Crime Files Network

Archive for April, 2012

A court was told how a woman was repeatedly stabbed by her ex in a joint suicide claim

A woman has told a court how her ex-boyfriend, a former contestant on Australian Survivor, tried to kill her and himself, telling her he “wanted to die together so we could be together for eternity”.

Samantha Holland jumped off the balcony of the third floor apartment she shared with Joel Betts in a desperate attempt to save her life after he stabbed her repeatedly in the back and neck on April 17, 2010.

Betts, 32, a socialite, who became a Foxtel presenter after appearing on Channel Nine’s Australian Survivor, pleaded guilty in February to wounding with intent to murder Ms Holland

Broadcaster Alan Jones will support the accused whilst he is in jail awaiting sentence

During a sentencing hearing at the Sydney District Court on Friday, Ms Holland was shaking but composed as she described how Betts tried to stop her from leaving their Chippendale unit.

“I’m still haunted by the look in his eyes as he towered over me and stabbed me in the neck,” she said.

Betts told the court he endured a traumatic childhood at the hands of his violent stepfather and was in financial difficulty in the lead-up to the attack.

He and Ms Holland, then 23, had broken up, and she had gone to the apartment to collect her belongings when he confronted her, asking her to stay.

When she refused, he stabbed her up to eight times before turning the knife on himself, inflicting serious wounds to his stomach. He then stabbed her a further 20 times.

Betts said during the 1½-hour attack, Ms Holland agreed with him that they should die together, but he now realised she said it only in an attempt to escape.

He said a note found in the apartment that read, “you know that I love you but I hate you because I know I can never replace you”, was in fact lyrics from a Bon Jovi song he was learning on the guitar a week earlier, and not an indication that the attack was premeditated.

“It was very spontaneous,” he said of picking up the knife and stabbing her.

However, he said he pleaded guilty as he accepted that for a “fleeting moment” he intended to murder her.

Her clothing soaked in blood, she fled to the third-floor balcony, slipping and falling on to the balcony of the unit below before finally escaping to safety.

Broadcaster Alan Jones said he had known Betts for 10 years and had met Betts in the week of the attack to give advice on a business he was developing that linked charities and the corporate sector.

Jones said he would continue to support Betts while he was in jail.

“I have seen these things in Shakespearean plays. It just happens. I know he is unbelievably emotional and regretful when he talks about it.”

Betts will be sentenced at a later date.


In the words of a senior officer, the best weapon NSW police have in the fight against crime is “in-your-face policing”.

This, said south-west metropolitan region commander Frank Mennilli, led to almost 1000 charges being laid over the weekend as police state-wide went out to “crack down on crime”.

Under the guise of Operation Spartan, established in January following a spike in gun crime and increased gang-related activity, police hit the streets in big numbers – about 3000 officers from across the NSW Police Force tasked with flexing some law-enforcement muscle.

Crackdown ... a policeman guards two suspects.A policeman guards two suspects.

But the action, it seems, was primarily designed to round up those already known to be likely mischief-makers, targeting “people with outstanding arrest warrants” and carrying out “bail compliance checks”.

Mr Mennilli explained Operation Spartan officers carried out 1871 inspections of businesses such as clubs, hotels and tattoo parlours, as well as 993 visits to individuals with links to gangs.

“In addition, we conducted 1783 person searches and 419 vehicle searches … we seized 14 firearms, 17 knives, quantities of illegal and prescription drugs and recorded 1401 intelligence reports,” he said.

"In-your-face policing" ... Operation Spartan.“In-your-face policing” … Operation Spartan.

Mr Mennilli said the operation was a huge success, saying that it was not just about arrests but about intelligence gathering too.

“Every new piece of information we collect helps us to better understand these criminals, their gangs and their methodology, which is the key to dismantling and disrupting criminal activity,” he said.

“We will not rest until we have all illegal firearms and weapons off our streets and all the people involved in these crimes are found, locked up and put before a court.”

As a result, 555 offenders were arrested with 908 charges laid.

In addition, more than 23,000 random breath tests were conducted with 107 people charged with drink-driving.

NSW Police periodically conduct such blitzes, the latest coinciding with an increased focus on gun-related crime following months of tit-for-tat shootings.

Last week, raids on properties connected to known members of outlaw motorcycle gangs prompted claims of a PR exercise, which were rejected by Assistant Commissioner Mal Lanyon.



An Australian mother has been convicted in Canada of the manslaughter of her two young sons after their bodies were found floating in a bathtub.

An Alberta judge found Allyson McConnell, 33, formerly from Gosford on the NSW Central Coast, not guilty of the more serious second degree murder charges.

