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Wednesday's news in under 5 minutes.

 We’ve rounded up all the latest news from Australia and around the world – so you don’t have to go searching.

1. Murder trial: Mother admits hitting son with wooden plank.

Warning: This item deals with child abuse and may be distressing for some readers.

A mother has admitted beating her seven-year old son with a wooden plank to discipline him, while her partner held him down,

The mother, Kayla James, is in jail after pleading guilty to the boy’s manslaughter in June. She received a discount on her sentence for manslaughter for agreeing to give evidence at her former partner Kodi Maybir’s trial.

Maybir originally told police the boy died after falling off his pogo stick but through his trial the court has heard he had given multiple stories about how the child received head injuries.

Giving evidence yesterday Kayla James admitted hitting her son with the plank after her phone became wet from the rain.

She said that she used a spatula and then a wooden plank to hit the child.

“He [Maybir] told [the boy] to keep still, that he deserved it,” James said.

“I had a wooden plank and I was hitting [him]. I was screaming, ‘it’s your fault, it’s your fault’.”

James said Maybir discouraged her from seeking medical attention for the boy.

“Welts started to appear on his skin. They were breaking and they were starting to become infected,” she told the court.

“He said if I take him to the GP, they will ask questions about [the boy’s] bruises and other injuries.”

The ABC has previously reported that Maybir, a Christian music producer,  used boot camp-style exercises to discipline the three children, and that the couple withheld food and water from him as punishment.

Maybir would make the children run on the beach and called them “soldiers.”

“He would be forced to endure, to keep running,” James said.

Crown prosecutor Christopher Maxwell QC asked: “How did this make you feel?”

She replied: “I felt hopeless.”

Mr Maxwell said: “Did you ever say to Mr Maybir, ‘this is too much for him’?”

“Not at that time,” she answered.

Ms James then recounted  how on May 19, 2013, the seven-year-old was made to squat against a wall for up to three hours with his arms outstretched as punishment for “lying”.

She says that Maybir read her son passages from the Bible while the little boy squatted.

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She then recounted how the next morning as she was making breakfast she heard  a “scratch and thud as if something was being scraped against the floor”.

“I thought of Mr Maybir getting upset because there was noise already,” she told the court.

The Australian reports that just moment later Maybir came into the kitchen with the boy in his arms.

“I was calling (my son’s) name trying to rouse him … His eyes were rolled back and he had a bit of froth on the corner of his mouth,” she said. But Maybir said the boy had just fallen over.

The couple then went on with their day as the boy struggled to even moan.

“Did it occur to you then that he may be extremely seriously injured?” crown prosecutor Chris Maxwell QC asked.

“I was afraid of finally putting Maybir in a position with the police.”

So instead of calling an ambulance they had sex, ordered pizza and went to bed.

The next day the boy was dead.

The case continues.

2. Woman in wheelchair impersonated Karlie Pearce-Stevenson.

Woman in wheelchair impersonated Karlie Pearce-Stevenson.

Following yesterday’s revelations that at least three people suspected of being involved in the murder of Karlie Pearce Stevenson, 20, and her daughter Khandalyce Pearce assumed her identity to make it appear as though she was still alive it has been revealed that at one stage a woman in a wheelchair attended a bank impersonating Ms Pearce Stevenson.

Police have said that in June 2010 a woman in a wheelchair attended Australian Central Credit Union in Elizabeth in Adelaide, to update banking records.

A woman then went to a compulsory interview at Centrelink in South Australia with identity documents. Police are trying to ascertain if it was the same woman.

A joint statement from SA and NSW police yesterday revealed that hundreds of fraudulent transactions have been tracked across the ACT, South Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory between November 2008 and March 2012.

These included a KFC at Port Augusta, a McDonald’s at Rundle Mall in Adelaide, Coles at Alice Springs, Rabbit Photo and Strandbags at Mt Gambier, BP OTR at Broadview and an ATM at Kent Town.

The money was deposited through Centrelink payments, previous wages and other unknown sources.

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3. Disturbing details emerge about the last night of 11-year old Zoe Buttigieg’s life.

Zoe Buttigieg

While police still wait to question a man in relation to the murder of 11-year old Zoe Buttigieg in the early hours of Sunday morning details have been reported about the party that took place at her home, in Wangaratta,  on the night she died.

The Daily Mail reports that after the party finished up around 2am the mother of Zoe “may have spent several hours away from the home ….returning in the morning to discovered her daughter’s body.”

According to reports the area is awash with ice addicts and parties regularly took place at the home Zoe shared with her mother.

The man police are waiting to speak to is currently in a psychiatric unit in Wangaratta.

A friend described the 29-year-old man to The Daily Mail as “a ring in”.

“We don’t know anything about him” the person said.

When he was picked up by police the man’s behaviour was erratic, according to The Age who report he was wearing just shorts and a singlet and no shoes.

