NT Police investigate deaths of 30 station horses after feral shooting allegedly goes wrong


Workers on a Northern Territory cattle station say they are heartbroken and cannot believe that 30 station horses, which were in a paddock close to the homestead, have been shot dead.

Police are now investigating the shooting on Killarney Station, about a 600-kilometre drive from Darwin.

Alex Laurisson from Killarney Station said the two people who allegedly killed the horses had been allowed to shoot feral animals on the property.

“They were supposed to just shoot a number of feral animals that had been agreed on, prior to them coming,” she said.

“[The pair] were told they weren’t to shoot within a certain area of the homestead and were also told that we had a lot of horses nearby that were very special to us.

“They were shown specifically where they were allowed to shoot, and the area that they have gone and shot, they had no permission.”

Darwin branch president of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, Andrew Armstrong, has confirmed the two shooters were members, who were conducting pest control of feral animals in the area.

He said he would not comment any further while the matter was being investigated.

Killarney Station is a major cattle station in the Northern Territory(ABC News: Dan Fitzgerald)

Station staff ‘completely heartbroken’ at loss of ‘mates’

Ms Laurisson said the dead animals included “some of the best horses we have on Killarney”, and it was a distressing time for the staff.

“They’re completely heartbroken, initially they were just shocked, in disbelief, grief, anger, heartbreak,” she said.

“No money is ever going to repay what we’ve lost.

“Our horses play a massive role in what we do, they’re part of our whole identity at Killarney, they’re our mates.

“The relationships that we built with the horses that we’ve lost can never be brought back, they were part of our family”.

Ms Laurisson said it was hard to imagine the horses getting mistaken for feral horses.

“Before they got put out in the paddock their manes were cut, tails brushed, they were so fat and shiny because they were looked after so well, they had just had their shoes pulled off and they had gone out to have a rest for the year.

“They probably would have gone walking up to whatever vehicle the shooters were in, they were so quiet.”



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Fears for buildings after Canberra service station fuel leak contaminates soil and groundwater


A fuel leak at a petrol station in Canberra’s west has leached into surrounding soil and contaminated groundwater, leaving nearby homeowners and businesses worried their properties will have to be demolished.

A letter sent out to nearby residents said assessments had found there was “evidence that soil, groundwater and soil vapour [had been] contaminated”.

The Caltex service station in Kippax first discovered the leak in mid-February, at which point it decommissioned the tank.

Assessments are underway to determine the extent of the damage, with engineering firm WSP Australia brought in to conduct environmental investigations at the site.

“Investigations to date indicate that the ambient air (the atmosphere) is not contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons and is not flammable.”

Investigations have confirmed the service station does not pose a health risk and continues to operate, while tap water remains unaffected by the fuel leak and completely safe to drink.

The letter to nearby residents also said there had been extensive work done to pump out and recover the fuel from beneath the service station.

Residents in nearby apartments said these silver rods were recently placed in the ground as part of the investigation. (ABC News: Selby Stewart)

“Fuel recovery is ongoing, and a significant proportion of lost product has been recovered,” the letter said.

Investigations to determine the full extent and nature of the leak, in consultation with the ACT Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and an independent environmental auditor are ongoing.

“We have now completed onsite investigations and are expanding works to include off-site areas surrounding the site,” it said.

“Access to your property may be required so that we can determine the extent of the leak and identify if any further remediation activities are required.

“Once the nature and extent of the contamination and any associated risks are determined, a report detailing the outcomes of investigative works will be provided to the EPA.”

‘We don’t know how bad it is’

Dee looks away from the camera so you can only see the back of her head and her dog.
Kippax resident Dee Brown said she was worried the petrol could be hazardous to her health.(ABC News: Selby Stewart)

Resident Dee Brown, who did not want to reveal her face so as to protect her identity, has lived in the unit block across the road from the Caltex petrol station for 12 months.

She is one of more than 10 residents living in the complex.

Ms Brown said the letter was hand-delivered by one of the workers in July, but she had since heard nothing.

“I’m worried about the extent of the leak, we don’t know how bad it is,” Ms Brown said.

“We were told it wasn’t that bad but they’re clearly still here drilling.”

Other residents, who asked for anonymity, said they were concerned the buildings would need to be demolished.

“They tested fumes levels in our building twice and said there wasn’t anything to worry about.”

Nearby business owners said workers were also testing underground.

“They’ve been testing out the back for a while now and we haven’t been told the results,” one worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said.

