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Ex-cop Louis Mahony thought he’d got away with staging wife Lainie Coldwell’s murder

The scene at the Charleville house where Louis Mahony (inset) claimed his partner of 18 years fell from a ladder in 2009. Picture: Jamie Hanson

EVEN on the day he was arrested for murder, cocky ex-cop Louis Mahony was so confident he’d get off, he told officers they would soon be shouting him drinks to apologise.

For six years Mahony thought he had fooled the world after ruthlessly disposing of an inconvenient wife.

He’d staged the scene to make it appear that Lainie Coldwell, his defacto wife of 18 years, had fallen from a ladder at their Charleville home on August 23, 2009.

It convinced the country cops, who didn’t realise they were staring at the murder weapon – a bloody antique iron lying among rocks where Lainie supposedly fell and struck her head.

Mahony thought his dreams were in reach – he had Lainie’s multimillion-dollar life insurance policies to cash in.

Lainie Coldwell with husband Louis Mahony and their young daughter, who was three when her mother was murdered.

He was also free to pursue the foreign women on 457 visas at the local abattoir, where he worked after leaving his former career as a Northern Territory police officer.

The flies in the ointment were detectives from the state’s homicide squad, brought in to reinvestigate the case years after Lainie’s supposed freak accident.

“He said to me, ‘Renee, one day when this is all over, you are going to buy me a beer and apologise for what you’ve done to me’,” Detective Renee Hoile recalls of the day she arrested Mahony in December 2015.

Mahony’s prediction was proved spectacularly wrong last week, when he was convicted of killing Lainie, the mother of his young daughter.

With the 43-year-old sentenced to life imprisonment, the inside story of his downfall can now be told by the detectives who brought him to justice.

Detective Acting Sergeant Renee Hoile and Detective Inspector Damien Hansen, who broke the case open. Picture: Jamie Hanson

They revealed how a calculating and “narcissistic” Mahony initially researched car crashes and poisons before deciding to stage a fatal fall. He spent the day of his wife’s funeral planning a romantic getaway with a lover.

It’s hard to escape comparisons with Queensland’s other egotistical wife-killer, Gerard Baden-Clay, who murdered wife Allison in 2012 and thought he could escape justice.

In both cases, the accused was involved with other women and stood to benefit from large insurance payouts. And in both, the women standing in the way of a life of ease and fortune ended up dead.

Interestingly, insurers were the first to raise the alarm about Mahony. About two weeks after Lainie died, they contacted Charleville police to report they had more than a passing interest in the case.

Two life insurance policies worth a whopping $2.25 million had been taken out in Lainie’s name in the two months before her death. Suspicions were so grave, the company refused to pay out the policies.

The blood-stained antique iron that Mahony used to kill his wife.

Mahony arrives at court in Charleville for his committal hearing.

The blood-stained antique iron that Mahony used to kill his wife.

In 2009, it had been Mahony who made the triple-0 call, saying he found Lainie unconscious in a puddle of blood at the base of a large gum tree. She must have fallen taking down party lights in the tree, he said.

Lainie, 36, was flown to the Royal Brisbane Hospital, with Mahony by her side. Her family made the agonising decision to turn off her life support system and donate her organs.

At the scene, a rusted and bloodied antique iron lying among rocks at the base of the tree was photographed but not collected. It has not been found since. It is now believed Mahony used the iron to deliver a fatal blow to the back of his wife’s head.

In a tragic series of failings, a lone detective in Charleville made little headway before moving away, leaving the case to stagnate.

Local sergeant Gerard Thornton always had his suspicions and tried to pursue the investigation between other duties before calling in Brisbane-based homicide detectives in early 2013.

The case had an unusual complication. Because Lainie’s organs were donated, an autopsy had not been conducted. So, Detective Hoile and colleague Karen Murray set about contacting the medical specialists brought in from hospitals around the southeast to work on the organ donation process.

They confirmed that Lainie’s only significant injury was a single blow to the back of her head.

Lainie had supposedly fallen at least five metres from a ladder propped on the tray of Mahony’s ute.

“There were no ribs broken, no other organs injured,” said Detective Inspector Damien Hansen, who manages the homicide squad.

Photographs from the scene showed blood had inexplicably seeped onto the flat of the iron, which had been face down on rocks at the tree’s base. Strands of Lainie’s blonde hair were clearly visible amid blood on the underside.

As part of the original investigation, police had seized and held Mahony’s laptop. When computer expert James Morris, a civilian from the Queensland Police electronic evidence examination unit, inspected the computer, he struck gold.

Crime scene photo of the ladder balanced on the back of Mahony’s ute

Tributes at the base of the tree near where Lainie’s body was found.

Before Lainie’s death, Mahony had Googled terms including poisoning, car crashes, head injuries and forensic science. After her death, he was back online organising his love life.

“He’s searching Gold Coast limousines and Dracula’s Restaurant, and the Marriott Hotel on the Gold Coast. That’s leading up to the funeral and on the day of her funeral,” Detective Hoile says.

For a cop with an intimate understanding of police procedures, Mahony made plenty of mistakes.

In his triple-0 call, he twice said Lainie was face down.

“That’s not possible if the injury is to the back of the head,” Detective Hoile says.

Call records to insurers showed that before his wife’s death, Mahony had asked whether they would pay out if someone died in a car crash but wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. And compromising videos of Mahony and a Korean co-worker were found on his laptop.

Lainie was aware of Mahony’s affairs and made it known that she was leaving him and taking their daughter, Dakota, then three.

Three years after he murdered his wife – while still a free man – Mahony remarried a wealthy divorcee. She continued to raise Dakota when Mahony was arrested in 2015, and she stood by him through his trial.

