News in 5: Footballer’s tragic death; Pills blamed by sexting teacher; Dutton’s explanation.

maggie-varcoe

1. Maggie Varcoe, the sister of Collingwood star Travis Varcoe, dies after football injury.


Maggie Varcoe, the sister of Collingwood star Travis Varcoe, has died four days after she sustained a head injury during a football game.

The 27-year-old was admitted to hospital on Sunday after she accidentally clashed heads with a teammate while playing for Angle Vale Football Club in an Adelaide Football League women’s grand final.

Maggie reportedly walked off the ground after the on-field collision but collapsed in the changerooms and was in a coma at the Royal Adelaide Hospital before dying on Thursday.

Varcoe returned to Melbourne to address his teammates on Tuesday before flying back to Adelaide late on Wednesday to keep vigil by Maggie’s bedside.

News of her death was confirmed in a Facebook post by Angle Vale on Thursday evening.

“Maggie you were a much loved member of our women’s team who all idolised you both on and off the field,” it read.

“Your infectious smile and kind nature will be truly missed around the club you chose to call home. We will do whatever we can to support the Varcoe family and the AVFC family who are all deeply saddened by this tragedy.”

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Adelaide Football League CEO John Kernahan told The Advertiser that he was shocked by the news.

“Like everyone in the football community, we are devastated at the tragic loss of Margaret following what appears to have been a freak accident on Sunday,” Kernahan told the newspaper.

“Margaret received the best medical attention, both at the ground and at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and our thanks go to all the medical professionals who did so much for her.

“We have been in constant contact with the Angle Vale Football Club and our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to the Varcoe family, Margaret’s friends and teammates. She was a talented, spirited and passionate young woman who absolutely loved her footy.

“I know I speak for the entire football community when I say that she was very much loved in return.

“The football community is a strong one and we will wrap our arms around those needing some care.”

2. Mum blames weight-loss pills for sexting teenage student.

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Friends agree Jackie had been acting different. Image: Facebook.

When NSW mother-of-two Jackie Hays began taking a weight-loss drug, her friends noticed she started to act strangely and she looked as though she was "off the planet", a court has heard.

Four months after being prescribed the drug Duromine, the support staff member at a Hunter Valley school became infatuated with a 15-year-old student and decided she wanted to have sex with him, sending him numerous explicit text messages.

Legal Aid defence lawyer Gillian Jewison told Newcastle Local Court on Thursday Hays, 51, who pleaded guilty to grooming the student for sex between April 2015 and June 2016, blamed the drug and her borderline personality disorder for her predatory behaviour.

Hays claimed the drug dramatically increased her sex drive and impaired her judgment.

Ms Jewison acknowledged there was no medical evidence linking the drug to Hays' behaviour but said anecdotal evidence showed her behaviour changed after taking the drug.

The defence lawyer submitted a psychological report confirming Hays had been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, anxiety and depression and applied to have the grooming charge dropped.

Magistrate Robert Stone accepted Hays did suffer from mental health issues but found the case against her was too serious to dismiss.

Mr Stone said Hays had detailed "lewd, descriptive acts" in a series of explicit text messages sent to the boy suggesting she wanted to have sex and she would either be jailed or receive a suspended jail term when sentenced next Wednesday.

"In general terms, the community expects better from people who work at schools with children," Mr Stone said.

"She knew it was inappropriate. She knew it was illegal to have sex with the boy."

The magistrate said sentencing Hays would be a difficult exercise because specific details of the text messages were unavailable given the boy's phone had been lost before Hays' arrest.

Prosecutor Stuart Ogilvy, in opposing the application to have the charge dismissed, said there was nothing to suggest the drug had affected Hays' mood, caused her anxiety or changed her sex drive.

Mr Ogilvy said when Hays was interviewed by detectives, she described the text messages as "filth".

Hays admitted she was willing to have sex with the boy but claimed she wanted to wait until he turned 16.

Mr Ogilvy said Hays came to know the boy and his family through the school and she had abused their trust when trying to arrange to have sex with the teenager.

Hays was initially charged in mid-2017 with five offences alleging she had been sending explicit text messages and phoning two students but four of the charges were later dropped after she agreed to plead guilty to the one count of grooming a child for unlawful sexual activity.

