The body of mother-of-four Sarah Gatt has been found decomposing in the bathtub of her Melbourne home, some eight months after she was killed.
She was the victim of a suspected violent murder in April last year. And yesterday, police issued a statement asking for anyone with information about her death to come forward.
Police stumbled across the 40-year-old’s body while visiting the street for an unrelated matter on January 3 when they were drawn to the house after noticing the smell of decay, ABC reports.
Speaking to reporters, Detective Inspector Tim Day said other people continued living in the property “on and off” as Sarah’s remains lay undetected in the bathtub.
Police believe a conscious effort was made by Sarah’s killer/s to make it appear as if the Melbourne mother and once-aspiring-model was still alive.
“There’s certain evidence at the crime scene to suggest that attempts were made to conceal the fact that Sarah’s body was there in the apartment,” Detective Inspector Day said, ABC reports.
“What those details are I can’t go into.”
Forensic evidence suggests Gatt was attacked at the Lambeth Street unit in Kensington sometime between April 20 and April 24 last year, and that the violent assault took place before attempts were made to cover up the body.
None of Sarah’s four children were living with her at the time she was killed, but police don’t believe she was living alone.
Sarah’s father, Victor Gatt, told reporters he lost contact with Sarah around 18 months ago, and that he had struggled to help her after she spiralled into drug use during high school.
“I put her in different places to try and get her cleaned up but it didn’t happen,” he told reporters, according to AAP.
“I used to take her to modelling school … I used to take her there twice a week,” he said, adding she was a “tomboy” and a “great person”.
“She always wanted to do something in her life. She was good at school too.”
Cheryl Gatt said her stepdaughter often talked about becoming a counsellor or similar, to help others.
Detectives are keen to talk to anyone who heard suggestions Sarah was still alive after April, including neighbours, friends, passersby or any local businesses she had contact with.
“There are people out there who know what happened to Sarah and we are urging them to come forward and speak to police,” Detective Inspector Day said.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.
2. Six-year-old Freyja is heading home after an Australia-first “miracle” surgery removed her rare cancer using robotics.
Freyja Christiansen, 6, is finally heading home after spending countless weeks in hospital battling a rare and aggressive cancer not usually seen in someone so young, AAP reports.
The Canberra youngster was diagnosed with clear-cell sarcoma in 2016 after specialists found two tumours positioned precariously close to a main artery at the base of her skull.
She is believed to be the youngest of 40 cases ever recorded worldwide, and was given a grim outlook of only 12 months to live.
Immunotherapy was used to reduce the size of the tumours, while Freyja's sole hope was a complicated operation, using a robot called 'da Vinci' to remove them.
Thirty-seven surgeons across the world refused to use the technology on Freyja.
"It was during a phone call to Boston Children's Hospital that the name of Melbourne cancer surgeon Ben Dixon came up," Freyja's mum, Liz Christiansen told AAP.
"It was a bit of a fluke really... we were willing to fly anywhere in the world but the fact that we had the skills and the technology in Melbourne was amazing."
On February 28 Dr Dixon and fellow surgeon Matthew Magarey used the robot to successfully excise part of Freyja's tumour. A subsequent surgery on Wednesday removed the rest of the tumours.
"To say this is a huge success is an understatement," Ms Christiansen said.
"We're not out of the woods just yet but everything that's happened, every breakthrough and every surgery has just been miracle after miracle."
Freyja will be discharged from hospital on Wednesday and is expected to continue immunotherapy in Melbourne or Sydney.
To follow Freyja's journey and help with her family's medical costs, visit her GoFundMe page here.
3. Former students are protesting the "unjust dismissal" of the deputy principal at a Melbourne school.
Melbourne's prestigious Trinity Grammar School is under fire from former students who are calling to revoke the "unjust dismissal" of deputy headmaster Rohan Brown after he was fired last Thursday.
Brown's sacking came after controversial footage emerged of him trimming a schoolboy's hair on school photo day to meet grooming requirements. The school's chairman said Brown's actions were "in contravention of school policy and inconsistent with community expectations" Seven News reports.
But students - both current and former - are outraged.
Brown has been a popular and seemingly upstanding member of the school community for 30 years and a Change.org petition is calling for the reinstatement of the former deputy, as well as an inquiry into the committee's decision-making process.
"This treatment of the revered, beloved, and integral Mr Rohan Brown is downright disrespectful, considering not only his duration of service but more importantly his contributions towards the school culture and overall larger community in his tenure as head of discipline at the school," the petition reads.
In addition, 50 former school captains and vice-captains from 2001 to 2007 wrote a letter to the headmaster on Monday night, Seven News reports, expressing their "profound disappointment" in Brown's sacking.
"In recent years, the school’s executive leadership has made clear its intention to change the school’s vision and direction," the letter reads.
"This has seen a dramatic shift from Trinity’s position as a non-selective, not-elite school dedicated to holistic personal development, to an institution focused on ‘exceptional’ performance defined by ATAR excellence, growth and profit."
The letter continued, saying Brown was a "champion of the school's traditional values" and also expressing concern for the young boy whose haircut triggered this entire mess.
"It is unacceptable that he should now find himself at the centre of a heated political issue that in all reality has nothing to do with him," the letter reads.
