Brunswick woman Maryam Hamka missing as Brighton man charged


Police are continuing to search for a Melbourne woman missing for more than a week, after they revealed they had charged her former partner with matters “unrelated” to her disappearance.

Maryam Hamka, 36, was last seen on April 10 and has not used her bank account, phone or social media since. Her family reported her missing on Friday.

On Saturday, Victoria Policearrested a 45-year-old-man following a search warrant at a home in Brighton.

In a later statement, police said the man had been charged with matters “unrelated” to Maryam’s disappearance and will appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on April 30.

Police have not yet revealed what he was charged with, but said they believe he is Ms Hamka’s former partner and that he had assisted them with their inquiries.

Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said on Saturday there were “significant concerns” for the woman, who left her family home in Brunswick last Saturday afternoon with a bag of clothing.

“We’re aware she was picked up by a male companion – at this stage there’s inquiries being conducted as to who that person was,” he said.

Ms Hamka was last seen at a Woolworths store in Albert St, Brunswick at 5.30pm on Saturday.

She had told family she was intending to visit a friend in Brighton.

Ms Hamka is described as 165cm tall, with a thin build and long black hair, brown eyes and an olive complexion.

She was last seen wearing a black dress.

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Death of NSW woman who suffered blood clotting ‘likely’ linked to AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine



The TGA says the death of the 48-year-old who developed blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca shot “is likely to be linked to vaccination”.

The fatal blood clotting suffered by a woman in NSW is “likely” linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine she received, Australia’s medical regulator has announced. 

The revelation came in a statement late on Friday night from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The TGA’s Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG) met on Friday and concluded the blood clotting in the 48-year-old woman’s arteries and veins, as well as her low platelet count, was “likely to be linked to vaccination”.

She was vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot on 8 April and admitted to hospital four days later, where she died.

The review of the woman’s death was complicated by her underlying medical conditions, including diabetes, and “some atypical features”, the TGA’s statement said.

It said “anti-PFA antibodies” – which activate platelets, and have been found in almost all other internationally reported blood clot cases – were also absent. 

“Despite the atypical clinical features and the negative antibody test, in the absence of an alternative cause for the clinical syndrome, [VSIG] believed that a causative link to vaccination should be assumed at this time,” the statement said. 

This is the third report of a case of the rare blood clotting disorder linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia and the first death. The other two cases are being treated in hospital and have been recovering well.

Last Thursday, adults in Australians under the age of 50 were warned off receiving the AstraZeneca shot, with Pfizer becoming the preferred vaccine for that demographic. 

The TGA said the woman who died was vaccinated before authorities made the decision later that day, it said in its Friday statement.

Laboratory tests from the woman are still pending and an autopsy will be conducted next week. 

“Given this is an atypical presentation, should the test results and autopsy provide an alternative causation, VSIG would review their decision,” the TGA said.

TGA chief John Skerritt said this week that blood clotting associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine was so rare that “your chances of winning the lotto are much higher”, with the regulator’s Friday statement saying the three cases in Australia so far equated to a frequency of one in 295,000.

Earlier on Friday, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly urged people to continue to get vaccinated, saying the benefits far outweighed any harm.

He said he had read one unpublished overseas study that suggested COVID-19 brought a risk of blood clotting itself.

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Woman who died after COVID-19 jab had serious health issues



The woman who died days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine received the AstraZeneca variety, 9News has confirmed.

The 48-year-old received the vaccine last Friday at her GP, after the doctor assessed that the risk value was worth her getting the jab.

She died at John Hunter Hospital yesterday after developing blood clots.

9News can confirm the woman was not a frontline health worker, but her medical issues put her in the 1B rollout category.

The woman, who was diabetic, had serious underlying health issues before receiving the vaccine.

Her cause of death, and any connection between it, the blood clots, and the vaccine, is yet to be determined, with health authorities currently investigating.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian this morning offered her sympathies to the woman’s family as she waits for advice from health authorities.

“In the meantime we just extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones during this difficult time,” she told Today.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has said it is seeking “further clinical information including clinical test results” from the NSW Health Department.

Ms Berejiklian said she believed the “vast majority” of citizens wanted to get a vaccine, despite the highly-publicised incidences of rare adverse reactions.

“It is important for us to be really well-advised,” she said.

“If anyone has concerns, you should ask your GP.”

She also called on the federal government to provide more doses to the states.

“(State governments) are ready to help provide the vaccine to our citizens,” she said.

“It wasn’t in the plans for the states to do more than what we are currently doing but I think it is important for us to step up and support the vaccine roll-out, but we can’t really get those supplies.

“That’s a matter for the Commonwealth to get the vaccines themselves and source those vaccines and once they are available to us we will make sure they are available to our citizens.”

