news

News in 5: Woman jailed for killing rapist; Plane crash bodies retrieved; Halloween warning.

-With AAP

1. A Queensland mother who killed her rapist has been jailed.


A Brisbane woman has been jailed for killing her rapist after he threatened to harm her daughter unless she submitted to more sex.

Roxanne Eka Peters, 35, fatally stabbed Grant Jason Cassar, 51, with a blow to his heart using a kitchen knife at her home in Capalaba in December 2015.

According to the Courier Mail, prosecutor David Nardone said that earlier, Mr Casser had visited Peters’ home and asked to cook drugs. When he was told no, he tied Peters up and sexually assaulted her.

Peters told police Mr Casser later threatened her child if she did not have sex with him again, and she reacted by stabbing him multiple times.

She then cleaned up the scene, went to a counselling session and returned home. Then she tied a rope around his body, including his neck, and dragged it behind her car for about a kilometre – past a police station – to a ditch where she hid it.

In the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday, Peters was sentenced to nine years in jail for manslaughter and a further 18 months after she pleaded guilty to interfering with a corpse, AAP reports.

With time served she will be eligible for parole in June 2020.

Justice David Boddice told the court Mr Cassar’s rape and humiliation of Peters, followed by the threats to harm her child, had been a “significant provocation”.

“I accept the stabbing occurred in circumstances when you were enraged by what the deceased had done to you and was threatening to do to you again,” he said.

It was, however, to Peters’ detriment that she didn’t immediately seek help after the stabbing, he said.

“Instead you set about the process of callously disposing of the deceased body,” he said.

He said Peters had shown no respect for Mr Cassar’s human dignity.

“No doubt your rage continued to affect your attitude to him,” Justice Boddice said.

Justice Boddice said Peters’ upbringing around drug users, where she was subjected to sexual abuse, had acerbated the rage she felt when Mr Cassar came to her home on the day he died.

However, Mr Cassar’s killing had been devastating for his family.

“They will never recover from his death,” he said.

2. Bodies are being recovered from the crash site of an Indonesian plane.

ADVERTISEMENT

Human remains, aircraft debris and personal belongings have been retrieved from the Java Sea after a Boeing jet operated by an Indonesian budget airline crashed minutes after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

Distraught family members struggled to comprehend the sudden loss of loved ones after the crash involving a two-month-old Lion Air plane with experienced pilots at the controls amid fine weather.

They gathered at crisis centres set up by the authorities at airports, hoping desperately for a miracle. But a top search official has said that no survivors are expected.

The disaster is a setback for Indonesia’s airline industry, which just emerged from decade-long bans by the European Union and the US over safety concerns.

President Joko Widodo ordered an investigation and urged Indonesians to “keep on praying”.

The crash of the Boeing 737 Max 8 on Monday is the latest in a series of tragedies that have struck Indonesia this year, including earthquakes and a tsunami that killed several thousand people.

An air transport official, Novie Riyanto, said the flight was cleared to return to Jakarta after the pilot made a “return to base” request two to three minutes after taking off.

The plane plunged into the sea about 10 minutes later. Weather conditions were normal but the plane, which Lion Air received in August, had experienced an unspecified technical issue on its previous flight.

The jet, which was on a one-hour flight, was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and eight crew members.

The pilot of Flight 610 had more than 6000 flying hours while the co-pilot had more than 5000 hours, according to Lion Air.

The crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea in December 2014, killing all 162 on board.

3. Thousands of Halloween products have been labelled ‘dangerous’.

ADVERTISEMENT

The blood may be fake but the danger could be real, according to Victoria’s consumer watchdog which has seized more than 3000 potentially harmful Halloween products.

Consumer Affairs inspectors seized the goods in a blitz across Melbourne’s southeast, for failure to list their ingredients as required under the Australian cosmetics labelling standard.

Fake blood was the most common item seized, with 1487 bottles confiscated, followed by 1155 fake moustaches and 443 make-up kits.

Consumer Affairs Victoria director Simon Cohen said ingredient labelling helps parents spot any ingredients their children may be allergic to, or to identify the cause if any reaction occurs.

