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Meghan Markle has the 'full support' of mom Doria Ragland after being 'miserable, having anxiety attacks and struggling after Archie's birth, as Duchess confides she has no intention of ever returning to the UK to live'

Meghan Markle has the full support of her mother Doria Ragland as she and Prince Harry quit as senior royals, while a friend of Markle's exclusively reveals to that she has no 'intention' of ever returning to the UK to live.

Last Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex dropped the bombshell news that they were quitting, dividing their time between North America and the UK and would work to become financially independent, catching the royal family and the rest of the world off guard.

But Meghan has the backing of her Los Angeles-based 63-year-old mother, who 'was really worried about Meghan... and is relieved that her daughter is putting her mental health and well being first,' the insider said. 

Meghan, 38, herself admitted to struggling after the birth of Archie, as the friend explained Meghan was 'miserable in the UK' and 'wasn’t sleeping well and started having anxiety attacks about her future.' 

Now across the pond and last spotted in Canada, the friend said of Meghan: 'This was her plan all along, to eventually leave the UK and build her own empire with Harry.' 

Meghan admitted to struggling with media scrutiny in an ITV interview that aired in October, saying: 'Not many people have asked if I'm okay... It's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.'

She added: 'Look, any woman especially when they are pregnant you're really vulnerable and so that was made really challenging, and then when you have a newborn – you know…' 

When asked if things had been a struggle for her, a visibility upset Meghan replies: 'Yes.' 

The friend added: 'Doria is very much about being true to oneself and so of course she will continue to encourage Meghan to take the road less travelled.' 

Ragland was seen walking her two dogs on Thursday afternoon and pictured chatting on her phone as she clutched her dogs' leashes. At another point during the day, the former social worker and yoga instructor was spotted jumping into her SUV and driving off.   

Her outing came the same day Meghan flew back to Canada where she had left eight-month-old Archie with his nanny, leaving Harry to deal with the fallout from their royal family crisis. 

Harry is said to be set to follow Meghan later this week with no clue of when he will be returning. 

Meghan was reportedly spotted at the Sidney Pier in British Columbia on Friday before heading to Victoria International airport, which confirmed it had 'VIP arrival', according to the Vancouver Sun

Meghan's friend revealed that she has no 'intention' to return to the UK to live permanently, saying: 'She doesn’t want to raise Archie there and she doesn’t want to schlep back and forth. She’ll make extended visits but that’s it.  

'They are looking for a permanent residence in Canada. She said she wants a country house in Whistler outside of Vancouver and a home in Toronto.'

The insider added: 'What Meghan wants, Meghan gets. This was her plan all along, to eventually leave the UK and build her own empire with Harry. 

'Meghan wants to make millions and this was never going to happen if she didn’t make a drastic change with Harry. She wants to be up there with [Jeff] Bezos and [Warren] Buffet. 

'Some of her friends thought she would eventually divorce Prince Harry and marry a billionaire. She always talked about marrying a billionaire before she met Harry. 

'Now she doesn’t have to because together they will make their own billion dollar empire. This is what she has wanted all along.' 

And as far as the rest of the Royal family is concerned, Meghan feels the good she and Harry can create with their own fortune, far outweighs any hurt feelings.

The friend added: 'Meghan says their announcement was not a surprise to the royal family, they knew all along.' 

On Monday morning, a grim-faced Prince Philip was seen driving away from Sandringham, as he leaves it to his wife Queen ElizabethPrince Charles and Prince William to broker an exit deal with the Sussexes.

Hours later, the Queen said the royals had 'very constructive discussions' and it was agreed that Prince Harry and Meghan will split their time between the UK and Canada. 

It was reported over the weekend that Meghan had told Harry she must step away from the royal family, partly blaming William and telling Harry over Christmas: 'It's not working for me', according to the Times. 

But on Monday, Harry and William denied there is a rift between them in a joint statement.

It read in part: 'Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge. 

'For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful'.  

The Queen – who was left 'deeply hurt' by her grandson's decision to release the statement without her knowledge – made clear to courtiers she wanted the problem sorted 'within days' to prevent further damage to the monarchy.

Her Majesty is said to want guarantees that Harry and Meghan's business empire built around their Sussex title doesn't damage the royal family. 

The monarch was under pressure to find a way forward because the Sussexes could give a tell-all interview to their friend Oprah Winfrey and 'sound off' about the royal family's 'racism and sexism' if they do not get their way at Sandringham, palace aides fear.  

The couple are said to see their long-term future in the United States – but not while President Trump is President - with friends claiming while the couple plan to live in Canada at first their ultimate aim is to have a home and business in Los Angeles.

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 19:02

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Skeletal remains of baby girl and the backyard grave she was buried in as they are shown at her Ohio cheerleader mother's murder trial

The tiny bones of a baby girl who was buried by her cheerleader mother in her backyard within hours of being born in 2017 were shown to a jury at the teen's murder trial on Friday.

Brooke 'Skylar' Richardson, now 20, was 18 when she gave birth in secret in her parents' house in May 2017. She says the baby was born dead and that she buried her in the backyard within an hour or so of the birth.

Prosecutors believe she killed the baby herself because she was hell-bent on going to college without being a mother. 

On Friday, the third day of her murder and manslaughter trial, prosecutors called Dr. Susan Brown, a forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on the baby's remains and determined that she had been murdered. 

Dr. Brown said that while she could not determine how the baby died, she believed Skylar killed her based off of comments she made in an interview with the police, where Skylar, after repeatedly denying hurting the baby, eventually said she took a lighter to the baby's skin, to make her assessment. 

Her attorneys say the comment was coerced and made out of desperation after police said they 'knew' she did 'something with fire'.  

The jury was shown photographs of the remain which were dug up in Skylar's family's back yard and were also shown the baby's shallow grave.

They had been laid out on a table to form a tiny skeleton. As they were being shown, Skylar fought tears.  

The prosecution's case hinges on since retracted remarks made by Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a pathologist who had been hired by Dr. Brown to consult on the remains. 

She, at first, said they appeared to have been burned which led prosecutors to follow the theory that Skylar set the baby on fire. When detectives questioned Skylar for a second time, she repeatedly denied having done so but, after denying it 17 times, said she took a lighter to the baby's skin. 

Parts of that interrogation were played on court Friday. 

During it, the cops told the teenager 'we know there was some sort of fire'. 

She was stunned at the suggestion, saying: ''I didn't burn her! I promise, I didn't burn her!'

The police asked her repeatedly if she was sure, and she answered: 'I swear!... I did nothing with fire. Nothing.' 

The cops asked if she had put her in the fire pit in her yard, or even in the microwave or oven but she said no, repeatedly.   

'We know there was some sort of fire,' they eventually said. 

Skylar replied: 'I don't understand it.' 

Dr. Brown said during Friday's testimony that she based her assessment - that the baby died as a result of homicidal violence - on those remarks, her assessment of the baby's remains and on the scene at the house, where detectives had written in notes that there had been an 'attempted incineration'. 

She said she could not confirm by looking at the bones alone that they had been burned, or that the baby had been born alive or dead. 

'By looking at the bones alone with no other information, there's nothing that I can say just by looking at the bones that there is a live birth.

'As part of my job, I am required to look at all of the information. So I did that. That included the scene information and the information gathered during the police evidence was based on her interview,' she conceded, under cross-examination. 

She also admitted on Friday that despite claiming to have based her findings on the 'scene', Dr. Brown said she never saw any photographs of the baby's grave. 

While the bones showed that the baby suffered skull fractures, Dr. Brown said she could not tell if they had been inflicted before or after she died.

'I identified the fractures of the skull, however did also clarify that I don't know if they were are before death or after death but they are there,' she said.   

Dr. Brown then went on to say that neither she nor Dr. Murray examined the bones with a microscope. 

A different doctor who examined the baby's remains found that the skull fractures were not a result of homicidal violence. 

Skylar's attorney Charles H. Rittgers eviscerated the pathologist on cross-examination. 

They pointed out that it would be impossible for a human to be set on fire with a lighter alone and that a baby's body was made mostly of water, making it even more implausible.

They laughed when the pathologist said that a person's hair could be set on fire and also asked why the pathologist did not take into account Skylar's original claim, during her first police interview, that there was no umbilical chord attached when she gave birth to the baby. 

'An umbilical chord not being attached would mean at some point it broke,' the doctor said. 

'Would the baby die as a result?' Skylar's attorneys asked, pointing out that it would mean the baby was not being given oxygen and nutrients. 

'A baby can die in those circumstances,' Dr. Brown said.

The defense accused brown of 'confirmation bias', saying she only gave her attention to anything that would support the notion that the baby had been set alight. 

'You ignored a tonne of facts that would indicate that this baby was stillborn. 

'You didn't get an OB consult. You didn't pay attention to the fact that Skylar was bleeding on April 3,' he said, saying all of them would have pointed to her having a stillbirth. 

Skylar, a cheerleader with a history of eating disorders, found out she was pregnant in April 26 during a visit to the gynaecologist. 

She had gone to obtain birth control pills and was told that she was around 32 weeks pregnant. 

She claimed, in police interviews, that she had suspected she was pregnant but had tried to put it out of her head until then. 

The doctor said the baby was healthy and urged Skylar to tell someone. Because she was 18, he was not obliged to talk to her parents. 

After her doctor's appointment, she left the practice and told no one about the pregnancy. Despite being pregnant, she was able to get a prescription to birth control pills which she began taking that day, later claiming that she did not know it court harm the infant. 

On May 7, just 11 days after the doctor visit, in the middle of the night, Skylar claims she gave birth on the toilet of her bathroom while her parents slept. 

In her police interview, she said the baby came out 'white', with her eyes closed, and was not breathing. 

On Friday, a state expert witness testified that it was unlikely the baby would have died in between her visit to the doctor on April 26 and the day she gave birth. 

Dr. William Brady, a fetal medicine expert, said it would be unusual for her to lose the baby and that there was no evidence to suggest the baby was at risk of harm. 

The defense asked the doctor how much he had been paid by the state to appear. 

He said he charges $5,000 a day for court appearances and $500 an hour for any preparation that is required beforehand.

During her police interview, Skylar told said she held her baby in a towel, 'waiting for her to wake up', after delivering her.

When she didn't, she said she went to her garage, retrieved a shovel, and dug a 'little' hole for her. 

Later that day, Skylar texted her mother Kim, who was 'obsessed' with her teenage daughter's weight, saying how 'happy' she was that her 'belly' was 'back'. 