Police set up Strikeforce Minnamorra before Hays' arrest after being alerted by the school to the grooming allegations.

3. Peter Dutton says he overturned visa cancellation because it was "a bit rough".

Pressure is mounting on Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to formally explain exactly why he intervened to save multiple au pairs from deportation in 2015.

Mr Dutton, who was immigration minister at the time, says "it was an application of common sense" to overturn Frenchwoman Alexandra Deuwel's cancelled visa.

The minister had been lobbied by AFL boss Gil McLachlan, as the woman had worked for his second cousin.

Reports have also emerged that another nanny Mr Dutton saved from deportation - one of two cases unveiled earlier - was a Brisbane-based au pair for one of the minister's former police colleagues.

In the case of Ms Deuwel, the 27-year-old was detained at Adelaide airport on October 31 after admitting she intended to work, in breach of her tourist visa, for farmer Callum MacLachlan.

Leaked emails show Mr MacLachlan pleaded to his second cousin Gil McLachlan, who then contacted Mr Dutton's office to lobby for the woman to stay.

Mr Dutton used his discretion to grant her a three-month tourist visa on the condition she did not work despite being told she had been counselled in May 2015 after breaching visa conditions on an earlier visit.

"I looked at it and thought it's a bit rough, there's no criminal history," Mr Dutton told 2GB radio.

Mr Dutton is being urged to clear the air before a Senate inquiry runs a fine-tooth comb over the decision, as well as his intervention for the Brisbane-based au pair and another nanny.

As a minister Mr Dutton cannot be compelled to appear before next Wednesday's inquiry, but senior public servants are understood to be on the witness list.

4. Texts reveal bridal magazine deliberately excludes gay weddings.

A post shared by WHITE (@whitemagazine) on

Popular bridal magazine White has been challenged to undertake a trial period of "diversity" after its contributors revealed the publication refuses to feature same-sex couples and won't publicly admit it.

Text messages between the magazine's editor and a photographer reveal the publication isn't including gay weddings.

Separately advertisers, photographers, videographers and celebrants have turned to Facebook this week to share stories about their interactions with White.

Many say they've been ignored after they've submitted same-sex content.

Photographer Lara Hotz noticed White didn't make any reference to gay couples during 2017's postal survey when 62 per cent of respondents supported changing the law to legalise same-sex marriage.

Ms Hotz, whose images have run on the magazine's cover, reached out in August and November 2017 to ask if White would feature non-heterosexual couples.

She didn't receive a clear response despite her long-running relationship with the publication.

She followed up again with the editor and on Monday was told in a text message - seen by AAP - "we aren't sharing Same Sex (sic) weddings at this point".

Ms Hotz, who is married to her female partner, says she feels discriminated against and undervalued by White's previously unspoken policy.

She wants the "influential" magazine to be open about its position so people are informed before buying the magazine or advertising in it.

Advertiser and eco-wedding expert Sandra Henri was disappointed with White's "silence" on the day the postal survey result was announced in mid-November.

Ms Henri challenged White to have a trial period of "diversity" in the magazine.

White magazine was contacted by AAP but did not respond.

On its website, the publication states its "obsessed with changing the wedding culture to bring meaning back into marriage".

5. Australian Catholic Church will give final verdict on royal commission's recommendations today.

Australia's Catholic leaders won't back down on breaking the seal of confession to reveal child sexual abuse when they reveal their royal commission response.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the peak body for religious orders, Catholic Religious Australia, will on Friday formally respond to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommendations.

While it will be up to the Pope and his advisers to accept many of the commission's far-reaching recommendations, the Australian bishops have already rejected its controversial call to break the seal of confession to reveal child sexual abuse.

The states are at various stages of considering the commission's call to extend mandatory reporting laws to include priests even if information about child sexual abuse has been disclosed in a religious confession.

The ACBC last month said it had begun discussions with the Holy See about the commission's recommendations dealing with the discipline and doctrine of the universal church.

The bishops wrote to the Holy See last year, after the commission raised the issue of whether the seal effectively protects everything said in the confessional, including if a child reveals they are being abused.

The commission called on the ACBC to ask the Holy See to amend canon law to create specific references to sexual crimes against children and end the use of the "pontifical secret" or confidentiality imposed during church investigations into child abuse allegations.

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