News in 5: “Evil” baby killer laughs at verdict; Ed Sheeran fans furious; Sperm counts in decline.

Michelle and Chayse Dearing. Nine News.

1. “Evil” man laughs and winks at court after jury finds him guilty of murdering a six-month-old baby.

Melbourne’s Michelle Dearing left her six-month-old baby, Chayse Dearing, with her partner Dwayne Lindsey to go shopping at Kmart in the early morning of June 26, 2016.

Video via Channel 7

Lindsey had proposed to Dearing only two days before, Daily Mail reports, and it should have been a joyous time of planning and togetherness. Instead, Dearing returned home from Kmart to find paramedics working on her little boy.

Chayse had suffered severe traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. He had marks on his neck, bruising and abrasions on his groin, and retinal bleeding. Paramedics arriving at the scene found him blue and bleeding from the nose, Nine News reports.

The little boy died in hospital two days later.

Now, Dearing and her family have finally been given closure, after a jury returned with a verdict on Sunday afternoon finding Lindsey guilty of murdering Chayse.

Before he was escorted from the court, the 34-year-old ice addict blew Michelle’s foster mother, Mariah Strahan, a kiss and started laughing.

“It’s been torture. It’s been very hard to sit in court and listen to the injuries that Chayse had,” Strahan told reporters outside the court, AAP reports.

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Lindsey had been paying with rosary beads as he awaited the verdict, and appeared stunned when he was convicted, Nine News reports.

Chayse Dearing. Image via Channel Seven.
Chayse Dearing. Image via Channel Seven.

The jury started deliberations on Thursday and the court had heard previously how Lindsey and Dearing had both used ice the night before Chayse's death.

Lindsey had initially claimed he had been asleep with the baby on his chest but had been woken by what he thought was a spider.

He said he jumped and the baby fell off his chest, hitting his head on a wall heater.

However, prosecutor Nicholas Papas QC said those claims were inconsistent with medical reports, which showed Chayse's death from a head injury was unlikely to have been accidental.

"You can't explain what he did. None of us know why he did it... it's just obviously the evil in him," Strahan said.

"What I honestly think of him is he can rot in hell.

"I hope the rest of his days are lived in torture, like he did to Chayse."

Chayse's mother Michelle was reportedly too emotional to comment after the verdict.

2. Ed Sheeran fans were left sweltering and fainting from heat after concert organisers refused to open the stadium's roof. 

Ed Sheeran performs at Etihad Stadium on March 9, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. Image via Getty.

"Open the roof!!!" was the resounding message from fans following Ed Sheeran's Saturday night concert at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium where several people reportedly fainted from the heat.

Concertgoers were furious that, despite temperatures reaching 35 degrees celsius outside, the stadium's roof was kept closed creating sauna-like conditions in the venue.

"My 13-year-old son kept having nose bleeds due to the heat," one attendee posted to the stadium's Facebook page.

"The second half [of the concert] was spent trying to re-hydrate, both my daughter and myself felt physically ill and dizzy," another said.

Speaking to Yahoo Seven, showgoer Ally Meli said she saw seven people being wheeled out of the venue after passing out.

"I had called Etihad Stadium myself and was told that there was no air conditioner and that the promoter had chosen to keep the roof closed," she said.

As well as this, Ambulance Victoria confirmed they treated a number of people for dehydration at the venue.

A spokesperson for Etihad Stadium said staff were "continually monitoring the situation" and that temperatures inside "were not at a level that put Ed's fans at risk".

Sheeran, 27, will perform at Etihad Stadium again tonight before moving onto Sydney. And, despite the heat, fans had nothing but love for the Shape of You singer.

"His performance was outstanding" and "the concert was amazing" are recurring comments between the angry Facebook posts.

3. Police are investigating after a 32-year-old woman fell to her death from a Gold Coast unit block.

gold coast balcony death march 12
A 32-year-old woman fell to her death from the balcony of a Gold Coast unit. Image via 9 News.

Queensland police are investigating how a woman fell to her death at a Gold Coast unit block, and are working to determine if there was any foul play.

According to Nine News, the 32-year-old's body was found in the grounds of the apartment block on Palm Meadows Drive at Carrara at about 3am on Saturday.

Initial investigations suggest the woman - who is yet to be identified - fell from a balcony on one of the units at least five stories off the ground, and a Queensland Police spokesperson said it was too early to determine whether her death should be treated as suspicious.

Nine News also reports the woman’s partner - who was inside at the time of her fall - was taken to hospital after he was sedated by paramedics at the scene.

Police have declared a crime scene while investigations are carried out to determine the circumstances around the incident.

4. Most Australian toddlers are eating far too much junk food and not enough veggies, new research shows.

toddler eating vegetables
Image via Getty.

A study of Australian toddlers has found that the standard of a toddler's diet rapidly declines after the age of nine months, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

While most babies are eating the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables at nine months of age, their diet declines soon after, with more than 95 per cent not eating enough healthy food at 18 months of age.

