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Archive for February, 2017

LIONEL Patea has been sentenced to life in prison for the brutal killing of his ex-girlfriend Tara Brown on a suburban Gold Coast street. Queensland Australia

LIONEL Patea-murdered-tara-brown-gets-life image www.crimefiles.nettara-brown-murdered image www.crimefiles.net

Earlier, the court heard Patea had ordered his aunt — the mother of singer Ricki-Lee Coulter — to deny Tara Brown access to their child in the days before he brutally killed his ex-girlfriend. A court has also heard Patea phoned the child’s daycare centre to ask one question before carrying out his brutal slaying.

Coulter’s mother, Loretta Sheerin, was babysitting Ms Brown’s young daughter in the days before she was killed.

A supporter of Tara Brown’s family holds a photo of the murdered woman outside court in Brisbane image www.crimefiles.net

A supporter of Tara Brown’s family holds a photo of the murdered woman outside court in Brisbane today. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP

Patea has pleaded guilty to Ms Brown’s murder and will be sentenced in the Brisbane Supreme Court this afternoon.

The court was told during sentencing submissions this morning that Patea commanded his aunt, named in court as Ms Sheerin, not to let Ms Brown see their child while he was in Gladstone for work.

But Ms Sheerin allowed Ms Brown to stay the night and visit the child.

In the days following, Ms Brown applied for domestic violence and child custody orders and was living in a safe house away from the Gold Coast.

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On September 6, she returned to the Gold Coast to stay with a friend and was looking for a rental home to “get her life back in order”.

Interim custody orders with Patea were finalised soon after, and the court was told they were served on Patea’s lawyer on September 7.

About 8am the next the day, Patea phoned Aria’s childcare and asked if she would be attending today.

“It was confirmed that she was,” crown prosecutor Carl Heaton QC said.

Patea chased Ms Brown as she drove away from the daycare, ran her off the road and bashed her to death.

Justice Debra Mullins will hand down her sentence from 2.30pm.

Guilty plea in Tara Brown murder trial

EARLIER: Triple 0 call reveals horror of Tara’s death

LIONEL Patea has pleaded guilty to the murder of his former girlfriend Tara Brown.

Ms Brown, 24, died after Patea ran her off the road in a suburban Gold Coast street in September, 2015.

Tara Brown’s mother Natalie Hinton receives comfort by a supporter outside Brisbane Supreme Court.image www.crimefiles.net

Tara Brown’s mother Natalie Hinton receives comfort by a supporter outside Brisbane Supreme Court.

As she lay trapped in the car, Patea viciously beat her with a cast-iron water hydrant cover.

Ms Brown had just dropped their daughter, Aria, off at childcare when the shocking attack unfolded.

Patea entered guilty pleas to murder, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and unlawful use of a motor vehicle shortly after 10am this morning, before his trial was scheduled to start.

Gold Coast lawyer Campbell MacCallum made a statement outside court on behalf is his client.

In the statement, Patea said he accepted “full responsibility” for his actions.

“I do this with the full support of my family who have encouraged me in my decision to face up to my actions and provide closure for the Brown family,” Mr MacCallum read.

“I do not want to cause Tara’s family further pain.

“I accept without hesitation the punishment imposed upon me by the justice system.”

Earlier, in court, Ms Brown’s mother Natalie Hinton wept as Patea was brought into the dock wearing a navy suit, white shirt and black tie.

It is understood Ms Brown made a harrowing Triple 0 call before her death, which was to be a key piece of evidence in the trial.

The young mum suffered critical head injuries and died the next day in hospital.

Patea’s sentencing hearing has begun, with evidence heard of the brave witnesses who attempted to stop Patea’s brutal actions.

One man, who lived in a nearby home, had helped Patea to get into the car after he ran Ms Brown off the road, believing he was trying to help her. He couldn’t have imagined what would happen next.

Crown prosecutor Carl Heaton QC has told the court Patea began beating Ms Brown with the cover of a water hydrant

tara-brown-murder-victim image www.crimefiles.net

Ms Brown was on the phone to Triple 0 at the time and the attack was recorded.

Mr Heaton said 16 “thumps” are heard on the audio, and then a female witness can be heard saying: “what the f**k are you doing”.

There are another 13 “thumps”, Mr Heaton said, “followed by silence”.

