By Vincent Morello SYDNEY, June 18 AAP - The family of slain Sydney youth Thomas Kelly has waited a year for justice but his killer's plea of manslaughter has left them feeling beaten and bewildered by the legal system. Kieran Loveridge, 19, had been charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge on Tuesday. He did not express emotion and only said "Yes ma'am" to Magistrate Harriet Grahame when asked to confirm his plea in Central Local Court in Sydney. In exchange, the NSW Department of Public Prosecutions withdrew the more serious charge of murder as part of a plea deal. Loveridge will also be given a significant discount to his sentence for pleading before a costly trial. With time already spent in custody, he is expected to serve a fraction of the time he would if convicted of murder. Mr Kelly was one of five young males assaulted by Loveridge during a spree of violence over an hour in Sydney's Kings Cross on the night of July 7 last year. The 18-year-old accounting cadet was walking with his girlfriend and talking on his mobile phone when he was king hit. Family members including his mother, father and sister sat in the gallery and clutched each others' arms during Tuesday's brief proceedings.
By Isabel Hayes SYDNEY, June 17 AAP - It was the moment a mother admitted the unthinkable. As Kristi Anne Abrahams stood up in court on the first day of her trial and pleaded guilty to murdering her six-year-old daughter, Kiesha Weippeart, it marked the culmination of "three years of agony" for the little girl's relatives. Kiesha was a curly-haired "bubbly" child who loved Tinkerbell and Dora the Explorer. When she vanished from her Mt Druitt home in Sydney's west in July 2010, her mother and her stepfather, Robert Smith, described her as "always happy". But the reality was that Kiesha had been the victim of physical abuse from when she was as young as 15 months when Abrahams was convicted of biting her shoulder. Her disappearance sparked a massive police search, with Abrahams and Smith fronting the media to plead for public help in finding their little girl. Abrahams, wearing dark sunglasses and holding a tissue to her face, could do nothing but wail loudly and say, "She's beautiful". "If anyone has seen her, can they please contact police," she choked out. By then, Kiesha had been dead for three weeks. She had been knocked unconscious by Abrahams on the evening of July 13, according to Smith, who later confessed everything to an undercover police officer.
SYDNEY, June 14 AAP - Former bush fugitive Malcolm Naden showed little emotion as he was sentenced to life in prison following the 2005 murders of two women, including his cousin. The word "yes" could be heard from the gallery as Justice Derek Price handed down the life sentence in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday for the murder of Kristy Scholes. For the murder of his cousin Lateesha Nolan, Justice Price sentenced him to a minimum of 21 years. "Mr Naden, you have been sentenced to life imprisonment," the judge said. "You will not be released on parole at any time during your life sentence," the judge said. It comes nearly a decade after Naden went on the run in 2005 after Ms Scholes' body was discovered strangled in the bedroom of his grandparents' home in Dubbo in NSW's central west. Five months earlier Ms Nolan disappeared from the town. Naden's capture last year marked the end of one of the state's biggest manhunts and saw him plead guilty this year to murdering both women, who were 24 years old. He also pleaded guilty to a raft of other charges, including the indecent assault of a 12-year-old girl and the attempted murder of a police officer.
SYDNEY, June 13 AAP - Police will resume their search for the body of NSW anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay at a property in the state's Riverina on Thursday morning. Dozens of local detectives, the Homicide Squad and Australian Federal Police began excavating a property near Hay on Wednesday after receiving a tip-off that Mr Mackay's remains could be found there. The rural property is about 150 kilometres from where Mr Mackay was last seen, in his home town of Griffith. The father of four disappeared after leaving a pub where he had been drinking with friends on July 15, 1977. His keys were found next to his blood-stained Mini van and three spent bullet cases were found near the Kooyoo Street hotel. An extensive police investigation and a 1984 coronial inquest concluded the 43-year-old died of gunshot wounds but his body was never located. Three men were convicted in Victoria of conspiring to murder him, including James Frederick Bazley, now aged 86, who denied any involvement and repeatedly refused to speak to NSW Police. One of the men has since died and the location of the third man is unknown. A royal commission also named six other men who may have ordered the killing. It is believed Mr Mackay was allegedly targeted for identifying to police marijuana farms owned by Australian-born mafia who wanted him dead. The comes after the state government and NSW police announced a $200,000 reward for further information last year.