To this day, Detective Hoile is struck by Mahony’s lack of remorse in robbing Dakota of a mother.

“There was never a time in my discussions with him where he ever displayed emotion when he was talking about her. If there was any emotion, it was about him,” she said.

www.clublibido.com.au

IT’S a haunting photograph.

A little boy sits in the gutter dressed in an oversized blue forensics suit. He is barefoot and rests his head on one hand as he listens intently to the stranger sitting next to him.

The stranger — a Gold Coast detective — has just arrived at Upper Coomera, a quiet ordinary suburb that has suddenly become a major crime scene.

It was inside the child’s home the horror unfolded. His mother Renee Kuch, 39, and father Corey Croft, 37, had been stabbed to death more than 24 hours earlier by Ms Kuch’s ex-partner Christopher Carter, a former soldier.

Carter had gained custody of the pair’s two children, now aged 16 and 19, in 2015 and she began a relationship and had another child with Mr Croft.

The 39-year-old was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter this week by a Brisbane Supreme Court jury, the jury clearly believing his account that he killed the pair out of self-defence.

The young boy is comforted outside his home after both his parents were killed. Photo: Glenn Hampson

When he left their home that night, on January 20 2015, the only person still alive inside was the couple’s five-year-old son who had been asleep in his room when his parents were killed.

The boy woke to an unimaginable scene. His parents were dead. There was so much blood he is now traumatised by the colour red. He picked the knife from near his mum’s body and put it in the sink.

He then waited for help. But no one came.

PRAYERS FOR A ‘GUILTY’ VERDICT

The little boy’s grandmother Jo-Anne Kuch is angry.

She couldn’t sit through every day of the trial and wasn’t up to being there when it all came to an end late Thursday afternoon.

Her partner was in court to hear the jury foreman deliver the not guilty verdicts for the murders of her daughter and her partner.

“I couldn’t be there. I would have had a heart attack,” Ms Kuch told news.com.au from her Gold Coast home.

The things she heard during the trial devastated her. The trial process made her angry.

“I’m shattered, I’m so upset and angry. I felt like killing someone last night… It’s an injustice, an injustice in the legal system. It’s quite simple.”

Her partner Rod left the court when the verdicts were read. The two slipped out before the media frenzy that surrounded Mr Carter — who was about to walk out of court, a free man, for the first time in two years.

“It’s just horrendous, absolutely horrendous and heartbreaking.”

Ms Kuch and her family have endured a living hell in the two years since the stabbings.

“We’ve waited two years. It’s affected all of our lives, especially [the boy]. As I said to you, he’s developed ADHD, separation anxiety, he locks all the doors and windows at night.”

She is angry things were said in court about her daughter that she was unable to defend herself. The jury was told of binge drinking and affairs — accusations Ms Kuch rejects.

‘WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE COME AND HELP ME’

Ms Kuch is shattered most about the impact the killings are having on her grandson. He turned eight a week before the trial began.

“He’s OK at the moment. He wasn’t himself last weekend. We wanted to make a happy day at the park, he went swimming and on a boogie board but I could just tell he was affected.”

He lives with Ms Kuch’s sister and they are doing their best to give him a normal life, but they worry the emotional scars — not to mention what he saw and heard that night — will return to haunt him.

Ms Kuch can barely bring herself to look at the picture of him sitting in the gutter. His clothes had been replaced with the forensic suit given to him by officers who arrived within minutes of the 000 call.

More than 24 hours after the stabbings, Ms Kuch’s sister — with whom the boy now lives — went to the house after calls went unanswered.

She found the bodies and rescued the boy from the home.

Renne Kuch’s son and her mother Jo-Anne Kuch. Picture: Facebook

“He said after, ‘Why didn’t someone come and help me.’ It’s just horrendous,” she said, detailing for the first time what the boy went through.

“He couldn’t get out of the house because Corey was [dead] at the front door. He thought they were playing tricks on him,” she sobbed.

He thinks he can remember shouting that night, but has never said what he saw or heard inside the home. But Ms Kuch said he recently remembered “seeing a man”.

The family has managed to keep the trial away from him so far. But they know he will one day learn the truth.

He saw a psychologist regularly who was helping him cope with the horror he’d seen. He hates the colour red because that’s all he saw when he woke up, but had made good progress recently.

“My sister got him into sport and everything he touches turns to gold. He’s a good runner, he plays soccer — he just tries everything. It’s just a sham that Renee and Corey aren’t here to see him grow up.”

INSIDE THE HOME

This trial was no whodunnit, no mystery. Mr Carter never denied stabbing the couple. The central question the jury members had to grapple with was whether prosecutors could prove he had the intention to murder them.

Ms Kuch was stabbed at least 10 times. The fatal blow was to her neck and was so severe it severed her spinal cord. Her partner had five stab wounds, all in the neck and head.

The trial heard Carter was made aware Croft had forced a 10-year-old girl to shower with him and that he was a convicted paedophile who had raped a child in South Australia.

Ms Kuch told news.com.au she “condemns paedophiles” but insists her daughter wasn’t aware of Mr Croft’s past until she was expecting his child.

“Renee didn’t know about his past. She had the child, but you still don’t kill paedophiles, you don’t have that right. [Corey] was a great father to [the boy] and he and Renee had a good relationship. Sometimes it wasn’t, but that’s just a normal relationship.”

During his closing address on Wednesday, Crown prosector Glen Cash QC argued Carter intended to kill Croft and Renee Kuch.

Former soldier Christopher Carter leaves the Brisbane Supreme Court after being found not guilty. Picture: AAP

Christopher Carter said he was acting in self defence.

