurses who disappeared from a Parramatta hotel in 1980 and wayward teenager Peter Letcher.

Milat's brother, Boris, has said a 17-year-old Ivan bragged about shooting a cab driver in the neck in 1962 leaving him paralysed.

4. Marcus Allyn Keith Martin has been jailed over the rape and kidnapping of a British backpacker.


A Cairns man who raped and kidnapped a British backpacker on a road trip through the Queensland bush has been jailed for 10 years.

Marcus Allyn Keith Martin, 24, was sentenced in the Cairns District Court on Tuesday, having previously pleaded guilty to rape and deprivation of liberty.

The bruised and battered Liverpool woman was rescued by police on an outback highway near Mitchell, about 600km west of Brisbane, after driving off from a petrol station without paying for fuel.

Caltex Mitchell manager Beverley Page told reporters at the time it was clear the woman, crying and shaking, was in a bad way when she explained she couldn't pay for fuel because her ex-boyfriend had her wallet.

Officers pulled their 4WD over on the Warrego Highway and found the man hiding in the back of the vehicle.

It had been alleged the man first met the British backpacker in Cairns and became involved in a brief relationship with her.

When it soured, he subjected her to weeks of physical abuse, and forced her to drive him down the Queensland coast and towards Charleville in outback Queensland.

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Martin received a head sentence of 10 years for the various penalties that are being served concurrently.

5. An inquest has found the London Bridge attackers were likely on steroids.


The London Bridge attackers were unlikely to have become more aggressive as a result of taking bodybuilding steroids, an inquest has heard.

Three terrorists in a van mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge and ran amok around Borough Market with ceramic knives on June 3, 2017, killing eight people, including Australians Kirsty Boden, 28, and Sara Zelenak, 21, and injuring 48 others.

The attackers - Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22 - were shot dead less than 10 minutes after the rampage began.

Toxicologist Professor David Cowan rejected the suggestion they had been "juiced up" on steroids, making them more aggressive.

Jonathan Hough, QC, counsel for the coroner, asked: "What is the chance of the use of steroids affecting one or more of them behaviourally?"

Prof Cowan said DHEA, an anabolic steroid, was more likely than not administered to the attackers.

But he said: "I think it's highly unlikely that steroid use had any behavioural effect on any of the individuals."

He told the court that evidence the attackers appeared "hyper" or "wild eyed" did not necessarily indicate they were affected.

A forensic scientist confirmed that one of the victims, Xavier Thomas, had been hit by the attackers' hire Renault van before he fell into the Thames.

Dr Louissa Marsh said examination of the Renault van and Mr Thomas's jeans provided "strong support" for the proposition they were in contact.

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