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News in 5: Doctor killed wife in murder-suicide; How Napoleon Perdis lost his beauty empire; Bourke St killer's bizarre letter.

-With AAP.

1. Sister of Rockhampton doctor confirms he shot his wife in murder-suicide.


The sister of an anaesthetist who is thought to have killed his wife before himself in their Rockhampton home has confirmed the murder-suicide in an emotional Facebook post.

The bodies were found at the home of anaesthetist Andrew Carll and his wife Julie Rush in the suburb of Frenchville on Monday night.

Police have not yet formally identified the man, but confirmed Rush was the deceased woman.

Carll’s sister Mary Carll confirmed the murder-suicide in a Facebook post, expressing anger at her brother’s actions.

“It appears that my brother killed his beautiful wife Julie and then himself.

“I am now gone from grief to anger, HOW DARE HER, he can kill himself but why take her?”

Queensland police are still investigating after the couple’s bodies were found in the master bedroom of a Rockhampton house.

The couple had three teenage sons, with one still at high school, according to the Daily Mail.

Police said a firearm was used, and they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the killings.

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

2. How Napoleon Perdis lost his beauty empire.

Napoleon Perdis has blamed greedy landlords, an uncompromising credit environment and a shift to online retailing for the collapse of his brand.

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His Australian cosmetics empire Napoleon Perdis Group has gone into voluntary administration, putting jobs and 56 local stores at risk.

Company directors had been trying to find a buyer for months.

The struggling brand was created in 1995 by Australian makeup artist Perdis, who started with a concept store in Sydney before expanding the company overseas in 2004.

Administrators Simon Cathro, Chris Cook and Ivan Glavas of Worrells Solvency Accountants will now consider a restructure or pursue the sale option while the business continues to trade.

Perdis told the Sydney Morning Herald he blamed poor retail conditions and global brands for the company’s current problem.

“I blame a lot of factors, from greedy landlords who will not allow us out of leases and who then charge us ‘de-fit’ costs on the stores … that’s cost me $3.5 million alone. The malls are dead, there’s no foot traffic, everyone’s buying cosmetics online but the landlords don’t want to hear about it,” he said.

“The bank wanted me to hire a consultant, which we did. That cost me another $600,000 and it’s done f— all. The retailers want to bring in global brands into their stores, but that means a local Australian brand like mine cannot compete.”

All Napolean Perdis stores closed on Thursday for a stocktake and are scheduled to reopen on Friday with an expected sale campaign.

The collapse of the company, which follows similar woes at retailers including Laura Ashley, Roger David, Marcs, Pumpkin Patch, Payless Shoes and Rhodes & Beckett, comes after the arrival of international beauty products competitors Mecca and Sephora.

“The Napoleon Perdis brand is an iconic brand of Australia with substantial value and relevance within the cosmetic industry both for Australian and international markets,” Cathro said.

“Our understanding of the brand and its businesses has only strengthened our assessment of its potential business performance and profitability”.

Perdis said he and his family were committed to achieving the best outcome for all stakeholders.

“The brand is still in high demand from our customers and is more innovative than ever,” he said.

“So restructuring the business in this manner, we believe, puts it in a prime position to continue to evolve through continued trade or in a sale.”

Worrells said it will continue to trade all stores as usual and undertake daily assessments of the stores throughout the administration process.

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The Napoleon Perdis Group has an exclusive agreement with Priceline, who vouched its support of the business during the administration process.

Napoleon Perdis launched in over 200 Priceline stores from August 2018.

3. Asylum seeker wins Vic literature prize.

An Iranian asylum seeker in detention on Manus Island has won the Victorian Prize for Literature.

Behrouz Boochani took out the top prize at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards on Thursday for his novel No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.

The prize money is $100,000.

Boochani’s novel also won the Prize for Non-Fiction, worth $25,000.

Boochani, a Kurdish journalist, has been in detention since 2013.

“I don’t want to celebrate this achievement while I still see many innocent people suffering around me,” he told The Age.

“This is why it’s a paradoxical feeling.

“I demand freedom, give us freedom.

“We have committed no crime, we are only seeking asylum.”

4. Arctic cold pounds US northeast, midwest.

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The blast of Arctic air that brought record-breaking cold and caused at least a dozen deaths in the US midwest has spread eastward, bringing sub-zero misery to the country’s northeast.