“The intent was one he developed in the course of the interactions, not that he came there to kill,” he said.

But Mr Carter’s barrister David Brustman QC argued it was not murder but an “unforeseeable” event that was the result of years of tension and hostility between Mr Carter and Renee Kuch.

Mr Carter gave evidence at trial and told the jury he went to the home just to talk to his wife.

The Crown alleged he went there, a former soldier who knew how to kill, to commit murder.

After a heated argument at the doorway, the court heard Ms Kuch appeared with a knife and the two wrestled over it. He stabbed her several times, and then said he was attacked by Mr Croft.

“I was stabbing Corey. As we moved back into what was the doorway, Corey fell to the ground.

“I didn’t know where Renee had gone through that period. I’ve just stood up and started moving to the back of the house,” Carter said.

Corey Croft was a convicted child sex offender..

Police outside the couple’s home. Picture: Annette Dew

It was then he said Ms Kuch attacked him again

“I was in a state of shock, I couldn’t believe what happened. I stabbed her. I didn’t mean to do it. I pushed her down off me. The way she fell to the ground … it was essentially like she was unconscious and I’ve seen a pool of blood was coming from her head.”

He admitted he placed the knife in her hand.

“The only thing I remember thinking in my head was: ‘It’s your knife, you can have it back.’”

A MOTHER’S LOVE

Ms Kuch couldn’t listen to the graphic evidence. Few parents could. Each time the details of her daughter’s injuries were spoken in court, she broke down in tears.

She wants her daughter remembered in a different way to what she says are mistruths from the court case.

“She was a beautiful, caring mother who loved her children. She was well liked at work, she would do anything for anyone.”

She worked in aged care, but at one stage dreamt of a career in the police force. “She didn’t pass the physical though because of her asthma.”

Not guilty…Christopher Carter.

Police found Renee Kuch and Corey Croft’s bodies inside their home. Picture: Annette Dew

Now the trial was over Ms Kuch told news.com.au she could finally go ahead with plan to scatter her ashes. She has a spot in mind, a part of the Queensland coast that is special to the family.

“That’s where my brother’s ashes were spread. A lot of Renee’s friends will be there, they’re all married now with children.”

The date she has set is not going to be Renee’s birthday, but January 20. It will be three years since she was killed.

“That’s when we are going to do it; that’s when she was taken from us.”

www.ozrural.com.au     www.clublibido.com.au

1…Post officeAugust 20, 1986
Postal worker Patrick Henry Sherrill arms himself with three pistols and kills 14 co-workers in 10 minutes , before taking his own life with a bullet to the head.

2…BlacksburgApril 16, 2007
Student Seung-Hui Cho, 23, goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people in two locations and wounding 17 others on campus. He then commits suicide.

3…McDonald’sJuly 18, 1984
Armed with a long-barreled Uzi, a pump-action shotgun and a handgun James Huberty, 41, shoots dead 21 adults and children at a McDonald’s. A police sniper kills Huberty one hour after the rampage begins.

4…American Civic Association
immigration centerApril 3, 2009
Jiverly Wong kills 13 people and injures four during a shooting at a migrant centre. He then kills himself.

5…Geneva County massacreMarch 10, 2009
Michael McLendon kills 10 in shooting rampage. The dead include his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle.

6…Luby’s CafeteriaOctober 16, 1991
George Hennard, 35, crashes his pickup truck through Luby’s Cafeteria then guns down 23 people. He then commits suicide.

7…Wah Mee gambling and social clubFebruary 18, 1983
Three gunmen storm the Wah Mee gambling and social club, rob the 14 occupants then shoot each in the head, killing 13. Two of the assailants are caught and jailed for life. A third flees to Canada before being caught and deported to Hong Kong.

8…PennsylvaniaSeptember 25, 1982
Prison guard George Banks, 40, kills 13 people including five of his own children. In September 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his death sentence ruling he is mentally incompetent.

9…University of TexasAugust 1, 1966
Charles Joseph Whitman, a former US Marine, kills 16 and wounds at least 30 while shooting from a University of Texas tower. Police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy shoot and kill Whitman in the tower. Whitman had also killed his mother and wife earlier in the day.

10…Navy YardSeptember 16, 2013
Aaron Alexis, 34, shoots dead 12 people in the Washington Navy Yard. Alexis is killed.

11…Sandy Hook Elementary SchoolDecember 14, 2012
Adam Lanza 20, guns down 20 children, ages six and seven, and six teachers and staffers, before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, dead from a gunshot wound.
12…GeorgiaJuly 29, 1999
Mark Barton, 44, kills his wife and two children at his home. He then opens fire in two different stock broker businesses killing nine people and wounding 12. He later kills himself.
13…Century movie theaterJuly 20, 2012
James E. Holmes, 24, dressed head-to-toe in protective tactical gear and aremd with several weapons, sets off two devices before spraying a movie theatre with gunfire during a midnight screening of Batman: Dark Knight Rises. Twelve people are killed and 58 wounded. Holmes is found guilty of 165 charges and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
14…Fort Hood army baseNovember 5, 2009
Major Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 people and injures 32 at the Fort Hood army base, during a shooting rampage. He is convicted and sentenced to death.
15…Route 91 country music festivalOctober 1, 2017
Stephen Paddock, 64, opens fire on revellers at a music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. He fires thousands of bullets into the panicked crowd, killing at least 59 and wounding another 527. Paddock killed himself when SWAT teams stormed his hotel room. A motive is unknown.
16…New JerseySeptember 5, 1949
Howard Unruh, 28, a veteran of World War II, shoots and kills 13 people as he walks down Camden’s 32nd Street, using a German Luger pistol. He is found insane and is committed to a state mental institution. He dies at the age of 88.
17…Pulse NightclubJune 12, 2016
Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opens fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando. At least 49 people are killed and more than 50 are injured. Police shoot and kill Mateen during an operation to free hostages.
18…Inland Regional CenterDecember 2, 2015
Married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik open fire on an employees at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, killing 14 people. They are then gunned down by police after a road chase.
Henry Sapiecha

THE Texas church shooter had family connections to the church where he killed at least 26 on Sunday in what is now the worst mass shooting in the state’s history.