She also took a selfie in the gym where she proudly examined how her stomach had flattened. Kim did not know she was pregnant or that she had given birth hours earlier. It was common for the pair to discuss Skylar's weight. 

For two months, the baby remained a secret. 

It was only when Skylar went back to the same doctor's practice where she learned she was pregnant, asking for more birth control pills, and an obstetrician asked her what had happened to her baby that she buckled and said she'd 'buried' it in her yard. 

The doctors then alerted the authorities and the baby was dug up. 

On Thursday, the jury was shown Skylar's first interview with the police where she sobbed and said: 'I did not try and kill my baby, I would never hurt her.' 

She was released without charge after that interview but was brought back in for questioning once the remains had been examined. 

There, she said she'd taken a lighter to the baby's skin. 

Her attorneys say that the comment was coerced by the detectives and that it was based on the since retracted claims of the pathologists.


stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:58

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Nice to meet you, mum! Incredible moment baby girl wriggles out of her mother's womb then falls asleep on her chest during 'natural' C-section

This is the moment a baby girl falls asleep while crawling out of her mother's womb during a natural C-section. 

Charlotte Knowles, 31, had a traumatic first birth so wanted to make sure baby Lyla's arrival was as stress free as possible.

Doctors assisted, helping her baby out of the incision, but then left her to crawl and push herself out the rest of the way in a technique called 'calm birthing'.

In the newly released video from the family, Lyla barely cried as she wriggled from the womb and even fell asleep half way out, with doctors having to gently wake her.

Under the watchful eye of proud dad Ricky, and grandmother Tracy Wright, 54, she woke up and wiggled her torso free, before pushing herself out.

The method is considered more peaceful than traditional c-sections and is slowly being introduced to more hospitals across the UK each year.

Charlotte from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, said it was the perfect way to bring her second child into the world.

The emergency police call handler said: 'The whole birthing experience was so calm and peaceful - I felt so relaxed as they really kept the environment free of stress.

'As it was a planned c-section, I got to walk myself to theatre, sit on the operating table and take some time to mentally prepare myself with my partner by my side.

'The whole team of doctors and nurses spoke to me throughout and talked me through every step of the way.

The strange thing with a c-section is can't see or feel what is actually happening to you, so you have to rely on others to tell you.

'Before I knew it, Lyla was out - she didn't cry initially and as you can see on the video, she even fell asleep half way out of my tummy, so it must have been a calm experience for her too!'

For mum-of-two Charlotte, giving birth to Lyla in a peaceful environment was very important to her after her first daughter's stressful birth. 

In 2008, Charlotte fell pregnant with Annalee and after splitting with the father, she moved from Prittlewell to Florida with her parents.

She was induced in hospital, but as Annalee's heart rate dropped and doctors discovered Charlotte's hips were too narrow to give birth naturally, she was rushed in for an emergency c-section.

She said: 'It was terrifying. One minute I was being induced, and the next minute I had lots of doctors and nurses running around me.

'They quickly prepped me for surgery and rushed me in for an emergency c-section after Annalee's heart rate dropped.

'I was only 21-years-old, I felt very panicked and scared and it was just all happening way too quickly.

'Thankfully, the c-section went well and Annalee was fine and healthy, but the whole experience traumatised me.'

Charlotte's family moved back to the UK in 2010, and started to build a life for her and her daughter in Leigh-on-Sea.

Two years later, she was introduced to Ricky by mutual friends and the pair started dating in July 2012.

Charlotte fell pregnant in July 2014, and knowing a c-section was on the cards, she began to prepare herself to go through it all again, but hopefully not in as much panic.

Charlotte said: 'I knew when I got pregnant with my second that I wouldn't be able to go through a natural delivery.

'It did make me sad to think that I'd never be able to experience a natural birth, but having a baby was a blessing regardless of how they enter the world.

'I wanted to have this birth be a beautiful and calm experience for me and our baby, despite being on the operating table.

'With Lyla being Ricky's first child as well, I wanted it to be something magical for him as well without all the fear that I went through the first time.'

Thankfully for the happy couple, they had Ricky's mother Tracy who is a midwife, was on hand throughout the pregnancy, and knew straight away they wanted her in the room.

Tracy said: 'I've helped so many babies come into the world, and when Charlotte asked me to be in the room with her, I couldn't say yes fast enough!'

'I've never actually helped with a 'natural' c-section birth before, so it was wonderful that Charlotte could be my first one as well.

'Delivering my own granddaughter into the world was just incredible, and it is an experience I will never forget.'

On 23 April 2015, Tracy helped Charlotte deliver baby Lyla in Southend General Hospital as supportive Ricky watched from the foot of the bed.

Weighing 8lb 2oz, baby Lyla pushed her own way out of Charlotte's stomach, taking a quick nap in between her entrance to the world as she helped herself out. 

Lyla, who is now four, took on the role of bridesmaid in March 2018 alongside sister Annalee when Charlotte and Ricky got married.

Lyla has even watched footage of her own birth after grandmother Tracy captured it on video.

Charlotte said: 'I feel blessed to have a video of Lyla's birth, because you can't watch your own c-section at the time so it's wonderful I can look back now at what happened.

'Most people do not choose to video a c-section - it seems to be quite a taboo subject with it being that it is an operation and you are being cut open.

'I've watched the video over and over, Annalee and Lyla have both watched it too and they think it's amazing, which it is!

'I love how relaxed Lyla was during her birth. I found the whole process was as close to natural as you can get for mother and baby, and I feel so blessed to have gone through it.'

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:53

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Ex-drug dealer wants to turn life around after watching mum's funeral in prison

A man who spent a decade in prison for selling drugs is calling on the goodwill of the public this festive season, to give him a second chance. Corey, 50, who was homeless when he finished his prison sentence, is raising £5,000 so that he can train up to become an electrician and give back to those in need. He has been inspired to turn his life around after being made to watch his mum’s funeral from his prison cell in the U.S., saying she ‘always tried to steer him right’ and that he never wants to ‘experience the inside of jail again’. British born Corey had moved to Pennsylvania with his family at the age of 5, before getting involved with gangs and selling drug at the age of 16. He was caught in 2008 and sentenced to 10 years in a US prison. Talking about his experience, Corey said: ‘I was young when I got into it, and saw other people selling drugs, and thought I could make money that way. But since serving time in prison, I have cut ties with all those people and I intend to do things the right way now.’

When Corey’s sentence ended in 2018, he was deported back to the UK, with no chance of ever returning to the U.S., where he’d spent the past 45 years. When he arrived at London’s Heathrow airport, he had nowhere to go and slept in the airport. Describing the ordeal, he said: ‘My children and friends all live in the States and I was alone, with no-one to reach out to. I remember sleeping in the airport that day. ‘Being homeless and away from the people you love can be really tough. During my 10 years in prison, I only saw my children once or twice a year. This was really hard, especially at Christmas, and I massively regret not being there for them.’ Corey wanted to rebuild his life, but like many ex-offenders, he struggled to find work, having been out of his previous trade – construction – for so long. His problems were made worse by his living situation, as he was constantly moving around different homeless hostels. However, he has been referred to the charity Beam, a website that lets members of the public fund job training programmes for homeless people so that they can earn a living.

From homeless ex-offenders like Corey to care leavers, refugees, single mums and army veterans, Beam aims to give disadvantaged individuals a chance to turn their lives around. Today, Corey has launched a campaign to raise £5,000 so that he can complete his relevant NVQ qualifications to become an electrician. While in prison, Corey experienced the deaths of a number of friends and family members, including his grandfather and stepson, which gave him a whole new perspective on how precious life is. But the biggest loss of all was his mother. He said: ‘My mother died three years ago, and I wasn’t allowed to go to her funeral because I was in prison. ‘I had to watch it on a VCR tape in a room by myself. She’s been my biggest supporter from day one. ‘Her death really knocked me to the core and took everything out of me. I’m still trying to rebuild myself from that moment.

She’s always tried to steer me right. I’ll never want to experience the inside of jail again – I’m not going to do anything that’s going to jeopardise my freedom. I’m turning my life around because of her.’ Corey says he wants to use the skills he would acquire as an electrician to ‘give back to the community’ whether it be through free electrical work for charities or people in need. He added: ‘I want people to know that I will never take for granted this second chance I’ve been given, and I hope that by putting my skills to good use by helping others, I can show how grateful I am.’ Beam’s Founder and CEO Alex Stephany said: ‘Homelessness affects a diverse range of people from ex-offenders like Corey to care leavers, refugees, single mums and army veterans. ‘If we can help support people like Corey into meaningful work, we believe they will be more grateful and determined than most to make a success of any opportunity given to them.’ If you’d like to donate to Corey’s campaign, and help him on his way to becoming an electrician, you can do so here.

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:46

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Parents are arrested for kidnapping their seriously-ill newborn daughter from a hospital while she was still connected to an IV and driving her 400 miles away

Two parents were arrested after removing their newborn baby girl with a life-threatening condition and who was connected to an IV,  from a Louisiana hospital on Sunday, prompting authorities to launch a a missing child advisory.

Louisiana police located the child more than 400 miles away in Alabama. 

The Louisiana State Police said Shaun Levy, 39, and Brittany Parrie, 28, were at the Sabine Medical Center in Many, when their newborn baby arrived around 1am on Saturday. 

Baby Levy was born with an undisclosed medical complication and was set to be transported to a hospital less than two hours away in Shreveport for medical intervention. 

However, Shaun and Brittany left the hospital with Baby Levy nearly three hours later in a 2002 Cadillac Escalade for an unknown reason. 

Both the mother and the child still had intravenous drip feeds (IVs) connected to them at the time of departure. 

Soon after leaving, the Louisiana State Police issued a Level II Endangered/Missing Child Advisory on behalf of the Many Police Department.  

They cautioned that the couple could have a Texas license plate despite having recently registered in Alabama. 

'The Cadillac may be displaying a Texas license plate or a personalized Alpha Phi Alpha Alabama license plate. Levy recently registered the vehicle in Alabama on January 7, 2020, so it is possible the Texas plate is still displayed on the vehicle,' they wrote. 

What's more, Shaun was considered by authorities to be 'armed and dangerous.'   

Meanwhile, the parents drove more than 400 miles from Louisiana to Monroeville, Alabama.  

Officers were able to track down the couple within 48 hours and arrested the pair on charges that are still pending. 

Baby Levy was transported by an ambulance in Monroe County, where she is currently in stable condition.

