news

"It was a horrible scene." A woman has been arrested following another woman's fatal fall from a Sydney apartment balcony, & more in News in 5.

— With AAP.

1. “It was a horrible scene.” A woman has been arrested following another woman’s fatal fall from a Sydney apartment balcony.

Police have arrested a woman near rugged coastline south of Sydney after another woman plunged to her death from an inner city high-rise apartment complex.

Shuyu Zhou, 23, was discovered with critical injuries on a footpath at the back of the 11-storey building on Rose Valley Way in Zetland about 8.45pm on Monday.

Emergency services were called but she could not be revived.

Police on Tuesday appealed for help to find 29-year-old Zixi Wang, also known as Jessie, who was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant in relation to the incident. She is believed to Zhou’s former partner.

Wang had been last seen in a white Mercedes Benz and was considered to be in a “vulnerable state”.

“She’ll be able to establish what possibly could have happened at the scene,” Superintendent Bradley Hodder told reporters in Sydney.

“However we’re concerned for her welfare as well. We’d like her to come forward … My message, my strong message, would be for her to go to the nearest police station and hand herself in.”

Police say they found a white Mercedes at Sea Cliff Bridge, north of Wollongong, on Tuesday afternoon.

A 29-year-old woman was arrested nearby.

The car was seized for forensic examination.

Police were doorknocking surrounding homes and combing gardens at the unit complex where the woman’s body was found.

At the back of the building a badly damaged white steel fence, below a number of balconies, were cordoned off with police tape.

“It was a horrible scene; any of these sort of falls from buildings are a tragic sight,” Supt Hodder said.

Residents from level five of the unit block, the same floor the woman who died was on, on Tuesday told the ABC their friend heard someone screaming about 8.30pm before the body was discovered.

“She literally came in and said ‘it sounds like someone is dying in there. There was just screaming. She said it sounded like a young female.”

The resident said police told those in the complex to “be careful and to listen out” on Monday night, before Tuesday’s arrest.

Supt Hodder said resident reports would form part of the police investigation.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service or Lifelife (13 11 14) for support.

ADVERTISEMENT

2. “It had a very big effect on my life.” Victim of Melbourne laneway rapist speaks out.


Dragged into a laneway and raped by a stranger just metres from a busy Melbourne intersection after a night out with friends, a teenager says the assault has changed her life.

Police hope a $500,000 reward will help find the attacker before he strikes again.

The 18-year-old woman was walking to catch a tram when she was dragged off Flinders Street in the early hours of Saturday, June 9, last year.

It’s alleged the assailant came out of a hostel and followed ‘Amy’ down Swanston Street, putting his arm around her and attempting to kiss her before dragging her into the laneway and locking high metal gates behind them.

“It had a very big effect on my life,” Amy said, speaking publicly on Tuesday for the first time.

“At first, I was just fully in denial but it ended up making things more difficult for myself.”

Struggling with what happened to her, Amy was unable to focus at university and ceased her studies.

“It left me more scared in general… more cautious, less trusting and always on edge,” she said.

“I was never scared of walking alone – I always felt quite confident.

“It definitely changed me and my relationship to myself in a lot of ways.”

Detectives have re-released images of a man they believe is aged in his 20s and of African appearance, they want to talk to.

They also want to speak to two men who helped the distraught victim after the assault.

“This is a horrendous crime that occurred at what is probably the busiest intersection in Melbourne,” Detective Inspector Steve Wilson said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We know there were plenty of people around at that time, so I’d urge anyone who remembers seeing anything on that night to come forward.

“We’re always concerned people like this will strike again… the fact they’ve struck once, he could possibly do it again.”

3. Voluntary euthanasia laws to come into effect in Victoria this week.


A woman whose terminally ill husband lobbied hard for assisted dying to be legalised in Victoria is “over the moon” the controversial laws will come into effect from Wednesday.

Former Shell Coles Express managing director Peter Short, 57, died in 2014 in palliative care after being given terminal sedation for oesophageal cancer.

The Melbourne man had campaigned hard for the laws, which are due to come into effect.

“I’m over the moon and it makes me sad to think that Pete is not around to see it but for everybody else it’s a great step forward,” his wife Elizabeth Short told 3AW radio.

Under the scheme, terminally ill Victorian adults who meet 68 criteria will be able to ask their doctor for a lethal combination of medication.

Mrs Short said Peter was given Nembutal, known as the “peaceful pill” but in the end chose palliation in hospital.

“He had the choice to end his own life or to choose the route he ended up doing but it was the greatest gift anybody could have given for him,” she said.

She added people needed to understand terminal sedation already “happens all the time without regulation”.

ADVERTISEMENT

Go Gentle director Andrew Denton said by putting in place safe and workable assisted dying laws, Victoria has done what no other Australian state was willing to.

“The Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying law has set the benchmark for how public policy should be designed and implemented in this country. The question now is not if but when other states will follow Victoria’s compassionate lead,” Mr Denton said.