At an afternoon press conference, police revealed that shooter Devin Patrick Kelley was in a domestic dispute with his mother-in-law, Michelle Shields, who attended the church.

Officials said he sent “threatening texts” to his mother-in-law, but wouldn’t go into further detail about their “domestic situation”.

THE “deranged” gunman who killed 26 churchgoers in Texas was militant atheist who ranted on Facebook about “stupid” religious people.

Devin Kelley, 26, who opened fire on worshippers in First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs yesterday, was described as “creepy” and “weird” by former schoolmates.

The Shields family was not present during worship on Sunday when the massacre unfolded, but spoke to investigators after.

Earlier in the day, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackett told reporters that Kelley and his wife Danielle were estranged.

Danielle, Kelley’s wife. Picture: Facebook.

Marriage records show the couple tied the knot in Comal County, Texas on April 4, 2014, when Kelley was 23 and his bride was 19.

As of Monday, Danielle’s Facebook profile still listed her relationship status as “married” and photos on the account show her with two young kids — a baby girl and an older boy.

Neighbour Mark Moravitz told ABC News that Kelley lived at his parents’ home in New Braunfels with his wife. Mr Moravitz said that he would sometimes hear gunshots coming from near the house late at night, reports the Daily Mail.

Mourners participate in a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Picture: AP.

Divorce records show he was also married once before to a Tessa K Kelley. Kelley and his other wife divorced in 2012 — the same year that he was court-martialed for domestic violence.

air force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said Kelley was court-martialed on one count of assault on his spouse and another count of assault on their child.

He was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement, a reduction in rank and was discharged for bad conduct two years later.

Stefanek said Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman air force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge, reports Mail Online.

SHOOTER COMMITTED SUICIDE AFTER MASSACRE

Kelley fatally shot himself after crashing his vehicle with two local residents in hot pursuit, the local sheriff said.

Mr Tackitt said gunfire was exchanged between Kelley, who was clad in black tactical gear, and two armed citizens during the chase after the shootings.

“There was some gunfire exchanged, I believe, on the roadway also, and then (the shooter’s vehicle) wrecked out,” Mr Tackitt said.

State troopers patrol at the entrance to the First Baptist Church (back) after a mass shooting that killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 6, 2017 Picture: AP.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told CBS News that the attack on the church in Sutherland Springs, a community of fewer than 400 people east of San Antonio, did not appear to be a “random act”.

Mr Abbott also said Kelley tried to get a license to carry a gun in Texas, but the state denied him.

SHOOTER ‘PREACHED HIS ATHEISM’ ONLINE

Former classmates said Kelley was militant atheist who ranted on Facebook about “stupid” religious people.

Classmate Nina Rosa Nava write on Facebook that the mass murderer used to rant on the social network about his atheist beliefs.

She said: “He was always talking about how people who believe in God were stupid and trying to preach his atheism,” reports The Sun.

Fellow user Christopher Leo Longoria replied: “I removed him off FB for those same reasons! He was being super nagtive (sic) all the time (sic).”

Carrie Matula embraces a woman after a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Picture: AP.

TRUMP RESPONDS TO TEXAS TRAGEDY

Responding to the Texas tragedy while in Japan, the US President insisted guns are not the problem and attempted to hose down any legislative hopes.

Kelley was “deranged”, Mr Trump said.

Donald Trump said the shooter was deranged. Picture: Supplied.

“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, but this isn’t a gun situation,” he said.

Rather than an example of the need for gun control in the US, Mr Trump insisted it was a “mental health problem at the highest level” instead.

Among the dozens murdered and injured, ranging in age from five to 72, was Annabelle Pomeroy, the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor Frank Pomeroy.

“She was one beautiful, special child,” Pomeroy said.

PREGNANT MUM KILLED IN SHOOTING

Some of the victims from the church massacre are beginning to be identified, including a pregnant woman.

Smiling at the camera, with a butterfly painted on her face, pregnant Crystal Holcombe is pictured standing outside a Texas church alongside two little girls believed to be her daughters, reports the Mirror.

The haunting final image was taken on Halloween — just days before a gunman opened fire at the church.

Crystal Holcombe died in the massacre. Picture: Facebook.

Holcombe, who was eight months pregnant, died in the massacre, along with three of her five kids and her in-laws, Karla and Bryan Holcombe.

A devoted mum who “didn’t even drink or smoke”, took care of her children, raised goats and made homemade cheese, a relative said.

. Picture: Facebook.

Holcombe, who was eight months pregnant, died in the massacre, along with three of her five kids and her in-laws, Karla and Bryan Holcombe.

A devoted mum who “didn’t even drink or smoke”, took care of her children, raised goats and made homemade cheese, a relative said.

Crystal Holcombe poses outside the Texas church on Halloween just days before the massacre. Picture: Facebook.

They were attending the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs’s annual Fall Festival, alongside other excited families and churchgoers.

The free event featured food, drinks, a bouncy house, games, a maze and a hayride among other things, with attendees invited to “bring their kids”.

