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"Daddy, I love you." The moment before a father allegedly killed his five children, & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

1. “Daddy, I love you.” The moment before a father allegedly killed his five children.

Moments before her father allegedly wrapped his hands around her neck, Merah said her final words: “Daddy, I love you.”

The eight-year-old, along with her four younger siblings, one-year-old Abigail, two-year-old Gabriel, six-year-old Nahtahn and seven-year-old Elias, were killed, their badly decomposing bodies dumped off a dirt road in a remote Alabama forest.

Their father Timothy Jones Jr, a 37-year-old computer software engineer, is facing the death penalty for their alleged murders in 2014.

Jones has admitted to all five murders but has pleaded not guilty by way of insanity, claiming “undiagnosed schizophrenia”.

Prosecutors alleged Jones killed six-year-old Nahtahn first after the boy damaged an electrical outlet inside their mobile home on August 28, 2014, then killed Merah after he realised she had witnessed his death.

The court heard Merah’s final words to her father as he strangled her were “Daddy, I love you”.

Elias died next, then Jones wrapped a belt around the necks of Gabriel, two, and Abigail, one, and choked them to death, prosecutors said.

Jones then stuffed their bodies into garbage bags before loading them into his SUV and driving around four states for more than a week. He eventually dumped the bags in a remote forest.

The next day, at a routine traffic stop is Mississippi, Jones was arrested after a police officer noticed the smell of dead bodies coming from his vehicle.

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Jones was awarded sole custody of his children with ex-wife Amber Kyzer in 2013, following an investigation and a nasty legal battle centred on an alleged affair Kyzer had with a 19-year-old neighbour.

A court heard this week testimony from Kyzer. She broke down while struggling to read out a letter she wrote to her eldest child Merah following her divorce from Jones.

Jones has been described as a fundamentalist Christian with strict ideas about marriage and raising children. The court heard he struggled with life as a primary carer of the young kids.

Before and after the children’s deaths, Jones searched topics including “Facing Legal Problems – where do you run?” and which countries lack extradition treaties with the U.S. on the internet.

He also searched for landfills, dumps and businesses that sold synthetic marijuana, plus various websites about schizophrenia.

The trial continues.

2. NSW triple killer Berwyn Rees’ parole overturned.


A decision to grant parole to Berwyn Rees, who was jailed for the execution-style murder of a policeman and two civilians, has been overturned by NSW’s highest court.

NSW Supreme Court Justice Richard Button on Thursday quashed the state parole authority’s February 21 decision to release Rees, stating the impact on the victims’ families hadn’t been fully considered.

Justice Button said the parole authority had considered the physical threat to the victims’ families but its decision should “also encompass the psychological or emotional effects”.

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Rees has spent almost four decades in custody after fatally shooting gun shop manager Raymond James and customer Christopher Greenfield in 1977, then executing Sergeant Keith Haydon in 1980 so the police officer couldn’t seize the murder weapon.

Justice Button – who described the gun shop murders as “callous” – said Rees, now 69, was physically enfeebled to a degree.

He had been repeatedly psychiatrically assessed and “has enjoyed day release for quite some time”.

However, the judge said considering those factors was not part of his task.

The original parole conditions would have forced Rees to live in supported accommodation and banned him from possessing any prohibited weapons, contacting victims or visiting certain local government areas.

Mr James’ daughter told reporters outside court in April she found it “unfathomable” Rees could have been released on parole.

“You can’t, in any way, in any world, way, shape or form have a triple cop-killing murderer walking the streets,” Tracy James said.

“It’s still unfathomable that we’re even here having to deal with this.”

3. Regional Queenslanders threaten ‘Quexit’ over Adani.


Move over Brexit, angry regional Queenslanders are talking Quexit as they feel the state Labor government has taken too long to make a decision on the proposed Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is touring regional Queensland after demanding a time frame be set by Friday for vetting two outstanding management plans for the job creating Carmichael project.

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But many locals say they feel it is too little, too late and preparations are underway for a day of action in the region to call for more development and approval for the mine.

Mackay mayor Greg Williamson said regional communities were still angry at the Bob Brown Convoy and felt frustrated and “cut off” from the state government.