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:31

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British backpackers relive the terrifying moment their car lost control and flipped onto its roof in the middle of the Australian Outback with emergency services four hours away

Two British backpackers have relived the terrifying moment they lost control of their car and flipped on to the roof in the middle of the Australian Outback.

Robyn Jago, 23, and Elyse O'Donnell, both from Merseyside, went to Perth from Thailand in February 2018 to begin their 'dream trip'.

The friends spent the next year working on a farm 'in the middle of nowhere' in Broome and Hallscreek, to save up to travel the East coast.

But their trip took a horrific turn when a tyre on the car they were in burst, causing it to lose control and veer off the road on September 30.

Ms Jago said she first realised something was wrong when she smelt 'burning rubber' coming from the tyres.

Driver Ms O'Donnell tried to regain control but hit a dip at the side of the road and flipped the vehicle on to its roof, hitting a tree which smashed through the windscreen.

Australian police told Ms Jago if she had not had removed her seatbelt she would have been impaled.

Ms Jago told the ECHO: 'I woke up and I was on my hands and knees scrunched up in a ball.

'I don't remember being in the air flipping. I just remember seeing a tiny glimpse out of the window which I knew wasn't the road.

'I was trying to understand what had happened when I saw a light switch on the floor next to me and that's when I realised that it was actually the roof of the car and that we were upside down.' 

Ms Jago and ms O'Donnell were in the car with two other women, who they had met the month before, but who have asked not to be named.

Seconds before the accident, Ms Jago had unfastened her belt to change position in the tightly packed car - meaning she took the full force of the crash.

She said: 'Your senses slowly start coming back to you and I heard screaming and Elyse's voice.

'She had managed to get out of the car by this point with [one of the other women] and they were stood on the side of the road.

'When I looked to my right I saw (one of the others) covered in blood, I thought she was dead.

'She had blood all over her face and wounds where the tree had scraped her. I screamed.'

Ms Jago said: 'Elyse could hear a hissing noise coming from the car so she thought it was going to blow.

'She was shouting ''you need to get out of the car''.'

By this point, Ms Jago said she knew she had broken her back but they had no other option but to get out of the car.

She said: 'I couldn't get out of the side I was on so we had to get out of the other side but there was a branch coming through the window.

'Elyse and [one of the others] had to pull us both out in the end.'

Ms Jago suffered a bleed on the brain during the crash and was left with a broken back and a burst finger.

Ms O'Donnell broke her back and neck in five places.

One of the other two women sustained a total of 14 serious injuries, including a wound to the head, while the other was left with black eye and a torn ligament to the shoulder.

Ms Jago said: 'I never take my seatbelt off, I literally just took it off for a minute to get comfortable.

'But the police told me afterwards that if I had had my seat belt on there was a good chance I would have been impaled by the tree and would probably have been dead by now.'

After escaping from the vehicle, the girls stood 'shaking' as they tried to work out what to do next.

Ms Jago said the crash took place 'literally in the middle of nowhere' and was a three-and-a-half-hour drive away from the nearest hospital.

But thanks to a lorry driver who was going past shortly after the accident, the girls were found.

Ms Jago said: 'We were far away from the road because of where the car landed but [one of the others] heard a lorry going past so she bombed it up to the side of the road.

'She told him 'we've just been in a car crash' and he grabbed his first aid kit, he was lovely.'

'There was a mining site not too far away so he called there and said 'have you got first aiders to help in any way they can.'

Ms Jago said it took four hours for an ambulance and police to arrive at the scene of the crash.

The girls were taken to the nearest clinic, 40 minutes away, to be assessed before Ms Jago was taken with one of the other women, by air ambulance to Broome Hospital.

Ms O'Donnell and her other friend who was involved in the crash were taken to Kunnuara Hospital the next day.

Ms Jago said: 'The first person Elyse told was her mum. She panicked at first because all Elyse did was cry down the phone but then once she told her everyone's alive and she went really calm and calmed Elyse right down.

'Elyse told my sister for me because I lost my phone in the crash. It was so surreal it honestly still doesn't feel like it happened to us.'

Ms Jago spent eight days in hospital before she was discharged, while Ms O'Donnell spent nine days being treated.

Due to the severity of both of their injuries, they were fitted with neck braces and had to attend hospital appointments several times a week for three months.

Ms Jago said: 'We were both in absolute agony. After we were discharged from hospital we spent the next three months mostly indoors at our friends house.

'I had to go back to the hospital for constant checks. I was put on medication for my brain haemorrhage and memory games and brain training.

'We could walk but we spent a lot of time lying down because of the pain. We were tired all the time, we just had no energy.'

Since the accident, Ms Jago and Ms O'Donnell have made good progress with their injuries and had their back braces removed in December.

Despite being able to walk now unsupported, Ms Jago said they are both unable to return to work until at least March and suffer from a lot of pain which makes it a 'nightmare to sleep at night'.

Ms Jago said the psychological pain of the accident, has also been 'unbearable' with both Ms O'Donnell and herself regularly suffering from flashbacks and night terrors.

But due to the high cost of receiving physiotherapy for their injuries and counselling, the girls have been unable to get the help they desperately need.

Ms Jago said: 'It's taken a toll on our mental health. I've had depression and anxiety before but it's been a whole new level since the accident.

'We've had to sit indoors for three months watching our savings disappear while we recover.

'We've both struggled to sleep since. We have sleep paralysis and suffer from nightly flashbacks.'

She added: 'We're so scared of travelling in cars now. We'll be in a taxi and it'll change lanes and we both get so nervous. We're just very nervous about everything little thing.

'The doctor has told us we're not allowed to go back to work until March.'

To help the girls get the money they need for physiotherapy and counselling, a Just Giving Page has been set up by their friend Jack.

Despite initially being reluctant to ask for help Ms Jago said they have now used up nearly all of their savings on going to and from hospital appointments and from being unable to work for so long.

She said: 'We didn't want to ask anyone for help at first we just said we'll figure something out but our friend Jack set up a fund raising page to help us out.

'People have said to us why don't you come home but we're so reluctant to give up because this is the only thing I've ever wanted in my life to move to Australia.

'We worked so hard for over a year to save up to travel and we've not even been able to do that yet.

'We were going to buy a car and go on a road trip up and down East Coast it's ruined everything.'

Ms Jago added: 'Nearly all our savings have gone on getting to and from the hospital and not being able to work.

'I am starting to accept that I can't change what happened and to just be thankful each day that no one was paralysed.

'We're just taking it one step at a time but my current aim is just to be able to afford enough therapy so that I can exercise again, I'm just focusing on the little things for now.

'And regardless of how hard things are mentally, physically and financially we have some hope that we might get through it all and continue on our adventure.'

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:01

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'My heart is so broken': Former MAFS star Nic Jovanovic makes a teary tribute to his late grandmother who has passed away from cancer

Former Married At First Sight star Nic Jovanovic has paid tribute to his beloved grandmother on social media after she passed away from cancer.

The 29-year-old revealed the tragic news in a teary post, saying he was 'heart broken' and labelled her as an 'amazing woman that will be missed'. 

'To my beautiful Baba. May you rest in peace now,' he started off his tribute.

'No more suffering from the cancer. You are pain free now and with family watching over us. Thank you for always being hard on me and wanting the best for me.

'Thank you for always feeding me way too much. Thank you for putting a roof over my head when times were tough.' 

He went on to add: 'You are such an amazing woman and will always be missed, but never forgotten. My heart is so broken right now. Watch over the family and I forever. I love you so much!'

His former co-stars including Cameron Merchant, Ines Basic and Dino Hira sent their well wishes under the post's comments.

'Oh bro! Baba will always watch over you and the fam from heaven feeling so proud to have been part of an amazing and loving family!' Dino wrote.

'So much love to you,' Ines added. 

In August, Nic opened up about his own personal battle with testicular cancer after his 'wife' Cyrelle Paule made insensitive comments during the show.

During a candid interview with 9Now, the former reality TV star described the uncertainty of his second diagnosis as crippling and 'horrific'. 

'I got diagnosed with another form of cancer. I had to have a testis removed and surgery and chemo,' he said.

'You have so many mixed thoughts about cancer in your head. Has it spread? Is the chemo working? Will the surgery be enough?' he added.

Nick explained that the experience was not just horrific for him, but also affected his entire family, who 'had to beat it all together'.

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 17:39

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Cosmetic surgery leaves teen brain damaged, mother 'just wants daughter back'

THORNTON, CO -- A Thornton family has filed a lawsuit against a prominent doctor and a nurse anesthetist saying after their daughter suffered two cardiac arrests and brain damage during cosmetic surgery, the medical professionals overseeing her care did not call 911 for more than five hours.

“We just really want to know what happened, what was the truth, what happened back there”, said Lynn Fam, during an interview with CBS4.

Last summer, her daughter, Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, decided to have breast augmentation performed by Greenwood Village Doctor Geoffrey Kim.


“I was fine with it,” said Fam.” We didn’t think anything like that was going to happen to our daughter. I was a teenage girl once before.”

She said her daughter, a graduate of Mountain Range high school, was healthy and had saved up for the $6,000 procedure, which many of her friends and family had undergone before.

“To us it felt safe,” said Fam.

But in the family’s lawsuit, filed Wednesday by attorney David Woodruff, the lawyer contends Nguyen was left unattended and unobserved for 15 minutes after being given anesthesia Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. by certified nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker.

The procedure took place at Kim’s Greenwood Village office, Colorado Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery. The lawsuit alleges negligence and contends that during that initial timeframe, Nguyen went into cardiac arrest and was revived when Dr. Kim performed CPR.

But Woodruff says medical records show Nguyen went into cardiac arrest a second time, just a few minutes later, and was again stabilized, but 911 was still not called, even though she was “neurologically unresponsive.”

Lynn Fam says what was supposed to be a two hour procedure stretched late into the afternoon and she kept asking what was happening.

“I just had kind of a weird feeling,” said Fam.

She said at various points, staff members misled her about what had occurred. She told CBS4 that at one point Dr. Kim told her ”Everything went fine, the only thing is we didn’t proceed with the procedure because her heart rate dropped but she is fine. He said everything is fine, Emmalyn is fine, everything is good. She’s young, she’s healthy, she’ll be okay, it’s just taking her long to wake up.”

Fam says at one point an office staff member even approached her and gave her a reminder card setting up a follow up appointment.

Kim did not respond to multiple messages left by CBS4, but his attorney, Kari Hershey, told CBS4 “As a physician, Dr. Kim is not at liberty to comment about any specific patient

State medical records show Kim has had no previous disciplinary actions against his medical license.