National diet recommendations state that children under the age of two should not eat foods like sweet biscuits, lollies and fast food like pizza regularly. But of the 467 children surveyed between 2008 and 2015, 90 per cent were eating junk food on a regular basis.

Lead author of the study published this month in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr Alison Spence, said the research showed childrens' diets were deviating from the national guidelines from a very young age.

"In the first year, when they are still supported by breast milk or formula, the guidelines are really encouraging children to try new foods and textures," she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"By that second year of life they are getting almost all of their nutrition from food, so the fruit and vegetable recommendation jumps up quite a lot. There's really no room for junk food."

She said babies and toddlers who consumed more junk food were more likely to continue to eat those food as they grew older.

"The amount of copying children do of all their parents' behaviour is astounding," she said.

"If a parent is eating junk food in front of their child, it's no surprise the child wants the same things."

5. Australia might be known for its flora and fauna, but we have the highest rate of extinction in the world.

koala
Australia has lost six animals to extinction since 2009. Image via Getty.

Australia has lost more mammals to extinction than any other country with a new report urging the federal government to take action on the crisis.

According to AAP, The Australian Conservation Foundation report, published in March, found since colonisation 29 mammals had become extinct and were lost forever in Australia, compared to just one in the United States.

"For all its (Australia's) natural beauty, the sad reality is that Australia leads the world on extinction," the report said.

Many of the extinctions have happened recently with Australia losing three vertebrates, a bat, a marsupial and a skink since 2009, the report says.

The foundation blames the federal government's failure to protect critical habitats.

Critical habitats relate to protecting and preserving the habitats of threatened species but despite there being more than 1700 threatened species and ecological communities across the country, the government has only identified five critical habitats.

ACF healthy ecosystems campaigner Jess Abrahams said it was "ridiculous" no critical habitat had been listed on the register for any species since 2005.

"Our current law provides patently inadequate protection to prevent the destruction of critical habitat," Ms Abrahams said in a statement last week.

"Without proper protections, beloved species like the leadbeater's possum could well be extinct within a few years. If we're going to protect our native species we must fix these laws and we must do it now."

The report warns that if the government continues to fail to protect critical habitats, Australia will fail to meet its international obligations to conserve nature.

The foundation's report makes several recommendations including the establishment of new national environmental laws, a new national critical habitat register and the establishment of an independent environmental agency.

It's also called on the government to create a $200 million annual threatened species fund to directly help with recovery plans for threatened species.

6. Women are often the focus for infertility but men have problems too, with sperm counts falling drastically across the world.

pregnancy test
Image via Getty.

They can make test-tube babies, grow human eggs in a lab and reproduce mice from frozen testicle tissue, but when it comes to knowing how a man's sperm can swim to, find and fertilise an egg, scientists are still floundering, AAP reports.

Enormous advances in treating infertility in recent decades have helped couples conceive longed-for offspring they previously would not have had.

Yet this progress has also been a work-around for a major part of the problem: sperm counts are falling drastically worldwide, and have been doing so for decades, and scientists say their honest answer to why is: "We don't know."

Infertility is a significant global health problem, with specialists estimating that as many as one in six couples worldwide are affected. In more than half of those cases, experts say, the underlying problem is in the male.

Most of the focus of infertility research has been on women, however: on what can reduce their fertility and on how that can be averted, compensated for or corrected with treatment. While this approach has produced results - and babies - it has also left male infertility scientifically sidelined.

Treatments such as in-vitro fertilisation and intracytoplasmic sperm injection, where the sperm is placed into the egg rather than next to it, bypass the male problem rather than treating it, said Richard Sharpe, professor at the University of Edinburgh's centre for reproductive health.

We know that sperm counts are dependent on high levels of testosterone, and there is some knowledge of links between sperm count and infertility, experts say. But beyond these basics, sperm's intricacies remain largely undiscovered.

"Without understanding the biology of how normal sperm work, we can't possibly understand how they don't work, or how to correct the problem," Sarah Martins Da Silva, a reproductive medicine specialist at the University of Dundee told a London briefing this week.

Sperm counts in men from America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have dropped by more than 50 per cent in less than 40 years, according to pooled research published last year, described by one of its authors as an "urgent wake-up call" for further investigation.

Experts say that to address the basic unanswered clinical and scientific questions in andrology (the study of male reproductive health) would require research ranging from large, ideally international, epidemiological studies to detailed lab work to decipher exactly how sperm cells function.

Allan Pacey, a senior lecturer in andrology at Britain's Sheffield University, said even at a basic level, i.e. the diagnosis of a possible male fertility problem, the science is lagging.

The techniques of sperm analysis - examining ejaculate under a microscope, counting the sperm, assessing how well they swim, and seeing what they look like - were invented in the 1950s, he said. "And we are still doing the same thing now."

So while estimates suggest as many 1 in 20 young men now have sperm counts low enough to impair fertility, that remains educated assumption, rather than data from specific studies.

Attracting funding for fundamental research into possible environmental impacts on sperm counts, chemical exposure, for example, or smoking, obesity, or sport and exercise, is tricky, partly because such studies need vast numbers of people, take many years and may not give clear answers.

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