news

Tuesday's news in 5 minutes.

1. Couple withheld food from five-year-old daughter before she died weighing 10kg.

On the day their five-year-old adopted daughter died, Estevan Garcia and Sacora Horn-Garcia allegedly sent texts to each other debating whether they should seek medical help, The Oregonian reports.

Maliyha Hope Garcia was found unconscious in the couple’s home in Oregon, USA, on December 22, 2016. Four months later, Garcia, 34, and 31-year-old Horn-Garcia were charged with her murder after they allegedly intentionally withheld food from the young girl.

Court documents state the couple spent the morning of Maliyha’s death debating whether they should take her to the hospital for help.

“Would you feel scared taking her in to urgent care most likely they would just swab her nose to see if she has the flu,” Garcia wrote. When Horn-Garcia expressed her concern, he added, “urgent care is always less professorial like there doctors are always laid back (sic).”

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“Alright. I think she def needs to go in today,” Horn-Garcia wrote, with her husband suggesting they take their other kids “to show they are healthy”.

But Maliyha was never taken to hospital, and two hours later, she was found unconscious. Her body was stiff and her lips were blue.

The five-year-old weighed just 10kg at the time of her death, and an autopsy ruled she died from emaciation.

Redmond Police officer Jered Kirk noted in his report that her “arms and legs looked like bones with skin hanging on them” and that “every one of her ribs was visible”.

Garcia had adopted Maliyha, his niece, when she was just three months old after her mother lost custody due to a methamphetamine addiction. Court documents allege Garcia and his wife – who he married two years after adopting Maliyha – regularly abused the girl, withholding food as a form of punishment.

The couple are currently in custody and are due to enter their pleas on June 12.

2. The ‘suicide note’ of Curtis Cheng’s killer has been revealed in court.

As he left a Parramatta mosque on his way to shoot police accountant Curtis Cheng, teenager Farhad Jabar turned to a security camera and raised his index finger in the distinctive Islamic State salute.

Prosecutors are using CCTV footage of Jabar’s chilling gesture and a bloodstained extremist note in which he’d threatened to turn “your days into hell” as evidence in the case against three men accused of aiding Mr Cheng’s 2015 murder, AAP reports.

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Talal Alameddine, 24, Mustafa Dirani, 23, and Milad Atai, 21, faced the first day of a committal hearing in the Downing Centre Local Court on Monday.

All three are charged with doing an act in preparation for a terrorist act, while Alameddine and Dirani are charged with supplying the revolver used to shoot Cheng outside Parramatta police headquarters.

A fourth man, 19-year-old Raban Alou, has also been charged over the plot but is not involved in the committal proceedings.

Crown prosecutor Paul McGuire SC told the court a bloodstained note found on 15-year-old Jabar’s body was clearly a reference to Cheng’s shooting being “an act designed to cause terror and designed to achieve some religious motivation or end”.

“Know that you are all being watched 24/7, while you are asleep, awake, planning,” the note says in part.

“But soon by the will of God the Exalted, your nights will turn into nightmares, your days into hell.”

Mr McGuire said Islamic State had taken credit for Mr Cheng’s shooting, with its online magazine Dabiq referring to Jabar as “amongst the brave knights” of jihad who “struck the crusaders of Australia and killed one of their personnel”.

He said the accused men had referred to the Dabiq article in conversations on the WhatsApp messaging platform and had also discussed international terror attacks, and cursed Australian Defence Force personnel.

Aerial police surveillance footage was played to the court of Alameddine allegedly meeting Alou and Dirani at a western Sydney park to hand over a firearm just hours before Mr Cheng was shot.

Forty-five minutes before the shooting, Alou can be seen entering the Parramatta mosque, allegedly concealing the .38 calibre Smith & Wesson revolver used to shoot Mr Cheng.

It was at the mosque that Jabar allegedly took possession of the weapon, prosecutors say.

CCTV footage played in court on Monday shows the teenager prayed before he left the mosque on foot wearing dark robes and carrying a backpack, bound for the Parramatta police headquarters where Mr Cheng worked.

Jabar was shot dead by police in an exchange of gunfire shortly after he shot Mr Cheng.

There was a heavy police presence in court for Monday’s hearing and the three accused men sat in a dock behind a clear panel.

The committal hearing continues.