The federal government has said it no longer recommended people under 50 get AstraZeneca vaccines.

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Woman celebrating 30th among four friends badly hurt in Sydney boat explosion


Mirka Tothova, who is originally from Slovakia, has been left in a critical condition with burns to 30 per cent of her body, after the Easter Sunday accident on the Hawkesbury River, according to a fundraising page.

She is being treated at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, the page said, after the accident which happened during a party with her friends and partner, Joe Kwon.
Mirka, one of those injured, runs a health food shop. (Supplied/GoFundMe)
Firefighters work to extinguish the ferocious flames.
Firefighters work to extinguish the ferocious flames. (Nine)

He described Ms Tothova as “a beautiful and energetic young woman who came to Australia from Slovakia to start a new life”.

“Mirka was admitted to the Royal North Shore hospital in a critical state with deep burns to 30 per cent of her body: mainly her hands, arms, legs and front torso,” the page said.

“Mirka is currently in the intensive burns unit undergoing skin grafting surgery and multiple other painful treatments.

“Roughly every three days she needs to have her wounds cleaned to remove the dead tissue so she does not get an infection.

“This is an extremely painful process which causes extreme fever after every procedure.

“There is no timeframe as to when Mirka will be discharged from hospital, but we have been told by the doctors that it will be a long and painful road to recovery.”

Mirka in hospital with burns from the boat accident for her birthday celebrations (Supplied/GoFundMe)
A group of people can be seen running from the explosion.
A group of people can be seen running from the explosion on CCTV. (Nine)

Childcare worker, Ale Osr, who is from Mexico but living in Gladesville on a student visa, was also badly hurt according to another fundraising website.

Childcare workers Ale Osr suffered burns to 60 per cent of her body. (Supplied/GoFundMe)
Emergency services treat the injured after the horror blast.
Emergency services treat the injured after the horror blast. (Nine)

“She suffered severe burns to about 60 per cent of her body. She is currently in ICU at RNSH where she faces a long and painful road to recovery,” it said.

Karolina Santana, from Brazil, who runs a beauty business is also being treated for “severe burns”.

A donation page set up for her said her partner, Sam, was also hurt.

Karoline from Brazil, who runs a beauty business, is also being treated for “severe burns.” (Supplied/GoFundMe)

It described Ms Santana as a “beautiful, sweet and caring person, who is loved by everyone she comes across.”

“The accident has led to severe burns to over 30 per cent of Karoline’s body and will require ongoing hospitalisation and multiple medical procedures,” it said.

“Her partner Sam has got five per cent burns to his body and has been bedside by Karoline in the Royal North Shore hospital as her parents are currently in Brazil and have no immediate family members in Australia.”

NSW Ambulance Inspector David Morris earlier said the incident as the worst he’s seen in 15 years and described the scene as chaotic.

A photo of Karoline in hospital from the fundraising page. (Supplied/GoFundMe)

A postman was among those who rushed to help after the blast.

Firefighters were involved in driving ambulances in order to free up paramedics to work on the patients as they were raced to hospital.

NSW Police provided escorts for the ambulances to help them through the heavy Easter weekend traffic.

The blaze was extinguished but the boat was destroyed and sunk in shallow waters.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

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Woman claims Walgreens photoshopped hair bun out of passport photo


A woman was left in hysterics after receiving a very baffling passport photo due to an awkward Photoshop job.

TikTok user Katie was told that her large bun was too big for the picture when visiting a US Wallgreens store, so staff edited it out – leaving her unrecognisable to friends and family.

Katie, who posts under the TikTok username @katiefiore898, shared the photo on TikTok and it has since gone viral and been viewed over 300,000 times.

She explained: “Wore a bun to get my passport pictures but they said it was too big so they just had to cut it off.”

After the blunt bun removal, Katie was left mortified at the finished result.

However, her passport mishap appears to have entertained internet users, with one person joking: “Went from Katie to Kyle.”

Another added: “Why would you wear a bun for a picture that’s going to last at least ten years.”

A third joked: “I’m dead. I’m sorry for laughing so hard at this.”

Another person said they had a similar dilemma and staff told her she couldn’t have hair on her shoulders after she tried to take her bun down.

In Australia, the required standard for passport photos means images cannot be retouched in any way and the size of the face from chin to crown can be up to a maximum of 36mm, with a minimum of 32mm.

In the US, however, passport photo regulations state that hair cannot obscure a person’s face and the head must be sized between 25 and 35mm.

It is understood that Katie went in for a new set of photos, this time without a bun.

With The Sun

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Michael Paul Benfell jailed for at least 12 years for twice raping sleeping woman in her Parkside home



A man who broke into a woman’s Parkside home in Adelaide’s inner-south and twice raped the woman in her bed in the “most humiliating and egregious way” will spend at least 12 years in jail.

