Monthly Archives: August 2018

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Police confident they will identify body found in pit in Brisbane’s north

Human remains were found by police at a Brisbane property on Tuesday. Photo: 7 News Brisbane/TwitterPolice are confident they will be able to identify the skeletal remains of a male found in an underground pit at a property in Brisbane’s north on Tuesday.
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More than 90 per cent of the skeletal remains have been identified and transferred to the John Tonge Centre for forensic examination after they were discovered at an Autism Queensland site in Brighton on Tuesday.

Acting Superintendent Mick O’Dowd said the the discovery was made during plumbing inspections at a detached house, used as an administration centre, at the rear of the property.

“When they lifted the lid to inspect the water pit at the rear of the centre, a body of a deceased person was found inside,” he said.

Police were treating the discovery as a homicide at this stage.

“There were some indications that were a bit unusual from inside the pit when we took the lid off so we just have to work through that and that is our avenue of investigation at the moment,” Acting Superintendent O’Dowd said.

“We are treating it as a homicide at this stage.”

Acting Superintendent O’Dowd said it was likely the bones belonged to somebody who had been dead for about 30 years, which would make it “difficult and time consuming” to examine the DNA, however he was confident the man’s identity would be uncovered.

“We are confident we can positively identify (the person), as you can understand it will take some time,” he said.

“There will be an examination (of the skeletal remains) tomorrow and then it will possibly take weeks or months after that to acquire DNA and examine it.”

A single running shoe was also found alongside the remains, Acting Superintendent O’Dowd said.

“There was very little clothing inside and it was quite weathered, there was a shoe and not a lot else,” he said.

Acting Superintendent O’Dowd said the North Road property was privately owned before it was bought by Autism Queensland 30 years ago.

“We are trying to locate those people (previous owners) but we think they may have deceased,” he said.

Only a “handful” of missing persons cases have been identified from that time period and Acting Superintendent O’Dowd said it was now the case of finding the family of those who went missing.

“We have got some Crime Stoppers information recently in the last couple of days and that has been of great assistance to us,” Acting Superintendent O’Dowd said.

“It is only a small amount of people that we are looking at at the moment.

“Because the passage of time, some of the members of the family would be quite elderly now, we have to search through births, deaths and marriages to confirm some of those relations, to see if those people are still alive or if they have moved to a different area.”

Anyone with any information ha been urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

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Faye the office greyhound has colleagues’ stress levels licked, and she never wags

Faye is the fourth rescue dog Glen Eira engineering firm Verve has hosted this year Photo: Eddie Jim Faye spends a lot of her time at work fast asleep. Photo: Eddie Jim
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Engineer Richard Stokes is Faye’s foster carer until she finds a permanent home. Photo: Eddie Jim

Faye was rescued with her brother Joe after they didn’t make the cut as racers. Photo: Eddie Jim

Has a work colleague ever stuck their wet nose in your hand? Or eaten all the biscuits? Or spent most of the day asleep?

This is the story of Faye, a two-and-a-bit-year-old gangly greyhound who works nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday at her office in Glen Iris.

She has a cubicle (it’s a bed with her toys) and after a couple of run-ins with glass doors (it took her a little bit to get used to them), she now falls asleep regularly on the job in between walks and pats from her colleagues.

Faye arrived at engineering firm Verve Projects a month ago. She’s the fourth rescue dog Verve has hosted this year after the company signed-up to PetRescue’s national workplace foster care program.

“I wanted to introduce a corporate social responsibility program,” office manager Natalie King said.

“We put a number of different programs to the vote, and who wouldn’t want a dog in the office all day?

Faye is taken home every evening by engineer Richard Stokes, who is Faye’s foster carer until she finds a permanent home.

The firm’s third foster greyhound, Timmy, found his forever home in late October.

Greyhounds sleep upwards of 18 hours a day, so Faye spends much of her time at work asleep near Mr Stokes’ feet, but she’s also known to chase balls, steal paper from the printer and pilfer bins for bright food wrappers to glam up her bed.

Once, she ate all of the managing director’s tin of gingerbread biscuits.