“They said they were testing for environmental damage.

“But we’re worried they’ll have to knock this entire complex down if it’s contaminated.”

Large sections of the service station remain blocked off and dozens of oil drums have been lined up alongside the store.

Likelihood of off-site impacts ‘low’: EPA

In a statement, the EPA said Caltex had so far complied with its obligations in response to the fuel leak.

They said the likelihood of any off-site impacts, including contamination, was low.

“It would be inappropriate to provide any further comment at this time as it may impact the ongoing investigation by the EPA,” it said.

Caltex has been contacted for comment.



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STATION LOCATIONS CONFIRMED FOR WESTERN SYDNEY’S NEW METRO – 16 News


The station locations for the new Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project to service Greater Western Sydney and the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) airport have been revealed, with the project also set to deliver a multi-billion dollar boost to the New South Wales and Australian economies.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Minister for Transport Andrew Constance and Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres today inspected the site of the future Western Sydney Aerotropolis Station.

“The Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project will support 14,000 jobs, including 250 apprentices and inject billions of dollars to the NSW and Australian economies,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Where we are standing today will become a major new transport interchange, right in the heart of the future central business district for the Western Parkland City.”

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said construction would start this year on the around $11 billion mega-project that would deliver economic support and local jobs.

“This city-shaping investment is being fast-tracked to help our economy recover from COVID-19 and deliver a major stimulus right in the heart of Western Sydney,” Mr Tudge said.

“Western Sydney residents will reap the benefits of this investment well before the first train leaves the station.”

Exact station locations have now also been confirmed on the 23-kilometre driverless railway line at St Marys, Orchard Hills, Luddenham and two stations at the airport.

NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the tender process has also started to deliver 10 kilometres of twin Metro railway tunnels, with the call for registrations of interest.

“Construction starts later this year on a project that will become the transport spine for the Western Parkland City,” Mr Constance said.

“The new railway will link residential areas with jobs hubs, and connect travellers from the new airport with the rest of Sydney’s public transport network.”

New South Wales Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the project will be a game changer for the region.

“This will provide the backbone for the economic and broader development of the Western Parkland City,” Mr Ayres said.

Federal Member for Lindsay Melissa McIntosh said the Australian and NSW Governments are working together in preparation for the airport opening for passenger services.

“The huge investment in Western Sydney Infrastructure projects is creating an interconnected city that will enable innovation, support growth and create jobs to build an exciting future for Western Sydney,” Mrs McIntosh said.

Supporting the airport and Aerotropolis is a key part of the Western Sydney City Deal – a
20-year agreement signed in March 2018 by the Commonwealth Government, NSW Government and eight Western Sydney councils.



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Protesters block Brisbane police station after indigenous death in custody


Protestors have gathered outside Brisbane Police Headquarters, changing “f*** the police” after the death of an indigenous woman in custody.

A Black Lives Matter protest sparked by the death of an indigenous woman in custody has spiralled out of control in Brisbane.

Police have made several arrests at the rally outside Brisbane’s Police Headquarters, after a 49-year-old woman died in her cell at the Brisbane Watchhouse yesterday.

A group of 100 protesters, including Brisbane City Greens Councilor Jonathan Sri blocked busy Roma St, swarmed a police car, and repeatedly called for police to “let them (the arrested protesters) go.”

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Cr Sri said the protest had been peaceful, until police turned the tide without warning.

“An Aboriginal woman died in police custody and police haven’t explained why or how,” he told NCA NewsWire.

“They haven’t released footage from the cell.

“Residents were protesting peacefully, spaced out safely, and without warning or negotiation police randomly arrested people, turning a safe situation into a tense one.”

Police negotiators were brought in to diffuse the situation, but that failed to work, with a police van still blocked and another being blocked further down the street outside the watch-house.

Police are investigating the cause of the woman’s death, including looking into whether she had underlying medical conditions.

Protesters could this morning be heard chanting “F*** the police”, “Black Lives Matter”, and “Blood on your hands”.

