News in 5: Ex-Perth schoolboy “smoked after killing family”; Calls for Barnaby to quit; AFL star arrested.

Video via Seven News

1. Former Perth schoolboy accused of killing his family allegedly smoked cigarettes while waiting for his sister to die.

A former Perth student allegedly smoked cigarettes and called his girlfriend as he waited for his sister to die, a courtroom has heard.

Henri van Breda, 23, is on trial for the murders of his parents and brother in the family’s Cape Town mansion in 2015.

He allegedly killed Teresa, 55, and Martin van Breda, 54‚ as well as his older brother Rudi, 22, with an axe. He also allegedly stabbed his sister, Marli, then 15, who survived.

Following the attack – which van Breda claims was by a masked intruder – the accused did nothing to help his alleged victims as they lay bleeding and dying.

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The former physics student admitted to witnessing the gurgling and twitching of his family members as they suffered with their injuries, Daily Mail reports. But there was a gap of several hours between when the attack occurred and when he called the police.

As closing arguments are delivered, the court has heard how instead of helping Marli, a 20-year-old van Breda smoked three cigarettes and called his girlfriend, Nine News reports.

When he finally did call emergency services, he was so calm the operator thought it was a prank.

The 23-year-old testified that an intruder entered the house in a gated community outside of Cape Town, and swung the axe at the heads of his mother, father and brother before he could intervene.

According to Daily Mail, van Breda claims he disarmed the intruder. However the prosecution says the superficial wounds van Breda suffered were “text book” and “self-inflicted”.

The defence has begun its closing argument and a verdict is expected in coming weeks.

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2. There are growing calls for Barnaby Joyce to quit in his “time of trial”.

A handful of federal Nationals politicians are angling for Barnaby Joyce to give up the party’s leadership, but the Deputy Prime Minister is digging in.

Four or five Nationals MPs are trying to force Joyce to resign as pressure mounts over his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion, AAP reports. But they don’t have the numbers in the 21-member party room to enable a change.

Veterans Affairs Minister Michael McCormack, who missed out twice on becoming deputy leader, on Tuesday night denied he had been having conversations with colleagues to replace Joyce. “No I haven’t,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

As well as this, NSW politician Adam Marshall, who is the state tourism minister, is seen by the Nationals as the man to step into Mr Joyce’s seat in northern NSW, Fairfax Media reports.

Joyce on Tuesday apologised to his estranged wife, four daughters, his pregnant girlfriend Ms Campion, Coalition MPs and voters but said he is determined to get through his “time of trial”.

“I would like to say to (my wife) Natalie how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt this has caused. To my girls, how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt it has caused them,” Joyce told reporters outside federal parliament on Tuesday.

“To Vikki Campion, how deeply sorry I am that she has been dragged into this.”

3. Former AFL champion arrested after allegedly assaulting a woman.

Former AFL star Shannon Grant was arrested yesterday for multiple assault and criminal damage charges.

Police on Tuesday confirmed that a 40-year-old man is facing 18 charges following an alleged “incident” at Highett, Victoria in December, and is due in court on February 21.

According to Seven NewsGrant allegedly violently assaulted a woman on December 17. The news station reports police are questioning Grant over a another assault involving the same woman in Queensland.

The arrest comes two days after Grant’s shock resignation as an club coach at the prestigious Melbourne school St Kevin’s Old Boys.

Grant has served as an assistant coach at both Essendon and the Western Bulldogs AFL teams. Before that, he was a highly acclaimed player for North Melbourne and the Sydney Swans.

He played 14 seasons professionally before retiring in 2008.

4. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are crowd-pleasers in Scotland, of course.

Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle have been welcomed enthusiastically in Edinburgh on an official joint visit to Scotland.

Crowds who had waited hours on Tuesday in the cold outside Edinburgh Castle were thrilled with the smiling couple.

“They are just amazing, so down to earth and people’s people who bring everyone together,” said Amanda Scott, from Edinburgh, AAP reports.

Harry, 33, and Markle, 36, who wore a Scottish blackwatch tartan coat, were officially welcomed to the city by the Royal Marines Scotland Band at the castle, where they observed the firing of the one o’clock gun, a tradition that dates back to 1861.

They also visited Social Bite, a charity that runs cafes and distributes food to the homeless, as well as employing staff who have been homeless. The eatery has attracted visits from other high-profile names such as actors George Clooney and Leonardo di Caprio.

5. The same-sex marriage survey was a really bad idea, the senate has now decided.


jack hartake marriage equality
Image via Getty.

A same-sex marriage-style postal survey should never again be used to resolve human rights issues after an "avalanche" of hate, according to a Senate report.

The Labor-chaired committee tabled its report in the upper house on Tuesday, recommending public votes should not be used to resolve questions of minority rights, AAP reports.

"Having this public survey unleashed such an avalanche of hateful material," Greens senator Janet Rice told parliament.

In a dissenting report, government senators dismissed the idea the debate had been damaging.

"Public debate can be healthy, constructive and help the community come to terms with changes in social mores," Liberals James Paterson and David Fawcett wrote.

6. Heart attack survivors are being encouraged to talk to their doctor about sex.

Heart attack survivors are being encouraged to talk to their doctor about sex, with many health professionals failing to address the health issue.

A Heart Foundation survey, released on Wednesday, has found fewer than one in four health professionals regularly conduct conversations about sexual activity and intimacy with their heart attack patients.

This is despite most (80 per cent) believing it is an important issue to be discussed.

When they do bring up the subject of sex, the patient is more likely to be a woman than a man.

The 2017 survey of 251 health professionals also found just over half reported being comfortable discussing sexual activity and intimacy with people from all cultures and backgrounds, AAP reports.

Chief Medical Advisor for the National Heart Foundation, Professor Garry Jennings, says it is disappointing to think "we haven't moved on" from any embarrassment the topic may cause.

He says it's also concerning people may be instead seeking information on the issue of sex after a heart attack from social media.

"That may be alright but it may not be," Professor Jennings said.

The survey was conducted after a patient study and review of the research suggested the resumption of sexual activity after a heart attack remains a major concern among patients.

"Heart attack survivors are worried about having another heart attack, performance, and over-exertion," said Heart Foundation Queensland Health Director Rachelle Foreman.

"Depression, fatigue, a lack of cardiac fitness, pain or discomfort, and sexual dysfunction, including low libido, can also play a role," said Ms Foreman.

And it's not just the sufferer themselves who worry, it's also their partners, added Prof Jennings

For evidence-based information people can visit www.heartfoundation.org.au) or call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 131112.

7. "You get what you deserve." Donald Trump's daughter-in-law opens threatening letter containing suspicious white powder.

US President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law has thanked emergency services after she was taken to hospital when she received a suspicious letter containing white powder.

Vanessa Trump, the wife of Donald Trump Jr, was hospitalised on Monday after telling police she had been exposed to white powder after opening an envelope, which was later determined as non-hazardous.

According to the New York Postthe letter was addressed to Trump Junior and read: "You’re an awful person and now you get what you deserve."

Vanessa later tweeted that she was grateful to the New York City Fire Department, the Secret Service, the New York City Police Department and the FBI.

"I appreciate all the quick response to make sure that I was safe [sic]," she wrote.

Two other people who were present when she opened the envelope were also taken to the hospital.

"The substance had arrived by mail and it was addressed to Donald Trump Jr.," said New York Police Department spokesman Carlos Nieves.

Trump Jr has been in the public eye for his role in a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer and others after the Trump campaign was offered potentially damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

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