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Archive for November, 2017

President Sisi pledges extreme force in revenge for Egypt’s worst atrocity

Burnt-out cars line the streets of al-Arish in northern Sinai on Saturday after the terror attack on the mosque.

Egypt was reeling on Saturday from the worst atrocity it has suffered in recent years, with officials putting the death toll from the bomb and gun assault on a Sinai mosque at 305. The figure includes 27 children.

A further 128 people were wounded in the attack on the Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, north Sinai. A bomb ripped through the mosque as Friday prayers were finishing, before militants opened fire on worshippers. In response, airstrikes were directed at “terrorist” locations, said military sources.

Egypt’s chief prosecutor, Nabil Sadeq, said the attack was carried out by 25-30 militants who had stationed themselves at the mosque’s main door and 12 windows before opening fire on those inside. More than 50 ambulances ferried casualties from the mosque, about 25 miles west of the city of Arish, to nearby hospitals. Pictures from the scene showed rows of bloodied victims inside the mosque.

Theresa May yesterday told the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, that the UK “stands ready to help in any way possible”. Downing Street added that the two leaders agreed that international co-operation was needed to tackle the problem of terrorism.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it marks a significant escalation in a region where, for the past three years, Egyptian security forces have battled an Islamic State insurgency that has killed hundreds of police and soldiers. It was reported yesterday that the assailants were carrying the Islamic State flag. The attack was not only one of the worst terrorist incidents in Egyptian history, but also the first on a mosque. The justification for assaulting a Muslim place of worship appears to be that the mosque was frequented by Sufis, a sect considered by many Islamist extremists to be heretical.

There are, however, many conspiracy theories circulating, which suggest the atrocity has provided the president with a convenient opportunity to demonstrate his security credentials. In a nearby outdoor cafe, in the shadow of another mosque frequented by Sufis, Sayeda Zeinab, most patrons were adamant on Saturday that the attack was purely politically motivated. “This was all because of the elections,” said one customer.

Sisi is widely expected to stand in elections due to be held early next year to try to retain the presidency. When he first ran in 2014, the message of his campaign was that the former army general was the only man who could bring stability to the country and prevent the chaos that has engulfed neighbouring Libya and Syria from ever reaching Egypt.

“I supported him,” said the customer. “But I would never vote for him again. I’ll take just about anyone else; he can’t win.” With a sharp drop in tourism, following the 2011 Arab Spring, Sisi has presided over a period of economic instability, in addition to one with a sustained terrorist threat. “Do any of us live as well as we used to?” said the customer. “My salary is a third of what it used to be.”

All around the cafe and in the street are signs of the upcoming elections. Posters draped from the lamp-posts show Sisi’s smiling face, accompanied with an appeal for him to “Build it” – meaning to re-run for office. This is supposedly a grassroots movement, although some community figures have reported being given petitions to hand out, sent to them by the interior ministry.

With the elections drawing closer, this attack seems to have shaken the nerves of the government. The president has reacted swiftly, promising to meet the attack with extreme force, as well as declaring three days of public mourning. In a press release on Saturday, the state information services said he had ordered that 200,000 Egyptian pounds (£8,478) be paid to the families of victims for every member killed. Within hours of the attack, security forces also reported airstrikes in the vicinity of the attack.

Yet the mood in Cairo is one of calm. The number of people killed and injured in the Sinai attack is much higher than in past terrorist atrocities. However, north Sinai remains a no-go area for journalists, making it difficult to confirm details.

Cairo’s residents are used to stories of violence from the Sinai region. “It feels like a long way away,” says Ahmed Yousef, 30, a telecoms engineer. “They can’t even get into Cairo, it’s too crowded.”

In July, at least 23 soldiers were killed when suicide car bombs were detonated at two military checkpoints in the Sinai. Isis claimed responsibility. The local Isis affiliate, Wilayat al-Sinai (the governorate of Sinai), also carried out the previous deadliest attack in the region when, in 2015, it brought down a Russian passenger jet that was carrying tourists back from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing 224 people.