Ms King said, overall, the greyhounds have had a big impact in driving down staff stress levels and connecting colleagues.

“It’s really just brought them open, opened them up a little bit more outside of their computers,” she said.

Faye and her brother Joe didn’t make the cut as racers and were surrendered by their trainer to Gumtree Greys, an organisation that rescues and re-homes greyhounds.

Gumtree Greys founder Tracy McLaren said greyhounds made ideal office companions.

“They are calm, restful, quiet, clean, shed little hair and can curl up in the smallest of spaces,” Ms McLaren said.

PetRescue program facilitator Tarsh Andrews said so far, they’ve placed dogs at the City of Stonnington offices (they have Kev the greyhound who has his own Outlook calender to book in walks) and Melbourne wine retailer Vinomofo (they had JD the Staffy before he was re-homed).

They can also match cats, rabbits and guinea pigs with offices.

“It just provides a great stress-busting happiness all around,” Ms Andrews said.

“And firstly, it’s saving a life, which is fantastic.”

For more information, email [email protected]论坛.

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Melbourne’s outer north stuck in traffic as government puts road projects on ice

Parents of students at Aitken College are frustrated at how difficult and dangerous it is to get in and out of the school’s entrance. Photo: Wayne Taylor Traffic on Mickleham Road has boomed as new housing estates have gone in north of Greenvale. Photo: Wayne Taylor
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Melbourne’s outer north is missing out on a multibillion-dollar package of road upgrades meant to relieve congestion and reduce accidents in the city’s growth suburbs.

In November the Andrews government announced it would invest $1.8 billion to widen and duplicate eight of the most congested main roads in Melbourne’s west, as well as maintain the wider arterial road network for the next 25 years.

A similar package of road upgrades for the outer south-east is to follow.

But the city’s other major growth belt in the north has missed out, leaving its surging number of residents to drive on increasingly congested and crumbling roads for the indefinite future.

A leaked departmental document reveals a package of major road upgrades for the outer north was put to the Andrews government by VicRoads this year, but has been deferred indefinitely while the western and south-eastern upgrades were approved.

The communities that would have benefited are in Labor heartland territory well north of the Ring Road, in suburbs including Craigieburn, Roxburgh Park, Greenvale and Epping.

One community spokesman suggested the area would be better served if its seats were marginal.

“There definitely needs to be a push by the government to bring these roads up to standard,” Greenvale Residents Association vice president Charlie Grech said.

“There are some people that say we’re not a marginal seat so we don’t get the attention and it’s a problem, it’s a very strong Labor area and the emphasis hasn’t been put here.”

The so called northern package of outer suburban arterial road upgrades addressed some of the worst bottlenecks in the area – roads that have barely been worked on since the days when the area was entirely rural.

The package of proposed road upgrades put on hold includes:    Bridge Inn Road, between Plenty Road and Yan Yean RoadEpping Road, between Craigieburn Road and Findon RoadCraigieburn Road, between Epping Road and Mickleham RoadEdgars Road between Cooper Street and O’Hern’s RoadSomerton Road, between Mickleham Road and Pascoe Vale RoadMickleham Road, between Somerton Road and Craigieburn Road West

Funding of up to $139.4 million has been confirmed for just one road in the northern package, Plenty Road, which will be widened between McKimmies Road and Bridge Inn Road. The government is also doing a $250,000 business case for possible upgrades to a section of Craigieburn Road.

Luke Donnellan, the Minister for Roads, said Melbourne’s west was one of the fastest growing areas in Australia and the government was improving roads there to connect people to jobs and each other.

“We’re putting people first in the west by investing in projects that will create jobs, cut travel times, reduce congestion and improve safety,” he said.

The $1.8 billion western package is a public-private partnership that has been put out to market, and tender documents published in November emphasise how the increasingly poor condition of the roads in Melbourne’s outer suburbs is putting residents at risk of poverty and isolation.

“The lack of suitable high quality arterial road links is therefore reducing the attractiveness of the outer suburbs as places to live and work,” the tender documents state.

