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Archive for the ‘FAMILIES’ Category

A BRISBANE man used his knowledge as a former police officer to plot the murders of his wife and two children in a frenzied stabbing attack at their family home.

The man in his 40s, who cannot be named to protect the identities of the victims, has pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to three charges of attempted murder.

This afternoon he was sentenced to life in prison.

Justice Peter Flanagan said there were only two to three precedent cases for life sentences on attempted murder charges in Queensland.

But he said the horrific nature of the man’s attempted killing spree warranted a severe sentence.

“All three victims carry with them to this day the terrible scars of that night,” the judge said.

The man was a police officer for 17 years before resigning in 2008.

Photo: Police arrested the man at a home at Carina Brisbane Qld on February 2, 2014. (ABC TV)

He will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years.

Previously, the court heard harrowing details of his rampage through the family home on February 2, 2014.

Crown prosecutor Dejana Kovac said the man hatched the plan in response to his wife discovering he had had multiple affairs with prostitutes.

“He was in fact spending money on his sexual activities … and even (pawned his wife’s) engagement ring to fund prostitutes,” Ms Kovac said.

He plotted the murder of his family for about a week beforehand, deciding 6am was the best time to coincide with shift changes at the police station.

He selected two knives from the kitchen and crept into his wife’s bedroom first — because “he knew she would be the hardest person to kill”.

Ms Kovac said he “savagely attacked her”, targeting her thighs and neck “hoping to hit an artery”.

“ … She was defenceless from his brutal attack,” she said.

The man thought he’d done enough to kill her judging by the bloodshed.

The woman’s screams woke their young son, which Ms Kovac said upset the man “because he was hoping he would kill his son while he was asleep”.

He approached the child as he sat with a blanket around him in the living room and stabbed him twice in the neck.

The child replied: “That hurt, don’t do it again”.

By now the couple’s daughter had woken and witnessed the attack on her little brother.

She tried desperately to escape, but her father chased her through the house.

“She fought back, begged him to stop … ,” Ms Kovac said.

The child pleaded: “I thought you loved me” as she suffered up to 40 stab wounds.

The attack came to an end when the man’s wife managed to phone Triple 0.

The family miraculously somehow survived, although they have significant physical and emotional scars.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the man’s wife described her bodily scarring as a “road map” of an attack that could never be erased.

She said she’d continued to have severe nightmares of her daughter pleading with her father not to kill her.

“My children will carry this trauma with them for the rest of their lives, lives that I hope will be long despite the attempted efforts of their father to cut them short,” the statement said.

“My children are now growing up with the stigma, shame and pain of having a parent who tried to murder them.

“The first time (my children) saw me after the crime I was still in hospital. I can never forget the shock and fear on their faces when they saw me … I had tubes and drains coming out of my neck and face, I was weak. “(My children) didn’t know if they could hug me because there wasn’t anywhere that they could see that wasn’t injured.

“My body is littered with scars, I remember counting the number of wounds I had after my stitches were removed. I was chilled by the number: 71.” A number I will never forget. That day was my 911 day.

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A drug addict who bludgeoned his mother and a young relative to death as they attempted to escape his ice-fuelled rage has been jailed for at least 30 years.

Dressed in prison greens, Lance Rhodes, 36, did not appear to react as he was handed a maximum of 40 years in jail in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

He continued to stab her as she lay helpless on the ground. Rhodes then picked up a 28-kilogram concrete statue and repeatedly hit her on the head with it, smashing her skull.

Rhodes returned to the home, grabbed a young child relative by the neck of his shirt and stabbed him in the chest before bashing his head against a wall.

Justice Stephen Campbell said Rhodes was in the grip of an “ice-induced psychosis” when the “terrible events” of September 8, 2015 unfolded.

After consuming a cocktail of substances, Rhodes stabbed his mother Linda Adams, 63, in the back as she tried to run away from him after he grabbed a large knife from the kitchen of the Lalor Park home they shared.

The boy managed to escape, but Rhodes caught up with him outside and bludgeoned him to death with a stone.

“Die, just fucking die, I don’t care,” Rhodes was heard to say.

Covered in blood, Rhodes attempted to attack another woman, Annabelle Saludo , by getting into her car. He hit the windows, yelled “F—ing open up” and then ran after the car and tried to lift it as the woman attempted to escape.

When Senior Constable Steve Lewis arrived, Rhodes picked up a water meter cover and walked towards him, saying, “Let’s go”.

Ms Adams’ body was found only two metres from the front door of her neighbour’s home. The boy’s body was found near a tree in the yard of the home he had fled.