Protests are also ongoing at the school grounds, with students arriving to school yesterday in casual clothing with brown arm bands.
4. Independent report finds Melbourne ex-mayor Robert Doyle "groped and tried to kiss" colleagues after drinking "substantial" amounts of red wine.
Former Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle groped and tried to kiss town hall colleagues after drinking "substantial" amounts of red wine, an independent investigation has found, AAP reports.
The report made made four adverse findings against the long-serving mayor, backing harassment claims made by former councillor Tessa Sullivan and councillor Cathy Oke.
Ian Freckelton QC was tasked to investigate after Ms Sullivan resigned from council and made the allegations in December.
"There are no winners in this process, that's absolutely clear, the impact this has had on many people hasn't just been over the last three months," acting mayor Arron Wood told a special council meeting on Tuesday as the findings were made public.
Dr Freckelton's report concluded that Mr Doyle grabbed Ms Sullivan's breast in May when the pair were in a chauffer-driven mayoral car.
He also found Mr Doyle put his hand on Ms Oke's thigh several times in 2014 and attempted to kiss her in his office following a meeting in late 2016 or early 2017.
All incidents happened after Mr Doyle had consumed "substantial amounts of red wine", but other allegations raised by Ms Sullivan were not substantiated in Dr Freckelton's report.
An emotional Ms Oke told the meeting she "had a real fear" speaking out would "lead to a media smear or attack on my reputation".
"Women don't speak out because we fear that if the wrong person is unwittingly spoken to it could mean a leak, a breach of confidentiality, a breach of trust and ultimately information in the hands of their accused and their powerful networks," she said.
Ms Sullivan tweeted her relief that "the truth is out".
Mr Doyle stood down from the high-profile job when the allegations were aired, and continued to strenuously deny the claims after the report findings were made public.
He remained in hospital receiving treatment for stress-related illness.
"Robert remains extremely unwell and on medical advice has been unable to review or respond to the report prior to its publication," his wife Emma Page-Campbell said in a statement.
"Robert informed the investigation that he now recognises that his cheerful and oftentimes animated personality and manner towards people, both men and women alike, may no longer be appropriate by today's standards.
"He is sorry for any misunderstanding he has caused others by such conduct, but fervently rejects that any such conduct was intended to be inappropriate or sexual in nature."
Findings into allegations made by a third woman over Mr Doyle's behaviour at the 2016 Melbourne Health awards have been stood aside to give the ex-mayor more time to respond.
Allegations have also been made over Mr Doyle's time as a teacher at Geelong College from 1978 to 1981.
Council chief executive Ben Rimmer said the full report would not be released because it contained personal and health information provided on a voluntary and confidential basis.
The council is now reviewing its code of conduct, including drug and alcohol policies.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT.
5. Hope for new breast cancer treatments after scientists link a "treasure trove" of genes to the disease.
Scientists have linked more than 100 genes to an increased risk of breast cancer - paving the way for more personalised treatments, a study says.
According to AAP, a team at The Institute of Cancer Research in London identified a "treasure trove" of specific genes involved in raising a woman's risk of developing the condition.
They also linked 32 genes to the length of time a woman survived the disease.
In the future, testing for these genes could help identify the women most at risk, or could be explored as targets for new drugs, the researchers said.
"Large-scale genomic studies have been instrumental in associating areas of our DNA with an increased risk of breast cancer," Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, said.
"This study brings these regions of DNA into sharper focus, uncovering a treasure trove of genes that can now be investigated in more detail.
"The ways in which particular genes influence cancer risk are highly complex.
"In the future, a better understanding of the genes identified in this study could lead to the discovery of new targeted drugs, or new strategies to improve diagnosis or prevention of the disease."
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, used a new genetic technique to analyse which genes interacted with 33 DNA regions known to affect breast cancer.
Most of the 110 genes identified in the research had not been linked to breast cancer risk before.
The team says more work would be needed to establish the extent of their role in the condition.
President Donald Trump has sacked US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replacing him with CIA director Mike Pompeo.
Trump has also nominated Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo and become the first woman director of the CIA.
According to numerous reports from outlets like NBC News and CNN, a senior State Department official revealed Tillerson was unaware of his firing until he read the President's tweet.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
The move represents the biggest shake-up of the Trump cabinet so far and had been expected since last October when reports surfaced about a falling out between Trump and Tillerson, 65, who left his position as chief executive of Exxon Mobil to join the administration.
Trump publicly undercut Tillerson's diplomatic initiatives numerous times, including on Monday when his comments about Russia appeared to be at odds with those of the White House.
Tillerson also appeared out of the loop last week when Trump announced he would meet with North Korea's leader and become the first sitting US president to do so.
In October, NBC news reported that Tillerson called the president a "moron," something Tillerson never actually denied.
Tillerson continued to insist his relationship with the president was solid and brushed off rumours of strain between them.
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn after the announcement, Trump cited differing opinions on policy and a "chemistry" problem between him and Tillerson for his decision.
"It was a different mindset, a different thinking. We got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things," he said.
"When you look at the Iran deal, I think it's terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently, so we were not really thinking the same.
"Rex is a good man, I like him a lot and I wish him good things, but I think he will be happier now."