“We have had rallies where we have never rallied before and I spoke to a guy with a grinder just doing his day’s work and he said ‘Quexit, bring it on’. That’s the feeling of people in regional Queensland,” he said.

“The regions in Queensland and across Australia have found their voice and we have to make sure that voice is continually heard.”

He said there was no doubt that had Labor won the federal election, the Adani mine would have been scrapped by the state government.

Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow wants Adani to get a “fair go” and for the Galilee Basin to be opened up.

She has called for a day of action on Friday to demand a long-term policy vision for regional Queensland and approvals for the Adani mine and other projects.

“As part of the day, we will be launching a petition to be lodged in the Queensland state parliament calling for more action in regional areas.”

The mayor of Isaac Shire, the region which is home to the majority of the Carmichael mine site, agreed authorities needed to find a way to strategically plan and responsibly deliver the $40 billion of untapped thermal coal in the Galilee Basin.

“If the Carmichael project is going to do that and deliver jobs and deliver business and deliver economic growth to the state and to the country, then off you go,” Mayor Anne Baker said.

“I think it is time to man up.”

There are 26 mines in the Isaac region which delivered $1.5 billion in royalties in the last financial year.

Adani says the Carmichael thermal coal mine will create 1500 jobs and another 6750 during the construction of the proposed 10 million tonne per annum project.

The day of action rally will be at the Rockhampton’s Riverside Precinct at midday.

4. Brothers rushed to hospital after being ‘sliced’ by a massive marlin.

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A large marlin weighing up to 100 kilograms has jumped into a small boat off the NSW coast seriously injuring two brothers, with one of them suffering a fracture when his arm was sliced open.

The marlin breached and landed in the brothers’ boat off Wooli, north of Coffs Harbour, at midday on Thursday.

“The marlin’s sharp snout sliced open the younger brother’s lower right arm, causing an open fracture,” NSW Police said in a statement.

“The older brother suffered a deep cut to his right shoulder.”

The brothers – aged 46 and 48 – were in a five-metre rigid-hull inflatable boat with a third man, aged 46, who wasn’t injured. The boat was doing about 40km/h at the time.

The marlin managed to escape “back into the water”, a police spokesperson said.

The younger brother was initially airlifted by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Coffs Harbour Base Hospital where he was assessed.

He was then transferred, again by air, to Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney where he remains in a stable condition.

His older brother was taken to the Coffs Harbour hospital by road and discharged on Thursday night, a hospital spokeswoman told AAP.

5. UK children’s author Judith Kerr dies at the age of 95.

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British children’s author Judith Kerr has died at the age of 95 after a short illness, her publisher says.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that Judith Kerr OBE, author and illustrator of The Tiger Who Came To Tea, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Mog The Forgetful Cat and many other classic children’s books, died at home yesterday aged 95 following a short illness,” HarperCollins said.

Born in Berlin, Kerr’s family left Germany in 1933 to escape the rise of the Nazi Party and came via Paris to England.

The family’s struggle to get by as impoverished refugees in Paris and then wartime London formed the subject of Kerr’s autobiographical trilogy that started with When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, published in 1971.

The book has been translated into many languages and taught to school children as an introduction to a dark chapter of history.

It won the prestigious Youth Book Prize in Germany, and in 1993 a school was named after Kerr in her native Berlin.

In an interview with Reuters in 2015, Kerr said that as she had got older she had thought more often about the Jewish children from her generation who perished in the Holocaust, and of the lives they might have lived.

“If you’ve got a life that so many people didn’t have, you can’t waste it,” she told Reuters.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea came out in 1968 to critical acclaim and has been a bestseller ever since, with Mog The Forgetful Cat following in 1970, the first of a long series.

Kerr was often asked whether the tiger has a hidden meaning, and some people have suggested that it might represent Hitler or the Nazis, invading her home and stealing her possessions. Kerr dismissed this, saying the idea for the tiger simply came from a visit to the zoo with her daughter Tacy, and the creature was harmless.

“I never think about telling small children what to think,” she told Reuters in 2015.

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