Reedy Marsh alleged murder victim named as former government driver Mike Hawkes


Tasmanian political figures have expressed their shock at the news of the death of former parliamentary driver Mike Hawkes, 70, who was allegedly murdered in the state’s north on Tuesday.

Robert Gerard, 47, of Waverley, appeared in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with murder.

He did not enter a plea and has been remanded in custody to reappear in court later in January.

Mr Hawkes’ body was found at his Reedy Marsh home west of Launceston just before 6:00pm on Tuesday.

His wife was treated for lacerations and released from hospital.

Former Liberal MP Bob Cheek said he was devastated to learn of the death of his old friend.

“When I was leader of the opposition and leader of the Liberal Party, Mike became my driver and we spent a lot of time together,” he said.

“When you’re getting home late from functions and travelling long distances, you become very close, we talked a lot, talked about our personal lives and families.”

A police car at the entrance to the Reedy Marsh property where Michael Hawkes’ body was found.(ABC News: Jessica Moran)

The highly respected driver retired several years ago.

Mr Cheek said Mr Hawkes was almost part of the family because the pair were travelling together so much.

“I really liked the guy. I really respected him,” Mr Cheek said.

“They say when you go into politics, make sure you get a dog, because that’s the only friend you’ll have.

“Well, I probably had my dog, but I also had Mike, and that’s why I’m devastated to hear the news.”

Mr Cheek said the former driver had a guesthouse where he had stayed three or four times.

“He used to have all the wild animals around his house and he’d put the spotlights on them — wallabies, bandicoots and everything else you could imagine used to come around the house and he was very proud of that,” he said.

Police car at entrance of rural road.
Mr Hawkes lived on Larcombes Road at Reedy Marsh.(ABC News: Jessica Moran)

During the final years of Peg Putt’s time as Tasmanian Greens leader, Mr Hawkes was her driver.

Ms Putt said she was devastated by the news of his death.

“He was a top bloke and such a safe pair of hands. He also showed me his bush property with pride,” she said.

“I especially remember the two tribes of native hens, one of which he christened ‘the Taliban’.”

Mr Hawkes was also the driver for Burnie Mayor and former Labor MP Steve Kons, who described him as very athletic.

“He was a giant, over 6 feet tall, and very motivated with his fitness,” Mr Kons said.

Burnie Mayor Steve Kons
Former Labor MP Steve Kons said Mr Hawkes took a keen interest in politics.(ABC News)

Mr Kons said they spent hours on the road together, driving between Burnie and Hobart, and Mr Hawkes took a keen interest in his portfolios.

“He always cared about other people, cared about doing his job properly,” he said.

A neighbour, who didn’t want to be named, described Mr Hawkes as a friend.

“He and Judy were a close couple, with a long marriage,” he said.

He said the Reedy Marsh property had a number of houses on it and Mr Hawkes had lived there since the early 1990s.

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Teenage driver Piastri wins Brabham award


Melbourne teenager Oscar Piastri has joined an honour roll including Mark Webber, Will Power and Daniel Ricciardo after being awarded the Sir Jack Brabham Award by Motorsport Australia.

The 19-year-old enjoyed a spectacular rookie campaign in the Formula Three championship, winning the title in a year disrupted by the global COVID pandemic.

First awarded in 2006, the Sir Jack Brabham Award is presented to Australian drivers who achieve notable success on an international level.

It is named in honour of Brabham – a three-time Formula One world champion who also raced at the iconic Indianapolis 500.

“To win this award is a massive honour,” said Piastri, who will be competing in Formula Two in 2021 on the next step towards his own Formula One ambitions.

“It’s very special … winning the award is one of those things where it’s a real honour to have it on your CV.

“It’s cool to get the award and it’s only going to bring good things for my career.”

Past winners of the award include IndyCar star Power, F1 race winners Ricciardo and Webber as well as rally champion Cody Crocker and Porsche factory works driver Matthew Campbell.