Justice Campbell said “doubtless this offending would never have occurred” but for Rhodes’ self-induced intoxication

.The child, who can not be named for legal reasons, who was killed.

The court heard that shortly before the killings, Rhodes had returned to his home and said, “We’re going to have some fun tonight”.

“They are in the house … they are in the house … don’t worry I’ll get rid of them,” he was later heard saying.

While Justice Campbell accepted that the attack commenced “impulsively”, he said Rhodes had persisted with it and it was “accompanied by determination”.

The court heard Rhodes had a troubled childhood and started using cannabis when he was a teenager before moving onto heroin, speed and ice.

Before the double murder, he had been consuming ice for nine months.

Rhodes told police he could not remember killing his mother and the child and repeatedly said he was unwell.

“I know I clicked it. I’m insane. I need real professional help,” Rhodes told police in an interview. “I was in a different world.

“Everything was spacey. It was like being in a dark cloud.”

A drug addict who bludgeoned his mother and a young relative to death as they attempted to escape his ice-fuelled rage has been jailed for at least 30 years.

Dressed in prison greens, Lance Rhodes, 36, did not appear to react as he was handed a maximum of 40 years in jail in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

In a lengthy on-air monologue, TODAY host Karl Stefanovic attacked the Daily Mail for its coverage of women on the program.

Justice Stephen Campbell said Rhodes was in the grip of an “ice-induced psychosis” when the “terrible events” of September 8, 2015 unfolded.

After consuming a cocktail of substances, Rhodes stabbed his mother Linda Adams, 63, in the back as she tried to run away from him after he grabbed a large knife from the kitchen of the Lalor Park home they shared.

He continued to stab her as she lay helpless on the ground. Rhodes then picked up a 28-kilogram concrete statue and repeatedly hit her on the head with it, smashing her skull.

Rhodes returned to the home, grabbed a young child relative by the neck of his shirt and stabbed him in the chest before bashing his head against a wall.

Lance Rhodes at the crime scene, on the night he was arrested.

Lance Rhodes at the crime scene, on the night he was arrestedPhoto: TNV

Covered in blood, Rhodes attempted to attack another woman, Annabelle Saludo , by getting into her car. He hit the windows, yelled “F—ing open up” and then ran after the car and tried to lift it as the woman attempted to escape.

When Senior Constable Steve Lewis arrived, Rhodes picked up a water meter cover and walked towards him, saying, “Let’s go”.

Ms Adams’ body was found only two metres from the front door of her neighbour’s home. The boy’s body was found near a tree in the yard of the home he had fled.

Justice Campbell said “doubtless this offending would never have occurred” but for Rhodes’ self-induced intoxication.

The court heard that shortly before the killings, Rhodes had returned to his home and said, “We’re going to have some fun tonight”.

“They are in the house … they are in the house … don’t worry I’ll get rid of them,” he was later heard saying.

While Justice Campbell accepted that the attack commenced “impulsively”, he said Rhodes had persisted with it and it was “accompanied by determination”.

The court heard Rhodes had a troubled childhood and started using cannabis when he was a teenager before moving onto heroin, speed and ice.

Before the double murder, he had been consuming ice for nine months.

Rhodes told police he could not remember killing his mother and the child and repeatedly said he was unwell.

“I know I clicked it. I’m insane. I need real professional help,” Rhodes told police in an interview. “I was in a different world.

“Everything was spacey. It was like being in a dark cloud.”

But Justice Campbell was sceptical that Rhodes had no memory of the events, saying his repeated concern to present himself as a paranoid schizophrenic was an attempt to provide justification for his behaviour.

Outside court, Ms Adams’ daughter Tina Rhodes said she loved her mother and the child.

“No matter how long the sentence is, it will not bring back two beautiful people we have lost,” she said.

Rhodes will be eligible for parole in 2045.

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A live-streamed trial for former Perth man Henri van Breda, charged with murdering his family with an axe, will appear in a South African court on Monday

The van Breda family image www.crimefiles.net

Teresa van Breda, 55, her husband Martin van Breda‚ 54‚ and their eldest son Rudi‚ 22, were found dead at their home on the De Zalze Golf Estate in January 2015.

Mr van Breda was found there with minor injuries alongside sister Marli, then 16, who survived massive head injuries and a severed jugular. She now has brain injuries retrograde amnesia but is reportedly on the list of more than 100 people to testify in the case.

Mr van Breda, 21, handed himself in to Stellenbosch Police station with his attorney in June. He was charged with three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and another of obstructing justice and was released on bail.

The case has attracted global attention, with the first appearance given rolling coverage from South Africa’s News 24 and other local outlets.