Annabelle, pictured with her father Pastor Frank Pomeroy. Picture: Facebook
Annabelle is being remembered as “a beautiful soul”. Picture: Supplied

HERO COWBOY GAVE CHASE

A pick up-driving, heavily tattooed cowboy is being hailed a hero for his role in bringing down the Texas church massacre gunman.

Johnnie Langendorff was driving past the church just moments after Kelley opened fire on parishioners inside during morning service.

As the gunman fled, another bystander — a local man believed to live next to the church — fired on him with his own rifle.

Mr Langendorff saw this exchange of gunfire and stopped to assist, he told TV news outlet KSAT 12.

“The shooter had taken off, fled in his vehicle,” the good Samaritan recalled.

“I just acted and got (the bystander) off the road. He explained very quickly what happened and he got in the truck. I knew it was time to go.”

Johnnie Langendorff, pictured with his girlfriend Summer Caddell, has been hailed a hero for chasing down the church shooter. Picture: Supplied

They chased Kelley for some time at high speed, reaching 150 kilometres per hour, before the killer crashed.

“He lost control. I put the vehicle in park, the other gentleman got out. He had his rifle drawn but (the shooter) didn’t move after that.”

Mr Langendorff said he didn’t know who the other hero was.

“I was strictly just acting on what’s the right thing to do,” he said.

The Texas church smass murderer Devin Patrick Kelley. Picture: Supplied

MASSACRE CAUGHT ON CAMERA

It’s not yet known what prompted Kelley, to carry out his killing spree at the small town church, armed with a Ruger assault rifle.

However authorities revealed a video camera was rolling inside and will now become a key part of the investigation.

Freeman Martin from the Texas Department of Public Safety said Kelley parked at a service station across the road from the church about 11.20am, crossed to the church and started firing outside the building.

He then walked into the church and continued spraying bullets.

The death toll included 23 parishioners inside the church, two outside the building and another who died after being taken to hospital.

RELATED: Shooting at First Baptist Church puts lax Texas gun laws under the spotlight

The scene outside First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs

CHURCH WAS HARD TO FLEE

A teenager says the layout of the church would have made it difficult for congregants to flee a shooter who came in the front door.

Hunter Green, 16, described the building as having only small exits on the side and in the back. If a gunman came in the front door, Green said “they wouldn’t have had anywhere to go”.

He says he attends the church with his girlfriend but they skipped the morning service after a late date night.

A woman prays with a man after a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

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Texas church shooting hero chases suspect down

A picture published by The Daily Beast, said to be from Kelley’s Facebook page, of a gun.

WITNESSES REVEAL HORROR: “THIS WAS RAPID FIRE”

Locals in the small town said the shock of the church service attack was “indescribable”.

“This was semiautomatic fire, this was rapid fire. It was very disturbing,” said local resident Carrie Matula, who lives near the church.

“This is a very small town. Everybody knows everybody, this is just devastating. It’s going to change the whole dynamic of this area.”

TEXAS MASSACRE: What we know so far

More than 100 locals were gathered in a community centre, some waiting to hear if they had lost loved ones.

She described the mood inside the centre as: “Just shock and dismay and mourning and lots of people praying together and praying for their neighbours and their loved ones.”

A man wipes his eyes after a deadly shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Picture: AP

An eyewitness, who works at a petrol station across the road, told ABC News: “We heard several shots and we all started running inside the store.

“It lasted about 15 seconds. I yelled, ‘Get down! Get inside’ and we all went into hiding.”

She said the gas station locked its doors. “We have not reopened.

“There were officers that were checking the wounded in here were asking them questions.”

Enrique and Gabby Garcia watch investigators at the scene of a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Picture: AP

KSAT showed video of several fire and police vehicles at the church and a photo of a helicopter arriving to transport victims to hospitals.

The area is known for its annual peanut festival in nearby Floresville, which was most recently held last month.

“We’re shocked. Shocked and dismayed,” said state Senator Judith Zaffirini, a Democrat whose district includes Sutherland Springs.

“It’s especially shocking when it’s such a small, serine area.”

First responders work at the rear of the First Baptist Church. Picture: AP

First responders converged on the small town and helicopters have been taking victims to hospitals, with the FBI also on the scene.

A spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center in nearby Floresville said the hospital received eight patients with gunshot wounds.

Four had been transferred to San Antonio.

Texan Governor Greg Abbott tweeted his shock in the wake of the tragedy.

“Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response.”

At a later press conference, Governor Abbott said it was “the largest mass shooting in our state’s history”.

“There are so many families who have lost family members. Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters,” he said.

Law enforcement officers man a barricade near the First Baptist Church. Picture: AP

His voice broke as he said: “The tragedy is so much worse that this took place in a place of worship.”

“There are 26 lives that have been lost,” he said.

“We don’t know if that number will rise or not. All we know is that’s too many and this will be a long suffering and mourning for those in pain.”

GUN CONTROL ANGER RESURFACES

In the immediate wake of the tragedy attention turned once again to America’s ongoing gun control debate.

Senator Chris Murphy, who represents Connecticut — the state of the Sandy Hook shooting — issued a powerful statement that has since gone viral.

In it, Senator Murphy said “none of this is inevitable” and that “no other country endures this pace of mass carnage”.

Shannon Watts, founder of the Mums Demand anti-gun movement, took to Twitter to point out that since the start of 2009, Texas has seen more mass shootings than any other state.

“In addition, (Texas Governor Greg Abbott) is a staunch advocate of the NRA, which endorsed him in return,” Ms Watts wrote.

A couple comfort each other at a community centre in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Picture: AP

Comedian and television host Chelsea Handler pointed blame directly at Republicans.

“Innocent people go to church on Sunday to honour their God, and while doing so, get shot in killed. What country? America. Why? Republicans,” she wrote.