Henry Sapiecha

Outside Truth or Consequences, N.M., David Parker Ray is believed to have tortured and killed over 50 women in his soundproof trailer.

On March 19, 1999, 22-year-old Cynthia Vigil was hooking in a parking lot in Albuquerque, N.M., when a man claiming to be an undercover cop told her she was under arrest for solicitation of sex work, and put her in the back of his car.

David Parker Ray, the “Toy Box Killer.”

“He told me I was under arrest and he put handcuffs on me,” Vigil said.

The man was David Parker Ray, and he brought Vigil to his nearby soundproof trailer, which he called his “Toy Box.”

He then chained her to a gynecologist-type table in the center of the trailer, and over the next three days, raped and tortured Vigil, with help from his girlfriend and accomplice Cindy Hendy.

The two of them used whips, medical instruments, electric shock, and sexual instruments to torture Vigil. Before her torture, Ray would play a cassette tape with a recording detailing exactly what she would be forced to endure.

Chair found in Ray’s trailer.

On the cassette, Ray explained that she was to refer to him only as “master” and the woman with him as “mistress” and never to speak unless spoken to first. He went on to explain exactly how he would rape and torture her.

“The way he talked, I didn’t feel like this was his first time,” Vigil said in a later interview. “It was like he knew what he was doing. He told me I was never going to see my family again. He told me he would kill me like the others.”

On the third day, while Ray was at work, Hendy accidentally left the keys to Vigil’s restraints on a table near where she was chained while she left the room.

Seizing the opportunity, Vigil lunged for the keys, and was able to free her hands. Hendy attempted to stop her, but Vigil stabbed her in the neck with an icepick when she approached.

She ran out of the trailer naked, wearing only a slave collar and padlocked chains.

In desperation, she knocked on the door of a nearby mobile home. The owner of the house brought Vigil in and called the police, who promptly arrested both Ray and Hendy.

Cynthia Virgil talking to reporters in 2011 about being tortured by David Parker Ray in 1999.

David Parker Ray, the infamous “Toy Box” serial killer, was born in Belen, New Mexico in 1939. Little is known about his childhood, outside of the fact that he was mainly raised by his grandfather, but regularly saw his father, who beat him.

As a kid, Ray was bullied by his peers for his shyness around girls. These insecurities drove Ray to drink and abuse drugs.

He served in the U.S. Army, receiving an honorable discharge at the end of his enlistment. Ray was married and divorced four times in his life.

It is believed the Ray began his killing spree sometime during the mid-1950s, which only came to light with the escape of Vigil.

After arresting Ray, the police gained a warrant to search his home and trailer, and what they found shocked and disturbed them.

Ray’s “Toy Box” contained a gynecologist-type table in the middle, with a mirror mounted to the ceiling so his victims could see the horrors delivered upon them. Littering the floor where whips, chains, pulleys, straps, clamps, leg spreader bars, surgical blades, and saws, as well as numerous sex toys.

There was a wooden contraption used to bend over and immobilize Ray’s victims while he and his friends would rape them.

Items found in Ray’s trailer.

On the walls were detailed diagrams showing different methods and techniques for inflicting pain.

In the trailer, the police also discovered a videotape from 1996, showing a terrified woman being raped and tortured by Ray and his girlfriend.

With the publicity surrounding the arrest of Ray, considering the disturbing circumstances of his crime, another woman came forward with a similar story. Angelica Montano was an acquaintance of Ray’s who, after visiting his house to borrow cake mix, had been drugged, raped, and tortured by Ray, before being drugged and left by a highway out in the desert.

Ray would often use drugs that would induce amnesia and memory loss in his victims like sodium pentothal and phenobarbitol, so they could not properly remember what had happened to them.