“Many of us enjoy a good scare on Halloween – but it should be for the right reasons,” he said.

The items, seized during six visits to wholesale and retail premises, will now be destroyed.

They include ‘Bottle of Blood’ and ‘Blood vampire’ fake blood, ‘Fright Fangs’ tooth caps, ‘War game’ face paint, ‘Carnival Colours’ make-up kit, and ‘Party Mustache’ fake moustaches.

Two of the businesses inspected have agreed to no longer sell the items while investigations are continuing into the other four.

Under consumer law, a supplier who fails to comply with a mandatory safety standard can face fines of up to $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 million for a business.

Consumers who have bought any of the items should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

4. The man accused of the Bourke St rampage is ‘fit for trial’.

A man accused of mowing down pedestrians in Melbourne’s Bourke Street with a car has been found fit to stand trial.

ADVERTISEMENT

James “Dimitrious” Gargasoulas, 27, is charged with murdering six pedestrians and injuring dozens more in January 2017.

It took a Supreme Court jury less than five hours to reach its decision on Monday. A previous jury was unable to determine if Gargasoulas was fit.

Families of five victims released a statement through their lawyer, Genna Angelowitsch, welcoming the decision.

“The jury’s decision will mean a resolution to these lengthy proceedings,” she said.

“The families thank the court for bringing on the trial so quickly. It may help to bring some closure.”

The trial will begin next Wednesday.

Monday’s verdict followed a week of evidence about Gargasoulas’ treatment-resistant paranoid schizophrenia and “bizarre delusions”.

Doctors said he has “Messianic delusions” and believes he will become king before the end of a trial.

He told experts that if he was convicted he would spend less than two years behind bars because people would either march for his release or a comet would hit earth and “burn us all” in mid-2020.

He said he had lived seven times before and the comet had hit at that time in his last life.

Gargasoulas also told doctors he was “very keen” to be found fit to stand trial because he wanted people to hear and believe his warnings.

Experts disagreed on whether he was fit to stand trial.

Psychiatrist Andrew Carroll did not believe he was rationally capable of entering a plea.

He’s facing six murder charges and 28 counts of reckless conduct endangering life.

Psychologist Michael Daffern said while he believed Gargasoulas was unwell he had demonstrated a capacity for rational decision making.

5. German chancellor Angela Merkel will step down.

ADVERTISEMENT

Angela Merkel has told her conservative party that she intends to step down as its leader but remain as Germany’s chancellor following a pair of state election debacles, German media reports.

Merkel had previously indicated at a party congress in December that she planned to seek another two-year term as leader of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) but appeared to be moving quickly to acknowledge pressure for renewal.

The German chancellor has led the CDU since 2000 and has led the country since 2005.

News agency dpa cited unidentified party sources as saying Merkel told an ongoing CDU leadership meeting that she is prepared to step down as party leader but intends to remain chancellor.

The mass-circulation daily Bild also reported that she said she will not run again as party leader.

Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, stepped down as leader of his centre-left Social Democrats in 2004 as his government struggled, but remained chancellor. For years, Merkel insisted that the chancellor should also be party leader.

Merkel currently governs Germany in a “grand coalition” of what traditionally have been the country’s biggest parties – the CDU, its Bavaria-only sister, the Christian Social Union, and the Social Democrats.

Her fourth-term government only took office in March, but has become notorious for squabbling.

Sunday’s election in the central state of Hesse saw both Merkel’s conservative CDU and the centre-left Social Democrats lose significant ground, while there were gains for both the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany.

Merkel’s party managed an unimpressive win, narrowly salvaging a majority for its regional governing coalition with the Greens.

The debacle followed a battering in a state election in Bavaria two weeks ago for the CSU and the Social Democrats.

The Social Democrats’ leader, Andrea Nahles, demanded on Sunday a “clear, binding timetable” for implementing government projects before the coalition faces an already-agreed midterm review next fall.

Ms Nahles declined to comment on reports that Merkel might step down as CDU leader. The chancellor is scheduled to hold a news conference later in the day.