Author Stephen King echoed the sentiment. “How many more have to die before we enact sane gun control laws?”

Former President Barack Obama, who fought for stricter gun controls in the wake of several mass shootings during his time in office, took to Twitter in the wake of today’s tragedy.

While issuing his condolences to the families of victims, he also called for action.

“May God also grant all of us the wisdom to ask what concrete steps we can take to reduce the violence and weaponry in our midst,” he wrote.

Originally published as Texas gunman targeted wife’s church

Henry Sapiecha

Arranged marriages are a standard practice in Pakistan and there’s no shortage of stories about the extreme steps some Pakistani women will take to escape them and marry the men they choose.

But few go as far as Aasia Bibi is alleged to have gone.

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According to Pakistani authorities, the 21-year-old woman tried to slip poison into her new husband’s milk and inadvertently killed 17 of his family members in the process.

Bibi, who is charged with murder, appeared in court on Tuesday in the north-eastern city of Muzaffargarh, where she told reporters that her parents had forced her in September to marry a relative, Associated Press and ITV reported.

Her family live in nearby Ali Pur, a small village in eastern Pakistan.

“I repeatedly asked my parents not to marry me against my will as my religion, Islam, also allows me to choose the man of my choice for marriage, but my parents rejected all of my pleas,” AP quoted Bibi as saying.

She told them that she was willing to do anything to get out of the marriage, she added, but they refused to permit a divorce, ITV reported.

Desperate to get out of the arrangement, Bibi went to her boyfriend, Shahid Lashari, who gave her a “poisonous substance”, local police chief Sohail Habib Tajak told AP.

Last week, Tajak said, Bibi mixed the poison in milk and gave it to her husband, but he refused to drink it.

At some point after – and it’s not exactly clear how – Bibi’s mother-in-law used the tainted milk to make lassi, a yogurt-based drink popular in south Asia. When she served it to 27 members of her extended family, all of them lost consciousness and were taken to hospital.

Bibi and Lashari were arrested and charged with murder shortly after. Neither had lawyers, AP reported.

Seventeen of her intended husband’s family members have reportedly died in the past several days, including one young girl, and the other 10 are still in the hospital.

Bibi denied the allegations against her, saying Lashari told her to poison the milk, but she refused.

But in Tuesday’s court hearing, Bibi told reporters that she had in fact targeted her husband and regretted that others had died, according to AP.

Her boyfriend, she said, “asked me to mix it in something” and give it to the husband. He “said he will marry me”, she told a judge, according to ITV.

Tajak said he spent two weeks questioning Bibi and Lashari trying to find out who was responsible. Lashari had confessed to giving the young woman the poison, he said.

“Our officers have made progress by arresting a woman and her lover in connection with this murder case, which was complicated and challenging for us,” Tajak told AP.

The Washington Post

www.mylove-au.com

Henry Sapiecha

 

A massive bomb attack in a busy area of the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday is now known to have killed at least 230 people, police say.

Hundreds more were wounded when a lorry packed with explosives detonated near the entrance of a hotel.

It is the deadliest terror attack in Somalia since the Islamist al-Shabab group launched its insurgency in 2007.

It is not clear who staged the bombing, but Mogadishu is a target for al-Shabab militants battling the government.

President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the blast.

Local media reported families gathering in the area on Sunday morning, looking for missing loved ones amid the ruins of one of the largest bombs ever to strike the city.

There are fears people are trapped under the rubble

A BBC Somali reporter at the scene of the main blast said the Safari Hotel had collapsed, with people trapped under the rubble.

An eyewitness, local resident Muhidin Ali, told news agency AFP it was “the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area”.

Meanwhile, the director of the Madina Hospital, Mohamed Yusuf Hassan, said he was shocked by the scale of the attack.

“Seventy-two wounded people were admitted to the hospital and 25 of them are in very serious condition. Others lost their hands and legs at the scene.

“What happened yesterday was incredible, I have never seen such a thing before, and countless people lost their lives. Corpses were burned beyond recognition.”

The death toll continues to rise after the deadly blast

The international community has been quick to condemn the attack.

In a statement, the US Mission to Somalia said: “Such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.”

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “My thoughts are with families of the victims, and the government and people of Somalia at this difficult time.

“Those responsible have shown no regard for human life or the suffering of the Somali people. The UK will continue to support Somalia in the fight against terrorism.”

AG Jeff Sessions on DARK WEB with Attorney Rod Rosenstein Cybercrime News Conference DARK NET Video info delivery to you here now..

 

www.druglinks.info

At least 58 people were killed and 500 injured when a heavily armed ‘lone wolf’ gunman opened fire from a 32-floor hotel room on an open-air concert on the Las Vegas Strip in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 01: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was hear on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The IS group claimed the 64-year-old Nevada man behind the Sunday night massacre, Stephen Craig Paddock, was one of its “soldiers” but the FBI said it had found no such connection so far.

Police said Paddock, a retired accountant, killed himself before a SWAT team breached his room in the Mandalay Bay hotel overlooking the venue for the country music concert.

President Donald Trump denounced what he called “an act of pure evil” and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.

This undated photo provided by Eric Paddock shows him (left) with his brother, Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock (right) (AAP)

Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters at least eight rifles had been recovered from the gunman’s hotel room.

Paddock was believed to be a “lone wolf” assailant who acted alone, Lombardo said, declining to speculate as to what may have motivated the attack.

Who is the Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock?

The 64-year-old had a home in a tranquil golf course retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada, 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of the gambling hub and, according to a brother, showed no sign he was poised to commit mass murder.