Justice Michelle Crichton ruled there was reasonable doubt McConnell was able to form the intent to murder 10-month-old Jayden and two-year-old Connor by drowning them in a bathtub in the family’s Millet, Alberta, home on February 1, 2010.

After an emotional two-week trial in Wetaskiwin, Justice Crichton took a month to come to Friday’s verdict.

McConnell, who has made repeated suicide attempts and has been held in the psychiatric ward at an Alberta hospital, will be sentenced on May 9.

In 2006, McConnell worked at a Canadian ski resort and met local man Curtis McConnell.

They wed in 2007, had Jayden and Connor, but in 2009 the marriage was heading for divorce and a judge prevented McConnell from taking her sons to Australia.

Mr McConnell, who found his deceased sons in the bathtub, has filed a $C940,000 ($A913,500) civil suit against his former wife.

McConnell admitted drowning her sons, but her legal team argued she did not form the intent to kill them.

Forensic computer analyst Dwayne Pilling told the court internet searches found on McConnell’s computer included ‘‘How long does it take to drown?’’, ‘‘How long does it take to die from strangulation?’’, ‘‘electrocution by hair dryer in bathtub’’ and ‘‘How long can you go without food and water?’’

After drowning her sons, McConnell drove to a Toys R Us store, then walked to a nearby hotel, ordered lunch, became emotional and went to a freeway overpass and jumped off onto traffic below, the court heard.

Editor-It’s a sick, sick world when you  get off a murder charge if you can substantiate you were drug  f…cked at the time. a bullet in the head is just too good and kind for these people.

Are there feelings for the persons who were killed?


Teen and boy shot by police in car chase

Police shot a boy and a young man at Potts Point in Sydney’s east this morning after the car they were in drove on to the footpath to escape pursuing officers.

Police said a 14-year-old driver and his 18-year-old front-seat passenger were taken to hospital with gunshot injuries after officers fired shots at their car, which was driven on to the footpath of Darlinghurst Road shortly after 4am.

The 14-year-old was shot once in the chest and once in the arm, and the 18-year-old was shot once in the neck, police said. It is reported that the young offenders were aboriginals.

Witnesses reported that the Honda Civic sedan, which was later confirmed stolen, entered heavy pedestrian traffic along the footpath and hit a woman, 29, who was taken to hospital with chest injuries. Police said the woman was pinned under the car.

Police said four other males, aged between 13 and 24, were in the back seat of the car at the time. They were uninjured and are being interviewed.

The injured are being treated at St Vincent’s Hospital. The boy is in a serious but stable condition, while his passenger’s injuries are not life-threatening. The condition of the woman is not known.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said: “People literally jumped for their lives.

“Police pursued that vehicle on the footpath by foot, they attempted to stop the vehicle.

“That vehicle struck a female pedestrian. That female pedestrian was pushed under the front of the vehicle. In an attempt to protect that person they [police] discharged a number of shots into the vehicle.

“Whether that decision turned out to be the right decision is a matter for the critical investigation team … My advice is that the police has little other option.”

Police confirmed the males are indigenous and were unarmed at the time.

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said the two constables recognised the Redfern youths driving the car.

“The police recognised the vehicle, they recognised the people in the car,” he said.

“I would suggest, given the driver of the vehicle was 14, that’s probably a good reason why they approached the car.

“As they approached the car, it is my information that the people in the car saw the police approaching; they’ve taken action to avoid apprehension.”

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said officers would be in touch with the Redfern community to fill them in on what happened.

“I would hope [the community] understands that we need to investigate exactly what happened and why it happened,” he said.

“They would also understand, given the relationship that police have with the Redfern community, is that as soon as we know something, they’ll know. And they get the right information rather than speculate.”

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said more officers would be deployed in Redfern tonight if the need arose.

He described the shooting as a tragedy.

“[It’s] an absolute tragedy for all involved,” he said.

“No one likes to see this sort of thing happening, particularly in such a public area. The police don’t go to work expecting to shoot someone.”

Despite numerous shootings in Sydney recently, Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said the busy entertainment precinct in Kings Cross was still safe.

On April 9, a man was shot in the shoulder at Kings Cross nightclub Bada Bing.

Police treat an injured male after the shootings in Kings Cross.Police treat an injured male after the shootings in Kings Cross. Photo: Channel Ten

Yesterday the NSW government banned Bikie gangs from owning tattoo parlours and wearing their colours in licensed Kings Cross venues after two drive-by shootings hours earlier.

Police believed those attacks were part an ongoing dispute between rival gangs, the Hells Angels and Nomads.