SYDNEY, June 11 AAP - When highway patrol officer Senior Constable David Rixon pulled a man over for a random breath test last year, he greeted him with a "G'day", adding "I'm just going to breath test you, buddy". Moments later, the father-of-six was shot in the chest. On Thursday the Supreme Court murder trial of the man accused of killing the officer, Michael Allan Jacobs, began in Sydney. Jacobs, 49, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Sen Const Rixon, 40, at West Tamworth on March 2 last year. Crown prosecutor Pat Barrett said the jury would hear "confronting" audio of the police officer's final conversation that day. The court heard Sen Const Rixon followed Jacobs' car into the grounds of a block of units and approached him for a random breath test. In response to Sen Const Rixon's greeting of "How are you going?", Jacobs replied "Not bad", Mr Barrett said. "Almost immediately after that there was the sound of gunshots," he said.
BRISBANE, June 12 AAP - Queensland police will vote on a 2.2 per cent annual pay rise after their union and the state government reached an agreement. It's less than the 3.8 per cent the Queensland Police Union (QPU) was originally seeking for the state's 11,000-plus officers. However, police will retain six weeks of annual leave and other conditions under the new pay deal. Uniforms wi
SYDNEY, June 11 AAP - The senior detective who triggered an inquiry into the handling of allegations of child sex abuse by Hunter Valley priests will not be charged with contempt over a tweet he sent from the inquiry courtroom. Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox was asked to explain a message he sent on Twitter on May 13 during a hearing of the special commission of inquiry into how police and church officials handled child sex allegations. In it, Det Insp Fox reported Hunter Valley Detective Inspector David Waddell as saying he had tried in 2010 to close down a police strike force investigating sex abuse allegations involving Catholic priests. Special Commissioner Margaret Cunneen said this was "undignified" and misleading because Det Insp Waddell's evidence was that he had scaled back a particular strike force, and this was not the strike force mentioned in the commission's terms of reference. Barrister Patrick Saidi, representing several high-ranking NSW officers, called on Ms Cunneen to refer the matter to the Crown Solicitor's office for consideration of a contempt charge against Det Insp Fox. But on Tuesday Ms Cunneen told a Sydney courtroom she would not do so.
Eight members of the NSW Police Force have been awarded the prestigious Australian Police Medal (APM) as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. The Governor General of Australia, Ms Quentin Bryce AV CVO, announced the recipients of the honours list on 10 June 2013. NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione (APM) congratulated the recipients on their nominations and said each officer is deserving of such recognition. “The Australian Police Medal recognises exemplary service within our police forces and the careers of today’s recipients truly embody the spirit of the award,” Commissioner Scipione said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside many of these officers and I know they are each very deserving of their nomination. “On behalf of the NSW Police Force, I want to thank the recipients for their ongoing commitment to serving the people of New South Wales.”
SYDNEY, June 5 AAP - NSW police who helped disaster recovery efforts following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake will be honoured at a ceremony in Sydney. Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, Premier Barry O'Farrell and New Zealand High Commissioner Major General Martyn Dunne will attend the awards ceremony at the Art Gallery NSW on Wednesday. Canterbury Earthquake Citations will be presented to the 122 officers deployed to the devastated city as part of Operation Monro. The magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch during lunchtime on February 22, 2011, killing 185 people and injuring several thousand. It also caused major damage to the historic city.
SYDNEY, June 4 AAP - A man has been charged over a violent weekend bashing that left a Sydney man in a coma. Police say the 24-year-old is the key suspect in the attack against Simon Cramp, 26, in Sydney's CBD in the early hours of Sunday. He will face Central Local Court on Wednesday to face charges of assault occasioning bodily harm and affray. The attack occurred shortly after an unrelated brawl involving two groups of people outside an all-night fast food restaurant on the corner of George and Bridge streets, police said. It left Mr Cramp in an induced coma which he only woke up from late on Monday. The alleged offender was one of three men who turned themselves in to the Rocks police station on Tuesday morning. The two other men, aged 20 and 21, whose images were captured on CCTV footage released by police, were questioned and later released without charge. Acting Superintendent Tony Bell says police expect to lay more charges against those involved in the incident. He also thanked the "numerous" members of the public who contacted police after CCTV footage was released.
SYDNEY, June 4 AAP - Seven people have died during a "horrific" 12 hours on NSW roads. The traffic-linked fatalities occurred over a half-day stretch that began on Monday night, when a 21-year-old died in Liverpool Hospital after smashing his Nissan Skyline at Prestons about 5am on Sunday. Police said the car hit the median strip then spun on to the gutter, before ploughing into a power pole. A six-year-old girl also died on Monday night after the car she was in left the road and rolled down an embankment in NSW's central west. The crash happened on the Newell Highway about 25km south of Dubbo about 8.30pm. Then on Tuesday morning, a man and two children were killed in NSW's north. It's believed the man was driving his daughter to school when they, along with another one of his children, were killed in the crash with another car around 8.10am (AEST) at Dyraaba. A man and two children in the other car were taken to hospital. The crash was an "absolute tragedy" that would reverberate around the locality, Richmond Valley Council mayor Ernie Bennett said.