There she was found by police, but there had been no follow-up on her case.

With this stronger case, with two victims testifying to the crimes, the police were able to press Hendy, who quickly folded and began telling what she knew of the murders. Her testimony led the police to discover that Ray been helped in the abductions and murders by his daughter, Glenda “Jesse” Ray, and friend, Dennis Roy Yancy.

Glenda “Jesse” Ray, daughter and accomplice of David Parker Ray

Yancy admitted to participating in the murder of Marie Parker, a woman who was abducted, drugged, and tortured for days by Ray and his daughter, before Yancy strangled her to death in 1997.

After releasing some details about the woman in the video, she was identified by her ex-mother-in-law as Kelli Garrett, a former friend of Ray’s daughter.

On July 24, 1996, Garrett, after getting in a fight with her then-husband, decided to spend the night playing pool at a local saloon with Jesse.

Jesse roofied Garrett’s beer, and she and her father placed a dog collar and leash on her and brought her to his trailer.

He then raped and tortured her for two days, keeping her on date-rape drugs the while. After these two days, Ray slit her throat and dumped her on the side of the road.

Miraculously, Garrett survived the encounter, but no one, neither her husband nor police believed her story. In fact, her husband, believing she had cheated on him that night, filed for divorce that year.

Due to the effects of the drugs, Garrett had limited recollection of the events over those two days, but remembered being raped by Ray.

Items found in Ray’s trailer.

These drugs, as well as the socioeconomic standing of many of the women involved, made it difficult for their testimony to be readily accepted by jurors.

Though he was able to beat two of the cases put against him, he was ultimately sentenced to 224 years in prison for numerous offenses involved in the abduction and sexual torture of these three women.

Jesse Ray received a sentence of nine years, and Cindy Hendy was given 36 years in prison.

David Parker Ray died of a heart attack on May 28th, 2002, three years into his sentence.

In their investigation of Ray’s trailer, police had found evidence of several more killings, including diaries written by Ray where he detailed the murder of at least 50 other women. Despite the evidence, the authorities were unable to create cases from them.

ooo

Items found in Ray’s trailer.

Though Hendy and Yancy both identified areas they believed Ray disposed of these bodies, police found no human remains in any of these locations.

It is believed that a man who put this amount of effort into his horrifying “Toy Box,” and who killed numerous women over many years, would likely have had a greater number of victims. The many unidentified personal effects and jewelry found in his trailer also point to a greater number of victims.

However, that hasn’t prevented the FBI from continuing to investigate David Park Ray and his potential murders.

“We’re still getting good leads,” FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said in 2011. “As long as we’re getting those leads, and as long as the exposure in the press keeps generating interest in the case, we’re going to keep investigating this.”


Now that you’ve read about David Parker Ray, learn the horrifying story of Rodney Alcala, the serial killer who won ‘the dating game’ during his murder spree. Then read the bizarre but true story of Hungary’s “vampire” serial killer.

 

Nicholas Baxter is accused of murdering six-week-old baby Matthew in November 2011

NICHOLAS Baxter has been convicted of killing his six-week-old baby Matthew.

Baxter, an ex-army corporal, had pleaded not guilty to murdering his son, by shaking or striking him on November 3, 2011.

The jury of eight women and four men found him not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter.

They took 11 hours of deliberations before reaching the verdict in Townsville Supreme Court.

Baxter was supported by his wife Tenae, her family and his extended family during the lengthy six-week trial.

Ms Baxter gasped, said “No, no, no” then cried after the verdict was read out. Baxter did not show emotion.

During the trial, the jury heard from 40 prosecution witnesses and 19 defence witnesses.

Baxter will be sentenced at 10am tomorrow.

BY THE NUMBERS

• It took six years for Nicholas Baxter to face trial after his son’s death.

• The jury heard from 40 prosecution witnesses

• Matthew died at 43 days old.

 

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

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Henry Sapiecha

 

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