“As a result, existing and planned employment centres are failing to realise their full potential, and outer suburban communities are becoming increasingly disadvantaged.”

Aitken College principal Josie Crisara said parents of students at the school were becoming increasingly frustrated at how difficult and dangerous it was to get in and out of the college’s entrance, due to heavy traffic on the two-lane road.

The co-educational school on Mickleham Road in Greenvale has 1270 students. Traffic on Mickleham Road has boomed as new housing estates have gone in north of Greenvale.

The road has no footpaths nor bike paths, so for safety reasons students are discouraged from walking or riding.

There have been three nose-to-tail crashes on the road in the past month, Ms Crisara said.

The college has lobbied VicRoads and the government for the past five years.

“You’ve got to think about it strategically,” Ms Crisara said. “If you’re putting all these new estates in these growth corridors that’s great, but you’ve got to deal with the infrastructure. It wasn’t until a month ago that some of these new estates even got a bus. And there’s no footpaths or bike paths so people just had to use their cars.”

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Mount Duneed farmer Don Fagg dies after becoming trapped in hay baler

Don Fagg was much loved by his family. Photo: Courtesy of Seven News The hay baler in which Don Fagg was trapped. Photo: Courtesy of Seven News
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It took rescuers nearly three hours to free Don Fagg from the hay baler. Photo: Courtesy of Nine News

Dozens of emergency services were called to the scene. Photo: Courtesy of Seven News

Late farmer Don Fagg. Photo: Supplied

A Mount Duneed farmer who was trapped in a hay baler for at least 24 hours has died in hospital.

Don Fagg, 67, was found by a neighbour on his Horseshoe Bend Road property about 6.45pm on Tuesday.

It took emergency services nearly three hours to free him from the farm machinery and he was then flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital on Wednesday morning in a critical condition.

He died about midnight on Wednesday.

Mr Fagg’s cousin, former Geelong mayor Keith Fagg, led tributes describing Don as a larger-than-life character, who was much-loved by his three daughters and three grandchildren, as well as the wider family.

The prominent family is behind the city’s long-established Fagg’s Mitre 10 business.

“He was a gregarious man, who was very active in all he did,” Keith said.

Mr Fagg was a builder by trade and more recently a farmer. He swam in the annual Lorne Pier to Pub open water race and was a member of the Hash House Harriers running club, Keith said.

“He was living alone on his farm, so there was no one who was aware that he hadn’t come back in. We think he was in the machine for about 26 to 28 hours.”

It is believed Mr Fagg’s hay baler may have broken down and he was using a sledge hammer to try to fix it when he became trapped.

Mr Fagg’s death comes as WorkSafe highlights the risk to farmers carrying out work alone on rural properties during the busy Christmas period.

“We believe the man was working alone on his property when he has become entangled in a baling machine,”  said Adam Watson, WorkSafe head of operations and emergency management.

“WorkSafe inspectors and investigators were on scene yesterday and are seeking to uncover how this terrible incident occurred.

“Each year we continue to see Victorian farmers over-represented in fatality statistics.

Since January this year, seven men have lost their lives while working on farms across the state.

Mr Watson said Victorian farmers were more likely to die in November and December than any time of the year. In the past decade, almost 25 per cent of all workplace fatalities have occurred in November and December.

“Our research tells us that many incidents occur when farmers are doing work they have done many times before,” Mr Watson said.

“Many farmers work alone which means if there’s a problem, they may not be able to call for help.”

Mr Watson advised farmers to touch base with family and neighbours during their work throughout the day.

“And plan out your day and the tasks that need to be done so you can do them safely,” he said.