Catholic bishops issued a last-ditch warning against the contentious laws, with a letter signed by four Victorian bishops warning of a “new and deeply troubling chapter of health care”.

“We cannot cooperate with the facilitation of suicide even when it seems motivated by empathy or kindness,” the letter signed by the Melbourne, Ballarat, Sale and Sandhurst bishops said.

Under the voluntary assisted dying laws, patients must be of sound mind and have less than a year to live or under six months for those with neurodegenerative conditions.

Their suffering must also be deemed “intolerable” and they must make three, clear separate requests to die and be assessed by two experienced doctors.

Medical professionals are able to conscientiously object.

Just hours before the new laws came into effect, about 50 protesters with Pro-Life Victoria took to the steps of Victoria’s parliament house, objecting to the scheme.

“This legislation is coming into effect despite widespread opposition within the medical community,” Pro-life Victoria president Denise Cameron, a former nurse, said.

4. Victoria bill to provide gender choice for birth certificates without surgery.


Victorians will no longer need surgery to change gender on their birth certificate, under a proposed new law described by supporters as a step forward for transgender rights.

ADVERTISEMENT

The state Labor government on Tuesday reintroduced a bill to parliament which, if passed, will allow applicants to choose their birth certificate gender as male, female or another non-binary option.

This alters the current law that requires an individual to undergo gender reassignment surgery before their birth certificate can be changed, and brings the state in line with the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, SA, Tasmania and WA.

“The current surgery requirement sends a painful and false message that there is something wrong with being trans, gender diverse or intersex that needs to be ‘fixed’ – that’s why we’re removing this cruel and unfair barrier,” Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said in a statement.

Children will also be able to apply to alter the gender on their birth certificate but only with the backing of their parents and a supporting statement from a doctor, registered psychologist or authorised party who can confirm it would be in the child’s best interest.

Transgender Victoria chair Brenda Appleton said the reforms would have enormous benefits.

“This is a profoundly important reform for our community, as many of us are currently prevented from changing the most basic form of documentation to reflect our true identity,” Ms Appleton said.

Trans people face problems every day accessing services and facilities “because of our identity documents not matching who we are,” she added.

Trans person Yves Rees said if passed, the law would put an end to trans people being forced to ‘out’ themselves.

“If you have to show ID which reveals the fact that you were assigned different sex at birth, you don’t know how people are going to react,” Rees said.

The parliamentary bill remains unchanged since it was narrowly voted down in 2016.

The opposition at the time said the bill went “too far” and was driven by “ideology, not common sense”.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien, elected to the position after November’s election, told reporters on Tuesday the coalition would wait to see detail before deciding on a position.

Critics, including NSW professor of paediatrics John Whitehall, labelled the law a “propaganda victory”.

“This is ratifying the concept that gender is fluid and not binary,” he told 3AW.

Catholic priest Tony Kerin said the church did not “approve or appreciate” the proposed reform.

ADVERTISEMENT

“When it comes to gender, we stick with the science, we count chromosomes,” he told ABC radio.

Mental Health and Equality Minister Martin Foley hit back at detractors, urging them to be compassionate.

“I would ask people to just reflect and if this was your family member, if this was you, if this was your child, how would you want to treat them?”

5. Charges will be laid over downing of MH17.

The individuals suspected of shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and killing all 298 people aboard are set to be formally charged in the Netherlands.

The Joint Investigation Team, which includes Australia, is on Wednesday expected to name those accused of providing – and firing – the missile that struck the passenger plane as it flew over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

Investigators are also set to lay a number of criminal charges in Utrecht on the alleged culprits, and potentially the accessories to their crimes.

The accused are likely to be Russian nationals or Moscow-aligned Ukrainians, who were fighting with Ukrainian government forces in the Battle of Shakhtarsk near Hrabove, where MH17 was shot down five years ago.

Investigators have already announced the Buk missile launcher used in the attack came from the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade’s base in the city of Kursk, about a day’s drive over the border from the crash site.

Investigators will also likely reveal on Wednesday whether the suspects intentionally shot down MH17 or accidentally pulled the trigger and subsequently tried to conceal their mistake.

The announcement, coming five years after the tragedy, will allow a case to finally be brought before the courts, likely in the Netherlands, and provide some solace for the victims’ families.

Those killed include 38 Australians citizens and residents, 193 Dutch, 43 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, 10 Britons and one New Zealander. The other passengers killed include Belgians, Germans, Filipinos and a Canadian.

Dutch and Australian officials held meetings with Russian counterparts behind closed doors earlier this year, but it’s uncertain whether the suspects will be handed over to face the courts or be tried in absentia.

Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European Integration Olena Zerkal said last week that Russia had not responded to a formal request for legal assistance.

The downing of MH17 is the worst deliberately-caused air disaster since 2996 people were killed in the September 11 attacks in New York in 2001.

It is also the second-worst deliberately-caused plane crash in history after September 11.

00:00 / ???