Autistic four-year-old girl goes missing


Police are seeking public assistance in locating a four-year-old child who went missing from a remote outstation near Titjikala (Maryvale) yesterday afternoon.

She was last seen by family at the Alice Outstation near Alice Well, which is off Finke Road near the Finke Track, around 2pm.

Police assets including a drone, dog operations and patrol vehicles were deployed to the area to look for the girl.

She is of Indigenous in appearance with light skin, “wild” black curly hair, was last seen wearing a pink and black dress. She has a hearing impairment. Her family advise she is non-verbal.

Watch Commander Senior Sergeant Adrian Kidney says: “Obviously a young child alone would spark concern in anyone, so we urge anyone in the area to please keep an eye out for this little one and call us on 131 444 if you find her.

“Her family are beside themselves with worry.”

IMAGE Google Earth.

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Teenage girl from Werribee dies after car rolls during crash in Hoppers Crossing


A teenage girl has died after the allegedly stolen car she was in rolled during a crash south west of Melbourne.

The 15-year-old was a passenger in the Subaru Liberty when it veered off Old Geelong Road in Hoppers Crossing after 6.30pm on Saturday.

It’s believed the car rolled during the crash.

The girl, from Werribee, was taken to hospital where she later died.

One of the occupants of the car is alleged to have initially fled the scene following the crash but was later arrested.

A view of Old Geelong Road in Hoppers Crossing. Credit: Google Maps

Two other occupants were also arrested.

Detectives interviewed the trio, which includes a 15-year-old girl and two teenage boys, aged 16 and 17.

The 16-year-old Werribee boy was later charged with culpable driving causing death.

The girl, from Tarneit, was charged with theft of motor vehicle and theft, while the older boy, from Point Cook, was charged with theft of motor vehicle.

The younger boy and the girl were remanded in custody to appear in court at a later date, while the 17-year-old boy was released on bail and will appear in court at a later date.

Anyone with dashcam footage or information is urged to contact police.

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Teenage girl dies after allegedly stolen car rolls in Hoppers Crossing


A 15-year-old Werribee girl has died after the car she travelling in veered off a road in Hoppers Crossing on Saturday night.

Investigators believe the allegedly stolen Subaru Liberty careened off Old Geelong Road in Melbourne’s south-western suburbs and rolled just after 6.30pm.

The scene of the fatal crash at Hoppers Crossing.Credit:Nine News

One of the car’s occupants initially fled the scene but was arrested by police a short time later. Two others were also arrested following the crash.

The 15-year-old girl was taken to hospital where she later died.

Detectives from Major Collision Investigation Unit are currently interviewing a 15-year-old girl, a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy, one of whom is believed to have been the driver.

Anyone with dashcam footage or any other information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

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Former Queensland National Party member for Barambah Trevor Perrett charged with indecent treatment of a young girl


A former Queensland government minister has been charged over alleged indecent acts with a young girl.

Trevor John Perrett, who was minister for primary industries, fisheries and forestry in the Borbidge Coalition government from 1996 to 1998, is due to appear in court next Monday.

Mr Perrett, 79, faces 24 counts of indecent treatment of a child.

Police said a man from Petrie in Queensland’s Moreton Bay region was charged with the offences on February 2.

The alleged offences took place in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Roma between December 1974 and January 1977.

The police investigation was led by the Townsville Child Protection Investigation Unit.

The ABC was unable to reach Mr Perrett for comment.

His parliamentary career began in 1988 when he won the seat of Barambah as an independent with support from the far-right Citizens Electoral Council.

Within months, he joined the National Party and held office for a decade before he lost his seat to a One Nation candidate.

Mr Perrett’s son Tony Perrett has been the LNP member for Gympie since 2015.

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Bindi Irwin and husband welcome baby girl


Bindi Irwin and her husband Chandler Powell have announced the birth of a baby girl, whose name features a tribute to the late Steve Irwin.

The zookeeping couple took to social media to reveal their first child, named Grace Warrior Irwin Powell, was born on the day of their first wedding anniversary.

“There are no words to describe the infinite amount of love in our hearts for our sweet baby girl,” Bindi wrote on Instagram below a photo of herself and Powell cradling the new arrival.

“She chose the perfect day to be born and we feel tremendously blessed.”

Bindi, 22, said the name Grace came from her great grandmother, while the middle names Warrior Irwin were inspired by her late father Steve.

“Her middle names, Warrior Irwin, are a tribute to my dad and his legacy as the most incredible Wildlife Warrior,” the new mum shared with her 4.5 million Instagram followers.

Bindi was only eight years old when her beloved dad, nicknamed the Crocodile Hunter, was killed by a stingray while filming on the Great Barrier Reef in 2006.

She and Powell tied the knot at her family’s Australia Zoo in Queensland on March 25 last year, shortly before social distancing rules were brought in because of the pandemic.

Powell, a former professional wakeboarder from the US who now works alongside Bindi at Australia Zoo, also shared the happy news on social media.