3. A five-year-old boy has been shot inside his bedroom in Sydney’s south.

A boy has been hurt after a gunshot was fired into a home in Sydney’s southwest.

About 9pm on Monday, a five-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound while inside his bedroom at his home on Morison Drive, Lurnea.

9 News reports the boy’s bedroom was located at the front of the house, with the bullet hitting the five-year-old in his hip.

The boy was taken to Liverpool Hospital where he is currently receiving treatment and is in a stable condition.

Early investigations suggest the motive for the shooting is unclear and a shot was fired at the house, police said. A crime scene has been established at the home.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

4. A New Zealand Police guinea pig is here to teach you about road safety.

Constable Elliot is the newest recruit of the New Zealand Police. But there is something very different about him: he is a guinea pig.

Wearing the official blue uniform of other Kiwi cops, Elliot is here to teach members of the public about the important of driving slowly.

Appearing on the New Zealand Police’s Facebook page, Elliot shared the fun fact that a “piggies top speed can be around 9km/hr”.

“Not me, I have gone a bit overboard on the carbs lately and need to light up, so I go even slower,” Elliot shared.

“I am not too fast and that’s the way I like it – slow is safe!

“Keep this in mind when you are driving near any schools tomorrow. Remember people, the kids are going to be out and about walking and biking, and crossing roads. Like me, they are small and unpredictable, so you have to watch out!”

The Kiwi officers were quick to put any concerns about Elliot’s welfare to rest – when one commenter stated that dressing him up in a costume should be deemed as “animal cruelty”, they confirmed Constable Elliot “loves being pampered”.

“[He] loves going on trips to explore new food supplies, which is what he was doing yesterday,” they wrote.

“He loves being patted and carried and can spend a while being cuddled on laps.”

5. Toddler dies after he was run over in his own driveway.

A toddler has been run over and killed in the driveway of a rural Victorian property, AAP reports.

The 18-month-old boy was struck just before 3pm on Monday at Waubra. Paramedics were called but found the boy with critical injuries. He died at the scene.

A man in his 30s behind the wheel of the car was the boy’s father, local police reportedly told Fairfax Media.

Investigations are ongoing, but it’s believed the boy’s death is being treated as a “tragic accident”.

Fewer than 500 people live in Waubra, a farming town about 35 km northwest of Ballarat.

The tragedy comes just less than three weeks since a three-year-old boy was hit by a ute in the driveway of a Robinvale home, near the Victoria-NSW border.

Kidsafe Victoria says an average of seven children aged under 15 are killed each year in driveway collisions. Another 60 are seriously injured.

6. Boy, 12, ‘stabbed in the eye with pen’ by another student at a Sydney high school.

Police are investigating after a NSW schoolboy was allegedly ‘stabbed in the eye with a pen’ at a Sydney high school.

7 News reports the incident occurred at Cammeraygal High School in Crows Nest last Friday, when a special needs student attacked another boy with a pen.

The 12-year-old victim’s family fear he could lose his sight, telling authorities he is a promising baseball player.

The accused has been suspended from school as police investigate the incident further.

“As a Minister and as a father, I am incredible saddened by this event,” Education Minister Rob Stokes told reporters, adding that it was “too early” to draw any conclusions about what had happened.

7. A Melbourne woman is fighting for life in a Chinese hospital after catching swine flu.

A Melbourne grandmother who contracted swine flu while visiting family in China is fighting for life in hospital, AAP reports.

Kerri Cosma contracted the H1N1 influenza virus some time after arriving in China on April 13 and her condition rapidly declined, her husband says on an online fundraiser.

The personal trainer was placed in an induced coma in a Nanjing hospital early on April 23, Sam Cosma says.

“Kerri is currently doing really well and is receiving the best care possible.

“We do not know when she will be stable enough to fly home to Melbourne.”

Daughter Emma Madigan says she was told her mother was dying as she was hooked up to a life support machine last Saturday.

She said when tests came back positive for H1N1, her mother was put in full isolation and both doctors and family had to wear full body suits to go into the room.

“It was really distressing to watch,” she told 3AW on Monday.

“She’s in a much better position than she was in last Saturday.”

While the family says travel insurance will cover Ms Cosma’s medical costs, they are raising funds to cover loss of wages and the expense of rehabilitation and getting her family to her bedside.

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