Farm deaths in Victoria 2016

January 1: A 21-year-old dairy farmer was electrocuted while working on a submersible pump in a drainage pit at Yarroweyah, in Victoria’s north.February 5: A 59-year-old farmer fell off a ladder while doing repair work on gutters of a farm shed at Major Plains, near Shepparton.March 29: A 70-year-old worker fell from a front end loader while undertaking maintenance work at Dimboola, in north-west Victoria.May 20: A 61-year-old farmer died after becoming entangled in a feed bin mixer on a farm at Echuca.May 21: A 49-year-old farmer died when he became entangled in a large air drill/seeder being towed by a tractor at Marnoo, in central Victoria.May 29: A 73-year-old farmer died after being run over by a backhoe at Navarre, in central Victoria.June 26: A 69-year-old man died after becoming trapped under the quad bike he was operating at Pomborneit East, in south-west Victoria.November 30: Farmer Don Fagg, 67, died after becoming trapped in a hay baler at his Mt Duneed property, near Geelong.

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Eight years for ‘would-be gangster’ who posed in shotgun selfie, then shot mate

Albert Rapovski tried to fly to Macedonia after killing his friend. Photo: Supplied Mahamd Hassan was shot dead in March. Photo: Facebook
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One of Albert Rapovski’s friends poses for a selfie with the shotgun. Photo: Supplied

The Parkside Inn Motel where Mahamd Hassan was killed. Photo: Courtesy of Seven News.

Albert Rapovski with friends in the Parkside Inn Motel in Kingsbury. Photo: Supplied

Albert Rapovski, left holds the sawn-off shotgun as he poses on a motel bed with his friend Mahamd Hassan. Photo: Supplied

High on ice, short on sleep and dressed only in his underwear, Albert Rapovski was snapping selfies with some friends and a sawn-off shotgun in a down-at-heel Melbourne motel room.

Not long after they posed for this picture, one of those friends, Mahamd Hassan, was dead, shot in the face by Rapovski, a victim of his “extremely stupid behaviour”.

“Guns, drugs and stupidity do not mix, never have, never will,” Supreme Court Justice Michael Croucher said on Thursday, before sentencing Rapovski to eight years’ jail.

Rapovski, 20, was drug-affected when he and his friends posed with the gun as if they were “would-be gangsters” in photos at the Parkside Inn Motel in Kingsbury in Melbourne’s north east on March 5, the judge said.

Mr Hassan, 22, had told Rapovski when he arrived at the motel room to unload the gun in case he shot someone, and another friend helped to remove two cartridges from the weapon.

Rapovski later reloaded the gun with a cartridge, reassuring his friends that the safety switch was on.

Rapovski asked Mr Hassan to take a photo of him with the gun. Mr Hassan held up his mobile phone camera as Rapovski put the gun to his head.

He shot Mr Hassan in the face, leaving a large wound to his mouth and neck area, and screamed “I shot Mo, I shot Mo”, before fleeing the room. Mr Hassan died instantly, the court heard.

The man later got rid of the gun, which has never been found.

Justice Croucher said he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt as to whether Rapovski had pulled the trigger thinking it wouldn’t discharge, or without knowing it was loaded, or believing the safety switch was working, or whether he had accidentally pulled the trigger.

He sentenced Rapovski to a five-year non-parole period for manslaughter, on the basis that he had pulled the trigger accidentally without intending to fire it.

The judge said Rapovski had committed an “unlawful and dangerous act” resulting from “extremely stupid behaviour”.

The circumstances of the case also equally met the criteria for criminal negligence.

He did not have a license for the gun, did not know how to use it properly, and was “nonchalant” and “arrogant” about his friends’ concerns about the dangers of the gun.

Rapovski must have known he should not have handled the gun as he had been awake for days at the time under the influence of drugs, the judge said.

A reasonable person would have known this risked seriously injuring Hassan, he said.

The day after he killed Hassan, Rapovski tried to fly to Macedonia, telling a travel agent he needed to leave urgently because his grandmother was sick, but was detained by Border Force staff at the airport and later arrested.

Justice Croucher said it was “disgraceful” for him to flee the scene.

While there was nothing he could have done to help his friend at that stage, he had a “moral duty” to stay and report the death to authorities.

Later, he had time to calm down after his “earlier cowardice” but instead chose to continue to avoid responsibility.

The judge accepted that Rapovski was genuinely sorry for his crime and said he had good prospects for rehabilitation.

A psychologist had told the court he showed symptoms of trauma and his fiancee said he was constantly living with guilt and was plagued with the images from that night.

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