A total of 52 shootings have rocked Sydney this year with most attributed to criminal organisations and gangs.

Police officers have also been involved in the gun violence. Ryan Pringle, who was armed with a knife and a crossbow, was Tasered by police before they shot him dead at a commune in northern NSW on Monday.

On March 25, a senior police officer shot and killed 34-year-old man Darren Neill at the Westfield shopping centre at Parramatta.



Norway’s mass-killer Anders Behring Breivik will be forbidden from reading in court a new political manifesto he wrote in prison, and his testimony will not be broadcast live like the rest of his trial, judges have ruled.

Breivik’s trial over the killing of 77 people in related attacks last July was due to begin early tonight, AEST, with authorities concerned that he be restrained from using the hearing as a soap-box to air his extreme right-wing views.

Earlier this month a pre-trial interview that he was negotiating with US news service CNN was shelved after the talks were revealed in Norwegian media.

The trial will begin with opening addresses by lawyers but then Breivik will have five days in which to give his own evidence. He has confessed to the killings but claims he is not guilty on the grounds of self-defence.

He told police the attacks on government buildings in Oslo and on a Labour Party youth camp on Utoya Island were payback to Norway’s left wing for having allowed immigration.

Breivik’s original manifesto, posted on the internet just before his assaults, attacked what he called “the Islamicisation” of Europe.

His chief defence lawyer, Geir Lippestad, has warned Norwegians to brace themselves for Breivik’s testimony because his only regret was that he did not kill more people.

“He will not only defend [what he did] but will also lament, I think, not going further.”

The mental state of Breivik, 33, will be a central question for the judges. An initial assessment by two psychiatrists concluded he had paranoid schizophrenia, which would mean he was not legally responsible for his crimes. Breivik, who denies he is insane, called this diagnosis “the ultimate humiliation”.

A new assessment delivered last week by a second team of doctors diagnosed him instead as having narcissistic personality disorder. This means he has grandiose ideas of his own importance and a sense that he is special, and that he lacks empathy – but that he is sane.

The Oslo District Court has built a special room that can seat 200 to hold the trial. Spectators will include some of the 800 international journalists accredited to cover the proceedings as well as survivors and relatives of victims.

Thick glass partitions will separate victims and families from Breivik, and police are expected to seal off streets around the court building.

Breivik told police he was part of a larger organisation modelled after medieval crusaders the Knights Templar but police believe he acted alone.

The trial is expected to last for 10 weeks.

Late last year his house was firebombed. In January he was shot in the upper thigh and hospitalised. Now, Darko Janceski is dead.

The 32-year-old was gunned down in front of his parents’ home at Berkeley in an execution-style killing about 5.10pm on Saturday. He died on the way to hospital after being shot several times, once in the heart, by a gunman who quickly fled the house in Gannet Avenue on a motorcycle.

His father was also injured after racing out of the house and attacking the shooter, who was driving away, with what witnesses described as a metal pole.

Police would not say whether they believed the killing was linked to the earlier attacks.

“We cannot be tunnel-visioned in this investigation; we’ve got to look at all avenues,” Lake Illawarra police Detective Superintendent Wayne Starling said yesterday.

Police believed Mr Janceski was targeted and Saturday’s shooting was not random, he said.

“I don’t believe neighbours or the wider community has anything to be concerned about at the moment.”

He also confirmed a firearm was found at the scene, but it is unknown whether the weapon was the one used to kill Mr Janceski.

The dead man had previously been linked to the investigation into the shooting death of Saso Ristevski, who was slain in front of his parents at their Lake Heights home last September, and the disappearance of Goran Nikolovski, whose burnt-out car was found in bushland on Macquarie Pass late last year and is presumed dead.

Police merged the strike forces created to investigate the two cases.

The strike force spoke to Mr Janceski days before he was shot in the leg.

Police said Mr Nikolovski and Mr Ristevski knew Mr Janceski but did not confirm the nature of their relationship.

Police have now formed Strike Force Eave, led by Homicide Squad and Lake Illawarra detectives, to look into the circumstances surrounding Mr Janceski’s death.

Mr Starling said the separate investigations could be joined.

“It depends what comes out of the initial inquiries over the next couple of days,” he said.

“The father has also raced out when he has heard the gunshots fired and engaged in a fight with the person that fired the shots,” Mr Starling said, adding Mr Janceski’s father suffered superficial injuries.

A witness said he heard “three or four gunshots” and later saw Mr Janceski’s father hit the gunman with a metal pole.

The motorcyclist fled north along Gannet Avenue and escaped up a steep grass hill at the end of the dead-end street.