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Feedback on Goulburn Station upgrade sought | Goulburn Post



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Community feedback on the Goulburn Station upgrade project has been sought by the state government. The feedback will help Transport for NSW gauge what is important to the customers and the community. The last date of submission of the feedback was Monday, September 7. The results are now being collated and findings will be made available to the public soon. READ ALSO: Collector Pumpkin Festival calls it quits A part of the Transport Access Program which is a NSW Government initiative, the project aims to deliver safe, modern and accessible public transport infrastructure across the state. “The $2.7 million Goulburn Station Upgrade will provide a station precinct that is accessible to people with a disability, limited mobility, parents/carers with prams and customers with luggage,” a Transport for NSW spokesperson said. “The project is currently progressing through the planning and design process, and is expected to be completed in mid-2021.” READ ALSO: R U OK?: Check in with emergency services personnel The key benefits of the upgrade include two new ambulant toilets, improved lighting and wayfinding, path upgrades, new kerb ramps, upgrades to the waiting room and ticket counter, and accessible help points. More than $2 billion has been invested in the Transport Access Program since 2011 to fund accessibility upgrades at stations, create better: transport interchanges, and build car parks. For more information, visit https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/current-projects/goulburn-station-upgrade. Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.

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Townsville police admit concern about vigilantes after four cars crash near police station


Police say they are investigating whether a member of the public had been following several stolen cars that crashed in Townsville early on Monday morning.

Three cars that had been stolen during various burglaries and another car, driven by a member of the public, collided close to the Kirwan Police Station at 2:30am on Monday.

Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon said the investigation was in the early stages but he would not rule out vigilantism.

“The other car was a member of a public driving along, that’ll form part of the investigation,” he said.

“I’m very concerned when people decide to take action under their own hands because that’s what we’re here to do.”

Chief Superintendent Hanlon said another car picked up the offenders.

“We’re looking for about five or six offenders [but] we don’t know their ages,” he said.

A woman who lives near where the cars crashed said she saw the occupants of the stolen vehicles damaging the other car before they fled in another stolen car.

“I just woke up to a screeching car sound and then I heard the bang of where they crashed,” she said.

“[I saw] these teenagers, there was about three of four … and they were just stomping all over the car, kicking in the windscreen and bashing into the windows.”

Station unmanned at the time

The witness said the driver and passenger were inside the car at the time and she heard them screaming.

“They were on the phone to the police … and then they ran over to the police station looking for help and there was no help for them, no coppers there at all,” she said.

“It was quite distressing to hear they had no help when they got over to that police station.

Chief Superintendent Hanlon said the police station — which is about 100 metres away — was unmanned at the time of the crash and officers arrived afterwards.

“You may not always have a police officer in a station, because that crew is out on the roads in the public making sure that we are responding to calls for service or providing a proactive response,” he said.

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Police are hunting for a group of people who attacked two people with a bat (Supplied)

Man and teen assaulted

Townsville police are also investigating the assault of a man in his 60s and a 16-year-old boy outside a Kirwan shopping centre on Sunday afternoon.

Part of the incident was captured on video.

Police said the man and teenager were beaten with a baseball bat during the group attack just after 4:00pm.

The two victims were treated for minor injuries at the Townsville University Hospital.



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Canberra man arrested with cannabis plants, firearms, as piglets returned to Yarralumla Play Station


A 39-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the theft of animals from the Yarralumla Play Station last week.

Known for its miniature train and mini golf, the Yarralumla Play Station is a popular daytime attraction in Canberra’s south.

On Wednesday, after being tipped off by a member of the public, ACT Policing and the RSPCA visited a home in the Canberra suburb of Deakin, where they discovered four piglets, allegedly stolen from the children’s farm at the Play Station.

RSPCA officers assessed the piglets and removed them from the house. An adolescent pig located in the back yard of the home was also removed.

Police also alleged they uncovered a locked room inside a shipping container which held a loaded bolt action rifle, with several other guns and ammunition inside a nearby gun safe.

They allegedly found several cannabis plants while searching the property.

Yarralumla Play Station owners said their “faith in humanity is slightly restored” with the return of the piglets.(ABC News: Tahlia Roy)

Alleged theft also wanted in NT and Thailand

It was later revealed in court the man accused of taking the piglets is wanted in the Northern Territory and Thailand for other crimes.

The colourful past led by Owen Van Duren, 39, was detailed in court documents when he sought bail in the ACT Magistrates Court today.

Magistrate Margaret Hunter queried the allegations when the charges were laid, asking: “Is this the poacher and the game keeper?”

Court documents showed Mr Van Duren once stole a power boat to escape authorities in Thailand and sailed it back to Australia.

Police said he is also wanted for alleged car theft in Darwin.

Mr Van Duren has only been charged with stealing the piglets – charges have not been laid for the alleged drug and weapon discoveries.