The Islamic State Group said the worst mass shooting in recent US history was perpetrated by one of its “soldiers,” claiming that Paddock had converted to Islam in recent weeks and carried out the attack in its name.

But the FBI said they saw “no connection” between Paddock and international terror groups, and a stunned nation remained at a loss to understand the motive for the Sunday night massacre, which left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.

“I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point,” he said.

Lombardo said Paddock had apparently used a hammer to smash the window of his hotel room before opening fire on the crowd below.

Police said around 22,000 people were attending the concert when bursts of automatic gunfire erupted shortly after 10:00 pm (0500 GMT).

Concert-goers screamed and fled in panic as a steady stream of bullets rained down from the hotel.

58 dead, 515 injured

Lombardo said 58 people had been confirmed dead and 515 injured and he said the toll could rise. The authorities issued an appeal for blood donors.

IS said one of its “soldiers” who had “converted to Islam several months ago” was behind the shooting but provided no evidence to back up the claim.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it has found no such link so far.

“As this event unfolds we have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group,” said Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas office of the FBI.

Paddock, who photographs showed as greying with a trimmed beard and moustache, was a former accountant and a licensed private pilot with no criminal record, according to ABC News.

Eric Paddock, the gunman’s brother, said he was at a complete loss to understand what may have motivated the shooting.

“This is an asteroid falling out of the sky,” Eric Paddock told CBS News.

He said his brother had “no religious affiliation, no political affiliation.”

“He was my brother. He was a guy. He gambled,” Eric Paddock said.

He said his brother had no history of mental illness and was “not an avid gun guy at all.”

Paddock resided in a new golf course development in the desert just outside Mesquite, Nevada, 80 miles northeast (130 kilometers) of Las Vegas.

‘Pretty much like a war scene’

Witnesses said Paddock opened fire with an initial long burst of gunfire, and then appeared to reload as he continued his spree.

“We heard (what) sounded like a glass breaking, so you looked around to see what’s going on and then heard a pop, pop, pop,” Monique Dekerf told CNN.

“You’d think for a moment okay we’re fine, there’s no more gunfire, then it starts again.”

Country music star Jason Aldean was on stage and near the end of his concert when the shooting began.

Aldean initially carried on playing when the first crackle of gunfire could be heard but then hurried off the stage.

Robert Hayes, a firefighter from Los Angeles who was in front of the stage, said he first thought the shots were some kind of equipment malfunction.

Once he realised what was going on, he joined the first responders, donning one of their vests.

“Honestly I probably pronounced 15-20 people” dead, he told Fox News. “It was pretty much like a war scene inside.”

Emergency crews used anything to hand as makeshift stretchers, including tables and metal railings normally used to control the crowds, said Hayes.

Asked if he thought it was an inexperienced gunman, he responded: “With 30,000 people in the arena area, it was kind of like shooting goldfish … He didn’t have to be good.”

Broken windows are seen on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino after a lone gunman opened fired (Getty)

‘Beyond horrific’

The Las Vegas attack is the deadliest shooting in recent US history, exceeding the toll of 49 dead in an attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June 2016.

It was also the latest in a series of recent deadly attacks at concert venues.

Twenty-two people were killed while leaving an Ariana Grande concert in the northern English city of Manchester in May when a suicide bomber detonated a nail bomb in the foyer.

Ninety people were killed in November 2015 at the Bataclan venue in Paris during a concert by US band the Eagles of Death Metal.

A shocked Aldean told his fans via Instagram that he and his band was safe.

“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” the singer wrote.

“It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”

Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened” by the “senseless tragedy” while Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May called it an “appalling attack.”

Henry Sapiecha

A NORTH Korean defector has revealed she saw 11 musicians “blown to bits” by anti-aircraft guns in a terrifying execution ordered by maniacal dictator Kim Jong-un.

Hee Yeon Lim, 26, the daughter of a high-ranking soldier from Pyongyang, fled to South Korea last year and has told of the horrors she witnessed while part of the secretive Kim regime’s inner circle.

Speaking with The Mirror, she described one occasion where she was pulled out of school by soldiers and forced to watch a group of musicians accused of making a pornographic video being slaughtered.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions have shocked the world. Picture: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

Hee Yeon said she and her classmates were taken to a stadium at the city’s Military Academy where the hooded and gagged victims were tied to the end of anti-aircraft guns in front of some 10,000 spectators.

The escapee then recalled how the guns were fired one by one, saying: “The musicians just disappeared each time the guns were fired into them. Their bodies were blown to bits, totally destroyed, blood and bits flying everywhere.”

Afterwards, Hee Yeon said tanks moved in and ran over the pieces of the victims’ bodies.

She added: “The tracks of the tanks were run over the remains and blood repeatedly, over and over again and made to grind the remains, to smash them into the ground until there was nothing left.”

Left feeling “desperately ill” after the grim spectacle, she later decided to escape the country.

When her father, Colonel Wui Yeon Lim, 51, passed away, she and her family fled the hermit kingdom to China in 2015 before arriving in South Korea capital Seoul last year.

The family paid people smugglers to drive them across the border to China, before travelling on to South Korea via Laos.

And despite her family’s relative privilege, Hee Yeon said she witnessed many other “terrible things” in her home city of Pyongyang — including dictator Kim’s use of teenage sex slaves.

US President Donald Trump (left) has dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man”. Picture: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

She said officials came to her school to pick out teen schoolgirls to work at the dictator’s homes.

The escapee said they would only choose the prettiest girls, who were taught to feed him caviar and massage his body. If they refused they would “disappear”, she said.

Hee Yeon — who has met the terrifying despot — also told how he would gorge on imported delicacies like caviar and Chinese “Bird’s Nest Soup” which can cost $3300 per kilo.