Several witnesses said the suspected killer had been riding a blue and white trail bike. Emergency services scoured the hill for evidence yesterday afternoon.

A police helicopter also searched the surrounding area for any signs of an abandoned motorbike.

“Already we’ve secured the crime scene, DNA samples have been taken, a large number of witnesses are still to be interviewed in relation to the matter and also there will be a number of persons of interest that will be spoken to as well,” Mr Starling said.

This year, two men were charged with attempted murder in relation to the first shooting attack against Mr Janceski, although police yesterday said inquiries were continuing.

Mr Janceski had also appeared in Wollongong Local Court in December to face allegations he ordered a man out of a $33,000 car and stole the vehicle. He was accused of demanding a man pay him $15,000 or he would steal his car.

Cannibal gang cooked victims

into meat pies & pastries

A twisted version of the saying ‘Indulging in pleasures of the flesh’

Details of a purported Brazilian cannibal gang that allegedly murdered at least five women before eating their flesh – and in some cases selling it in the form of meat pastries – have shaken the country.

Details of the incident began to trickle out after the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo released a video on its website at the weekend.

In the video Isabel Cristina da Silva, 51, said she and her husband and his 25-year-old girlfriend had eaten 10 kilograms of human flesh over the course of five days in the city of Garanhuns.

The procedure was part of a purification ritual for a sect to which they belonged, identified as Cartel.

The trio also apparently took some of the meat and cooked it into meat pastries which they sold on the street.

Investigators, who tracked the group down in the course of a missing persons case, said they had found buried human remains on the property where the three lived. The group was arrested on Friday.

The five-year-old daughter of one of the alleged victims was also found at the home, according to media reports.

Da Silva’s husband has reportedly written a book, Revelations of a Schizophrenic, in which he details how he kills a woman and eats her flesh.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a Kuwaiti who attended university in the United States, is the self-proclaimed architect of the September 11, 2001 attacks and a host of other anti-Western plots.

The Pentagon announced charges on Wednesday against Mohammed and four other alleged 9/11 plotters, clearing the way for a high-profile trial long delayed by a debate in the United States over whether they should be prosecuted in a civilian or military court.

Known simply as KSM by US officials, the 46-year-old trained engineer was regarded as one of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s most trusted and intelligent lieutenants before his March 2003 capture in Pakistan.

Facing trial ... Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Facing trial … Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Photo: Reuters

In addition to felling the twin towers, Mohammed claims to have personally beheaded US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 with his “blessed right hand” and to have helped in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing that killed six people.

Among several plots he admitted to interrogators that failed to materialise were assassinations of the late Pope John Paul II and former US presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Mohammed was born on April 24, 1965 to a Pakistani family living in the conservative Gulf sheikhdom of Kuwait but his roots lie in Baluchistan, a restive Pakistani region bordering Afghanistan.

He claims to have joined the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Muslim militant group, when he was 16, beginning a life-long infatuation with violent jihad.

In 1983, Mohammed moved to the United States for his studies and graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a degree in mechanical engineering three years later.

The following year he travelled to Afghanistan and fought for the Islamic mujahideen against the Soviet invasion but it was not until a botched 1995 plot to blow up US airliners over the Pacific, known as Operation Bojinka, that he achieved notoriety.

Safely out of reach in Qatar by the time the Philippine authorities unravelled the plot, KSM was thought to have participated in the planning of an attack for the first time, having only contributed money to his nephew Ramzi Yousef’s 1993 car-bombing at the World Trade Centre.

Although he and bin Laden fought together in Afghanistan in the late 1980s, it was not until 10 years later that they forged a close relationship and Mohammed allegedly began plotting what would later become the September 11 attacks.

Most of what we know about Mohammed has come from interrogation transcripts released by the Pentagon and there are bound to be questions at his trial over the harsh procedures used to obtain that information.

He is known to have been “waterboarded” or subjected to simulated drowning 183 times during his years in US custody, a technique which rights groups have denounced as torture.

In reported confessions released previously, Mohammed was quoted as claiming to be the “military operational commander” for all al-Qaeda foreign operations.

“I’m not making myself a hero, when I said I was responsible for this or that,” he was quoted as saying in the transcript.

“I’m looking to be a martyr for long time,” he told a hearing at Guantanamo in June 2008, the first time he had been seen in public since his 2003 arrest in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

He was handed over almost immediately to US agents who held him in secret prisons for over three years before sending him to Guantanamo in September 2006.

Photos released by the US military at the time showed a wild-eyed, dishevelled man in a white T-shirt, but more recent pictures have shown him with a long black and grey beard and a white turban.

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