Finally, at 7:35 p.m., the lawsuit says Meeker, the nurse anesthetist, called 911. An ambulance was sent and Nguyen was transported to Littleton Adventist Hospital.

After 22 days, she was transported to a rehabilitation hospital where she receives around the clock medical care. Nguyen is now in what is known as a “minimally conscious state” — unable to speak, walk, eat or take care of herself. Her family says she has suffered severe brain damage and will likely remain in this condition for the rest of her life.

Lynn Fam said a lawsuit won’t bring her daughter back but might provide some answers as to what happened.

“That’s a really long time,” Fam said, referring to the gap between the cardiac arrest and the 911 call.

“To me it’s a miracle she pulled through all that and she is still fighting this. I don’t know how they can sleep at night knowing they did this to her. They ruined Emmalyn’s life, not just hers but all of ours.”

Sonny Nguyen, the teen’s father, told CBS4 “I’m a little speechless about how they can wait that long. I’m a little shocked they wait that long for help.”

Woodruff, their attorney, calls the delay in summoning help “unbelievable. When an entire team of healthcare professionals realizes shes in cardiac arrest, they perform CPR then they don’t call 911 for five and a half hours. That’s unconscionable.”

He said there is no such thing as a risk-free procedure.

“If you’re in the wrong hands and health care providers are not paying attention or not doing their job, it carries a risk of significant permanent injury or death and I think everyone should be aware of that.”

Meeker, the nurse anesthetist, was involved in a similar situation in 2007.

He served as the nurse anesthetist for Paula Harty, of Silverthorne, who was also undergoing a breast augmentation.

According to a 2009 lawsuit filed in that case, Harty suffered low blood pressure and a slow heart rate during the procedure which were unrecognized and led to cardiac arrest and severe brain damage.

One month after the procedure, Paula Harty died. Her husband filed suit and named Meeker in the legal action saying he had been negligent, failing to properly administer anesthesia and failing to properly monitor Harty’s condition during the procedure. The suit was eventually settled out of court and the terms are confidential

But Paula Harty’s daughter, Brandy Swenson, told CBS4 she did not think Meeker should have been allowed to continue practicing after her mother’s death.

“They killed my mom, 100%,” said Swenson. “She would be alive today if they had done their jobs right.”

State records show that case did not lead to any state disciplinary action against Meeker. Meeker did not respond to multiple calls and text messages from CBS4 seeking comment. A call and email to an attorney believed to be representing Meeker were also not returned.

Now, every day, Lynn Fam visits her daughter’s bedside, brushing her daughter’s hair, adjusting her pillow and maintaining hope.

“It’s really hard, it’s not easy,” said Fam. But we all try to stay strong in case she can hear us.”

The mother leans in, just inches from her daughter’s face.

“We’re all right here for you. We love you so much. Stay strong,” whispers Fam. “We just want you to go home, we’re all waiting for you, ok?”

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 16:02

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Real estate agent, 26, who vows to beat cancer after being told she has just months to live receives more devastating news

A young woman who has been given just months to live but refuses to accept her diagnosis has one more opportunity to save her life. 

Cairns real estate agent Lisa Griffiths was first diagnosed with brain cancer when she was just 22 years old when a 6.7cm tumour was discovered in 2015. 

Now 26, she travelled to Mexico where she underwent a course of treatment not yet available in Australia. 

But during the course, Ms Griffiths was told the tumour in her skull was growing at a 'rapid pace' to the point of being able to feel it at the back of her head. 

She returned to Australia on Thursday.

An update on GoFundMe by her friend Megs Whiteside revealed that new lesions have been spotted on Ms Griffiths' lungs. 

Ms Griffiths previously battled the aggressive cancer for four years, which saw her learning to walk again and suffering memory loss and speech difficulties. 

'When I was first diagnosed at 22 they gave me a year [to live] and I survived,' Ms Griffiths previously told Daily Mail Australia.  

Ms Griffiths will now undergo a clinical trial agreed upon with her neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon. 

'Lisa has an extremely rare soft tissue cancer,' Ms Whiteside wrote.

'So rare that there are few people in the world with this type of lesion as a primary intracranial tumour.

'This has always made her case extremely unusual and has made treating her very difficult. 

'Given the nature of this aggressive disease, Lisa's specialist team suggested she proceed with a clinical trial as soon as possible in hopes to shrink the tumours, as all other treatments have been unsuccessful.'

Ms Griffiths has already had her first dose of the treatment in the clinical trial and 'tolerated this extremely well'. 

She thanked the community for their continuous support.

The GoFundMe page has since reached $162,967 of the $150,000 goal and continues to grow. 

After having spent $250,000 of her own money, Ms Griffiths believes the majority of the money has been contributed by friends and local businesses in the Cairns area.

'Never once has she ever complained or looked for sympathy even when she was devastatingly faced with loss of eyesight,' Ms Whiteside wrote on the fundraiser.

'Through every grim diagnosis and only weeks after each surgery she turned up to work every day with a positive attitude, always looking to make others smile.'

Ms Griffiths' partner Troy McGuane has also contributed to the cause by sharing an impassioned video online asking for help. 

Mr McGuane almost broke down in tears as he spoke of the terminal diagnosis and the public's generosity.

'The support has humbled myself and Lisa and I have cried multiple times today, not in sadness but due to me being so proud of her,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 15:10

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Student’s leg turned ‘rock hard’ after stepping on sea creature

The modern languages student, 21, was on the trip of a lifetime with her family and felt "invincible" given she was "young, active and healthy."

However, just days later, Phoebe, from Canterbury, Kent, was left on the brink of having her leg amputated after developing full-blown sepsis.

Doctors had no option but to put Phoebe through four major operations in seven days - but miraculously managed to save her left leg.

Now in recovery, Phoebe says she is "lucky" to be alive and is bravely sharing her story to raise awareness of deadly sepsis.

She said: "My experience just goes to show that anyone can get sepsis. It could happen to anyone.

"One of the nurses described me as the 'unluckiest miracle'.

"I'm unlucky because I stood on that sea urchin and for what followed, but I'm so lucky that I'm still here."

Phoebe's nightmare ordeal began when she noticed her left foot had started to swell up after she stepped on a sea urchin while on a holiday in Barbados in October 2018.

She said: "I was on the beach one day and stepped on a sea urchin.

"I didn't think anything of it really.

"Two days later I noticed my feet were starting to swell up.

"It got to the point where I couldn't even walk."

Phoebe went to see her doctor who gave her some alcohol wipes and antibiotics - and within five days her feet felt better.

She flew home from Barbados and returned to university, but within a few days began to feel unwell again.

She said: "I went back to uni and my parents were coming down the following weekend which was the weekend of Remembrance Sunday.

"I woke up that day and really struggled to function.

"I couldn't work out what was happening and I remember feeling quite sweaty.

"I was supposed to go to the rugby with them but I had to go home and spent the whole day throwing up.

"On the Sunday morning I got up and noticed there was something wrong with my leg. I just thought it was really bad cramp.

"I slept through the rest of the day, and that night, my leg just went solid. It was incredibly painful, I've never known anything like it.

"Eventually I screamed at my housemates that something was wrong and they drove me straight to A&E and carried me in."

Despite a nurse saying Phoebe probably had severe flu and should go home, she insisted that she did not feel right and was given a blood test.

It was then that doctors realised that Phoebe was in the grip of a severe infection in her left calf, invasive streptococcus A, which quickly led to her developing full blown sepsis.

Doctors even told Phoebe there was a high chance they would have to amputate her left leg to halt the spread of the infection.

However, doctors managed to save her leg by performing four major operations in seven days.

And after around a month in hospital, Phoebe's condition gradually stabilised and she was discharged.

Despite her recovery, Phoebe has still had two re-occurrences of infection in her leg that left her bed ridden and on a cocktail of antibiotics.

Phoebe surpassed doctors expectations and managed to relearn how to walk in one month rather than the six that doctors predicted it would take her.

Phoebe said: "It was really difficult, I couldn't do anything for myself.

"I had to relearn how to walk again and use my left leg.

"It was tough because I've always been quite active and suddenly I couldn't do anything for myself. If I wanted to shower, I had to ask my parents to help me.

"The doctors and nurses were fantastic and the care I received from the NHS was amazing.

"It was easy to get depressed and give up. I thought I should just drop out of university but I wanted to carry on.

"I still can't feel my left leg even now. I'm pretty fit but it can affect daily life.

"I also have scars on my left leg. In comparison to other people's scars they're not that bad but people do stare at it."

Phoebe added: "It's changed my view of the world.

"Life is short and you need to treasure every moment."

"It brought my family even closer together.

"I appreciate the small things so much more, life is really short so you need to enjoy it."

Phoebe is now preparing to run the Madrid Half Marathon in March 2020 - despite only just relearning how to walk.

She is raising money for the UK Sepsis Trust on her GoFundMe page.

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 15:06

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Daughter of woman mauled to death by her eight-year-old pit bull Amigo

A Massachusetts woman has died after she was mauled to death by her dog while suffering a seizure - but the family won't put the canine down. 

Melissa Astacio, 44, was suffering a seizure in her Somerset home on Friday when her eight-year-old pit bull named Amigo attacked her. 

Police were called to the home around 5.20pm by Melissa's daughter Heaven.

Responding officers were forced to taser the dog before paramedics could assist Astacio, who had a history of seizures. 

She was rushed to the hospital and died from her injuries.  

'I don't think he was trying to attack her,' Heaven said to WJAR. 'I think the dog was just trying to help my mom but he's just a dog and he didn't know any better.'

'What happened that night, it never happened like that before. I don't want to see my dog get put down for something he was only trying to help with,' she added.  

She said her dog had never reacted violently in the past to her mother having a seizure. 

'The dog would just lay on the side of her and like sniff her and stuff like that,' Heaven said. 

The dog Amigo was brought to Swansea Animal Rescue where he was placed in quarantine as officials investigate the incident. 

The family had Amigo since he was a puppy.  

While pit bulls are stereotyped as dangerous dogs, experts say the breed isn't necessarily more aggressive than other canines. 

'Every dog has behavior that comes from both nature and nurture, and no breed is inherently good or inherently bad any more than any human being is,' Dr. Terri Bright, director of behavior services at MSPCA-Angell said, according to the Boston Herald

Astacio's death has shook the community as some locals left flowers on the doorstep of the mother-of-three. 

'All my mom ever wanted was for me and her three kids to have a better life than she could,' Heaven said.  

