1. ‘My soul has been ripped out of my body.’ Perth dad dies on family holiday gone tragically wrong.
On Good Friday, father-of-three Chris Leggett performed a backflip for a crowd of kids, family and friends at a Good Friday barbecue in Dunsborough, Perth.
Despite performing this ‘signature move’ countless times before, a stomach-churning ‘crunch’ was the only indication Chris’ party trick had gone terribly wrong.
The 37-year-old snapped his neck, sending him into cardiac arrest as his children, Addison, 5, Xavier, 3, and Hunter,2 and wife Rachael watched on in horror.
Two months on, Rachael has paid tribute to the “amazing, instinctive parent” who she described as “perfection”.
“I keep thinking there is no way this man could have been taken from us,” she told Perth Now.
“I feel like my soul has been ripped out of my body, it’s horrendous … how do you live the rest of your life without your life partner?”
After determining Chris had suffered a break to his C2 vertebrate blocking blood flow to his brain, his family made the heartbreaking decision to let him go on Easter Monday. A family man whose favourite thing was “to be his kids’ hero”, Chris’ life was celebrated by 500 family and friends at a funeral on the family’s property.
“We talk about how Daddy is a star in the sky… Addison dreams about him a lot and says, ‘Daddy’s love is always in my heart’,” Rachael said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for the young family, who are coming to terms with life without their beloved husband and father. On Monday morning more than $15,000 had been raised.
“Don’t put things off, value your family and don’t think you have the time,” Rachael told Perth Now.
“We thought we had time, we thought we had 50 more years … you just never know when it can happen to you.”
You can donate to Chris Leggett’s family by clicking here.
2. 20-year-old NSW bull rider remains in intensive care after suffering life-threatening injuries in Wyoming, USA.
A bull rider from rural NSW who suffered life-threatening injuries when he was thrown and trampled on at a rodeo remains in intensive care at a United States hospital with his family by his side.
Bradie Gray, 20, from Hallsville near Tamworth in northern NSW, is “alive and improving daily” after undergoing surgery at a hospital in Casper, Wyoming, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help fund his recovery.
The young rider, a junior at Odessa College in Texas, was bucked off by a bull named Levi the Boss at the College National Finals Rodeo in Wyoming on Thursday, AAP reports.
“A bull stepped on his chest that broke his ribs in many places, collapsed his lungs, and had serious internal bleeding,” Odessa College coach C.J. Aragon said on the fundraising page.
“He had no heartbeat when he got to the hospital.”
Mr Gray’s parents Mick and Sharon will stay in Casper while he receives medical treatment.
“Bradie is currently in the ICU and he and his family are up against some serious challenges over the next several weeks with living and medical expenses,” C.J. Aragon said.
“Any donations will help with expenses while Bradie recovers before returning home to Australia.”
More than $11,000 had been raised by Monday morning.
He has been riding bulls since he was five and entered the College National Finals Rodeo as 152nd-ranked rider in the world.
3. Police offer $1 million reward to solve “heinous” deaths of of two babies in South Australia.
New $1 million rewards have been announced in a bid to crack open two South Australian baby death cold cases.
Police have renewed their call for information into the unrelated deaths of Lily Jean Schettini in 2010 and Dylan Robert James Lindsay in March 2004.
Dylan was found dead at a Ellen Street, Port Lincoln property with visible abdominal injuries after a serious assault, AAP reports.
His mother, who was struggling with substance abuse, had left him and his older sister in the care of friends and there also three other children in the house at the time.
Someone attempted to disguise Dylan’s injuries by using a texta to cover the bruising and marks, police say.
Two people were arrested in May 2004 in connection with Dylan’s death, but the case was later dropped as there was no reasonable prospect of conviction based on the evidence at the time.
“This is a heinous crime and somebody should be held responsible for taking the life of this child in a severe assault,” Detective Brevet Sergeant Mathew Bengel, from Major Crime, said in a statement.
“We did a lot of work with the texta pens we found in the house – fingerprints and DNA testing and so forth.
“We certainly believe we have identified the texta used, but we’re unable to determine who drew on him.”
Lily was found unresponsive in a Smithfield Plains home in 2010 and died from blunt force trauma consistent with being shaken, assaulted of falling, police say.
Police believe she was injured by one of four adults in the house at the time.
