news

"Devastating." Bill Spedding on the impact of being linked to William Tyrrell's disappearance, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. “Devastating.” Bill Spedding on the impact of being linked to William Tyrrell’s disappearance.

One-time person-of-interest in the disappearance of William Tyrrell, Bill Spedding, says the intense police and media scrutiny he endured has had a “devastating impact” on him and his family.

Flanked by his wife Margaret and his lawyer Peter O’Brien, Spedding on Monday said he had told police and a NSW coroner everything he could to help them find William.

The three-year-old went missing from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall, on NSW’s mid-north coast, at about 10.15am on September 12, 2014.

Spedding, a whitegoods repairman who visited the home three days earlier to fix a washing machine, has always vehemently denied any involvement.

He had ordered parts for the broken washing machine and planned to return to the home, the court heard.

“Obviously the police, and the investigation and the media interest in mine and Margaret’s movements have had a devastating impact on my life, my family’s life and livelihood,” he told reporters outside the NSW Coroners Court.

“I thank my family, friends and legal team in getting me through this.

“I know what I’ve been through is nothing compared to what William’s family are going through now.”

The inquest on Monday heard that on the day William went missing, Spedding and his wife met for coffee about 9.30am at Cafe Buzz in Laurieton, a 15-minute drive from Kendall.

They had a coffee and shared some food before walking across the road for the local school’s assembly, where a child they cared for was to receive an award.

A receipt shown to the inquest showed the Speddings’ joint account was used to purchase a ham and cheese croissant, a citrus tart and two large cappuccinos at 9.42am.

ADVERTISEMENT

But detectives remained interested in their movements, and in January 2015 they searched Spedding’s Bonny Hills home and his Laurieton business.

Items were taken for testing and the home’s septic tank was drained, but no forensic evidence was found linking Spedding to William’s disappearance.

Two days after the raid, a neighbour of Spedding made a statement to police about “definitely” seeing the tradesman’s van emerge from bush 20km from Kendall on the night of William’s disappearance.

That statement came after he made a verbal report in September 2014.

But at the inquest on Friday, a backtracking Dean Pollard said the van he saw only “looked like” Spedding’s van and then – after viewing a picture of the repairman’s van – admitted the two vans couldn’t be the same.

The inquest on Monday was told Margaret Spedding couldn’t believe it when police knocked on her door and began raiding the family home.

“We were in shock,” she told detectives in a video filmed a month after the raid.

“We couldn’t believe this was happening to us.”

Spedding told the inquest he first learnt William was missing the night of the boy’s disappearance when an alert flashed up on the nightly news.

“Our ears pricked up and we said, ‘that’s awful close to home’ and we really tuned in,” he said.

But as his client’s surname wasn’t Tyrrell, he said he didn’t realise he’d visited the home days before William’s disappearance until a police officer spoke to him on September 15.

He discovered the link after returning to the address and found police hunting for the young boy.

Spedding has already begun defamation action against at least two media outlets over their reporting of him.

He is considering further action against the NSW Police either for malicious prosecution or for the tort of misfeasance in public office, his solicitor said.

“First, we’ve got to get through this inquest,” O’Brien told reporters on Monday.

“This has been a massive ordeal for everyone.”

No person has ever been charged over William’s disappearance. The inquest is due to resume on Wednesday.

2. Accused Queensland murderer wanted ‘three hitmen’ to murder his wife Novy Chardon.

ADVERTISEMENT

A Gold Coast man allegedly attempted to procure three men to murder his wife to make hiding her body easy, a court has heard.

John William Chardon, 71, has been accused of killing his 34-year-old wife Novy, who went missing in February 2013 amid a divorce dispute.

Chardon feared their divorce would make his wife’s lover an “instant millionaire”, his Brisbane Supreme Court trial heard on Monday.

A man Chardon allegedly met via an Asian dating website, Marshall Bari Aguilor, has claimed that during a meeting in The Philippines in early 2012, he was asked to kill Ms Chardon.

Chardon allegedly asked Mr Aguilor to carry out the murder for $US10,000 and, if not, find someone who could.

“He told me that he needed three hitmen,” Mr Aguilor told the jury, through an interpreter.

Asked under cross-examination about why Chardon said he needed three, Mr Aguilor replied, “so it’s not very hard to hide the body”.

Chardon has pleaded not guilty to his wife’s murder more than six years after she was last seen.

Mr Aguilor has testified Chardon wanted to lure his wife to the Philippines, where she was to be killed.

They also discussed “finding a cliff” and hiding her body in a cave where her remains would eventually be found “so the children find out”, Mr Aguilor said.

When he asked why he wanted her dead, Chardon said it was because divorce assets were commonly split in half in Australia.