Police do not believe criminal conduct or foul play is suspected.

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 10:48

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Woman ‘pretended to be pregnant, then killed close pal who vanished with newborn a week ago’

A woman pretended to be pregnant, then murdered a close friend who vanished with her newborn baby a week ago, police believe. Magen Fieramusca, 33, is set to be charged with the murder of Heidi Broussard, 33, whose remains are believed to have been found in the trunk of a car in Houston, Texas, on Friday morning. Broussard’s one month-old daughter Margot Carey was found safe nearby and is unharmed. The Austin-American Statesman reported that Fieramusca now suspected of killing Heidi ‘pretended to have been pregnant simultaneously as Broussard.’ Fieramusca is due in court Friday morning. Neighbors told KHOU journalist Michelle Choi that the woman and her partner had been ‘trying for a baby.’

Choi added: ‘They’ve spoken with the man, described as nice a couple of times, but they’ve never spoke w/ his g/f – say they thought she was just shy.’ Heidi’s mom Tammy Broussard told CBS Austin that the body belonged to Heidi, and that the woman being questioned was a close friend of her late daughter’s. She added that Margot is now in social services custody. That suspect, who is believed to have killed Broussard and abducted Margot, has so far been charged with kidnapping and tampering, with her bond set at $600,000. Police say her car was in Broussard’s home city of Austin, around 170 miles from Houston, at the time the young mother disappeared.

Law enforcement sources have refused to comment further on whether Broussard knew her alleged killer, or if the murder was set-up in a bid to snatch her daughter. Broussard, from Austin, is believed to have been found dead eight days after she and Margot dropped another child off at an Austin’s Cowan Elementary School Investigators believe mother and daughter returned to their apartment complex after, then vanished. Broussard’s fiance Shane Carey issued a tearful appeal for her return. He said that all of Broussard and Margot’s belongings were still in the apartment, and that there had been no signs of a struggle.

Police immediately suspected foul play because Broussard had vanished with Margot, but left her other, older child behind. Officials said Friday they do not believe Carey to have been involved in his partner’s disappearance. He and Broussard were together for 10 years prior to her vanishing last week.

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 10:31

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Children weep at their mother's grave after she was murdered by a former boyfriend who had already been jailed for killing his wife - as shocked viewers blast parole board who released him

Viewers were left in shock after hearing the story of a woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend - who had strangled his former wife eighteen years earlier prior in Released to Kill Again.

In the Channel 5 show which aired last night, Amelia Karnstein, the daughter of Janet Scott, from Nottingham, and two of her siblings, opened up about the murder of their beloved mother.

Janet Scott, 51, thought she had found her happily ever after when she met Simon Mellors, 56, but he turned out to be a former convict who had strangled a previous partner in 1999.


In spite of her children's reservations and warnings, Janet dated Mellors for ten months before eventually leaving him. 

The spited lover started stalking her, before eventually attacking her at her home and running her over when she tried to escape. 

Viewers were left shocked and blasted  

Her daughters Amelia and Hannah expressed their anger and frustration that Mellors was out of 

Viewers were moved by Amy and her siblings story, with many taking to Twitter to express their shock. 

One wrote: 'I need to blank this from my mind before bed, there's so evil f******* out there.'

Another posted: 'Channel 5 putting all the murder documentaries tonight. That means no sleep for me.'

All of the stories in this programme are so shocking!' another commented.

One added: 'Shocking this! Our justice system is on its a***!! #ReleasedtoKillAgain.'  

'God this makes me so mad. Utterly avoidable killings,' another wrote.


They added: 'The probation service should be ashamed. These people should not be released. How does the parole board EVER get this so wrong? Once is bad enough. Horrendous.' 

Simon Mellors was convicted for the murder of his former partner Pearl Black, whom he strangled in 1999. 

He was released from prison in 2012 under licence and met Janet at a pub in March 2017. 

Amelia - 'Amy' - and her sister Hannah recalled that their mother, who had already been married four times, fell head over heels for Mellors, who seemed to be everything she had hoped for. 

Mellors had Janet believe he had spent the last twelve years travelling the world, but in reality, he was serving time for the murder of his former partner, Pearl Black, whom he strangled in 1999. 

However, six weeks into their relationship, his parole officer pushed the former convict to share his real past with Janet. He did so by sending her a news article about his arrest by text message. 

He put the murder on account of a mental breakdown and swore he had changed, but this was a big enough red herring for Janet's children to request a meeting with Mellors' probation officer. 

Recalling the experience, Amy said she asked the officer whether he thought Mellors would kill again

'I said, "In your professional experience is he going to do it again?"' she recalled. 'The probation officer looked at me and said... "I don't think so."' 

Mellors and Janet's relationship grew stronger after the probation meeting, spending increasing amount of time together. However her children were worried and unhappy about her choice of partner. 

Amy explained Mellors grew more and more controlling towards Janet: 'She was completely and utterly trapped,' she said. 

Feeling her relationship was going south, Janet tried to break things off, but not backing down, Mellors took to stalking and following her around on her way to work. 

Janet reported the issue to the probation service, who issued a warning, but Mellors did not stop the stalking. 

On 29 January 2018, he let himself in Janet's home and stabbed her in the chest and the abdomen. 

'She had tried to get away, there was blood smeared across the set of drawers leading out,' Amy recalled. 

Mellors dragged Janet to his car and forced her inside the vehicle. He drove towards the city centre of Nottingham. 

Spotting a traffic officer, Janet jumped out of the moving vehicle and ran for her life. The warden tried to help, but as they did, Mellors back down with his car and ran them over. 

The officer was sent 15ft in the air. Janet's body was crushed between the car and the wall Mellors had crashed against - she died instantly. 

Janet's daughter Hannah opened up about being told that her mother had died. 

'I cried for nights on end,' she said. 

In the documentary, Amy visited the street where her mother perished. She had first saw it the day following Janet's murder.  

'They'd only just removed the tent and moved mum's body from the pavement to the coroner's,' she explained. 'We were walking up the street and there was some guy there who was hosing blood off the wall into the drain,' 

'To see your mum's blood washing in into a drain as if it's graffiti or any dirt on the road.'

Hannah added: 'Just knowing that that road still exists, it's just like a burden. We don't want it to be there anymore.'

'They had to identify her by the cards left in her purse and dental records and hair DNA. She didn't have a face anymore because of what he did. Her entire torso was gone.'

Two days after the murder, Mellors was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder on the officer's life. But he killed himself in prison while awaiting trial and before a judgement could be passed. 

This was the last blow for Janet's children, who were hoping to get justice.   

'My blood boils. We didn't get the justice we deserved,' Hannah said. 

Her sister Amy added: 'We blame the justice system and the parole board. If anyone actually understood then they'd do an awful lot more to prevent this happening.'

In 2018, the Ministry of Justice apologised to Janet's family for 'unacceptable failings' that let to her murder.   

In a statement, the MoJ said: 'This was a truly awful crime and our thoughts remain with the victim, their family and friends.

'We apologise sincerely for the unacceptable failings that have been identified.'

In the Channel 5 documentary, three of Janet's children - including Amy and Hannah, who feature at length - cry on their mother's grave. 

Amy is hoping to push for a full inquest into her mother's case.

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 10:16

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Izzy Judd shares snap with her brother who suffered a brain injury in a car crash

Izzy Judd has shared a heartfelt message and sweet snap with her brother Rupert who suffered a serious head injury in a car accident in 1997.

The musician, 35, who is married to McFly drummer Harry, admitted that she had 'lost her way' with visiting her sibling with the 'sadness of it all just being too much in the midst of becoming a mum myself.' 

She added that although he lives in a residential home with 24-hour care, Rupert can 'light up any room' and 'finds humour in any situation'. 

Izzy also praised her parents in the touching Instagram post, writing that she has 'so much admiration for my their love and strength'. 

She wrote: 'As we drove home on Sunday I couldn’t help but find my thoughts turning to my parents, the emotion of it all feeling even more painful, to think of what they have been through and continue to go through must be unbearable, their first born, their son.  

'Living with grief and watching Rupert living a life he wasn’t supposed to live, wishing they could change it and make it all better.'

The proud sister also wrote how Rupert is 'an inspiration and a reminder to live life every single day' and said she is 'eternally grateful to Rupert for being such a fighter'.

Izzy could be seen embracing her big brother in the sweet snap of them outside a bowling alley, both with large smiles on their faces.

Violinist Izzy, who is mother to Lola and Kit, has spoken about Rupert's brain injury before and wrote about him for the Daily Mail in 2017.

The younger sister, who also has brothers Magnus and Guy, explained how she believed Rupert's accident was the 'catalyst for me developing the anxiety.'

Izzy wrote: 'On 7 February 1997, two weeks before my 13th birthday, everything changed. My eldest brother Rupert had an accident that has had a deep and lasting effect on my family, and I believe that this was the catalyst for me developing the anxiety that has been a companion for much of my life.

'Rupert was 18 and studying at Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. He was wild and charismatic, talented, energetic and full of life.

'It was Rupert who gave me my nickname Izzy. My birth name is Brittany but when I was young Mum used to say a little rhyme to me: ‘Izzy whizzy, let’s get busy’. Rupert couldn’t say Brittany, so he picked up on Izzy and it stuck.'

Discussing the night of his accident, Izzy said that Rupert had been out with pals but later decided to drive to Somerset, which was two and a half hours away, to see one of their cousins.

After arriving at roughly 1am Rupert stayed for around an hour before heading back to Harpenden in Hertfordshire as he had a horn lesson at the Guildhall later that day. 

Izzy said: 'Many days later, we learned that Rupert’s music teacher had left a message to say that the lesson was cancelled. But Rupert’s phone was out of battery and he never received it.'

She then explained that the family believe Rupert started driving back at about 3am and was only ten minutes from home when he drove into the back of an articulated lorry.

She said: 'We think he probably fell asleep at the wheel but we’ll never know. He was dead at the scene but was brought back to life by a defibrillator.'  

After the accident Rupert had to give up his musical career and be cared for in a residential home.

However Izzy wrote in her Instagram message on Wednesday that she is still grateful that her brother is 'such a fighter'.

She said: 'However much I wish he hadn’t had to go through such trauma and that his life and freedom hadn’t been taken away from him, I feel eternally grateful to Rupert for being here, for being such a fighter, such and inspiration and a reminder to live life every single day and to not care about what others think. Just be yourself and keep telling those you love how much they mean to you.'