As well as his Formula Three success, Piastri also ended 2021 by test-driving Renault’s Formula One car.

His debut Formula Two championship campaign begins with testing next month before the eight-round season gets underway at the Bahrain Grand Prix in March.

SIR JACK BRABHAM AWARD WINNERS

2020: Oscar Piastri

2018: Will Power

2017: Matthew Campbell

2014: Daniel Ricciardo

2012: David Brabham

2011: Tony Gaze

2009: Marcos Ambrose/Mark Webber

2007: Will Power

2006: Cody Crocker/Ben Atkinson



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F1 2021 News: Daniel Ricciardo, Testing, Lando Norris, driver line-up, McLaren, homework


Daniel Ricciardo is set to be put under an intense pre-season with McLaren giving their star recruit “homework” to make sure he has a fast start to life at his new team.

While typically drivers are given time to get familiar with their surroundings, testing has been reduced to three days in 2021.

As such, McLaren have a key objective to make the most of the pre-season time with Ricciardo, setting a clear goal for the Aussie superstar.

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Daniel Ricciardo has joined McLaren. (Photo by Mark Sutton – Pool/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

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F1 2021 news, driver line-ups: Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Renault, Results, Constructor Championship


Daniel Ricciardo may have made the switch to McLaren ahead of the 2021 season but he has left with a clear picture of just how much Renault have transformed since his arrival in 2019.

Renault has recorded ninth, sixth, fourth and fifth (twice) placed finishes in the Constructors’ Championship since its full-time return in 2016.

Ricciardo’s signature was a serious coup but his first year did not live up to expectations, with the Aussie admitting that he would ramp up the pressure in 2020.

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Former F1 driver Romain Grosjean free of bandages after Bahrain Grand Prix fireball


French driver Romain Grosjean revealed his injured hands free of bandages on Tuesday, six weeks after he clambered from the fiery wreckage of his car following an horrific accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old, who has now left Formula One, suffered burns to both hands when his Haas car split in two and erupted in flames after piercing a metal crash barrier.

Grosjean, a veteran of 179 Grand Prix starts, was engulfed in the flames for 28 seconds before he clambered out, with the assistance of FAI doctor Ian Roberts and medical car driver Alan van der Merwe.

He has been recovering at home in Switzerland since leaving hospital three days after the accident, missing the last two races of 2020.

“Dressing fully off and Petrus happy,” he said on Twitter above a picture of him cradling the family pet cat and another close up of his hands, the left looking purple and raw.

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Grosjean had the dressings on his right hand removed last month.

The father of three said he could “clearly” feel his hands burning on the chassis of his stricken car when he pulled himself from the vehicle.

“For the sake of my children, I told myself I had to get out. I put my hands in the fire and I could clearly feel my hands burning on the chassis,” Grosjean said after the accident.

“There’s going to be some psychological work to be done, because I really saw death coming. When you see images, not even Hollywood is capable of doing that,” Grosjean told French broadcaster TF1 from his hospital bed in Bahrain.

“To come out of the flames that day is something that will mark my life forever.”

Romain Grosjean was able to send a message from his hospital bed hours after the inferno.(Twitter: Haas F1 Team)

ABC/Reuters

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Police investigating after driver leaves the scene of crash | The Border Mail


news, court-and-crime,

Police are investigating a car crash after the driver left the scene. A man crashed a white Mazda on Chiltern-Beechworth Road about 11pm on Saturday. The car came to a stop on a table drain which caused oil to leak from the vehicle. IN OTHER NEWS: The man returned to the scene on Sunday to collect the car and police and firefighters attended. The Environment Protection Authority was also alerted due to the oil spill, which occurred about halfway between Chiltern and Beechworth.

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Highway crash ends in court date for driver



A female driver is lucky to have walked away without injury after crashing their vehicle on the Gwydir Highway near Jackadgery on Thursday night.

However, she will now face court later this year.

