News in 5: Man's horrific pranks; "Mummified" body identified; Wine helps prevent Alzheimer's.

With AAP.

1. Man told young mums their children were dead as part of a vile prank.

“Your daughter has been hit by a truck. I’m sorry, she has passed away.”

Those were the devastating words one poor Victorian mum heard down the line of a phone from a man claiming to be an emergency service worker.

But the young woman’s daughter was not dead, thankfully, she learned when she rushed to her primary school to find her uninjured. And Phillip Anton Zillner was not a police officer, or a coroner, or a member of the SES or fire brigade.

He’s a 37-year-old Melbourne man who has now been sentenced to 90 more days in jail for stalking and harassing women, after already serving 14 months on remand, Nine News reports. Zillner will also serve a two-year community correction order upon release, all for what the judge described as “outrageous, grievous and bizarre” behaviour.

Video by Channel 7

In a call to the mum of a two-year-old, which Zillner made from a public phone, he told her that the little girl had been killed. In reality, she was at childcare.

“I’m Paul Simpson from Emergency Services, your daughter has been hit by a truck and I’m sorry she has passed away.”

Zillner had found his victims through Facebook and continued to harass them after making the initial hoax calls.

The man told police he had targeted these mums because he was lonely, had tried and failed to get a girlfriend and happy couples upset him.

2. Sister of man found dead in hoarder’s home speaks about learning the truth.


The family of the man found “mummified” inside a Sydney hoarder’s home last week have spoken about the shock of learning about his death.

Tracy Trudgitt hadn’t seen her brother, Shane John Snellman, in 10 years. Then, as she was watching TV news reports about the body, there was a knock to her door on Friday, where police informed her of his fate.

“I said, ‘Oh my God, that is so sad, that’s someone’s brother or husband’,” she told The Australian.

“I screamed and just fell to the floor. I’m still in shock. I can’t believe this has happened.”

Trudgitt said the last time she had seen her brother was about 10 years ago when he was in jail. Snellman had been in-and-out of jail for low-level offences including theft, firearms possession, break and enter.

The man whose home he was found inside, Bruce Roberts, is believed to have been a hoarder. It is not yet known how Snellman died, although police are treating it as suspicious.

He was aged in his 40s when he died.

3. Sydney mother accused of repeatedly poisoning her 18-month-old son.

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A young Sydney mother is in jail after being accused of repeatedly poisoning her toddler son with a prescription drug that nearly killed him.

The 20-year-old was arrested and charged on Wednesday at Lurnea, in the city's southwest, after a five-month investigation.


The woman's 18-month-old boy was admitted to Sydney Children's Hospital in January with near-fatal levels in his system of a drug used primarily to treat epilepsy and neuropathic pain, police said.

It's alleged his mother administered the medicine Tegretol without a current prescription and contrary to medical instruction.

The woman was charged with seven counts of using poison to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm.

She did not apply for bail it and was formally refused at Liverpool Local Court on Wednesday.

Her matter is due to return to the same court on June 13.

The child is now in the care of relatives.

4. NSW prisoners detained for over a week in court cells, review finds.

Image via Getty.

Hundreds of inmates were detained for more than a week in basic court cells across NSW last financial year, a review has found.

The NSW inspector of custodial services, in a report published on Wednesday, said 141 people were held beyond the seven-day maximum under state law in 2016/17.

While that represented less than one per cent of the nearly 30,000 inmates received at 24-hour court cells across the state, Fiona Rafter expressed some concern given their "physical restraints".

"That is why inmates should only be detained in these locations for the shortest possible period of time," she said in a statement.

There are more than a dozen court cell complexes in NSW, where inmates are sent either directly from court or police custody.

They have only basic facilities, including a concrete bench, mattress, a toilet and access to fresh water. Unlike a majority of inmates at correctional facilities, they have restricted access to telephone calls, visits, time out of a cell and exercise.


The court cells at Sydney's Surry Hills had the highest number of inmates (29) held beyond the statutory maximum of seven days, followed by Penrith (20), Lismore (17) and Port Macquarie (14).

The longest recorded stay for an inmate was 32 days in Wollongong.

The report said 11 inmates were also detained for longer than a week at the complex at Parramatta, "which is of a particular concern due to the conditions at these cells".

Inspectors found the cells were dirty, dark with limited natural light and needed maintenance, there was no air-conditioning or heating, and a lack of prison clothing available.

NSW Police has since decommissioned the complex.

The inspector has made 36 recommendations, including reducing the length of time inmates spend in 24-hour court cells, increasing access to health services and legal services, addressing infrastructure and maintenance issues, and enhancing staff training.

She also recommends Corrective Services NSW develops a monitoring system to ensure that inmates are not detained in court cells longer than seven days.

5. A good night's sleep, a bit of exercise, and a touch of wine every day will help keep the Alzheimer's away.

Scientists have discovered that a good night's sleep, increasing heart rate through exercise and 25mL of wine per day can help stimulate the brain's own cleaning system and so help to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Previous studies showed Alzheimer's is associated with the toxic build-up of proteins in the brain, which causes neuron cells to die.


Studies are now focusing on the link between the brain's self-cleaning, known as the glymphatic system, and the formation of proteins that leads to the cell death linked to the onset of Alzheimer's.

Dr Ian Harrison, from University College London, says research was now focusing on finding ways of preventing the glymphatic system from failing.

He said studies on the cerebrospinal fluid of mice had shown that a combination of sleep, exercise and alcohol stimulated the brain's self-cleaning.

"A paper came out a couple of years ago where the researchers studied the brains of mice when they are asleep and when they are awake," he said.

"What the researchers did was inject a dye into the cerebrospinal fluid and see where it goes.

"In the mice that were awake, that cerebrospinal fluid starts to go into the brain but only resides on the surface and doesn't go deep into the brain tissue.

"In the same animal when it fell asleep, that cerebrospinal fluid goes far deeper into the brain.

"When they quantified this in the animals that were asleep, this glymphatic system was far more active - 60 per cent more active than in the animals that were awake.

"This is good evidence that the glymphatic system is active during sleep. If that is anything to go by we should all be sleeping a lot more than we are."

Dr Harrison said there were comparable results with exercise.

"In the sedentary animals, the cerebrospinal fluid penetrates the brain but when the animals have voluntary access to exercise there is massive increase in the amount of lymphatic function," he said.

"The research has postulated that it is the increase in heart rate that drives this cerebrospinal fluid into the brain."

They also treated mice with low-level, intermediate and high-level doses of alcohol for 30 days and looked at the impact upon the glymphatic function.

Dr Harrison said that with low-level doses of alcohol - the equivalent of a third of a unit a day - there was a 30 per cent to 40 per cent increase in the brain's self-cleaning but a corresponding reduction following exposure to both intermediate and high-levels of alcohol.

"So 25ml of wine could actually increase your glymphatic system, according to this mouse study," Dr Harrison said.

"But the intermediate dose of one unit of alcohol - a small dose of wine - suggests that if the mouse data can be extrapolated the lymphatic system can be lowered.

"So, sleep more, exercise and, as the data suggests, you can have a drink, but only a third of a unit of wine per day."

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