“Finally meeting you has been the best moment of my life,” he wrote on Instagram.

“You have a big life ahead of you and no matter what, you will be surrounded by a whole lot of love.”



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Man charged with rape of teenage girl on Macleay Island off Brisbane


A 20-year-old man has been charged with rape after allegedly knocking a teenage girl unconscious and assaulting her on an island off Brisbane, Queensland police say.

Police have alleged the man followed a teenage girl after she got off a bus near Hamilton Parade on Macleay Island, just before 4:30pm on Wednesday.

Police said the man allegedly approached the girl, assaulted her and forced her into bushland where he sexually assaulted her.

When she regained consciousness, she resisted him and he ran off.

The man, from neighbouring Russell Island, was found in nearby bushland and arrested.

He has been charged with one count of rape and one count of disabling in order to commit an indictable offence.

The man appeared in Cleveland Magistrates Court, east of Brisbane, this morning and has been remanded in custody.

The matter will return to court on May 27.

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ABC journalist Sally Sara explores the challenges of foreign correspondents returning home in a play, Stop Girl


Sally Sara is one of the ABC’s most distinguished journalists and currently the host of radio current affairs program The World Today.

The multi-award-winning journalist has reported from more than 40 countries, including some of the world’s most dangerous hotspots, and was the first female correspondent to be appointed to the ABC’s Johannesburg, New Delhi and Kabul bureaus.

But covering conflict and people’s suffering took a toll.

Sara sought professional counselling after returning from war-torn Afghanistan and now she’s written a semi-autobiographical play, Stop Girl, exploring the challenges faced by foreign correspondents adjusting to normal life at home.

How did your play Stop Girl come about?

I’ve had a love of theatre, since I was a kid.

Growing up in rural South Australia, going to the theatre was a 350-kilometre round trip.

It was a big deal, very exciting.

I was always captivated by the magic moment when the lights go down just before the start of a show, that moment is so full of possibility.

I’ve always wanted to write the story that comes next, I’ve always wanted to fill that space.

I did some radio and TV scriptwriting subjects at university, along with some drama.

I was very interested in becoming a scriptwriter, but I was also desperate to see the world.

So, I was drawn to journalism.

But I always thought that when the time was right, and I knew I had a story to tell, I would write.

Sara worked as a video journalist in Afghanistan, filming her own stories.(

Supplied: Sally Sara

)

It felt like the only way to tell the story.

It has taken five-and-a-half years to get the play to the stage.

I spent the first year trying to teach myself how to write plays.

I was unable to do a formal playwriting course, because I was travelling overseas frequently for the ABC.

So I read, watched and listened to everything I could get my hands on.

I also contacted several playwrights, who were kind enough to answer my questions.

I wrote the first draft at the end of 2016 and sent it to nine different theatre companies.

Some were interested, some weren’t.

Some answered my emails, some didn’t.

The play was selected for development by Playwriting Australia (PWA) at the end of 2017.

PWA teamed with up with playwright and actor Kate Mulvany, who provided feedback and encouragement as I continued to re-draft the script.

Girl wearing headscarf holding biscuits from Australian government.
Sara found the suffering of children particularly hard to cope with.(

Supplied: Sally Sara

)

What impact did reporting in Afghanistan have on you?

I always found sad stories much more difficult than scary stories.

The scary stories seem to happen so quickly, but the sad stories have stayed with me for a long time.

Any stories involving children being injured or killed were the hardest of all.

How did you deal with the emotional impact?

I did my best as a correspondent to look after myself, talk to my friends and family and download any distressing experiences with counsellors.

I dealt fairly well while I was in the field, but it hit me later when I got home.

The assignments I did as a solo video-journalist seemed to have a much bigger emotional impact later on.

Being alone on the road can make stories much more difficult.

The assignments where I was working with a camera operator were easier to deal with because there was a chance to talk about what we’d witnessed.

View of sandbags in front of mountains and soldier with hands in ears.
Filming mortar attacks by the Taliban at Kunduz.(

Supplied: Sally Sara

)

How did the process of writing a play compare to journalism?

Being a journalist has certainly helped me write the play.

I interviewed all the real life people who inspired the characters — that gave a me a foundation for the script.

All of that has been invaluable in writing the play. The big difference as a playwright is that I can change the dialogue.

Some of the story structure discussions we’ve had with the play feel very similar to script meetings at Foreign Correspondent.

It’s all about being able to shift blocks of the story to where they need to go.

Tent with equipment stored next to it.
Sara’s toolkit in Afghanistan: flak jacket and helmet, camera and broadcasting equipment.(

Supplied: Sally Sara

)

As a journo, I’m also used to meeting deadlines.

I can organise my time and do the best I can in the time available.

The play has been an absolute lifeline. It’s given me a new focus, a big challenge.

It takes a lot of thinking time to solve problems in the script, so it means I’m not ruminating about other things.