Australian media was also at the Western Cape High Court on on Monday, where Judge Siraj Desai has granted an application by Media24 to live-stream the trial, which will begin about 8.15pm Perth time.

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A woman has been charged with murdering her son after his body was discovered on Friday night in a house near Wyong. NSW Australia

The son, aged 26, was found dead in a house on Orchard Way, Wadalba, about 11.30pm.

His 55-year-old mother was later arrested and charged with his murder after being taken to Wyong police station.

The circumstances of his death are unknown, and police are appealing for any information.

The woman has been refused bail and will appear in Wyong Local Court on Sunday.

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Nikol Stoeski with his partner Venesa Farcich and children image www.crimefiles.net

Nikol Stoeski with his partner Venesa Farcich and children. Photo: ABC News

A man who murdered the mother of his two young children and his best friend in a methylamphetamine-fuelled rage in Perth has had his minimum jail term increased to 27 years.

Nikol Stoeski pleaded guilty to killing Vanesa Marija Farcich, 31, and Saso Filkovski, 37, in separate Girrawheen houses in May 2013.

Stoeski was originally sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 21 years, but on Tuesday, the West Australian Court of Appeal agreed with prosecutors that it was manifestly inadequate and re-sentenced him.

In his judgment, Justice Michael Buss described the murders as “brutal, sustained and unprovoked”.
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Stoeski was under the delusional belief that his partner had been unfaithful and that his friend had spread rumours and was conspiring against him.

Ms Farcich died from asphyxiation and was left bound with duct tape in her bedroom with “666” written on her forehead.

Mr Filkovski, who had been friends with Stoeski for 27 years, was stabbed in the neck with a fishing knife and was bashed with a car part.

– AAP

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Murdered ...Theresa van Breda and her husband Martin.

Murdered …Theresa van Breda and her husband Martin. Photo: Facebook

Henri van Breda, 20, told police his brother Rudi was attacked first before a burglar turned on his mother, father and 16-year-old sister Marli, South African news agency Netwerk24 has reported.

Marli, who went to the Presbyterian Ladies’ College in Perth, is currently under police guard in a South African hospital after suffering horrific head injuries in the attack. She is awake and answering simple questions, according to the South African Sunday Times.

Henri’s wounds – a bruise to the head and scratches – were self-inflicted and he waited up to four hours before calling emergency services after his family was slain, the Times reported.

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The surviving son of the former Perth family axed to death in South Africa had self-inflicted wounds and waited hours before calling authorities, it has been reported.

Martin van Breda, 54, his wife Teresa, 55, and son Rudi, 22, were killed in what is believed to have been an attack with an axe on January 29 at De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate, an exclusive golf resort in Stellenbosch, about 50 kilometres east of Cape Town.

Marli van Breda

Marli van Breda Photo: Facebook

He has enlisted South African high profile defence lawyer Pieter Botha, who famously defended British millionaire Shrien Dewani who was accused of killing his wife Anne during their honeymoon in South Africa in 2010. The charges were dismissed in 2014.

Last week, a triple-0 call Henri made after the attack appears to have him snigger when telling the operator members of his family were “bleeding from the head”.

The van Breda family were originally from South Africa before settling in Perth about eight years ago, and then moving to Brisbane before returning to South Africa.

Mr van Breda was managing director of the Australian franchise of Engel & Völkers, an international company that sells and rents “premium residential property, commercial real estate and yachts”, according to its website.

Karen Sadler, whose daughter went to Presbyterian Ladies College with Marli for about seven years, described the van Breda family as “a beautiful, gorgeous family and very close”

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cairns family murdered image 12 www.crimefiles.net

Seven of the eight children found dead in a Cairns home were siblings and the other was a family member, police believe.

The family members were of Torres Straight Island origin

The children – who have not been formally identified – were aged between 18 months and 15 years old. Several of the victims were stabbed, police have confirmed.

cairns family murdered image 10 www.crimefiles.net

A crime scene has been set up at a home in Murray Street in Manoora, a suburb about four kilometres from the CBD of the North Queensland city of Cairns.

Forensic investigators have spent the afternoon searching through the home, which is believed to be used for community housing.

Police were called to the property about 11.20am Friday, following reports of a woman with serious injuries.

cairns family murdered image 9 www.crimefiles.net

A 34-year-old woman who was the mother to seven of the victims is receiving treatment for serious injuries and is assisting police.

A second person is also in hospital, although their involvement in the incident and condition was unclear.

Cairns Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said on Friday afternoon that there were no formal suspects yet.

A 20-year-old brother of the seven dead siblings made the discovery in the house, AAP reported.

A cousin of the 34-year-old woman described the family and extended relatives as close-knit.