The female witness jumped on Patea’s back at one stage and later stood between him and Ms Brown as she lay trapped in the car and told him to “piss off”.

The male witness had tried to pull him from Ms Brown and phone police, to no avail.

Her death sent shockwaves through the nation, and that grief was compounded when just two days later a Karina Lock was murdered by her husband at the Helensvale McDonald’s.

The domestic violence murders sparked calls from the community for the State Government to act.


National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800 RESPECT.

In an emergency call triple-zero.

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An Indonesian suspect in the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother says she was paid the equivalent of $117 to help apply a baby oil-like liquid to his face.

Siti Aisyah insisted to an Indonesian diplomat who met her in jail that she believed she was taking part in a prank.

Malaysian police have revealed that nerve agent, which is classified as a chemical weapon under international laws, was dabbed on the eyes of 46-year-old Kim Jong-nam. He sought medical help after the attack at Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 but died shortly afterwards on the way to hospital.

Last week police rejected reports that 25-year-old Ms Siti and 28 year-old Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong believed they were taking part in the television show, Just for Laughs, and said they repeatedly trained for the act.

But Andreano Erwin, the deputy chief of Indonesia’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur, said Ms Siti told him during a 30-minute meeting that she did not know the liquid on her hands was the world’s most potent nerve agent.

“She just said she was given some kind of oil, like baby oil,” Mr Erwin told reporters.

“She didn’t know about the poison – that is the answer from her.”

According to Mr Erwin, Ms Siti said the men who asked her to carry out the act had names like ‘James’ and ‘Chang.

Kim Jong-nam, pictured at Narita Airport in Japan in 2001 image www.crimefiles.net

She thought they were Japanese or Korean.

CCTV cameras captured one of the women who confronted Mr Kim walking hurriedly away, and slightly turning back to look at him. She had been wearing a distinctive white “LOL” shirt.

BRAIN-IN-HEAD DRAW IMAGE www.crimefiles.net

Recently, in an airport in Kuala Lumpur, two women approached Kim Jong Nam—estranged half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un—from behind. They swiped what the victim described to nearby customer service agents as a “wet cloth” across his face, and fled. Shortly after, he was dead.

Now, Malaysian authorities say they’ve identified the substance that took Jong Nam’s life: VX, a nerve agent that the United Nations classifies as a weapon of mass destruction. And while it’s not an entirely uncommon substance—or particularly difficult to produce—its apparent use marks a troubling break from international norms. And if officials manage to link it back to North Korea, it could have serious consequences.

Special VX

If you’re already familiar with VX agent, it’s likely because of seminal 90s action flick The Rock, in which a disgruntled Ed Harris brings over a dozen VX-laden warheads along with him to seize Alcatraz.

VX doesn’t work quite the way The Rock depicts it. Specifically, contact with it doesn’t cause human skin to bubble and sear. But it plays havoc with the human nervous system. Like other nerve agents, VX interferes with the signals that pass between your brain and your muscles. “If you have a nerve impulse that tells a muscle to contract, you have to turn off the impulse. Otherwise the muscle will stay contracted,” says Matthew Meselson, a geneticist at Harvard and member of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation national advisory board. “The one that primarily kills is a spasm of the diaphragm, so you can’t breathe. You die of asphyxiation.”

VX can work through skin contact or respiration, and while it’s part of a broader class of nerve agents that all accomplish roughly the same effect, experts consider it to be especially dangerous, even among banned substances. “It’s heavier than other nerve agents, so it settles on an environment and can be persistent on the ground. If it was used in larger quantities, it could make an area non-usable,” says Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.

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As the Kim Jong-nam incident showed, though, smaller quantities are also dangerous. “Even a tiny drop is lethal,” Inglesby says.

And while an antidote exists—atropine, which unlocks the muscles that VX causes to seize up—the nerve agent works so quickly that it’s no use unless there’s a hypodermic needle on scene.

So dangerous is the stuff, in fact, that all but a handful of countries agreed to destroy whatever stockpiles they had of VX as part of the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. One of the handful of holdouts: North Korea.

The Red Line

In 1995, Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo cult turned the nerve agent on a small number of its members, whom leaders believed to be police informants. On a larger scale, VX was one of the chemical weapons deployed in the Iran-Iraq war. The Kim Jong Nam case, though, would be the first VX assassination on record, and the first time chemical weapons were used to that end since a ricin pellet—fired from an umbrella gun—took Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov’s life in 1978.