In 2016, a shock report estimated tyrant Kim had executed 340 people since coming to power in 2011.

Of those killed, nearly half were senior officers in his own government, military and the ruling Korean Worker’s Party.

The brutal punishments meted out for “crimes” including having a “bad attitude”, treachery and for one poor party member slouching in a meeting.

In his debut speech to the United Nations on Monday, US President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” after referring to Kim as “Rocket Man”.

The Institute for National Security Strategy — a South Korean think tank — released “The misgoverning of Kim Jong-un’s five years in power” detailing how he uses executions to tighten his grip on power.

Earlier this year, the country’s top schools official was executed by firing squad after he exercised a “bad attitude” at the country’s Supreme People’s Assembly in June.

In May 2015, Kim had defence minister Hyon Yong-chol killed with an anti-aircraft gun at a military school in Pyongyang, in front of an audience which included his own family who were reportedly made to watch the slaughter.

Kim’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, was assassinated. Picture: AFP/Toshifumi Kitamura

Two years earlier, in 2013, Kim’s own uncle Jang Song-thaek was executed for trying to overthrow the government.

In February, South Korea’s spy agency claimed Kim brutally executed five senior officials with anti-aircraft guns because they made false reports which “enraged” him.

The National Intelligence Service made the claims in a private briefing to politicians just days after Kim’s estranged older half-brother Kim Jong-nam was poisoned in a suspected assassination believed to have been ordered by the dictator.

An investigation is ongoing but South Korea says it believes Kim Jong-un ordered the killing of his sibling on February 13 at Kuala Lumpur’s airport.

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RUSSIA REBUKES TRUMP OVER NORTH KOREA

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he is “extremely concerned” after President Donald Trump told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday he was prepared to “totally destroy” North Korea.

Mr Lavrov said Russia, which shares a border with North Korea, believes negotiations and diplomacy are the only way to resolve a crisis over Pyongyang’s missile program.

“If you simply condemn and threaten, then we’re going to antagonise countries over whom we want to exert influence,” said Mr Lavrov.

Russia’s rebuke comes as Mr Trump hit out at former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton over Kim’s despotic regime, tweeting: “After allowing North Korea to research and build Nukes while Secretary of State (Bill C also), Crooked Hillary now criticizes.”

DAY one of the Jayde Kendall murder trial has wrapped up after the jury heard evidence from the 16-year-old’s father and brother.

Bruce Morrissey described his daughter as a quiet girl who was “determined to do her studies”.

“… She was very conscientious. She would always, always dedicate herself to her studies,” he said.

He said the teenager worked at McDonald’s since 2014 and was paying him every week “without fail” after he helped her buy a new car.

But he said she suffered from anxiety in 2013, which involved some self harm.

“She had cut herself a couple of times. I asked her about it and she did show me they were just like, scratches,” he said.

Mr Morrissey told how he sent Jayde two text messages while he waited outside McDonald’s for her to finish her shift. But she never made it to work that day.

Her younger brother, Brandon Morrissey, told a police officer in a recorded interview played to the jury that she had no reason to run away.

“She was like really happy with her family and that,” he said.

The trial continues tomorrow.

3PM: THREE women will give evidence that murder accused Brenden Bennetts strangled them during rough sex, a Supreme Court jury has been told.

Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury QC has finished her opening address to the jury in the trial of Bennetts, who is accused of killing 16-year-old Jayde Kendall two years ago.

Ms Loury revealed towards the end of her address that three women would give evidence about rough sex with Bennetts.

She said the women would talk about occasions “where he was having sex with them… where he put his hands around their throats and squeezed, strangled.”

Ms Loury has called her first witness in the case, which is Jayde’s father, Bruce Morrissey.

EARLIER: Jayde Kendall’s cause of death is a mystery, but the last person to see the Gatton schoolgirl alive has admitted he killed her.

Brenden Bennetts, 21, has pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to manslaughter in relation to the death of Jayde on August 14, 2015.

But the prosecution has not accepted his plea and this morning opened its case for murder, a charge to which Bennetts has pleaded not guilty.

Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury QC told the jury 16-year-old Jayde’s day began like any other.

Her father took her to school in the morning, via McDonald’s to drop her uniform off ahead of a shift that afternoon.

“But sadly she would not make her shift at McDonald’s and she would never make it home, she died that day,” Ms Loury said.

“And she died at the hands of Brenden Bennetts.

“(He) drove her to an area south of Gatton… killed her by some unknown means and dropped her dead body in agricultural land.”

Jayde was reported missing when her father, Bruce Morrissey, went to pick her up from McDonald’s about 9pm that night and was told she never clocked on.

Thirteen days later, her body was found on a property at Upper Tenthill covered in grass.

She was still in her Lockyer District High School uniform.

“… Her body was too decomposed for the pathologist who performed the post-mortem on her to determine her cause of death,” Ms Loury said.

It is alleged Bennetts picked Jayde up from school in his red Toyota Corolla on August 14 after they exchanged a series of messages – including 48 pictures on Snapchat – since the day before.

Ms Loury said in a message on the day Jayde went missing, she indicated she was “nervous”.

“All those messages had been deleted from his (Bennetts’) phone, but the computer analyst was able to retrieve them,” she said.

The Snapchat pictures can’t be recovered due to the nature of the app, Ms Lourey said.

The court was told there was CCTV footage of Bennetts using Jayde’s ATM card to withdraw $70.

Data from Google Maps also places him in the area where her body was found, Ms Lourey said.

Ms Loury’s opening address to the jury will continue this afternoon.

The trial is expected to run for two to three weeks.

Henry Sapiecha

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