He was granted bail to return to court later this month.

Pig owners pleased at prompt return

The four piglets have been returned to the Yarralumla Play Station, much to the delight of their owners.

“We have some great news! The piglets have been found and returned,” Play Station management said on Facebook, thanking “the good Samaritan who reported it to the police”.

ACT Policing confirmed that the “other animals stolen from the Yarralumla Play Station have yet to be found”, including a three fully grown turkeys, two frizzle chickens and one Polish chicken.

“If you happen to see (or hear!) a little black and a little white frizzle chicken, or a Polish rooster with an attitude, and three large turkeys then please let the police know,” the Play Station asked on their Facebook page.

A turkey in a farm yard.
One of three turkeys stolen from Yarralumla Play Station last week.(ACT Policing)

Police are continuing their investigations into the poultry thefts, as well as the ownership of the discovered weapons cache.



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Animals stolen from Yarralumla Play Station in Canberra’s Weston Park


A Canberra play centre is appealing to the public for help tracking down a number of farm animals stolen from Weston Park.

Known for its miniature train and mini golf, the Yarralumla Play Station is a popular daytime attraction in Canberra’s south.

Four piglets were stolen from Yarralumla Play Station on Thursday.(Facebook)

But the children’s farm area at the Play Station was the target of a night-time raid last Thursday, August 27, when a number of people allegedly climbed the fence and stole 10 animals.

ACT Policing said that about 8:30pm, “fencing around the property was cut and animals stolen from their pens”.

They confirmed two black and pink spotted piglets, two pink piglets, three light brown and white turkeys, two frizzle chickens and a Polish rooster were stolen.

Yarralumla Play Station’s management said that, despite having “18 high definition cameras” installed around the premises for security, the thieves managed to escape undetected.

“They clearly had cased the place beforehand and knew where they were,” they said.

A blue and red train sits idle.
Yarralumla Play Station is popular with Canberra’s kids and adults alike.(Facebook)

Play Station management said they were most concerned for the piglets, as they are only one week old and, without their mother around, would need bottle feeding to survive.

“[We] also hatched the chickens from eggs … and raised them before bringing them into the farm, so all our animals are more than just farm animals to us and we would dearly love to have them all back,” they said.

A chicken perches on top of a goat in a farm.
Three turkeys, two frizzle chickens and one polish chicken were among the animals stolen.(Facebook)

ACT Policing has been in contact with Domestic Animal Services to help locate the animals, and have asked for any witnesses to come forward.

“This is a very sad incident,” Detective Inspector Adrian Craft said.

He said investigations into the theft of the animals were ongoing.



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Canberra high school student reportedly assaulted by peer at petrol station witnessed by ‘about 30 teenagers’


A Canberra woman who intervened in a public attack on a teenage school girl says she was stunned to see other members of the public continue to walk by, labelling the behaviour as “disgraceful”.

Tennille Topley, 35, said her family had just stopped for petrol at a service station in Mawson on Thursday afternoon when she spotted a commotion allegedly involving “about 30 teenagers”.

“When we pulled up, they were in a circle and a young girl on the ground getting bashed, getting attacked,” Ms Topley said.

Ms Topley said the teenage girl being attacked, by another girl, was “tiny”.

“I jumped out [of the car]. I’m like, ‘What the hell are you doing? This is not okay. Do you not have nothing better to do? F*** off out of here’,” Ms Topley said.

“That’s when most of them started fleeing, but a few kept hanging around.

“I said, ‘This is all on footage. So, if you want to hang around for the police to come, you can all give statements, but I suggest you get out of here.'”

Ms Topley said she called a police station in Canberra’s south rather than triple-0, and told an officer she had witnessed an attack, urging police to come quickly as the teen “was not okay”.

Ms Topley said she put the girl on the phone for a “brief conversation” and then waited for the police to arrive.

She said about 10 minutes later a car driven by the mother of the injured girl’s friend arrived to take the teen to safety.

Ms Topley waited by herself for the police, but she said they never came.

Tennille Topley took to social media to express her frustration that other adults didn’t intervene.(Facebook)

Police and Education Directorate investigating

In a statement, an ACT Policing spokesman said police had attended the scene but could not confirm their response time.

“ACT Policing responded to reports of an assault at a Mawson service station on Thursday afternoon,” the statement said.

“The victim’s mother contacted police [on Thursday] as the victim was receiving treatment for her injuries.

“Police have spoken with the mother again and an investigation into the incident has commenced.”

