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Thursday's news in under 5 minutes.

We’ve rounded up all the latest stories from Australia and around the world – so you don’t have to go searching.

1. Stephanie Scott’s killer had targeted a 12-year-old girl.

Vincent Stanford, who yesterday pleaded guilty to raping and murdering Leeton teacher Stephanie Scott had been planning to attack a 12-year-old girl but instead changed his target to the soon to be married Scott as the young girl was away on the weekend he intended to attack her.

Stanford raped and murdered the 26-year-old school teacher on Easter Sunday in 2015 when she went to work to prepare some lessons at her school before she went on a break for her up-coming wedding and honeymoon.

Court documents showed that Stanford bought a training sword, a knife, handcuffs, Viagra and cleaning products online in the lead-up to Ms Scott’s murder.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to her rape and murder.

But The Daily Telegraph reports that Scott was not Stanford’s intended victim and in fact Stanford had another victim in mind on the day he killed Scott.

It is reported that he had become “fixated” on a 12-year-old student and would have attacked her had she not been away that weekend.

The girl lived close to the school and was often on or near the school after hours.

Stanford’s sentencing hearing is expected to take place at Griffith on October 11.

2. Mother sentenced to 14 years jail for killing four of her babies.

The mother, Andrew Goeppner in court via DPAG

A German mother has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for the manslaughter of four of her babies.

The bodies of eight children were found last November wrapped in towels and plastic bags in the home of the woman and her husband in Wallenfels in Bavaria.

A tip off from a neighbour alerted police.

Police say all the newborns had all died between 2003 and 2013.

Andrea Goeppner, 45, confessed to killing her newborns, but told the court she didn’t know how many she murdered.

“It could have been two, three or four,” the woman’s lawyer said in court.

The woman admitted to giving birth to eight children without any medical assistance at her apartment in Wallenfens in the period from 2003 to 2013. She reportedly rolled them into hand towels, putting more pressure to the head area. If a baby started to cry, she would then hold its mouth and nose shut, until it stopped breathing, a statement read out by the defender said.

Prosecutors said the woman and her husband acted out of “sexual egoism, negligence and callous indifference,” fearing that babies would change their lifestyle.

The couple has three living children, with each also having two from previous marriages.

According to Die Welt she kept the bodies at home, because she felt that they “still belonged to the family.”

Some of the baby remains were found in the garbage together with cigarette stubs, soiled napkins, toilet paper, tampons and sheets with bloodstains that the woman used to clean up her birth.

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Presiding judge Christoph Gillot defended the decision not to pass a life sentence.

"When a case like this is tried, you suddenly have a lot of people who know what the right thing to do is - that a supposed 'horror mother' should be locked away forever," he said.

"But we first must try to understand this behaviour. That doesn't mean justifying it but rather trying to comprehend it."

Her estranged husband Johann G, 55, was acquitted on charges of failing to stop the deaths.

3. Woman duped friends and relatives into giving her almost $400,000 after she pretended to have cancer.

A woman from Adelaide has been charged with fraud offences spanning eight years after pretending she had cancer and conning friends and relatives into supporting her.

Kelly Val Smith, 38 of Port Adelaide has been called “Adelaide’s Belle Gibson.”

“People have taken from their superannuation, people have drawn off their home loans, because that’s what you do when someone you love is in need,” a family member told The Advertiser.

“Now a lot of people feel betrayed and the question is: ‘Why us, why would someone do this to family and friends?’

“Everyone is hurting ... it’s just really heartbreaking.”

Smith has been charged with 36 offences including dishonestly dealing with documents and deceiving another to benefit herself.

A family member told media outside court "We all gave money, from $12,000 up to $150,000, and the total as far as we can tell is between $350,000 and $400,000," the family member said.

"We thought we were helping someone who was in hardship."

4. Level of support for same-sex marriage plebiscite drops.

Fairfax Media reports that less than half of Australians want a plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

The poll has shown that once voters became aware the Turnbull government’s proposed plebiscite will cost $160 million but will not compel members of Parliament to respect the result the public’s support falls.

The Galaxy poll found 48 per cent support holding the plebiscite dropping back from a July 2 poll that found 69 per cent of people backed a nationwide vote over a vote on the floor of Parliament.

Fairfax Media reports that the poll found support drops away when pollsters clarified that MPs and senators would not necessarily be bound to vote for the reform.

5. Family of toddler killed by alligator at Disney World won’t sue.

The distraught family of the little boy killed by an alligator attack at a Disney resort in Florida have said they won’t sue Disney.

Matt Graves, the father of Lane Graves, 2, said the family wants to concentrate efforts on a foundation in honour of the boy rather then engage in a lawsuit.

“It is our hope that through the foundation we will be able to share with others the unimaginable love Lane etched in our hearts,” Mr Graves said in a statement.

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“In addition to the foundation, we will solely be focused on the future health of our family and will not be pursuing a lawsuit against Disney. For now, we continue to ask for privacy as we focus on our family.”

KMTV in Omaha reports that Mr Graves, who tried to save his son from the alligator said the family was “broken.”

"Melissa and I are broken. We will forever struggle to comprehend why this happened to our sweet baby, Lane. As each day passes, the pain gets worse, but we truly appreciate the outpouring of sympathy and warm sentiments we have received from around the world.”

6. Trump speechwriter offers resignation over speech.

The speechwriter responsible for Melania Trump’s speech

has published a public apology accepting responsibility for Donald Trump’s wife’s speech at the Republican National Convention.

The statement, written by in-house writer Meredith McIver, says that she worked with Melania Trump on the speech, and that they had "discussed many people" that were inspirations, including Michelle Obama.

"Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs Obama's speech as examples.

"I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech."

The statement, which was published on Donald Trump's campaigning site, adds that Meredith offered her resignation to the Trump family and Mr Trump, and that they had rejected it.

"I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused," it said. "No harm was meant."

7. Self-service checkouts are “normalising” theft, expert claims.

The rise of self-service checkouts in supermarkets is causing theft to be seen as normal a leading criminologist has warned.

Criminology professor Adrian Beck from the University of Leicester in Britain has found that payment fraud cost Australian retailers more than $380 million last year alone.

Fairfax Media reports that Beck found that losses through self serve kiosks were 3.97 per cent of stock compared with 1.47 per cent from the shop floor.

“"People are very good at neutralising their moral concerns when thinking about stealing things ... and people can end up feeling they have a right to get their share of the corporate profits," he said.

Professor Beck said it wasn’t clear how much of the loss was honest mistakes and how much was deliberate.

"If you are asking me to wander around the store, pick up items, look after my children, push a trolley, take on board all the advertising you're pushing at me, pick up the items, make sure I scan it and put it in my basket ... that's a lot of things to do and there's a lot of things that can go wrong," he said.

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