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Family's desperate plea after Year 12 couple die in crash, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP

1. Family of high school sweethearts killed in horror Adelaide crash reach out for help.


Heartbroken family members of two Year 12 students who tragically died in a car crash are reaching out for help to pay for the teenagers funerals.

Hayden Perkins, 17 and Mikayla Eastwood, 18, died after their car collided head on with a teacher from Eastern Fleurieu School, where the couple had just finished Year 12.

The teacher, 31, sustained minor injuries and is receiving school support.

Amity Richardson, a cousin of Perkins’, told 7 News they were a month apart and did everything together.

Richardson is now fundraising for Perkins’ funeral to help take the pressure off his parents, and Eastwood’s family have also set up a fundraising page.

Between the two, more than $23,000 has been raised.

Tributes have poured in for the couple, who were both well-known in the community for their love of sport.

Strathalbyn Strikers Soccer Club president Nick Brook told The Advertiser the young couple had been “inseparable” for many years.

He said Mikayla was a gifted soccer player who loved the game so much she began coaching younger players last year. He also said Hayden was a regular visitor at trainings.

“Hayden never played soccer, he liked basketball, but as she was coaching he would be there helping,” Brook said.

“He was always there willing to help and be there with Mikayla.”

In a statement, Eastern Fleurieu School principal Ian Kent offered his deepest condolences to the friends and family of the couple.

Two fundraising pages have been set up, one for Mikayla Eastwood and one for Hayden Perkins.

2. NSW top cop backs Renae Lawrence decision.

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NSW’s police chief has defended the decision to let Renae Lawrence spend her first night in Australia with family instead of in custody.

Lawrence, who on Friday wakes to her first morning in Australia in more than 13 years, has two outstanding warrants that were issued before she was caught at Bali airport with 2.7kg of heroin strapped to her body in 2005.

The Bali Nine drug smuggler was released from a Balinese prison on Wednesday evening and landed in Newcastle on Thursday morning.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has confirmed she will have to answer to those warrants – just not immediately.

“I know she’s sinned and she’s paid a fairly heavy price for that,” he said in Sydney on Thursday.

“There are other circumstances where we’d be waiting on the plane and we’d arrest the individual when they got off the plane.”

Police will instead organise with Lawrence’s lawyers to bring her to a police station to face the allegations she led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen car in 2005.

“Others will judge me and think we should have been waiting at the plane for her to pay a price,” Mr Fuller said.

“I think she’s paid her price for her sins but, nevertheless, we will take those two matters to court in terms of the warrants that are outstanding.”

While there was no police pack, Lawrence was met at Newcastle airport by a media scrum on arrival on Thursday.

Head bowed, Lawrence knocked two reporters over on her way out and sprinted towards a car waiting outside.

She’d earlier declined multiple opportunities to comment during a layover in Brisbane.

“We don’t want to comment. We’ve got nothing to say. Please, just leave us,” her mother Beverley Waterman told reporters soon after she and her daughter disembarked from their plane and tried to make their way to the customs area.

But later, when Lawrence was again asked if she had anything to say she spoke in Indonesian, which translated as: “Thanks to the government of Indonesia, that’s it.”

Her father recently told of his daughter’s fear her return would spark a media frenzy like the one that unfolded when Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby returned home.

It’s understood she’ll stay with family in the Newcastle suburb of Wallsend until the time comes for her and her lawyers to meet with police.

Lawrence was released from Bali’s Bangli prison on Wednesday after serving 13 years for her role in a plot to import more than 8kg of heroin to Australia from Indonesia.

She is the first member of the Bali Nine to taste freedom.

The two ringleaders, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were executed in 2015. Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen died from cancer in May this year while serving a life sentence.

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The other five – Scott Rush, Michael Czugaj, Martin Stephens, Matthew Norman and Si Yi Chen – remain in Indonesian jails serving life sentences.

3. Eastman to make call on compo case.

Former Treasury official David Eastman may be entitled to millions of dollars for spending 19 years in jail for the murder of a federal police boss after he was found not guilty on retrial.

An ACT Supreme Court jury on Thursday found Mr Eastman not guilty of murdering federal police assistant commissioner Colin Winchester in 1989.

Mr Eastman pleaded not guilty to the murder in 1993 but was sentenced to life in jail in 1995.

The conviction was quashed in 2014 over concerns about the original evidence and a new trial began in June this year.

Mr Eastman’s lawyers Ken Cush and Associates in 2015 filed a wrongful imprisonment claim, which was on pause until Thursday’s verdict.

Mr Tierney cited a 2009 case to AAP, where the WA government issued a $3.25 million ex-gratia payment after Andrew Mallard spent 12 years in jail for a wrongful murder conviction.

In the retrial of Mr Eastman, the prosecution alleged the 73-year-old had developed a murderous hatred of Mr Winchester, who he blamed for imperilling his bid to rejoin the commonwealth public service.

The defence counsel told the ACT Supreme Court there were too many unknowns and gaps for the jury to find Mr Eastman guilty.

Mr Eastman’s lengthy retrial ended with gasps from the packed court, as the 73-year-old said “thank you” to the judge after the verdict was delivered.

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It took the jury about one week to reach a decision, initially telling the judge they were finding it difficult to come to a verdict.

Mr Eastman’s solicitor Angus Webb said “justice has been done”, requesting privacy for his client.

But the Winchester family are “extremely disappointed” and believe the verdict is wrong.

4. Woman dies after being shot at Vic home.

A young mother has died after she was shot at a home in Geelong.

Police were called to Conrad Court in Whittington about 9.20pm on Wednesday and found 31-year-old Emily Miller with a gunshot wound. She later died in hospital.

Friends told 9News Miller’s eighteen-month-old daughter was home sleeping at the time of the shooting and avoided injury.

A man who was present at the residence is assisting police with their inquiries.

5. Poor air quality in Sydney after dust haze.


Air quality is expected to remain poor in Sydney for another day after thick lines of dust smothered much of NSW.

Strong winds from a low-pressure system whipped up masses of dirt across the drought-stricken state and from South Australian lake beds before it moved towards the coast on Thursday.

A second band was expected late on Thursday or Friday morning, Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Simon Louis.

Extra paramedics and call takers were on duty on Thursday to keep up with a rise in calls from people suffering asthma and other breathing difficulties.

The gusty winds also affected flights at Sydney Airport and firefighting efforts in the Hunter, where two blazes had residents seeking immediate shelter.

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