Thursday's news in 5 minutes.

1. Final agonising hours of murdered Victorian mother Karen Chetcuti.

A court has heard how a Victorian mother of two was given an animal tranquiliser, before she was gagged, bound and burnt alive, the Herald Sun reports.

Karen Chetcuti, 49, was murdered on January 12 last year, with her 48-year-old neighbour, Michael Cardamone, accused of killing her.

Cardamone is facing a preliminary hearing in Wangaratta Magistrates’ Court, where the shocking details of Chetcuti’s final moments were revealed yesterday.

Prosecutor Gavin Silbert, QC, told the court Cardamone forced his neighbour to swallow a sedative often used by veterinarians for horses, before he used “cable ties, rope and duct tape” to bind her wrists and ankles.

“He has tortured her and injected her with battery acid. He has poured petrol over her and then set her alight. He has then driven over her body multiple times…in forward and reverse,” Mr Silbert told the court.

Forensic pathologist Malcolm Dodd, from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, said Chetcuti was likely alive before she was burnt.

Chetcuti was reported missing after she did not show up for work on January 13. Her body was found in scrub five days later.

Cardamone’s hearing will continue this week.

2. Dad’s last picture before he disappeared on a fishing trip, leaving his toddler alone in the woods.


The family of a man who went missing while on a day out fishing with his toddler has released the photo he sent his wife hours before he disappeared.

According to KVUE News, 38-year-old Matthew Meinert sent the selfie to his wife just before he embarked on an evening fishing trip with their two-year-old son, Oliver.

A search began when the pair failed to return from their trip, with two-year-old Oliver discovered by police early the next morning walking through the woods alone.

Police say the toddler was only wearing a T-shirt and shorts and had cuts and several scratches on his body. His first request was to ask the officer for some juice.

His father, Matthew, is still missing, with searchers in boats and on foot trying to find the missing man. His aluminium fishing boat was found abandoned up the creek from the boat launch, with fishing gear, shoes and a cellphone still inside.

Investigators believe Matthew may have fallen into the water while the boat was still running, with the vehicle eventually running ashore with Oliver inside.

3. British backpacker hostage had already been to hospital before police rescued her.


A British backpacker who was allegedly raped, held against her will for two months and taken on a 1500km road trip had visited a hospital with serious facial injuries in the lead-up to the ill-fated trip, the Courier Mail reports.

It’s alleged the 22-year-old woman visited a Cairns hospital with a wound to her eyebrow that required stitches.

The Courier Mail reports hospital staff had asked the woman whether her injury was related to domestic violence, but she left without offering an explanation for her wound.

The woman was rescued by police on Sunday after the car she was driving was pulled over when she failed to pay for fuel at a petrol station.

Yesterday, a woman who worked at the service station spoke of the victim’s obvious fear just before she was rescued.

A man was found hiding in the back of the vehicle. He has been charged with four counts of rape, eight counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, four counts of strangulation, two counts of wilful damage, two counts of deprivation of liberty, one count of possessing dangerous drugs, one count of possessing drug utensils and one count of obstructing police.

9 News reports the woman, who is originally from Liverpool in England, has now been released from hospital and could soon return to the UK.

The woman is currently in Brisbane speaking with the British Consulate, making arrangements to return to England.

In the meantime, police have confirmed she is recovering with friends and family in Australia.

4. Sailing couple rescued after being stranded at sea off Sydney coast for four days.

An experienced sailing couple is glad to be back on solid ground after they were stranded in their yacht off the coast of Sydney for four days, 9 News reports.


Irishman Nick Dwyer and Frenchwoman Barbara Heftman had been sailing from New Zealand to Australia as part of a 10-year circumnavigation of the globe when their yacht’s rudder broke on Saturday.

Three days later, they activated their emergency radio beacon after their boat “rolled” in heavy swells and high winds.

“Barbara and I were waiting after the boat turned upside down, holding each other, thinking for a split second that seemed to last for an eternity, ‘Is she going to turn upright?'” Dwyer told reporters in Sydney.

“We encountered enormous seas, waves the size of buildings coming at you constantly, winds that you can’t stand up in and seas breaking, whiteness everywhere.”

The pair arrived safely in Balmain last night after a NSW Police rescue vessel travelled more than 200 nautical miles to save them.

“It was truly amazing, to think that somebody had come that far to save us,” Dwyer said.

Sadly, the yacht that had been their home was left to drift at sea.

“Our home’s gone, we’re alive, I expect to live a little bit longer and that’ll be okay,” he said.

5. Sydney mum admits to drowning her baby over ‘dwarfism fears’.

A Sydney mum accused of drowning her baby has pleaded guilty manslaughter in the NSW Supreme Court, 7 News reports.

The 41-year-old was charged with murder, but the Crown accepted her manslaughter plea on the basis of “substantial impairment due to an abnormality of the mind”.

The six-month-old child was found dead in the bathtub of the woman’s home in 2010.


Since the girl’s death, the mother had been admitted to various psychiatric institutions and was deemed until to face trial in 2014.

A special hearing under the Mental Health Act determined the mother had deliberately killed her baby.

Justice Geoffrey Bellow found the mother was “obsessed with perfection” and had become worried she was “seeing the signs of a dwarf” in her baby daughter.

The woman’s murder trial was set to begin this week, but she entered her guilty plea to manslaughter on Wednesday. The case has been adjourned until next week.

6. Adults are having less sex than they did 20 years ago, report says.

A new report claims that millennials are having less sex than their grandparents did, according to The Sun.

Experts say that 21st century adults can blame their fizzling sex lives on the fact they spend too much time on Facebook or watching porn.

The report also found that adults are having sex eight times less a year than they did a decade ago, falling from an average of 62 times a year between 2000 and 2004 to 54 times a year between 2010 and 2014.

“The ubiquity of entertainment and social media options in recent decades, from streaming video to gaming to Facebook, may also make sexual activity just one of an array of pleasurable options,” Professor Jean Twenge, who led the study at San Diego State University, said.

“In addition, the increased availability and consumption of pornography may provide sexual outlets outside of sex with a partner.”

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