At around 10.55pm, the 36-year-old female driver of a black Holden ute travelling west toward Jackadgery lost control of the vehicle and crashed into an embankment.

Emergency services arrived to find the woman uninjured and the vehicle having sustained only superficial damage.

Coffs-Clarence Police confirmed to the Daily Examiner that the woman failed a roadside breath test. She was then taken to a nearby station for further testing which recorded a High Range blood alcohol level and was subsequently charged.

The woman, a resident of Jackadgery, is expected to appear in court in March.



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‘Reckless’ Yorke Peninsula beach driver fined $1,300 after carrying eight children in ute tray



Police have fined a man who was seen in photos carrying eight children in the back of his ute along a South Australian country beach.

They allege the Nissan driver drove through the water at Wallaroo’s North Beach, on the Yorke Peninsula, while eight unrestrained children were in the ute tray on Monday afternoon.

Police said another man driving a Holden ute was “driving quickly” near people walking along the shore, causing water to splash up higher than the vehicle’s roof.

Police tracked down both drivers on Tuesday morning, with the help of Wallaroo locals, who posted photos of the incidents to social media.

“Drivers need to make better choices — if one of the children had fallen from the back of the utility, the consequences could have been tragic,” SA Police said.

The Nissan driver, a 29-year-old Para Hills man, was issued a $1,313 fine for having two or more children not wearing a seatbelt, riding in a part of a vehicle not for people and driving a vehicle without proper control.

He also received five demerit points.

The other driver, a 29-year-old man from Victoria, was issued a $287 on-the-spot fine for driving a vehicle without proper control.

‘The community are watching’

Copper Coast Mayor Roselyn Talbot said the drivers would not have been caught if not for the “diligence” of locals.

Ms Talbot said she was first made aware of the beach incidents when locals started posting photos to social media.

“The community are watching and are monitoring these sorts of things,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe, to be honest, that people were so reckless towards children they would love and care for.”

She said the behaviour was disappointing but not a common occurrence.

“The Wallaroo beach is traditionally a family-friendly beach where people like to park their cars, be able to sit, the children play cricket, and I think that we watch out for each other.

“I think the fact these people have been caught will discourage people from behaving recklessly again.”

SA Police said motorists should remember that road rules applied equally to beaches.

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Hermes delivery driver reveals why he quit job after just TWO DAYS


A Hermes delivery driver quit his job after just two days because he had to spend 45 minutes a day sorting through parcels without pay, he claims.

Matt Solomons worked two shifts at Deliveries247, a company based in Greenford, North London, which is contracted by Hermes.

Sharing pictures of the depot online, the 23-year-old said parcels were left ‘everywhere,’ including on the damp ground, before being ‘stuffed’ into delivery vehicles.

Joining the company less than two weeks before Christmas, Mr Solomons said it took him 45 minutes to sort parcels into his vehicle – time he claims he was not paid for.   

Parcels set to be delivered just days before Christmas were left lying on the damp ground outside Delivery247 – company contracted by Hermes – according to one courier who quit his job after just two days 

He explained: ‘You take out your assigned round to your car, and you have to scan all these parcels and ideally order them so you can load up efficiently.

‘This takes about 30-45 minutes if not more and all of this is unpaid.

‘Each of those parcels is worth 50p and boxes are £1, so before you even deliver them you have to faff around sorting them.

‘For me at least, it seemed like a lot of unpaid work, and you want to do it as quickly as possible or else you’re literally losing time and money.

‘Plus obviously it’s not a great look when you have the parcels on the floor and you’re trying to stuff them in your car.’

The former courier claims he was not paid for his first shift on December 16, during which he delivered 20 parcels, as it counted towards his training.