A YOUNG woman watches helplessly as her boyfriend is beaten into a coma by drunken thugs in an unprovoked attack at the northern end of George St early yesterday. Just moments earlier, outside McDonald's on the corner of Bridge St, the same group attacked and put another man in hospital. At the same time, about 2km away at the other end of Sydney's premier street that cuts through the heart of the CBD, a young man is left bleeding in the road after a two-man brawl. They were just a few of the violent incidents that erupted at the weekend on George St - dubbed Sydney's Angry Mile after the number of call-outs police receive on a Friday and Saturday night. The calls kept on coming at as police raced from the scene of one fight to another. Near Goulburn St, a man was left unconscious after being robbed of $40 and his credit card outside a kebab shop. At 4.55am police chased a man at Wynyard station after reports he had a gun. When they dragged him from the toilets he was found to have a replica pistol. "All night our guys were running up and down George and Pitt St," NSW Police Association president Scott Weber said. "It was like a running bloody battle all weekend. Some guys call it the Angry Mile and even at 5.30am we had four crews out breaking up fights."
SYDNEY, June 2 AAP - A young man viciously bashed in Sydney remains in a coma in intensive care with his friends and family around him, his mother says. Police believe they have CCTV images of a group of men who bashed 26-year-old, Simon Cramp, in Sydney's CBD in the early hours of Sunday. It is believed the attack was unprovoked. Acting Rocks police superintendent Tony Bell compared the incident to the fatal attack on Thomas Kelly in Kings Cross last year. Mr Kelly, 18, died last July two days after being king hit as he walked along the street during a night out with his girlfriend. Spt Bell said shortly after 3.20 am (AEST) on Sunday there was a brawl involving two groups of people outside an all night fast food restaurant on the corner of George and Bridge streets. One man was injured in that altercation. Soon afterwards about four or five men launched what appears to be an unprovoked attack on Mr Cramp about 30 metres down the road.
SYDNEY, May 31 AAP - Danger lurks among the stilettos and designer labels at Sydney's fanciest nightclub, a NSW government report warns. Ivy, the CBD nightclub which won the 2011 Australian Traveller Readers Choice best bar award, is also officially the state's most violent venue. The George St venue, describing itself as "a sophisticated urban playground for grown-ups", tops the NSW government's violent venue list, recording 24 incidents in 2012, up from 15 in 2011. Ivy is the only nightclub to have recorded more than 19 violent incidents over the past year, earning it a "level one" classification. This means it will have to comply with strict conditions, NSW Hospitality Minister George Souris says. They include a 2am lockout, extra security measures and after midnight a limit of four drinks per person, no glass, shots, doubles or alcopops over five per cent.
SYDNEY, May 28 AAP - A driver has allegedly crashed into a minibus during a police pursuit on the NSW Central Coast and assaulted the police officer who arrested him. The man collided with a minibus at an East Gosford intersection during a pursuit about 7.15am (AEST) on Tuesday, police say. He then allegedly lashed out and struck a male senior constable in the head. The officer suffered a cut to his head and was taken to hospital. Charges are expected to be laid against the driver. The male driver of the minibus was not injured while his female passenger suffered shock, police said. Officers were pursuing the car and a utility in relation to a break-in in the Lake Macquarie area. The utility has not been located.
By Tara Ravens SYDNEY, May 23 AAP - An additional 30 positions will be created in NSW's child abuse prevention squad almost a month after a report revealed children are falling through the cracks because of major staffing shortfalls. A leaked human resources review found the police squad responsible for protecting children from abusers was operating at 50 per cent below what's needed. It said 50 cases were ready to proceed in January but suspects weren't arrested because of a lack of resources. Wollongong detectives were dealing with 45 cases of child abuse when the recommended amount was no more than 15, with overworked officers forced out due to stress. The review also warned that workloads were set to explode in the wake of the national royal commission into institutional responses to child abuse. It found 175 officers were needed, 50 of them critically. On Thursday NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher said another 30 positions would provide an "enormous boost" to the capabilities of the Child Abuse Squad. "I am keen to see these 30 positions filled at the earliest opportunity with officers who have the skills, mental resilience and dedication to working with these victims of crime.