“That this particular chemical weapon would be used in a political assassination in a third country is very alarming. It’s a red line,” says Ingelsby. “It should be considered a new threshold that’s been crossed in terms of unconventional weapons.”

Those norms matter. After decades without any nation deploying chemical weapons, Syria used sarin and chlorine gas. If a nation-state such as North Korea uses VX once, they or other actors may well do it again.

‘It should be considered a new threshold that’s been crossed in terms of unconventional weapons.’ Dr. Tom Inglesby, Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security

That’s all conditional for a reason. While North Korea maintains a VX stockpile, and Kim Jong Un may well have considered his half-brother a threat to his rule, there’s no direct link between the VX airport incident and the hermit kingdom. And there may well never be, at least from the weapon of choice.

“It’s not very hard to produce, so it’s doubtful that the specific use can be chemical-traced back to North Korea,” says Sigmund Gartner, director of the Penn State School of International Affairs. Any decent organic chemist can make the stuff.

Meselson also says that it may not have been VX at all; if it was, it’s remarkable that the two women survived the attack as well.

All of which underscores how critical the next several days of investigation will be. If it turns out to be a random or untraceable act, it may at least prove to be an isolated incident. Should a direct link to North Korea exist, the world will find itself in potentially dangerous, uncharted waters.

“The political reaction should be very strong internationally, once all the facts are in,” says Ingelsby. “Responsible countries around the world should make it very clear that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.”

Unfortunately, that’s the thing about red lines. Once you cross them, there’s no going back.

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Malaysian police today said that a VX nerve agent was used to kill the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader in Malaysia last week. Here’s what we know about the death of Kim Jong Nam.

moments-before-Kim-Jong-Nam's-death image www.crimefiles.net
Moments before Kim Jong Nam’s death

Doan-Thi-Duong-grabbed-&-poisoned-Kim-Jong-Nam image www.crimefiles (1)

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Doan Thi Duong
Main attacker who grabbed & poisoned Kim Jong Nam
nerve-agent-action-diagram image www.crimefiles.net

The banned chemical weapon action above

Authorities have already detained a number of suspects in the case of Kim Jong Nam. See full graphic on the murder

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IT’S the painstaking, stark detail in her police statement that speaks volumes.

Kate Moir was just 17, had endured three rapes, hours of terror, frantically calculating her odds of living through being in the clutches of Australia’s worst serial killers, David and Catherine Birnie.

Later as she sat with police, she clinically detailed the shininess of the chains with which she was shackled to the bed, the cold feel and weight of them as they went on, the “mustard-coloured robe” her rapist wore as she was used as a plaything.

The marijuana they shared with her. The showers they made her take before and after she was raped.

The movies they made her watch. The one left in the video player when she escaped.

The clues she left in what became known as the death house in Perth: a lipstick stashed in the couch; a slip of paper with her phone number; the sleeping pills she wouldn’t swallow stuffed under the mattress … anything that would leave a trail to help someone discover the truth about what had happened and who had done it when she wound up dead.

‘We’ll only rape you if you’re good,’ her attackers told Kate Moir. Picture Channel 7 image www.crimefiles.net

‘We’ll only rape you if you’re good,’ her attackers told Kate Moir. Picture: Channel 7

This is the story of the woman who survived by her wits, and a stroke of luck, and ended a four-week killing spree at the hands of monsters that left four other women dead.

And 30 years since escaping the clutches of the Birnies the memories remain clear, and Ms Moir has finally shared the full details of that night, and her escape, in her first television interview.

Her story, and that of that then rookie police officer who took that statement — it was Constable Laura Hancock’s first day on the job — are the centrepiece of the first installment of Channel Seven’s new crime show Murder Uncovered.

The investigative series revisits some of Australia’s worst crimes, with those who were there telling their stories, as well as uncovering new evidence.

The first episode traces the horrific killing spree of the Birnies, revisiting the police investigation, the four murders they were jailed for and the chilling ways they finetuned their rituals and lured their victims.

Serial killer David Birnie in a mustard-coloured robe image www.crimefiles.net

Serial killer David Birnie in a mustard-coloured robe. Picture: Channel 7

It speaks with the families of the killers, as well as investigating another three disappearances many believe came at the evil duo’s hands.