Matt Solomons claims he was not paid for his first 20 deliveries, or for sorting out parcels for 45 minutes, during his two days working at a delivery service in Greenford, North London

Matt Solomons claims he was not paid for his first 20 deliveries, or for sorting out parcels for 45 minutes, during his two days working at a delivery service in Greenford, North London

The 23-year-old shared pictures of the sorting office online, with shocked social media users branding the images 'despicable'

The 23-year-old shared pictures of the sorting office online, with shocked social media users branding the images ‘despicable’ 

Speaking today, he said: ”Even though I delivered 20 parcels for them, some of them were for Hermes.

‘This means that had I not refused to deliver another hour’s worth on the first day, that round would also have been unpaid.

‘To me, they tried to cheat me into giving them free labour and that really sent me over.

‘I didn’t care about losing money, it was more the principle of trying to take advantage of me like that.’

After sharing images from the depot online on Tuesday, social media users were up in arms, as one person said the scenes were ‘diabolical’.

Another added: ‘One of the worst companies I’ve dealt with.’ 

And another joked: ‘Is that my next parcel that’s gone missing?’ 

Following contact from the press, Deliveries247 has confirmed Matt will be paid for his training shift.

However, the former courier expressed doubt over their motivation, he said: ‘The woman who hired me said that this is the big topic at the depot right now.

‘They didn’t like that I went public, rather than complaining internally, but I just wanted to share my experience.

‘They say that I will get paid for the first day, but this contradicts what my direct manager said.’

A spokeswoman for Deliveries247 said: ‘Once basic training has finished, drivers are then given the option to go live delivering up to 20 Parcels max, which Matt had agreed to do so.

‘At Deliveries247 we do not pressurise our drivers to do extra work, however, when Matt returned to the depot, he was given the option to deliver more parcels.

Deliveries247 has since confirmed that Mr Solomons will be paid for the 20 parcels he delivered, after initially refusing to pay him by claiming it was part of his training

Deliveries247 has since confirmed that Mr Solomons will be paid for the 20 parcels he delivered, after initially refusing to pay him by claiming it was part of his training

‘I have looked through our deliveries inbox and cannot find any email from Matt Solomons regarding his resignation.

‘All parcels scanned and delivered under Matt Solomons driver number will be calculated, and payment will be made on Tuesday 12th January 2021 into the bank account he provided.

‘I have already discussed this with Matt earlier today who sincerely apologised for his behaviour towards Hermes/Deliveries247 code of conduct and had agreed to remove the post from social media.’

However, Matt says he only apologised for the ‘distress’ the post caused, and that it was removed against his will.

A spokeswoman for Hermes said: ‘Mr Solomons does not have a contract with Hermes, but he may have provided services for one of our self-employed couriers, who would be responsible for his payment and terms of business.

‘We are unable to comment further on any dispute between two independent parties. ‘



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Driver charged with causing death of cyclist hit by car at Henley Beach


A cyclist has become the first person to die on South Australia’s roads this year after he was hit by a car in Adelaide’s western suburbs early this morning.

The 60-year-old Brighton man was struck by the car on Seaview Road at Henley Beach and died at the scene, with police called to the area just before 7:30am.

The driver of the car — a 51-year-old Grange man — has been charged.

SA Police said the circumstances were still being investigated.

“Unfortunately the cyclist has died and that’s the first fatality for 2021,” Acting Assistant Commissioner John Venditto said.

“It happened just after 7:00am.

“As to the facts and circumstances — that will come out later once the investigators have had a chance to do their job.”

The driver has been arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving and aggravated driving without due care.

He was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for a health assessment, and then to the City Watch House.

Details surrounding the crash are still being investigated.(ABC News: Simon Christie)

Debris from the bike was strewn across Seaview Road, which was closed between Marlborough Road and Reedie Street.

Police are expecting roads to be busier this holiday season, and have again reminded people to take care on the roads.

“I would anticipate that there would be more traffic on the roads because people can’t go interstate, they’re going to be travelling more [within SA],” the acting assistant commissioner said.

Last year there were 95 deaths and 695 serious injuries on South Australia’s roads, compared with 114 deaths in 2019.



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