News in 5: Girl's death after four hospital visits; Stan Lee dies; Bourke St driver 'sorry'.

-With AAP

1. Toddler died in hospital after staff allegedly didn’t believe she swallowed a battery.

A toddler died in hospital after swallowing a button battery that went unnoticed by staff until it was too late, the Coroners Court of Victoria has heard.

Isabella Rees died in 2015 aged just 14-months-old. The coronial inquiry into her death began yesterday.

Her mother Allison Rees was the first to give evidence and shared heartbreaking details about her daughter’s final days.

According to Nine News, Rees said she and her husband took Isabella to Melbourne’s Sunshine Hospital four times over the space of two weeks.

She told the court that during the first visit Isabella was “limp and vomiting”.

She said her husband had seen Isabella holding an AA battery earlier that day, so he asked doctors if it was possible she had swallowed something. She said a doctor told them it was impossible she could have ingested a battery and whatever was inside her was just “passing through”.

Isabella was taken to hospital again three days later and prescribed antibiotics.

The court heard Isabella had symptoms including blackened faeces and a fever.

Rees said she took dirty nappies, blood clots found in Isabella’s cot and photos into the hospital to prove something was wrong but they were made to feel like they were overreacting.

“Because every time we went we had evidence … we were just disregarded and turned away.

“It felt like we were hypochondriacs,” The Herald Sun reported.

Two weeks later, Rees found Isabella covered in blood in her cot and rushed her to hospital, where she started to vomit up dark blood.

After an C-ray it was discovered that she had swallowed a button battery and she died a few hours later.

Coroner Caitlin England is trying to determine if the hospital provided appropriate care to Isabella and to find out when she likely swallowed the battery.

The inquest will continue this week. It is expected the hear from 17 witnesses, including family, hospital staff and medical experts.

2. Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee has died at 95.


Stan Lee, the architect of the contemporary comic book, has died aged 95.

The creative dynamo who revolutionised comics by introducing human frailties in superheroes such as Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk, was declared dead on Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, according to Kirk Schenck, a lawyer for Lee’s daughter JC Lee.

As the top writer at Marvel Comics and later as its publisher, Lee revived the industry in the 1960s.

His work offered the costumes and action craved by younger readers while insisting on sophisticated plots, college-level dialogue, satire, science fiction, and even philosophy.

Spider-Man, the Hulk and X-Men were among the Lee creations that went on to become stars of blockbuster films.

3. The Melbourne rampage driver has apologised in court.


Confused, rambling and wanting to read from a 25-page explanation for his actions, James Gargasoulas has apologised for killing six people in a car rampage through Melbourne’s Bourke Street last year.

The 28-year-old told the Supreme Court on Monday he had permission from a premonition he believe came from God to hit people with the stolen car he was driving, but not to kill anyone.

“I apologise from my heart but that’s not going to fix anything … neither will a lengthy sentence fix what I done,” he told his murder trial.

He has pleaded not guilty to six charges of murder and 27 of reckless conduct endangering life but admits his driving caused his victims’ deaths and injuries.

Originally planned for four weeks, the trial looks set to last just four days.

Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC closed her case on Monday – day three – telling jurors “this is the clearest case of criminal liability that you will ever come across”.

The day was an emotional one, starting with Detective Sergeant Sol Solomon talking jurors through CCTV footage showing the rampage unfold.

One by one, he pointed out all 33 victims, narrating the moments they were struck and the aftermath.

The graphic, confronting footage was played almost three dozen times over two hours.

Several jurors gasped and flinched as the footage showed pedestrians being struck.

Others watched with hands clasped tightly over their mouths.

Defence barrister Theo Alexander will deliver his closing remarks on Tuesday.

He called no witnesses other than Gargasoulas, who over 14 minutes answered a handful of questions and read from a two-page handwritten note, condensed moments earlier from 25 pages.

“I still haven’t gathered my thoughts as to understand why I did that,” he said when Dr Alexander asked why he drove on the footpath injuring and killing people.

Gargasoulas spoke about a judgement day comet coming to smite the earth and about the Bible and Koran but was quickly directed back on topic each time by Justice Mark Weinberg.


“I am here to prove we are under oppression, which we are, and when we are under oppression things like Bourke Street happen,” Gargasoulas said.

He also made reference to Friday’s terror attack in Bourke St and the December 2017 Flinders Street car attack.

He said he wanted “God’s royal laws” reinstated, under which the penalty for his crimes would be death.

Under cross-examination he told Ms Judd he didn’t intend to kill people, but knew death or serious injury was probable.

“I had permission to run people over, but that doesn’t mean I have permission killing people,” he told the court.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating on Tuesday.

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

4. White House defends Donald Trump for missing a WWI ceremony due to weather.

Stung by criticism for not attending an event honouring US military dead, the White House says President Donald Trump didn’t want to disrupt Paris roadways for a last-minute motorcade to a cemetery in northern France.

Trump had been scheduled to lay a wreath and observe a moment of silence Saturday at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, located adjacent to Belleau Wood about 100 kilometres northeast of Paris.


The White House cited weather conditions that grounded the president’s helicopter for the cancellation.

In the wake of criticism that Trump didn’t travel by car to the event, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement Sunday that noted the weather and “near-zero visibility” as well as concerns that a motorcade on short notice would have required closing substantial portions of area roadways.

“President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” Sanders said.

She also said the trip to Aisne-Marne was 2 1/2 hours each way by car.

Instead, Trump spent much of Saturday at the US ambassador’s residence following a meeting and lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Trump was in Paris for events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Attending the cemetery event in Trump’s place were the White House chief of staff, retired Marine Gen John Kelly; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen Joe Dunford; and several members of the White House staff.

The Battle of Belleau Wood was a critical conflict in the war and a pivotal encounter in Marine Corps history.

The determination to ground Marine One, the president’s helicopter, due to bad weather is made by the Marine Corps and the White House Military Office, which then presents the recommendation to the White House in collaboration with the Secret Service, according to a Secret Service official.

Paris was covered in clouds with drizzling rain through most of Saturday.

On Sunday, Trump attended a scheduled event honouring American war dead at a US cemetery just outside of Paris.

5. Sacked ABC chief Michelle Guthrie claims ex-chairmain touched her inappropriately.


Sacked ABC chief Michelle Guthrie has claimed for the first time the organisation’s then-chairman inappropriately touched her almost a year earlier.

Justin Milne emphatically denies the allegation and says the former managing director declined to make a formal complaint over the board dinner in November 2017 in Sydney.

Ms Guthrie, who was fired in September halfway through her five-year-term, declined to detail the alleged behaviour on ABC’s Four Corners on Monday.

“I felt icky,” she told the program.

“It was unprofessional and inappropriate.”

Mr Milne said an intermediary raised the claim with Mr Milne before the board began a “preliminary investigation” and sent a board member to speak with her.

“I never, ever behaved in any inappropriate way with Michelle,” he told Four Corners.

The board denies Ms Guthrie’s version of events that she was encouraged to work it out with Mr Milne or quit.

The program also revealed Ms Guthrie was rated extremely low on a range of professional criteria including integrity by senior colleagues in April.

But the former media lawyer and Google and Foxtel executive said she wasn’t distressed as it was a personal development tool.

She is suing the ABC over her dismissal.

Mr Milne was forced to quit days after Ms Guthrie’s sacking after it was revealed he had asked her to sack two journalists because the federal government didn’t like their reporting.

He told Four Corners the idea to sack chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici originated at management level, not at board level.

A communications department inquiry has since found there was no pressure from the coalition on the ABC to sack journalists.