Friday’s news in 5 minutes.

Video via Channel 9

1. Melbourne mum was “tortured for hours” before she was murdered, dumped in a mineshaft, court hears.

A witness to the drawn-out and brutal death of a 33-year-old mother has told a Melbourne court how a man charged with her murder shot the woman’s “lifeless” body to ensure she was dead and to “put her out of her misery”.

The witness, who can only be identified as TS, said she and two others sat through a prolonged and bloody assault on Simone Quinlan in August 2015, smoking ice as the woman was beaten and kicked.

TS told the court Ms Quinlan “looked lifeless through most of” the attack, adding she had made few sounds during the beating, AAP reports.

Wayne Marmo, who shot Ms Quinlan in the head five times before dumping her body in a mineshaft outside Bendigo and setting fire to her corpse, has been charged with her murder.

Advertisement

However, his defence lawyer Scott Johns claims Ms Quinlan was already dead when Marmo shot her, making him guilty instead of the lesser crime of attempted murder.

He said Ms Quinlan’s boyfriend, Brendan Neil, was the murderer.

TS told the Supreme Court of Victoria on Thursday that Neil, in an “ice rage, wrapped tape around Ms Quinlan’s head and eyes during the attack on her, and ripped it off.

“He told her she was beautiful like that … with the tape on her head, being a smart arse,” she told the court.

While the assault was taking place, TS said Marmo was sitting at the table filing the barrel off a shotgun.

However, she said it wasn’t unusual for him to do so as he liked “to have a gun around”.

TS said after the beating, Ms Quinlan was wrapped in a blanket and placed in the ute tray of Marmo’s Hilux.

She said she overheard a conversation between the two men during which Marmo said to Neil he had to “get rid of her” because “she’s snitched before”.

TS said she then accompanied Marmo on a drive past Bendigo to find a mineshaft into which he and another friend dumped Ms Quinlan’s body.

She said on the way, Marmo pulled over and shot Ms Quinlan “maybe five” times.

“He was making sure she wasn’t still half alive, putting her out of her misery if she was. He shot her,” TS told the court.

Ms Quinlan was reported missing for a month before her burnt remains were discovered at Kangaroo Flat. The trial continues.

2. Trump delays meeting with Turnbull after controversial healthcare bill passes in the House of Representatives.

US President Donald Trump has delayed and changed the venue of his New York meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The leaders were scheduled to meet at Manhattan’s Peninsula Hotel at 4pm on Thursday (6am AEST Friday).

Earlier today, the US House of Representatives was voting on a bill in Washington DC to replace Obamacare, and Mr Trump was heavily involved in lobbying to get enough votes for it to succeed.

Despite opposition from Democrats, the massive healthcare bill that repeals large parts of Obamacare was approved in the US House of Representatives.

Opponents blasted the bill as a threat to the healthcare coverage of millions, but House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended the legislation as a “way to generate more choices for consumers in the health care market”.

The vote meant Trump’s meeting with Mr Turnbull was pushed back to 7.15pm (9.15am AEST), AAP reports.

Their meeting will now be held on the decommissioned USS Intrepid aircraft carrier docked on the Hudson River as part of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. The aircraft carrier will also be the venue for an event to honour the 75th Battle of the Coral Sea anniversary.

Mr Trump and Mr Turnbull will deliver speeches.

More than 700 guests, including four Australian and three American veterans of the battle aged in their 90s, will attend.

Mr Turnbull had a busy morning in Manhattan. He received a tour of the NYPD’s state-of-the-art Joint Terrorism Taskforce and operations centre.

The facility is about the size of an indoor basketball court and features hundreds of video screens linked to around 10000 law enforcement, government and private video cameras across New York. It will be the security nerve centre for Mr Trump’s New York visit on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Turnbull then walked several blocks on public streets, surrounded by a ring of Secret Service officers, to a meeting with Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific Command.

3. Two people have died and a baby is in hospital in three separate meningococcal cases.

Two people have died and a baby is in hospital after three separate meningococcal disease cases across Australia this week.

An elderly person has become the first person to die from the disease in Western Australia this year.

The Department of Health has not released the patient’s details due to confidentiality, but have confirmed they succumbed to the W strain of the disease, which has been more common in some parts of Australia over the past three years.

On Wednesday night, a 19-year-old woman from Ballarat also died suddenly from the disease, with The Department of Health and Human Services confirming “further tests” would be needed to determine the strain that led to her death.

A family member, who did not want to be named, told the media the girl was “one of the kindest souls to walk this earth and didn’t deserve this”.

It’s believed the young woman was completing her studies at Australian Catholic University’s Ballarat campus.

An infant is also in a stable condition in hospital in the Hunter region of New South Wales. It’s the third case of meningococcal in the Hunter region so far this year.

Health authorities have confirmed the baby is in a serious but stable condition, adding that anyone that suspects they have the disease should seek medical attention immediately.

Early symptoms of meningococcal disease can include include in the legs, cold hand and feet and abormal skin colour. Other symptoms include high fever, headache, nausea and vomiting and a rash of reddish-purple spots or bruises.

4. Australian soldier dies after being hit by falling tree branch during a training exercise.

An Australian soldier has died after reportedly being struck by a tree branch at a Queensland training base, AAP reports.

The soldier was taking part in a routine training exercise at Shoalwater Bay, near Rockhampton, on Thursday morning and was on an armoured personnel carrier.

The soldier received first aid and paramedics were called to the scene, but the soldier was subsequently pronounced dead.

The Army has extended its sympathies to the soldier’s family and friends.

Queensland Police are investigating and are expected to prepare a report for the coroner.

Defence says it won’t be releasing any further information about the soldier’s personal or service history at the moment.

5. Grandparents injured saving their 13-year-old grandson from Sydney house fire.

Two people aged in their 60s have been injured while fleeing their burning Sydney home with their teenage grandson.

The front of the couple’s house on Bayley Road in South Penrith was well alight when emergency services arrived after being called out at 7.45pm on Thursday, police say.

A 60-year-old woman sustained burns and a head injury while her husband sustained a minor burn to his hands. They have both been taken to Nepean hospital for further treatment.

Their 13-year-old grandson was uninjured.

Police will try to determine the cause of the blaze once the building has been declared safe.

6. Family of boy killed on world’s tallest waterslide awarded $27 million in damages.

Court documents say the family of a 10-year-old boy who died on a giant waterslide at a Kansas water park will receive nearly $20 million ($AU 27 million) in settlement payments.

The Kansas City Star reports that $US14 million of the payment to Caleb Schwab’s family will come from SVV 1 and KC Water Park. The two companies are associated with Texas-based water park company Schlitterbahn.

Caleb Schwab was killed on August 7, 2016 while riding the Verruckt – which means ‘insane’ in German – waterslide, heralded as the world’s tallest. Three people were on the raft at the time Caleb was killed.

The 10-year-old suffered a “fatal neck injury”, while the other two passengers, both women, sustained facial injuries.

The rest of the money will come from the general contractor, the raft manufacturer and a company that consulted on the 17-story waterslide.

The waterslide at the park in Kansas City has been closed since Caleb’s death on August 7, 2016.

The settlements were announced previously, but the amount involved wasn’t disclosed.

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

FROM OUR NETWORK
JOIN THE CONVERSATION