Harry and Izzy have always been open about their lives, with them previously discussing parenting with anxiety and the dangers of social media.

The McFly star and his musician turned writer wife spoke out on the pressures of 21st century parenting as part of their new #ThisIsParenthood project with WaterWipes.

Izzy has been open about living with anxiety since she was a teenager, with Harry admitting that hearing his wife say she felt she was 'failing' as a mother during the early days of parenthood, was heartbreaking.

'We're sharing the realities of parenthood, there's been some scary statistics uncovered by WaterWipes and a particular one that stood out for me was that two thirds feel they're failing,' Izzy explained. 

'Certainly after Lola was born I was suddenly thrown into this world of being a mum and feeling like I'm not doing a good enough job.'

Harry thinks social media is partly to blame for these feelings of failure, pointing out that 'a lot of the way parents are portrayed these days is through social media by people of influence or even if it's just your friends and family.' 

He said one of the reasons he and Izzy are both so open about the tougher times when raising children is because they don't want to contribute to the pressure on parents.

'I heard Izzy so many times in the first year of being a mum say "Oh my god I've failed". That genuine feeling that she'd failed.'

'Hopefully I was able to reassure her. That has made us both conscious now to not put across this message of "Oh haven't we got this amazing life", which we have but there's a reality too.'

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 09:39

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Proud dad tells how his hero son, 14, rescued four grown men from a dangerous rip

A proud father has told how his brave 14-year-old son rescued four men from drowning as a powerful rip swept them out to sea. 

Barry Schilg, his son Clayton and their family were holidaying at Wooyung Beach on the New South Wales north coast on Thursday when trouble struck. 

Clayton had popped down to the beach with his mate about 2pm when his father's phone rang at the nearby caravan park. 

'His mate Harry said, "we've got some people in trouble and Clay's gone in to help",' Barry said. 

The worried dad searched desperately for another camper with a surfboard who could head out into the swell to help his son.  

'I said, my son's gone out, he's only 14, can you come out?'

Little did he know Clayton, a nipper at Tweed Heads Coolangatta Surf Club, already had things under control. 

Seven people were getting swept out to sea by a powerful tide when Clayton grabbed a tattered old emergency board from the beach and headed into the surf. 

'There was five people together in one group and one guy was in a bad way,' Barry said. 

Clayton reached the men but the situation was so panicked 'one of them tried to grab him and pull him under'. 

Surf life savers are often warned people in drowning situations can panic and accidentally sink the people coming to rescue them.  

Clayton helped four of the men to shore on the board.  

Once he reached a sandbank, he paddled the three most exhausted men, said to be aged in their 20s, in entirely by himself.  

One of the men, holidaymaker Ben Jeffrey, 28, was 'in a bad way'. 

Clayton put him in the recovery position and a registered nurse staying at the caravan park later helped keep him conscious. 

Mr Jeffrey, from Portarlington, Victoria, later told Clayton he was 'within a minute' of giving up. 

Mr Jeffrey's girlfriend, Christine Campbell, said Clayton was 'the hero of the day.

'He took control of the situation. He saved Ben's life. He took in four of them.

'I've never actually encountered a young man that took charge like that.

"He needs an award, he needs a medal.'  

A NSW Ambulance spokeswoman confirmed three crews were called to the remote beach. 

Far North Coast Surf Life Saving said lifesavers helped get ambulance 4WDs onto the beach. 

Paramedics stabilised Mr Jeffrey and he was taken to Tweed Heads District Hospital. 

Ms Campbell confirmed Mr Jeffrey is OK.

Police who attended the scene have reportedly suggested Clayton could be nominated for a bravery award. 

But his father's just glad his son - and those he rescued - are all safe. 

'It was exciting for our last day of holidays,' he laughed.

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 09:33

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Grandma Goes Mission Impossible While Dangling A 7 Y.O. From The 5th Floor to Rescue Her Cat

If the thought that your pet is more precious to you than anything else has ever crossed your mind, we are almost certain this video captured in China might make you reconsider your priorities. As much as we all love our pets, most of us probably wouldn’t risk our child or any other young kid just to get our beloved pet to safety. Well, this grandma has her priorities in quite a different order, apparently. When the reckless lady noticed her cat sitting on a ledge one floor lower, the best idea for rescuing the feline that popped into her head was apparently to risk the life of her own grandchild and dangle him from the balcony on a rope. Only in China, right?

Passers by filmed this little clip that shows the Chinese grandma dangling her 7-year-old grandson named Hao Hao on a rope from the 5th floor balcony in a risky attempt to rescue her beloved cat that was stuck on a ledge one level below their apartment. Footage shows how the boy balances on the tiny ledge, supported by the rope held by his grandma and puts the cat in the bag (no pun intended?) and then both of them get pulled back up to safety by the same grandma, assisted by the boy’s uncle.

The reckless grandmother who’s only known by her surname Tang, was widely criticized after the footage went viral first all over Chinese social media and then all over the world. A spokesperson at the local residential committee, Wang Ying, told BJ News that they had criticized and educated Ms. Tang. She insisted that Hao Hao was not hurt. The spokesperson added that the boy was a first-grade pupil and that his parents were working in another city, leaving him to live with his grandparents.

Ms. Tang said she didn’t feel she was causing her grandson any danger at the time but felt scared for him after watching the footage. Setting that aside, we have to admit one thing – she may not be the most responsible but she’s certainly one hella strong grandma!

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 09:27

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Woman dating her DAD and planning to marry him says world's opinion doesn't matter

All relationships have their obstacles to overcome.

But a 31–year age gap would be a bigger stumbling block than most.

That’s exactly the set up for extraordinary couple, Geiziane Mahely Da Silva and Martin Brenner.

At 57, the twenty-seven-year-old woman’s boyfriend is older than her dad and strangers call him a “sugar daddy.”

Almost every relationship faces challenges from time to time, but Geiziane Mahely Da Silva and Martin Brenner have had to overcome more obstacles than most.

Martin – who is the managing executive of a Swiss bank – has been accused of being Geiziane’s sugar daddy, as he is older than her dad. Martin’s ex-wife has also tried to split the pair up. Geiziane’s mother disapproved of their relationship. Oh, and they have had to make it work long-distance, with Martin based in Zurich, Switzerland, and Geiziane a student in Leicester, UK.

Despite all of this, the couple are still going strong and plan on getting a place together.

Geiziane’s mum was initially unhappy with her 27-year-old daughter’s choice of partner, because at 57 years of age, Martin is older than her dad. Perhaps surprisingly, Geiziane’s dad was actually fine with the relationship from the off – which Geiziane admits is more than she can say for herself.

She said: “We have almost 31 years between us. I don’t feel like it’s really bothered Martin, but at first it was difficult for me to accept being in love with a man who is older than my own father.

“My mother didn’t like it in the beginning. Surprisingly, my father accepted it fine as he could feel that I was happy. I have two brothers and they were really shocked, and they bullied me for a while but now after meeting several times with Martin and singing in a karaoke bar, everything is fine.”

But while Geiziane’s family might have accepted Martin, it seems his ex-wife hasn’t accepted her.

Geiziane said: “The most difficult part has been with his ex-wife. It seems to me that she does not seem to have accepted the end of their relationship, or his relationship with me, even though their relationship finished many years ago. So when she sees me, she tries to put me down. She said he is with me only for sex and I’m with him because of his money.

“This makes myself very uncomfortable and hurts me because people outside would think that I’m the wrong one, even though I know I shouldn’t be worrying about other people’s opinion.”

Martin has not been concerned by the views of others though, and said being in a relationship with Geiziane is ‘effortless’.

He said: “I was first attracted to her looks, charisma, personality and ability to listen to others.

“I was a bit worried the age gap might be too large, and we wouldn’t have much common ground. I was wrong. The fact is that we have never had a dull moment in the last four years.

“When we are together, all we realise is how we always bring out the best in each other and how effortlessly and easily things flow.

Things aren’t going as smoothly for a couple with a 53-year age gap in Serbia though, who have been having a bit of a bumpy ride on a Serbian reality TV show… So perhaps Geiziane and Martin are best off avoiding any potential offers to appear on reality shows in the future

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 23:38

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US Customs and Border Protection officer, 40, 'shot and killed his wife' on Thanksgiving

A US Customs and Border Protection officer has been charged with murder after Texas police say he shot and killed his wife on Thanksgiving.  

Officers in League City, Texas, responding to a call about 'multiple gunshots' fired on Thursday arrived to find Dudley Bernard, 40, standing outside his home near the body of his 42-year-old wife Chauntelle.  

Authorities said the couple had been inside celebrating Thanksgiving with their two young sons prior to the shooting. Video obtained by ABC13 showed a family member crying outside the home as an officer questioned Bernard.

No additional details about the incident have been released.  

Bernard was arrested and is being held on $200,000 bond, according to jail records.  

Both the suspect and victim had worked with CBP since 2008, a spokeswoman for the federal agency said in a statement.  

Dudley Bernard was an Agriculture Specialist in charge of overseeing the Houston Seaport environment.  

Chauntelle Bernard was a supervisor CBP officer in Houston, Texas.

'No words can express the sense of loss SCBPO Bernard's death brings to her colleagues and friends in CBP,' the spokeswoman wrote.

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 23:29

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Alcoholic dad stopped drinking after finding shocking selfie

A former alcoholic says one selfie was all it took for him to finally commit to giving up drinking. Gene Davies, 47, struggled with alcoholism for decades, with his addiction costing him numerous jobs and relationships. The pot washer – who used to drink a bottle and a half of whiskey a day – says his addiction even led to the breakdown of his marriage. However, a picture he took after a dangerous incident spurred him to reach out for help and he has now been sober for 18 months. Gene says his drink problem started when he was a teenager playing drums in a band called Silent Runner with Kelly Jones from Stereophonics who is his cousin. He said: ‘I’m not blaming rock and roll – I was a willing participant. ‘But it was definitely where my drink problem started.

We were only about 14 or 15 at the time and already playing pubs and workingmen’s clubs. ‘And this was the Valleys in the ’80s, by the way. ‘It was easy to get served if you were underage back then – lots of blind eyes were turned if we wanted to grab a crafty flagon of lager.’ After joining the band, the teenager spent most of his time ‘being the showman, trying to make people laugh’ during which time his ‘boozing increased exponentially’. After being thrown out of university in Bath for non-attendance, Gene made his way through a series of odd jobs, including dish washing and catering. However, he was fired from most of them after ‘sneaking in cans and disappearing down the pub during my breaks to throw more pints down my neck’. After moving back to Wales in 2003, he attempted to hide his drinking problem from his parents by stashing bottles in the house and going for long ‘walks’.