“He said to me, ‘and she’s got a boyfriend and that boyfriend will be an instant millionaire’,” he said.

The trial also heard that Chardon responded “any publicity’s good publicity” when told by a former employee of media coverage of early investigations into Ms Chardon’s disappearance.

ADVERTISEMENT

“They’re (police) really trying and they’ve got nothing,” he said to Franca Canzoneri in a phone conversation, played to the jury.

“They’re trying f****** hard to find something. There’s nothing to f****** find.”

The trial continues.

3. “I was fine with the interview.” Premier Gladys Berejiklian on her interview with Ben Fordham.

The NSW premier says it was “fine” that a radio presenter asked her on-air if she would have an abortion, despite several federal MPs slamming the question as inappropriate.

2GB host Ben Fordham asked Gladys Berejiklian the question on Friday as part of a discussion about a bill currently before state parliament to decriminalise abortion.

The NSW premier told Fordham she would not have an abortion but said her personal views shouldn’t impact the right of other women to make a different decision.

Ms Berejiklian on Monday said she was “fine” with the line of questioning.

“Ben’s a good guy and I was fine with the interview,” she told reporters in Sydney.

Ms Berejiklian on Friday alluded to her personal beliefs being informed by her Armenian Christian faith.

Fordham repeatedly pressed her to elaborate during the interview.

“My personal view is I’m a conservative person who would not feel comfortable in having that process but that is just me,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“(But) I don’t want anyone to feel (that) because I feel this thing they should feel guilty because they’d do things differently.”

Federal Liberal minister Marise Payne on Sunday labelled Fordham’s questioning as inappropriate.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I don’t think that it is appropriate to ask anyone, male or female, sensitive health questions like that and it’s not OK,” the minister for women told ABC TV.

Federal Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek also criticised Fordham on the weekend.

“A woman’s reproductive health is her own business, including decisions about whether to discuss it publicly or not,” Mr Plibersek told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The point the premier quite rightly made is that any personal decision she might make should not be imposed on others. She handled this gracefully.”

4. Former AFL player Ben Cousins released from prison after plea deal.


Former AFL champion Ben Cousins has walked free from prison after two serious charges of stalking and threatening to harm his former partner were dropped and he pleaded guilty to 12 other offences.

The 41-year-old drug addict was recently imprisoned after providing a diluted urine sample for a drug test, which was in breach of his bail conditions.

Cousins had been scheduled to face a trial on September 12 over alleged family violence offences, but in a surprise court appearance on Friday the two most serious charges were discontinued.

He pleaded guilty to the remaining 12 offences of breaching a violence restraining order and was sentenced to eight months in prison.

The sentence was backdated and with time already served he was able to walk free on Saturday.

His lawyer Michael Tudori told AAP on Monday that his client was doing well and was continuing to self-fund his rehabilitation with Whitehaven Clinic.

“For Ben, it’s a long road to recovery,” Mr Tudori said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The former West Coast captain was arrested at a Canning Vale house in August last year and charged with a string of offences related to his ex-partner, Maylea Tinecheff.

Cousins previously pleaded guilty to meth possession and trespassing, which was downgraded from a charge of aggravated burglary, stemming from the same arrest, and was fined for those offences.

The Brownlow medallist was released from Acacia prison in January last year, about two months short of his one-year sentence for stalking Ms Tinecheff.

5. Leonardo DiCaprio pledges $5 million to save Amazon rainforest.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

#Regram #RG @earthalliance #EarthAlliance, launched in July by @LeonardoDiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Brian Sheth, has formed an emergency Amazon Forest Fund with a commitment of $5 million dollars to focus critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the life-sustaining biodiversity of the Amazon against the surge of fires currently burning across the region. Join Us. 100 percent of your donation will go to partners who are working on the ground to protect the Amazon. Earth Alliance is committed to helping protect the natural world. We are deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in the Amazon, which highlights the delicate balance of climate, biodiversity, and the wellbeing of indigenous peoples. To learn more or to donate, please visit ealliance.org/amazonfund (see link in bio) Photos: @chamiltonjames, @danielbeltraphoto 2017

A post shared by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on

A new environmental foundation backed by Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio is pledging $US5 million ($A7.4 million) in aid to the Amazon, which has been swept by wildfires.

Earth Alliance was created last month by DiCaprio and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth.

It launched the Amazon Forest Fund in an announcement on its website on Sunday.

The alliance is also seeking donations to help repair the Brazilian rainforest, often referred to as the “lungs of the planet”.

A record number of wildfires were reported across Brazil this year by federal experts, up 84 per cent over the same period in 2018.

00:00 / ???