Michael Paul Benfell was found guilty by a jury last year of two counts of rape and one count of aggravated serious criminal trespass on April 10, 2018.

The 26-year-old walked into the house through an unlocked back door and waited in a different room before getting into bed with the sleeping woman and raping her.

The District Court previously heard the bedroom was pitch black and the victim initially thought it was her boyfriend who had returned because she was “still very much in the process of waking up” when she was attacked.

At the time, Benfell was on parole for serious criminal trespass offences and the court heard he had been on a “methamphetamine bender”.

Judge Paul Slattery said Benfell had caused “irreparable pain” to the victim, her housemates, friends and family.

“You violated the sanctity and safety of the home.

“Your actions have had a profound and lasting effect on their lives.

Judge Slattery said Benfell had previously been convicted of serious criminal trespass and had a moderate to high risk of re-offending.

Benfell was sentenced to 15 years in prison with a non-parole period of 12 years.

Benfell has previously apologised in court for lying and his behaviour.

He told the court he would not appeal the guilty conviction.

“More importantly, I’d like to apologise for the pain and hardship I’ve caused,” he said during sentencing submissions.

“I don’t deserve your forgiveness, I don’t even deserve your pity.”

Benfell’s sentence was backdated to December last year.

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Elderly woman dies after flames engulf North Lakes home in Brisbane’s north


An elderly woman has died in a house fire after flames engulfed the home on Brisbane’s northside this morning.

The fire broke out at a home on Hervey Street just after 10:00am.

Nine crews were called to the scene to extinguish the blaze an hour later but were unable to save the woman trapped inside.

Police said the blaze engulfed the entire building, causing extensive damage and a collapsed roof.

Superintendent Craig White said the blaze was suspicious and a crime scene has been established.

He said a neighbour tried to get inside the house to rescue the woman but the fire was too intense so they rang emergency services.

Superintendent White said there were two dogs inside the home that escaped the blaze and are now being cared for by Queensland Ambulance Service.

“We also have some other animals we haven’t located yet,” Superintendent White said.

Fire investigators are on the scene working to determine the cause of the blaze.

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Gold Coast police warn against bin diving after woman found dead hanging from charity bin at Burleigh Heads


A woman whose body was found in a charity bin died after she became wedged in the opening mechanism while trying to remove donated items on the Gold Coast, Queensland police say.

The 43-year-old woman’s body was found dangling from the bin outside a busy Burleigh Heads shopping centre on Monday morning.

Police are not treating the woman’s death as suspicious.

“It is what we class as a death by misadventure,” Superintendent Rhys Wildman said on Tuesday.

“It appears as though a 43-year-old woman has attempted to attain or remove some items from those charity bins.

“She has unfortunately appeared to have been caught in the door mechanism while she was attempting to retrieve some of those items and has unfortunately passed away.”

The woman’s body was found by a member of the public who was donating clothes.

“These bins are designed for a one-way mechanism, they are designed for people to place items in,” Superintendent Wildman said.

“They are not play items those bins, obviously there is a risk as unfortunately we found out.”

Superintendent Wildman said while the practice known as bin diving was not unusual, it was against the law.

“It is an offence if there is a complaint forthcoming from those charity agencies for stealing,” he said.

“It is not an uncommon practice for people to remove items from bins and essentially scavenge items that have been left for less fortunate members of our community.

“We have, from time to time, had reports from around the country of people not necessarily getting trapped or dying in these sort of circumstances but we have had reports occasionally in winter time of people actually trying to climb into the bins and staying in them.”

A report is being prepared for the coroner.

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Elderly Brisbane woman with dementia told to book COVID-19 vaccine online


In one instance, the family of an 89-year-old Brisbane woman who has severe dementia and cannot walk is now planning to take her to a community GP for vaccination despite her extreme anxiety at any small change.

According to industry data, there are about 2,350 privately-operated retirement living facilities across Australia, with about 190,000 residents.

Many retirement village residents live in independent units but need high levels of care and support, and the average age of residents in Australia’s retirement villages is 81.

The federal government’s Phase 1A vaccine rollout aims to vaccinate 190,000 aged and disability care residents in federally funded aged care facilities, and more than 318,000 aged care staff, but has fallen well short of its targets.

Most recently, 85 residents of an aged care home in Laidley, west of Brisbane, were told they would be vaccinated this week, but the vaccine never arrived.

But retirement village residents in privately-funded facilities are not eligible for on-site vaccination under the first phase of the rollout, instead falling under Phase 1B.

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Woman and children found safe in Hunter – 16 News


A woman and two children – who’d been reported missing from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead at the weekend – have been found safe.

The 26-year-old woman and her children – aged four and one ¬– were found a short time ago at a home in Metford (Thursday 8 April 2021).

Police thank the community and media for their assistance in sharing our message

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