At his lowest point, he found himself sucking up the remnants of a spilled beer with a straw from a pub floor. He said: ‘While we were in there someone spilled their beer and I decided to take a straw, get down on my knees and suck the remnants of it from the dirtiest, mankiest pub carpet you’ve every seen. ‘And this was despite already having a full pint waiting for me on the bar. ‘Isn’t that the most disgusting thing you’ve ever heard?’ After meeting his wife Vicky at a party in 2010, they had a son called Joe in 2015. It was at this point that Gene cut down on drinking – but he couldn’t give it up altogether. He said: ‘I became a nasty drunk – not in the physical sense, just a sharp tongue – and that contributed to my marriage eventually breaking down.’

After being kicked out of his family home, the pot washer got the wake-up call he needed. He was staying round a friend’s house in a bunk bed while he awoke needing the toilet. However, he ended up covered in blood when he forgot where he was and fell from the top bunk. He said: ‘When I awoke in the night needing a pee I quite forgot I was six foot up and dropped like a stone to the floor, taking out a chest of drawers with my head on the way down. ‘I wasn’t knocked out – the drawers were totalled, mind – and staggered to the bathroom to see the mess I’d made of myself and whether or not I could get away with just wrapping it in a tea towel and going back to bed. ‘But, when I saw the blood, lifted up my hair and a big flap of skin came with it, I realised I’d partially scalped myself and could actually see my skull. ‘I remember thinking, ‘Nope, it’s the hospital for you, pal’.’

The next morning, the former alcoholic was looking at a selfie of his injuries from the night before. It was this picture that spurred him to shake his addiction. He said: ‘I’ve not touched a drop since – that was 18 months ago. ‘I now work washing pots and preparing veg in a local Indian restaurant – basic stuff but there’s no stress, just the way I like it. ‘Now Joe is my rock and my number one fan and he helps me keep it together. ‘As for all those lost years? I’m a bit ‘Edith Piaf’ about it all – ‘I regret nothing’ and all that – because, had I not gone down that route I wouldn’t have ended up meeting Vick, with whom I’m still friends, and I wouldn’t have had my boy. ‘Now it’s all about focusing on him and being a good dad. ‘It’s been a long time since I felt like myself again, and I’m loving it.’

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 23:09

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Millionaire's drug addict son, 37, who went to private school has been sleeping on the streets since he was 15 - and insists you 'just get used to it'

A drug addict who has been living on the streets for 21 years after being thrown out by his millionaire parents has revealed how he's turning his life around this Christmas.

Ryan Staffiere, 37, from Truro, Cornwall, branded himself a 'good boy gone wrong', having attended private school before turning to a life of drug and alcohol abuse.

He began smoking cannabis at the age of 11 and continued to experiment with substances during his teenage years, becoming a heroin addict by the age of 20.

Ryan has 93 convictions on his criminal record and recently made news headlines after climbing into the back of a police car drunk and demanding they gave him a lift home.

Having been banned from his mother's house last Christmas after downing three bottles of tequila, vodka and brandy, this year Ryan has turned a corner and is set to begin his third stint in rehab.

He's also enrolled on a number of courses, which has helped to give him a sense of purpose, and is currently living in a B&B.

'I will be in rehab and spending Christmas with the homeless. That's what I want to do,' he told Cornwall Live.

'I'm not sat on the streets begging, trying to get a tenner for crack. I've got courses lined up. 

'I want to be an advocate for homeless people. I could take them to doctors appointments and things like that. I would volunteer at first but that's what I want to do as a job.' 

Ryan told how his parents owned holiday cottages and were 'millionaires', but he was kicked out for his love of the party scene.

He admitted to mixing with people who were using drugs and it spiraled into a serious addiction.   

'I was a heroin addict when I was 20. When I was 25 the crack cocaine came down here. I got into it and then it's just been a downward spiral ever since,' he explained.

Speaking about his life on the streets, Ryan recalled how he would stay in car parks and often spent nights walking around, too scared to go to sleep.

Over time he said you 'just get used to' sleeping rough and likened his existence to that of a sparrow - which means not moaning about a lack of central heating and feeling 'chuffed' when someone gives him a pasty.

He admitted the worst thing about being homeless is getting wet in the rain and having no where to go to dry off and warm up. 

Ryan told how he had a string of 'toxic relationships', during most of which he was abusing alcohol and drugs. 

He has a 10-year-old daughter whom he is not in contact with; her mother died from an overdose and the little girl now lives with his family outside of Cornwall.

She is his primary motivation for getting his life back on track, so that she can say her father 'tried his best' when she gets older.

'I want to get a little flat and get a dog and learn to drive. I want to get a job,' he said. 

Ryan is a regular at the St Petrocs resource centre in Truro - which offers support to people who are experiencing homelessness - where he's allegedly one of the favourites among the staff, volunteers and clients.   

He credited the organisation for getting him to rehab in the past and providing him with housing, food and clean clothes. 

'Two years ago I was happy injecting heroin and smoking crack. I couldn't give a f*** that I was on the streets, I couldn't see a future for me,' Ryan told the publication.

The courses have given me something to do and opened my eyes. There's more to life than just existing.' 

These days Ryan goes shopping every week - something he's never done before - and buys himself new clothes.

While he still sees his parents and goes round for cups of tea and the odd meal, he admitted they don't approve of his lifestyle. 

Ryan urged people to think twice judging his situation, adding: 'There are addicts that do drugs and fund it out of their own pockets and junkies that rob old ladies and you all get thrown get thrown under the bus.

'You don't need anything to be a nice person.'

St Petrocs has an ambition to end street homelessness in Cornwall through its main objectives, which include campaigning to raise awareness and initiate support and funding.

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 23:02

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Nine-year-old twin with albinism says people refuse to believe she and her brother are related because they have different skin tones - and will ask her why she is 'lighter' than her sibling

Twins are often born identical or looking similar in appearance, but in the case of a Florida brother and sister, the two couldn't look more different.

Nine-year-old She'riq Elliott from Pembroke Pines was born with albinism but her twin brother, Te'riq Elliott, was born without the condition, leaving many strangers refusing to believe that the pair are actually related - particularly because they are so different in personality.  

'People sometimes don't believe we are twins,' She'riq said. 'We're totally different. He's funnier than me and I'm just kind of calm.' 

'Everybody comes up to me and they're like, "Why are you lighter than your brother?" So I tell them,' she continued. 

Te'riq added: 'I help my sister because my friends always tell me, "Hey Te'riq why is your sister a different type of color?" and then I just explain it and they're like, "Oh that's cool."'

One in 18,000 to 20,000 people in the United States are born with albinism, which causes pale skin, sensitivity to the sun, and eyesight issues.

This wasn't the first experience of albinism for parents Sherria and Terry Elliott Sr., who had welcomed a daughter with the same condition 10 years before the twins.

Now 20, older sister Sheterria has been a mentor and support for She'riq, having navigated the negativity that can come when living with a misunderstood condition. 

'I think that I've helped my sister cope with having albinism because I've gone through all the hard times so I was able to educate her, let her know that it's not a disease, you're okay, we're going to be fine,' Sheterria said. 

'I would tell her how to respond to certain remarks, be nice, but let them know what it is that you have.'

She recalled when the twins were first born: 'I was in elementary school and I was so excited because I wanted one to come out looking like me.'

'My brother picked me up from school and we went to the hospital and everybody was quiet,' she continued. 'They took me to the NICU because they said one of the babies was in there.

'I go to the window and when they opened the window, my sister was there and she had a head full of blonde hair like me. She looked just like me. I started crying. That was the best moment ever.'

Older brother, Terry Jr. said: 'It was just a reincarnation of me and Sheterria. I'm the oldest and she's under me so when I found out that Te'riq came out like me and She'riq had albinism it was like a whole me and Sheterria born again.'

While there's no history of Albinism in Sherria or Terry Sr.'s family, the combination of their genes appears to have a significantly increased chance of resulting in a child with the disorder.

Dad Terry Sr., said: 'We didn't know one of the twins had albinism until She'riq was born. Looking at the doctors' facial expressions was just amazing. It was shocking to all of them.'

Now nine, the twins are an inseparable team, with the calm and centered She'riq balancing out her more animated brother.

'The twins have a wonderful relationship, I love their relationship and it kind of makes me wish I had a twin growing up,' Mom Sherria said. 

'My daughter, She'riq, she's very caring, very nurturing, kind of like me. And my son Te'riq is very outgoing, very funny like his dad.'

And while She'riq was potentially facing a much tougher upbringing than her brother, older sister Sheterria made sure her younger sister was prepared for what lay ahead.

The older Elliott sister had experienced her share of obstacles due to her condition and was keen to ensure her sister didn't go through the same thing.

She recalled a particularly tough time as a young girl: 'In pre-Kindergarten, we had to go to the high school that was across the street.

'So we would walk to the high school to eat lunch and during that time, that's where the kids were throwing food at me.

'I was the lightest person in the school because it was an African American school. I was crying, bawling. I was like "mommy, I don't understand why these kids are treating me like this."'

Experiences like this allowed Sheterria to understand how people reacted to Albinism out in the world, so she ensured her younger sister met any questions or judgement head-on. 

'My sister helped me with my albinism because she comforts me,' She'riq said. 'She helped me with talking to more people, because I used to be kind of shy. But now I just like to make friends.'

Meanwhile, Sheterria has now learned to overcome the negativity and embrace herself – modelling and launching her own eyelash extension company.

'When I look in the mirror, I see somebody who has come a long way,' she said. 'Looking in the mirror now is totally different from how I used to look in the mirror because when I wake up, I don't have my makeup done and everything is blonde.

'My eyebrows are blonde, my eyelashes are blonde, everything is blonde, and I used to hate that. I used to not be proud of who I used to see when I looked at the mirror. But now I look in the mirror and I'm like "yes, you cute."'

Recently the twins and Sheterria were chosen to be part of an uplifting photo series called the 'Skin I'm In' project, which was exhibited in Houston, Texas.

Photographer Ferrell Phelps shot with numerous individuals with skin conditions in an attempt to, in his own words, 'make a difference.'

Phelps, speaking at a gala event for the photo series in Houston, said: 'I was looking for people of all different skin types, variations, ethnicities, and so forth, to be a part of a project.

'I want everybody to be accepted for their uniqueness. I want them to be accepted for who they are. I want the modelling industry to change. I want the commercial industry to change. And I'd love to see more people with uniquely beautiful skin.'