Only a handful of family and friends knew I was writing it, I did it quietly, in case it didn’t happen.

It was just something lovely to have in my mind and my life.

One of the other joys of the play, is the humour.

Given the nature of my journalism job, I’m not often able to use much humour in public.

But parts of the play are great fun.

It’s such a relief to be free with the dialogue and let the characters really talk. I’ve loved that.

The way journalists speak on-camera and off-camera are very different.

Woman wearing headscarf standing next to camera on tripod in Kabul street.
Filming in Kabul in 2011.(

Supplied: Sally Sara

)

Has it been a cathartic experience?

The rehearsal process is quite demanding.

I don’t think it would be possible to come into that process with a lot of unfinished emotional business.

It would be too difficult.

I have worked really hard with a psychologist, to resolve any ongoing issues.

That has given me the stability and insight to be able to push forward with the play.

But I think it’s important to speak up and tell the story.

Many of my colleagues have also been affected by what they have witnessed.

I hope the play can give a voice to the unspoken side of journalism, the cost of what we do.

Black and white photo of Sara holding laptop laughing with another woman.
Sara at rehearsals for Stop Girl with actor Sheridan Harbridge.(

Belvoir Theatre Company: Brett Boardman

)

Belvoir St Theatre Company has been so respectful, supportive and committed to the play.

Every promise they have made, they have kept.

It is a dream come true to bring the story to the stage.

It’s really hard to break into theatre from the outside.

I’ve spent years going to every play I can.

I observe very carefully and take it all in. I love it.

I read and listen and watch everything I can get my hands on.

There is huge competition to get a play on stage, so many writers are working hard and taking risks. I don’t take it for granted.

I’ve given it everything I have.

I’m nervous as we move closer to opening night.

It’s all such an unknown experience for me.

As the writer, I hope I’ve written it well.

As the person who has lived some of the experiences of the story, I hope I can handle it.

Stop Girl is being performed at the Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney from March 20 to April 25

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Girl, 5, critical after being hit by van in Sydney’s north-west


A five-year-old girl is in a critical condition and a woman has serious leg and back injuries after the pair were hit by a van in Sydney’s north-west.

Emergency services rushed to Rooty Hill Road North, Plumpton shortly after 7.20pm on Wednesday, “after reports two pedestrians had been hit by a Toyota Tarago”.

The woman and five-year-old girl were treated by paramedics before the child was taken to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in a critical condition.

The woman was taken to Westmead Hospital in a serious but stable condition, police said.

The male driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital for mandatory testing.

The road on Wednesday night was closed in both directions between Bottles Road and Power Street.

According to Live Traffic NSW, at about 9.30pm the road remained closed in a northbound direction with diversions in place.

A crime scene was established at the crash site and police inquiries are continuing.

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Girl, 8, who died from ‘shock’ brain bleed will save five lives with organ donations


A family mourning their eight-year-old daughter who passed away suddenly have found some comfort in the fact their little girl will eventually save five lives with her organs.

And she has already saved three.

Caireann Gildea, from Point Cook in Melbourne, died suddenly after she suffered a ruptured AVM (arteriovenous malformation) in her brainstem on March 7 2020.

Just the day before she died she had competed in a Little Athletics tournament and had won the 200m race. Her family described her sudden death as a “shock”.

For the one year memorial of her death, her mother Kathy, 41, and father Neal, 42, have remembered her beautiful presence in this world, including that she will save the lives of five strangers.

“We lost someone but (someone else has) gained a better life,” Kathy told 7NEWs.com.au.

It was an ordinary day for the Gildea family on March 1 2020.

But then Caireann (pronounced like Karen) started “screaming that her head was exploding,” Kathy said.

She was struggling to breathe and Neal said “We saw her go blue”.

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Man ‘tries to meet 15-year-old girl for sex’, meets detectives instead


A Queensland man has been charged with child sex offences after he allegedly travelled from Mount Isa to Brisbane intending to have sex with an underage girl.

Little did he know he had been speaking online with an undercover Taskforce Argos police officer, who posed as a 15-year-old child on social media.

The man travelled from Mt Isa to Brisbane.

The man travelled from Mt Isa to Brisbane.Credit:QPS

The 20-year-old man was arrested on Friday at a Taringa fast food business where, police said, he believed he would meet the girl. Instead, he was met by detectives.

The two-month investigation was sparked by a referral from police in Western Australia, who received intelligence the man was being inappropriate with underage girls online.

The man was charged with using the internet to procure a child under 16 years of age, aggravated by the fact he travelled with the intention of meeting the child, and four counts of grooming.

The man was released on bail and was due to appear at the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Detective Inspector Glen Donaldson said the case highlighted the need for parents and caregivers to take measures to ensure their children’s safety online.

“Supervision is key to prevention, as is ongoing communication with children about how to stay safe online and the dangers of having online ‘friends’ they have never met face-to-face,” he said.

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