The Herald Sun reports that Zoe’s biological father passed away a number of years ago and she lived with her mother and her mother’s long-term partner.

4. Police have no idea where Stocco father and son fugitives are.

Where are they? Nope. No idea.

Police have admitted they have no idea where the Stocco father and son duo, wanted for attempted murder, actually are.

The two men were last seen at Gundagai on October 24th, though there were unconfirmed reports of them being at Tumut on October 25th.

Superintendent Bob Noble said yesterday that they had an “open mind” on where they could be.

“If we could say with any certainty where they are, there would certainly be a very focused operation around that area.”

“We know they’ve got a vehicle that’s capable of putting in large distances without having to be refuelled and we know they’ve shown a propensity to travel around before.”

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He urged them to get in touch with police and hand themselves in.

“If they are willing to do that we can take them into custody without incident and they will not be harmed … but as time wears on the possibility for that might be closing.”

5. Boy left alive after crash kills whole family cried out “help get me out, my mum and dad are dead.”

A witness has recounted how a nine-year old boy who was the sole survivor of a car crash that killed his family called for help knowing his family had died.

Samuel Beckett was in the car with his parents, Stephen and Jade Beckett, and two siblings Ella, 6, and William, 2 when a truck toppled on their vehicle on a section of road in Catani, 84km south east of Melbourne, in February last year.

The driver of the truck, 28-year old Jobandeep Gill has pleaded not guilty to four charges of culpable driving causing death and is facing trial at the County Court.

Yesterday a witness recounted how she saw the car engulfed in flames reports The Herald Sun.

Katrina Foot told the court: “I couldn’t even tell what make of car it was,” she said.

“It looked like a convertible. The top had been ripped off.

“There was a whole lot of crushed metal.”

The lawyer for Mr Gill has said that the road engineering at the location of the accident was “grossly inadequate”.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Gill ignored multiple warning signs before driving through a stop sign.

6. Boy with autism locked in “cell-like” room.

A young boy with autism has been locked in a small room with the windows boarded up a QLD primary school because his teacher said he needed “time out”.

The boy’s mother has spoken to The Courier Mail saying she is horrified at just how small the room is.

Nine-year old Tate Smith was locked in the room, a small 2x2m room with boarded up windows more than 20 times in the last year.

The school, Hervey Bay Primary School informed Tate’s mother that he was being sent to a time out room, but she says she did not realise just how small it was.

“To me, when people say a chill-out area I imagine some pillows and books and stickers on the walls. That room is not a chill-out area.” Kelly-Ann Brooks told The Courier Mail.

“For me, it’s like my son being in a cell like some kind of common criminal.

The Department of Education has now ordered the school to shut down the “unacceptable” room.

“The situation is unacceptable and when it was brought to my attention yesterday I immediately ordered the school to stop using the room,” State Schools Deputy Director-General Patrea Walton told The Courier-Mail.

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7. Getting girls into code.

Mr Shorten will encourage girls in primary and secondary schools to take up coding.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will announce today that Labor will invest $4.5 million in programs that inspire girls to learn code.

Speaking at a Startup Week event where coding kids will take over Sydney Townhall Mr Shorten will encourage girls in primary and secondary schools to take up coding.

The Organisations like Code Club Australia, Code Like a Girl, Robogals, Code Camp, Tech Girls Movement, CoderDojo and many others are already doing great work inspiring young women and girls to code.

If elected next year Labor will use a new fund of $4.5 million to make $150,000 grants to projects aimed specifically at getting young school-age girls into coding and the digital universe.

Labor will build on programs run by organisations like Code Club Australia, Code Like a Girl, Robogals, Code Camp, Tech Girls Movement, CoderDojo by making available enabling them to scale up their activities across the country and boost girls’ participation in computational training.

8. Loyal dog refuses to leave owner’s side.

Paco – the loyal dog.

A faithful dog who refused to leave his owners side after she was hit and killed by a truck is being cared for by his family.

42-year old Kelly Black was out walking her dog Paco in Jacksonville, Florida in the US on Friday morning when she was hit by a truck and killed.

Black was trapped and dragged underneath the semi before it finally drove off, leaving her behind — with Paco still by her side.

Paco stayed at the scene of the accident, alone, lying in the street not far away from Black’s body. As emergency personnel began to arrive on the scene, Paco continued to stay where he was, for five hours forcing police to put up police tape around him.

The loyal Rhodesian ridgeback is now back home with family and Black’s brother has said he is “listless” but after two days of refusing to eat, has finally eaten.

Kelly’s Troy Bostick said the dog’s ongoing mourning is a testament to his late sister’s loving personality he told The NY Daily News: “Paco was my sister’s heart and soul”

“He hasn’t really left the house since this happened. He knows how to open doors and gates, and he’s normally out in the yard, but I think he knows she’s gone. For a while he wouldn’t eat. He just started eating yesterday.”

Aw Paco. Sending you lots and lots of doggy cuddles.

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