A prediction of warmer weather by the weekend offered little comfort to those enduring icy conditions, brutal winds and temperatures as low as minus 34C.

“This morning is some of the coldest of the temperatures across the upper midwest and we still have some dangerous wind chills,” National Weather Service forecaster Andrew Orrison said on Thursday.

In Minnesota and upper Michigan, temperatures are forecast to be at minus 29C on Thursday and parts of North Dakota can expect minus 34C, forecasters warned.

The bitter cold was caused by displacement of the polar vortex, a stream of air that normally spins around the stratosphere over the North Pole but whose current was disrupted.

It pushed eastward and states including Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania were experiencing bitterly cold temperatures.

Boston was at minus 15C, according to the National Weather Service.

“It’ll be the coldest outbreak of Arctic air for the mid-Atlantic and the northeast,” Orrison said.

The cold has caused at least 12 deaths since Saturday across the midwest, according to officials and media reports.

Some died in weather-related traffic accidents, others from apparent exposure to the elements.

Videos this week showed boiling water freezing as it was tossed in the air in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and transit workers in Chicago, Illinois, setting fire to train tracks to keep them from locking up.

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Even parts of the south, such as the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee and upper Georgia, are expected to be in the single digits.

More than 30 record lows were shattered across the midwest.

Some areas only saw a high of minus 23C on Wednesday.

The lowest on Wednesday was minus 40C in International Falls, Minnesota.

But the picture is set to change. By this weekend, Chicago, which had near-record cold of minus 30C on Wednesday, will bask in snow-melting highs in the 7-11C range. So will other parts of the midwest.

“It’s going to feel quite balmy in comparison,” Orrison said.

More than 2500 flights were cancelled and more than 3500 delayed on Thursday morning, most of them out of Chicago’s O’Hare International and Midway International airports, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.com.

 5. ‘I am not evil’: Melbourne rampage killer.

Bourke Street killer James Gargasoulas insists he’s not evil and blames “government oppression” for making him murder six pedestrians and injuring dozens more while in a drug-induced psychosis.

The 29-year-old on Thursday read a letter to the Supreme Court of Victoria, packed with family and friends of his victims, apologising for his crimes but adding neither his apology or “a lengthy jail sentence” would fix his actions.

Gargasoulas says he’s “deeply ashamed” of killing his victims when he drove his car through the Bourke St pedestrian mall in Melbourne’s CBD on January 20, 2017.

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“I must say it is a tragic day for all of you and myself. If only we could go back in time, I would change it all,” Gargasoulas told the pre-sentence hearing.

“What I want you to know is I am a victim of government oppression. It is because of oppression six people have died and many were injured.

“I am not evil. I am not a terrorist. I am a freedom fighter who is now educated to stop oppression.”

He said he was the Messiah and that his actions on the day of the massacre were caused by God, who wanted Gargasoulas to help reinstate God’s laws.

He added he was in a “bad headspace” at the time caused by troubles with his girlfriend and younger brother and because he believed the Illuminati was “after me”.

Gargasoulas said he had a “big heart” and was remorseful but admitted he “wasn’t thinking straight” during the massacre and said he felt his victims colliding with his windscreen.

Sections of a letter from Gargasoulas’ father Christos were also read to the court, in which he said the incident had brought “much shame on my family”.

“I am very sorry for what my son has done and apologise for his actions and all the pain he has caused.”

Also on Thursday, treating psychiatrist Douglas Bell told the court Gargasoulas’ schizophrenia symptoms had improved in recent weeks after being treated with clozapine, often referred to as a last-resort drug.

He said although Gargasoulas showed an improvement in self-care, his beliefs remained the same.

“His delusional beliefs are essentially unchanged. He still believes he is the Messiah … and is someone who can save the world from being destroyed by a comet.”

Dr Bell said there could be “some attenuations of his delusional beliefs” over time, but there was a “small possibility they will completely resolve”.

“He will require psychiatric treatment and care for a long time.”

Dr Bell added Gargasoulas could become suicidal if his condition improved and gained insight into what he’d done.

Crown prosecutor Ray Gibson SC argued Gargasoulas’ condition did not reduce his moral culpability and that he should receive a life sentence without parole.

Justice Mark Weinberg said he would sentence Gargasoulas in a few weeks.

“It will take me that long to read the quite voluminous material,” he said.

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