The victim was taken to hospital with a suspected concussion but was later released.

Ms Topley said the most disturbing part of the incident was that she was the only person to help the girl.

“There were a lot of adults … walking past, going in to pay and not doing a single thing about what was going on. They just kept about their business. They didn’t try to step in or anything,” she said.

She took to Facebook to express her disapproval and was inundated with messages — including several from the teenage girl’s mother asking her to “let Facebook know my daughter is okay, okay as can be”.

AFP car
ACT Policing said they attended the scene, but could not confirm their response time.(ABC News: Kathleen Dyett)

In a statement, the ACT Education Directorate said they were “aware of an incident” that occurred off school grounds and outside of school hours.

Ms Topley said several of the students had been wearing a school uniform.

The Directorate confirmed they had been working with one particular school after being made aware of the assault.

The ABC has chosen not to name the schools of the students involved, so as not to identify the victim of the attack.

Last year, the ACT Legislative Assembly held an inquiry into school violence and bullying which heard in closed hearings from parents whose children had experienced similar attacks.

The inquiry found bullying in Canberra schools was not common, but some cases had been handled poorly due to poor communication, reporting and staff training.



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Serial rapist Michael James Boxsell sentenced for cold case rape at Beckenham train station


A man who threatened to “blow the heads off” two young women before raping one of them as they waited for a train in Perth’s south-east has been jailed, 30 years after the attack.

Warning: This story contains distressing content.

The prosecutor described the actions of New South Wales man Michael James Boxsell as “every teenager’s worst nightmare”.

At 11:30pm on Saturday March 10, 1990, the 17-year-old girl and 19-year-old woman were waiting to catch a train in Beckenham when a balaclava-clad Boxsell appeared brandishing a handgun.

“Don’t move or I’ll blow your heads off,” he told the pair before placing them in headlocks and forcing them into bushland.

After they reached a clearing he told the pair to lie down on their stomachs and ordered them not to look at him.

The District Court was told he then ordered the 19-year-old to remove the 17-year-old’s pants before raping her repeatedly, at one stage putting his gun against her ribs.

Boxsell then pointed his gun at the pair and warned them not to tell anyone what had happened, and to not leave the area for 10 minutes.

The court heard the ordeal lasted about 40 minutes.

DNA link established 26 years later

The older woman made a statement to the court in which she said the pair’s friendship had subsequently fallen apart.

She said she had continued to carry guilt because she was “helpless to help her friend”.

She also said Boxsell had been able to carry on with his life, while she had been watching her back, feeling scared and insecure.

Boxsell has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.(Facebook)

Boxsell was 24 years old at the time of the Beckenham offences and had a history of sexual assault.

The court heard that DNA was gathered, but the case was unsolved until a match in 2016.

Boxsell, who had most recently been living in Cootamundra in New South Wales, was imprisoned in 2015 for firearms offences, and was extradited to WA in September 2019.

He had a history of sexual offences and had previously been sentenced to prison in 1986 for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Esperance.

And six months after the Beckenham offences were committed, he raped a woman in Balcatta.

He had also faced a range of other offences.

In 1991 he was sent to prison for eight years and nine months, and was released in 2000.

Boxsell, who was born in Sydney, then headed back to his home state.

Boxsell in the ‘grip of drug addiction’

His lawyer Tony Hager said it was accepted Boxsell had engaged in “very, very serious conduct” in March 1990.

He said Boxsell was firmly in the grip of drug addiction and was smoking speed and using cannabis daily at the time.

Boxsell was going long periods without sleep and his “existence at the time was a chaotic one”, his lawyer said.

Mr Hager said his client had great difficulty remembering the events in Beckenham as he had suffered memory loss as a result of being assaulted by a burglar, and a second assault which occurred in prison in NSW.

At several points during the sentencing process, Boxsell wept in the dock.

Offences a ‘gross violation’: Prosecution

Prosecutor David Robinson described the Beckenham attack as “premeditated, persistent and protracted”.

He said it was a “gross violation” and would have been “utterly terrifying” for both victims.

Mr Robinson referred to the vulnerability of the teenagers who were simply catching public transport at night.

Boxsell pleaded guilty to six charges including sexual penetration, indecent assault and deprivation of liberty.

Judge Bruce Goetze sentenced the 55-year-old grandfather to 10 years in prison.

He was made eligible for parole.

A lifetime violence restraining order was made in relation to the two victims.



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