“Lily lived at the home with her sister, her mother and her mother’s defacto partner, but that night there were also two visitors – a man and a woman – at the address,” Detective Senior Sergeant Mark McEachern, from Major Crime, said in a statement.
“This family was not known to the authorities, however police have concerns about the care of the children in the lead up to this death.”
Anyone with information about either of these cases is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online.
4. At least 61 people have been killed in a raging forest fire in Portugal.
A raging forest fire in central Portugal sent flames sweeping over roads, killing at least 61 people, many of them trapped in their cars as they tried to flee, officials say.
On Sunday Prime Minister Antonio Costa called it “the biggest tragedy” Portugal has experienced in decades and declared three days of national mourning, AAP reports.
A huge wall of thick smoke and bright red flames towered over the top of trees in the forested Pedrogao Grande area some 150 kilometres northeast of Lisbon where a lightning strike was believed to have sparked the blaze Saturday.
At least four other significant wildfires affected different areas of the country on Sunday but the one in Pedrogao Grande was responsible for all the deaths.
Costa said the death toll was lowered from 62 victims because one person had been counted twice, but warned more victims were likely to be found.
More than 350 soldiers joined the 700 firefighters who have been struggling to put out the blaze. Temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius in recent days might have also played a part in the inferno.
State broadcaster RTP showed terrifying images of several people on a road trying to escape the intense smoke that reduced visibility to a few metres.
Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said firefighting crews were having difficulties battling the “very intense” fire on at least two of its four fronts. There are concerns strong winds could help spread the blaze further.
Schools in the area were closed until further notice and outdoor fires were banned.
He said at least 30 people died inside their cars as they tried to flee between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera. He said 17 others died right outside their cars or by the road, 11 people died in the forest and two people died in a car accident related to the fire.
Gomes says 54 people were also injured in the fire, five of them seriously, including four firefighters and a minor.
The European Union responded to a call for assistance by Portuguese authorities. Spain sent four firefighting aircrafts on Sunday. France was also sending three aircraft and Greece’s prime minister also offered to send firefighting help.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressed solidarity with Portugal. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy tweeted that he is “overwhelmed by the tragedy at Pedrogao Grande. The Portuguese people can count on our solidarity, support and care.”
5. Coalition continues to trail behind Labor in latest poll.
The Coalition continues to trail behind Labor but leaders of both parties are equally unpopular, a new poll shows.
The latest Newspoll published on Monday in The Australian keeps Labor on 53 per cent to the coalition’s 47 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis, and marks the 14th consecutive poll where the Coalition has been behind.
Both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have an approval rating of negative 23 per cent, meaning more surveyed voters were dissatisfied than satisfied with their performances.
On a primary vote basis, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation share of the vote has increased to 11 per cent from nine per cent three weeks ago, while Labor’s edged up one pip to 37.
The Coalition’s primary vote was static at 36 per cent, and the Greens slipped to nine per cent.
Security forces have so far rescued 32 guests from a Mali resort that is under attack by gunmen, a security ministry spokesman says.
He had no further detail, following the attack on Sunday.
Gunmen stormed Le Campement Kangaba in Dougourakoro, to the east of the capital Bamako, a resort foreign residents often visit for weekend breaks, in the afternoon.
Earlier security ministry spokesman Baba Cisse said two people had been killed.
“The first victim was a French-Gabonese citizen. We are in the process of confirming the other’s nationality,” said Cisse.
“Security forces are in place. Campement Kangaba is blocked off and an operation is under way,” Cisse said by telephone earlier. “The situation is under control.”
Witness Boubacar Sangare was just outside the compound during the attack. “Westerners were fleeing the encampment while two plain-clothes police exchanged fire with the assailants,” he said.
“There were four national police vehicles and French soldiers in armoured vehicles on the scene.” He added that a helicopter was circling overhead.
A spokesman for French forces in Mali declined to immediately comment.
Security has gradually worsened across Mali since French forces pushed back allied Islamist and Tuareg rebel fighters in 2013 from swathes of the north they had occupied the previous year.
Initially concentrated in the desert north, attacks have increasingly struck the centre and south, around the capital Bamako. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and another militant group claimed responsibility for an attack on a Bamako hotel in late 2015 in which 20 people were killed.
French troops and a 10,000-strong UN peacekeeping force have battled to stabilise the former French colony, which is riven by ethnic conflict and plagued by dozens of armed groups.
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