“We’re a big family and most of us are from the (Torres) Strait,” she said.

cairns family murdered image 6 www.crimefiles.net

“I just can’t believe it. We just found out (about) those poor babies.”

Inspector Asnicar said police would be speaking with anyone who had dealings with the family during the last two or three days.

“We don’t have any persons that are formally suspects at the moment. It is very early days,” he said.

He said police are interviewing a man who was possibly the first person on the scene.

While several of the children were stabbed, Inspector Asnicar was unable to say if that was how all the victims died.

“We’re being assisted by the coroner and local pathologist. But until the deceased are removed and the post mortems are carried out, there’s no way I could confirm that,” he said.

cairns family murdered image 11 www.crimefiles.net

Detectives will only move in to the house after forensic investigators have completed their sweep, with a crime scene likely to remain in place for several days.

A mobile police hub housing officers from the Cairns Criminal Investigation Branch, Child Protection and Investigation Unit, and Scenes of Crime and Scientific section is in place.

At least 10 police are also being sent from Brisbane to help local police.

“We have intelligence specialists, we have forensic specialists, we have homicide detectives…we have child trauma specialists…and any other staff we think that we need will be brought to the task,” Inspector Asnicar said.

cairns family murdered image 8 www.crimefiles.net

Earlier, he described the incident as “extremely distressing” but stressed that the 34-year-old woman was not in police custody while in hospital.

“As it stands at the moment, there’s no need for the public to be concerned about this other than that it’s a tragic, tragic event. The situation is well controlled at the moment,” he told reporters.

“There shouldn’t be any concerns for anyone else out of this environment and as we progress further we’ll be sharing the results of our investigation.

cairns family murdered image 4 www.crimefiles.net

“This is not a small job; we’re not taking this lightly at all. We don’t do that here in the Far North, This will be done to the nth degree and we will cover every angle before this is finished.”

Torres Strait Regional Council mayor Fred Gela told Sky News that the family do not want the victims publicly identified until every member of the family has been notified.

Cr Gela told the channel he was a personal relative of the family and they were well known right across the Torres Strait.

Sky News reported that Cr Gela asked the media to be respectful of customs surrounding the naming of deceased Torres Strait Islanders.

Flowers are being dropped off at the scene, while locals have planned a vigil at Cairns’ Munro Martin Park at 6pm.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott issued a statement on Friday afternoon, describing the incident as “an unspeakable crime”.

“All parents would feel a gut-wrenching sadness at what has happened,” he said.

“These are trying days for our country. Tonight, there will be tears and prayers for these children.”

cairns family murdered image 7 www.crimefiles.net

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said he was “saddened and shocked” by the tragedy, and that his thoughts were with the family and friends of the victims.

“I’m also aware of the impact this will have on the emergency service workers and police officers who responded to the scene, and I have asked the acting ministers to make sure those individuals are receiving the support they need,” he said.

“Indeed, the whole Cairns community and the people of Queensland will feel the effects of this tragedy, particularly at a time of year when families come together.”

“I ask that all Queenslanders reach out to those who may need support in coming days and do not hesitate to seek professional assistance if needed.”

cairns family murdered location map image 13 www.crimefiles.ne

Queensland Opposition Leader Annastasia Palaszczuk said the deaths were “absolutely heartbreaking news”.

The Department of Communities is sending a team to Cairns to “deal with the human and social recovery”.

“It is similar to community recovery,” a spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman could not confirm whether the family was known to the department.

– with Amy Remeikis and AAP

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A Melbourne man who murdered his two young daughters by smothering them with a pillow has been sentenced to life in jail.

Charles Mihayo, 36, smothered his daughters Savannah, 4, and Indianna, 3, at his unit at Watsonia in April.

Indianna, 3, (left) and Savannah, 4, were at the centre of a bitter custodial dispute image www.crimefiles.net

He pleaded guilty to the killings in August and was today sentenced in the Supreme Court to a minimum of 31 years in jail.

Prosecutors said Mihayo was locked in a bitter custodial dispute with the girls’ mother, his former wife, at the time and had acted out of revenge.

The court heard Mihayo sent a text message to his former wife shortly before he killed them suggesting she had “won”, and he was giving up his rights to see the girls.

He told her he wanted to see them “one last time” and when she took them to see him, he dressed the girls up in new dresses he had bought for them.

He then filmed them dancing to music, before smothering them with pillows.

After killing them, Mihayo bathed them, then redressed them in ballerina dresses.

He then phoned triple-0 to report a double murder and when police arrive he said: “It’s done, I’ve killed them. I’ve killed my kids.”