“I asked ‘Are you going to rape me or kill me?’ Ms Moir tells Murder Uncovered of that night on November 9, 1986, when she had accepted a lift from a harmless-looking couple after a night out with friends in Perth.

The reply was: “We’ll only rape you if you’re good.”

What the “very drunk” Ms Moir could not know when she accepted the lift home was Catherine and David Birnie were four murders into a four-week killing spree.

Outside Ms Moir’s family home, she tried the car door, but there was no interior door handle.

They told her to use the outside handle. It wasn’t there.

The butcher’s knife flashed out of his ugg boot and against her throat.

Catherine Birnie was ‘the puppeteer’ giving ‘the tick of approval’ to the pair’s sick crimes, says survivor Kate Moir.image www.crimefiles.net

Catherine Birnie was ‘the puppeteer’ giving ‘the tick of approval’ to the pair’s sick crimes, says survivor Kate Moir. Picture: Channel 7

‘I’VE GOT THE MUNCHIES’

“I remember hearing, ‘Have you got the munchies?’,” Ms Moir recalls.

Those words were Catherine Birnie’s sick sign to her husband they’d found their latest target.

“David was the puppet, Catherine was the puppeteer.

“She gave the tick of approval. She would say ‘I’ve got the munchies’, which meant ‘you can have this one’.

“You know you’re gonna die but you don’t acknowledge that to yourself, you just live it,” she says, as she relives the two hours that led up to the first rape.

They quizzed her about who she was, put on a video of the movie, Rambo, made her shower.

“I remember thinking it was weird to make me shower before they raped me,” she says.

“They made me dance in front of them to (Dire Straits song) Romeo and Juliet. It was two hours of mental torture. I cried when I danced.”

David Birnie forced Kate to dance with him ahead of the first rape image www.crimefiles.net

David Birnie forced Kate to dance with him ahead of the first rape. Picture: Channel 7

“I had a 200 per cent chance of dying and 5 per cent chance of getting away,” she says.

He raped her the first time, not long after midnight. Catherine Birnie watched. And took notes.

Another shower. Chained to a bed.

Sometime during the night, she convinced them to give her a pen and paper, and wrote “goodbye letters” to her loved ones.

When she began screaming, he told her the “sleeping arrangements have changed” and moved her to their master bedroom, where the rapes continued.

‘I THOUGHT IF I WENT TO SLEEP, I’D NEVER WAKE UP’

He handcuffed by her foot to his, told her to take the pills he offered and go to sleep.

She hid them under her tongue, then stuffed them under the mattress.

“I thought if I went to sleep I’d never wake up.”

In the morning, she was ordered to call her parents. She told them she’d got really drunk, in the hope they would be furious, not having previously known she drank, and start searching.

They didn’t.

The Moorhouse Street home in Perth, which became known as the death house, where the Birnies lived and killed.image www.crimefiles.net

The Moorhouse Street home in Perth, which became known as the death house, where the Birnies lived and killed. Picture: Channel 7

When David Birnie went to work, Ms Moir says, she changed her odds of surviving to “50/50” — she just had to get away from Catherine, try to befriend her, get her to drop her guard.

A knock on the front door distracted her captor, who forgot to secure her victim, and Ms Moir saw her only chance.

“The (bedroom) window must have been locked. I got the courage to break the lock and push it open,” she says.

She fell out the window onto the driveway, struggled up, bolted across the road to the nearest house. She tried three doors with nobody home, and got attacked by a dog before, hysterical, barefoot, wearing only black leggings and a singlet, she saw a store opposite.

She ran to the man standing outside it.

“I said ‘Help I’ve been raped. Please take me inside and call the police’,” Ms Moir says.

“If a woman comes here and says I’ve had a fight with her and I’m her daughter, don’t believe her. I’ve been raped.”

He sped with her to the local police station. They screeched to a stop in a cloud of dust.

Now she had to make police believe her.

And with that, the Birnies had lost their serial killer script.

David Birnie hanged himself in prison. Catherine Birnie is eligible for parole this year.

Murder Uncovered premieres on Wednesday, February 8 at 9pm on Seven

Kate Moir as a teenager in Perth. Picture News Corp image www.crimefiles.net

Kate Moir as a teenager in Perth. Picture: News Corp

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