Thursday's news in 5 minutes.

1. Man accused of bashing two-year-old Nikki Francis-Coslovich to death says her mum did it, not him.

A Victorian man has denied bashing a two-year-old to death saying he only helped hide her body in the roof after his former girlfriend murdered her daughter.

John Clifford Torney’s lawyer claims that his de facto wife Peta-Ann Francis was the killer of her two-year-old daughter.

Ms Francis reported Nikki missing after she discovered her little girl’s bed was empty in August last year. The toddler had spent the morning at home with Torney while her mother ran errands.

Her body was discovered several hours later after a police officer noticed dirty fingerprints on a manhole cover in the hallway and climbed on a chair to investigate.

The court heard she may have been alive for more than an hour after she was bashed. The prosecutor said Nikki had injuries to her kidney, liver and skull and had lost one third of her body’s blood volume.

The former lovers who lived just doors from each other have turned against each other, with Ms Francis now the main witness against Mr Torney, reports The Herald Sun.

The prosecution claims the pair smoked cannabis and had sex either before or after he killed two-year-old Nikki Francis-Coslovich.

Defence counsel Julie Condon used her opening address in Torney’s murder trial to claim that Ms Francis was a liar.

“She’s not (a truthful witness). What you will see when you listen to her evidence and you observe her is a woman who has spun so many lies about this. Not little white lies — big bad lies that relate to the most fundamental of questions in this trial.”

Ms Condon said Ms Francis told Torney she had thrown the girl on the bed, and asked him to hide the body and go along with the missing person’s story.

John Torney has pleaded not guilty.

2. Coalition moves to allow controversial weapon into Australia.

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull along with NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, have opened the door to allowing the controversial Adler A110 shotgun to be imported into Australia.

State ministers are considering giving the shotgun a higher classification but their talks have stalled. The federal government has extended an interim ban on imports of the gun until an agreement is reached.

Mr Grant, the NSW Police Minister, will today take to state cabinet a proposal for NSW to back a tighter reclassification of the weapon so that the ban on its importation can be lifted. He will ask the Baird cabinet to make the gun available only to farmers and any professional shooters they hire to get rid of feral pests.

The Adler, which uses a lever ­action to load fresh cartridges and is capable of firing eight rounds in as many seconds, is classified as category A firearm, the least ­restrictive classification.

Nationals MP Mark Coulton says the heated debate is actually about reclassifying the Adler lever-action shotgun so that its use is covered by tougher restrictions that it is now.


National Party MPs want the states to reclassify it so it can be imported for farmers wanting to kill feral pigs.

“Quite frankly I’m a bit frustrated that it’s actually become a political issue when really it’s one of compliance and process,” he told ABC.

3. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to face final debate.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will take to the stage in Las Vegas later today for the final debate in the US presidential race.

Polls show Mr Trump is losing in key battleground states after facing a slew of sexual assault allegations, though Mrs Clinton remains unpopular with many US voters and has faced more bad headlines about her use of a private email server.

In what the Trump campaign is promoting as a secret weapon, Donald Trump has invited President Barack Obama’s half-brother Malik Obama, to the debate in Las Vegas.

“I look very much forward to meeting and being with Malik,” Trump, 70, told The New York Post. “He gets it far better than his brother.”

Malik, 58, said, “I’m excited to be at the debate. Trump can make America great again.”

“I like Donald Trump because he speaks from the heart,” he said, “Make America Great Again is a great slogan. I would like to meet him.”

4. Gable Tostee trial: Jury still unable to reach a verdict.

As the jury enters its fourth day of deliberations in the Gable Tostee trial they have once again approached the judge with a question.

The six men and six women jurors have been deliberating since they retired on Monday. On Tuesday they told Justice Byrne they were struggling to reach a unanimous verdict but he told them to persevere.

“Experience has shown juries can often agree if given enough time to consider and discuss the issues,” he said.

Yesterday the jury passed its fourth note to the judge it asked “is language to be considered force?”

Justice John Byrne told them it wasn’t.

5. Man attempts to grab woman in Canberra street.

A man has attempted to abduct a woman off a Canberra street, with another woman watching on.


CCTV footage release by ACT Policing shows two women walking along Esperance Street in Red Hill when a silver Commodore approached them about 6.45pm on October 10.

The man got out of the car and spoke to one of the women before he grabs her and throws her in the backseat.

A struggle takes place and the man repeatedly slams the door as the woman tries to escape the car.

The man could be seen kicking the woman as she fought to free herself. The other woman disappears from frame.

Woden Station Sergeant Harry Hains said it is not known who the three people are, reports The Canberra Times.

“Clearly it’s a concern for police which is why we’re attempting to identity her and to make sure her welfare is okay,” Sergeant Hains said.

“It obviously constitutes quite a serious assault based upon what is seen in the CCTV.”

ACT Policing said both women managed to escape. Sergeant Hains has also asked the people involved to come forward.

“Know that police will always support you. If there is any sort of domestic violence or violence in your life, talk to us, we’re here to help,” Sergeant Hains said.

Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000

6. Rugby player and IVF geneticist Michael Quinn was addicted to meth when he went to the US to have sex with a 6-year-old boy.

A US court has heard that Australian IVF geneticist Michael Quinn was addicted to methamphetamine when he travelled to Los Angeles to rape a six-year-old boy at a sex party.

The IVF geneticist was arrested in an undercover operation in May while on a US rugby trip.

Quinn was in the US to play with the Melbourne Chargers rugby union team in the Bingham Cup in Nashville. He had arranged online to “buy” the six-year-old to sodomise.

He was caught when he went alone to a LA hotel and handed $US260 to an undercover police officer.

Quinn has entered a guilty plea.

7. DFAT flies 23 executives to Paris to talk about saving money.

Fairfax Media reports that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spent an estimated $215,000 or more to send 23 senior bureaucrats from Canberra to Paris business class to attend a meeting about saving money.

The two-day conference by Australia’s ambassador to France, Stephen Brady was held to discuss a project known internally as “Redesign” and aimed at “streamlining work and improving efficiencies at posts in Europe”, reports Fairfax Media.

The group stayed at the four-star Mercure Paris Centre Eiffel Tower Hotel.

Do you have a story to share with Mamamia? Email us [email protected]