Mihayo was arrested at the scene and confessed to police, telling them “there was no good reason” for the killings but it “made sense at the time”.

When police asked why he had killed his daughters, he told them “you’d have to ask her”, meaning his ex-wife.

In sentencing, Victorian Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry said the conflict with his wife had inexplicably motivated his “hideous crimes”.

“I simply do not understand why, when the continuing argument was between you and your ex-wife about these children, you made them pay with their lives in order to inflict pain and loss on your ex-wife,” he said.

Nothing can justify what Mihayo did: judge

Mihayo will serve a minimum of 31 years in prison for murdering his daughters.image www.crimefiles.net

Justice Lasry said Mihayo had given into the “basest of instincts”.

“You decided to demonstrate to your ex-wife that she did not have the control over the children and their relationship with you that she thought she had,” he said.

The judge said while Mihayo had taken responsibility for what he had done, he did not seem to regret it.

“I am not at all sure that you have a genuine sense or desire to amend the sin or wrongdoing such as to enable me to conclude you are remorseful,” he said.

“You do not appear to me to be crushed or broken in spirit by your wrongdoing.”

Family ‘can finally start healing process’

The girls’ family issued a statement after the sentence was handed down.

“There is no adequate punishment or jail sentence for filicide,” the statement said.

“Forever missed, loved and never forgotten.

“We would like to take this opportunity to firstly thank our family and friends for their ongoing support and the community for their thoughts and prayers during this devastating time.

“We ask the media to please respect our privacy so we can finally start the grieving and healing process.”

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Geraldton doctor Chamari Liyanage is charged with murdering her husband Dinendra image www.crimefiles.net

A doctor has been charged with the murder of her husband, also a doctor, in the WA Mid West city of Geraldton.

The body of 34-year-old Dinendra Athukorala was found inside a home in Shenton Street three days ago.

Chamari Rasika Denuwanthe Gunathilaka Liyanage, 34, appeared in court in Geraldton today charged with her husband’s murder.

No plea has been entered and she did not apply for bail.

Police were called to the unit on Tuesday, following reports of a domestic incident, and found the doctor’s body inside.

The WA Country Health Service said Dr Dinendra Athukorala had worked at the Geraldton Hospital as a resident medical officer for the last year.

The service’s Margaret Denton said he was a valued member of the team and hospital staff were deeply shocked by his death.

Police say Dr Athukorala’s family in Sri Lanka had been notified of his death and consular officials were offering them assistance.

Mrs Athukorala is set to appear in the Stirling Gardens Magistrate via video link court in Perth on July 16.

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gavin-mooney-family murder victim image www.crimefiles.net

An internationally renowned health economist was struck at least 13 times in the head with a hammer when he was killed in Tasmania in 2012.

Western Australian academics Professor Gavin Mooney and his partner Dr Delys Weston died from catastrophic blows to the head at their rural property south of Hobart.

Dr Weston’s son Nicolau Francisco Soares, 29, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the couple on the grounds he was insane at the time.

Forensic pathologist Dr Christopher Lawrence has told the Tasmanian Supreme Court Prof Mooney’s injuries were probably caused by a combination of blows from a claw hammer and a blockbuster.

“There appeared to be at least 13 separate impacts to the head,” Dr Lawrence said.

A single blockbuster blow, or several with the hammer, to the back of the head that caused a massive skull fracture and vertebra damage would have been enough to cause death, he said.

Dr Weston received at least eight blows, one damaging the brain stem and probably causing her death.

The jury was shown graphic photos, CT scan images and diagrams produced during Dr Lawrence’s post mortem.

A chilling police walk-through video of the crime scene, at Mountain River 30km south of Hobart, showed two bodies slumped in the house’s TV room where a blood-stained blockbuster and broken hammer are seen on the floor.

A mental health report tabled from WA, where Soares lived, indicated he had been involuntarily admitted for treatment three times between 2008 and 2010.

He remained a client of the service in 2012 and had been warned to organise medication that had run out, the report said.

Professor Mooney had commented on Soares’s health to the service in a phone conversation from Tasmania.

“It’s a rather mixed bag,” he said.

An Australian Defence Force report showed Soares had twice applied to join the army, the second time just a month before the killings in December 2012.

He did not reach the required score in an aptitude test, the report said.

Soares moved from Perth to Tasmania in the weeks before the deaths to live with his mother and her partner.

The couple had bought the property the year before.

Prof Mooney had been the head of health economics at Curtin University and also held positions in Sydney, Hobart, South Africa and Denmark.

Dr Weston specialised in the political economy of global warming and held university positions in South Africa and Tasmania.

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