After seeing their photos in the exhibition, the twins were clearly proud of sharing their unique look with others.

'I never thought I'd be a part of something like this,' She'riq said. 'I think it's really cool that Ferrell is doing this for people that have different kinds of skin.

'I really like it because it can tell people that they're beautiful the way they are.'

Sherria said: 'I'm very proud of my girls. I'm very proud of where they are, accepting who they are, that's what I'm most proud of.

'Just to see where they came from to now, not being able to look people in the eye because they want to look away because they don't know what the person is saying to them or the person is pointing, wondering why their skin is different than ours.

'Every kid wants to look like mom and dad so we just had to teach them that this is how God made you. We love you regardless, unconditionally, but until they learn to love themselves that was the key. And once they did that, I mean, it was like magic, like a blessing.'

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 22:55

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Everyone is criticizing Peloton's holiday ad, but one Frisco mother saw her journey in it

FRISCO, Texas — It's only thirty seconds long, but a well-intentioned holiday ad made by thriving exercise equipment company Peloton has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. 

However, a mother from Frisco who bought a Peloton to change her own life sees things differently. 

In the ad, a husband buys his wife a Peloton bike for Christmas. 

The bike, which is worth $2,245 has a sleek monitor that allows Peloton to live stream instructors hosting spin classes. 

The idea is to be in a spin class without leaving the comfort of your home. A monthly membership of $39 is needed though. 

The wife in the ad, who is also a mother, rides the Peloton for a year and records herself doing so with her phone. 

The husband is never present in the ad except for the beginning of the commercial and at the end when the wife contently shows him her daily videos a year later. 

Twitter had a field day with it all. 

Peloton was accused of being sexist and some even said the company was setting unfair fitness expectations for women. 

Some thought it funny and others stood up for the company. 

If you ask 37-year-old Richelle Martin from Frisco, the ad resonated with her. 

"It was like watching my story on TV," Martin said. "Sure the ad was cheesy and it might have been bad acting but at the end of the day it's my story." 

Martin will be the first to tell you that she's struggled with fitness her whole life. 

"When I graduated high school, I was 250 pounds. By the time I was 30 I was 350 pounds," Martin said. "I didn't have the healthiest upbringing and have been overweight my whole life." 

But Martin, who has an 11-year-old son, reached a breaking point in 2018.

"I kind of looked at myself and said, 'enough,'" Martin said. "It had to stop and I had to figure out a solution." 

Martin has never been a fan of gyms. She said she doesn't do well with judgmental looks and critical eyes. But working out in her own home and following a streamed class is the next best thing. 

For Mother's Day, her husband gifted her a Peloton bike. 

Similar to the ad. 

"I had asked for it many times," Martin said. "Then he surprised me with it. It was the best gift he ever gave me. It's the best thing he's ever done for me." 

Martin has since dropped 50 pounds and works out four to six times per week. Her goal is to lose 200 pounds. 

She says her biggest motivation for her fitness journey is her son. 

"I want to be here for him as he gets older," Martin said. "I see that bike, and I see how it's giving me my life back." 

Martin isn't alone in her journey, she oversees a Peloton Facebook group for plus-sized riders. 

It's jokingly called "XXL," but as the group has grown to 6,900 members it now stands for "Xtra Xtra Love," she said. 

The group received the new branding after women and men of all sizes found it to be a safe place to share and post as they pedal. 

Martin was even asked to join a panel in New York a few weeks ago that was put on for journalists by Facebook. 

The idea was to show how Facebook fitness groups inspire and motivate thousands while they're moving on their own fitness journeys. 

Martin even got Peloton to release plus-sized athletic wear because it wasn't available until she brought it up to the company. 

"We love this brand, so we want to represent it. But when there's nothing in the store it's kind of demoralizing," Martin said. "I got to shake hands with the owner of the company and it was awesome." 

Quite the journey, right? 

So what does Martin think about the ad? 

"What better gift is there than giving somebody health?" Martin said. "To this day I tell my husband that my bike is the best thing he's ever done for me." 

Sure, the ad involves a fictional person, a fictional family, and is just designed to make Peloton money. 

But the internet's collective reaction is what leaves Martin unsettled. 

Adding that there are those out there just like her, just like the mom in the ad, who are on their respective journeys to better their health. 

"I don't understand why we have to be a society that is so quick to judge others for doing something good for themselves?" Martin said. 

"If it's not your journey then don't judge it."

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 22:47

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Last Words Man Told Wife in Argument Before Plunging at Likoni

The family of John Mutinda, 46, whose body was retrieved from the Indian Ocean at Likoni Channel spoke out after his death, following reports that he had an argument with his wife in the wee hours of Saturday morning, December 7, 2019.

The deceased drowned at 4:20 am after speeding into the Indian Ocean despite efforts by Kenya Ferry Services officials to stop him.

KTN was first to report that Mutinda hastily left the house, without wearing a shirt, and drove to the channel. 

"We received the news in the morning that the body had been retrieved. We have not seen it yet, therefore, we cannot release a full statement.

"The wife can't also speak at the moment until we view the body. However, before he left, he informed his wife that he had been called. She followed him only to find out that he had left.

"I was informed of his death in the morning by Reverend Paul Rugut, our pastor. It was then that I rushed to the scene," Bernard Sila, the family spokesperson, stated as the deceased's wife stood alongside him.

His wife, Ruth Mueni, informed K24 TV that Mutinda told her that he dreamt receiving a phone call from his late father who instructed him to drive to Mombasa CBD, where they would meet. Mueni added that she hid the car keys and asked him to pray along with her, to which declined and search for the keys, found them and drove off. 

She denied claims that the two had any wrangles, stating that she never had a fight with her husband that could push him to his death.

Mutinda hailed from Kitui but resided with his wife and twin sons in Likoni. 

Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho swiftly responded after the tragedy, stating that he had deployed a team from the county to collaborate with the multi-agency rescue team in conducting the operation.

The incident happened barely three months after the tragic September 29, Likoni incident which saw Mariam Kighenda and her 4-year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu plunge to their death.

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 22:41

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Chilling video shows toddler playing on escalator moments before it killed him

Harrowing footage captured the moments just before a three-year-old boy fell to his death while playing with his siblings - while his mother was nowhere to be seen.

Jaiden Cowart had been playing with his two siblings, two and four, at an escalator near baggage claim at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, North Carolina, when his clothing got caught and he was pulled to the top then dropped.

Police say his mother, Jiterria Lightner, could not be seen for the entire hour of surveillance footage. 

She was arrested and charged with three counts of child neglect after the incident on September 25 just before 9pm. 

Lightner claims she was sitting 15 feet away from the escalator while arranging a ride to take the family back to their North Carolina home.  

Footage shows Jaiden's sister grab on to the hand rail of the escalator. As she ascends, she picks Jaiden up and the two continue to travel upwards. 

A painting contractor saw the children, rushed over to try and help and was able to catch Jaiden's sister, according to an airport report. 

The contractor didn't reach Jaiden in time and he fell 20 feet to the ground. 

One airport worker reportedly saw the child suffer a 'major trauma to the head' and called for a medic while passengers swarmed round and asked him to 'do something', according to ABC News.  

Police said Jaiden was lying in a 'large pool of blood' and was taken to Atrium Health Hospital but died three days later. 

Mr Lightner had been travelling back from Florida with her children when the accident happened. 

'They were between the stairs and the escalators when he was carried up on his arm up the escalator,' attorney Michael Greene said.

'It appears that he was trying to reach over to grab the stair railing and when he tried to grab the railing, that's when he took the unfortunate fall.'

'(They) went from saying this is an accident, now saying that you've committed a crime,' Greene told Channel 9 News. 'She was caring for a 4-, 3- and 2-year-old and trying to arrange a ride from the airport. I'm here saying she's not guilty of misdemeanor child abuse.

'This is one of those incidents that could've happened to any one of the members of this community, and, unfortunately, the decision came down to charge her with a crime.'

Police said Lightner 'allowed a substantial risk of physical injury by allowed the child to play, unsupervised, on an airport escalator.'

Lightner said she was  on a chair 15 feet away from the escalator and trying to book a ride home for the family. 

She was arrested two weeks ago and was charged with three counts of misdemeanor child abuse, according to records from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office. She was released from jail the same evening.

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 22:31

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Autistic boy, 18, who 'killed his parents, sister and a family friend with a semi-automatic rifle on New Years Eve' will remain in jail as he awaits trial

An autistic teenager who allegedly shot his parents, his sister and a family friend several times during a New Years Eve massacre, has been ordered to remain in jail as he awaits trial. 

Defense attorneys for Scott Kologi, 18, sought to have him transferred to a psychiatric ward on Tuesday, because they claim he suffers from hallucinations. 

The tragic incident took place on New Years Eve in 2017 at the Kologi family home in Long Branch, New Jersey.  

Kologi, then 16-years-old, is accused of opening fire on his parents, 44-year-old Steven and 42-year-old Linda; his 18-year-old sister, Brittany; and 70-year-old Mary Ann Schultz, who was the grandfather's girlfriend and lived with the family on December 31, 2017.

At the time of the shooting, the family members were occupying different rooms of the house.  

Adrian, the boy's grandfather, Steven Jr., his older brother and a family friend in her 20s, escaped the residence unharmed. 

One of survivors called local authorities and police officers arrived to the scene within a minute.

Authorities found the family's two pets, a dog and a cat, uninjured inside the Kologi home.  

Subsequently, Kologi was arrested and taken into police custody. 

The murder weapon, made by Century Arms, was legally purchased by someone in the home who survived the shooting.

Charges against the gun's owner are not being considered, Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said. 

Under New Jersey law, a gun owner can be charged with a disorderly persons offense if a minor gains access to a gun the owner didn't secure in a locked container or with a trigger lock. 

Kologi faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. 

Neighbor Jalen Walls, 18, told that Kologi required special assistance and was cared for by his mother.

The suspect did not attend the same public school as his siblings, Wall's said, but was 'fully functional and comprehended what we were saying.'

On New Years Day, Steven Jr. took to Instagram to say he had 'the greatest parents' he 'could ask for,' who made Christmas special for the family each year, despite struggling financially. 

'Never once was I without a hot meal or a roof over my head,' Steven Jr. wrote. 

The heartbroken brother also said his sister was 'so beautiful and smart.'

He continued: 'I just wish I could tell all of them how much they meant to me and how much I truly loved each and every one of them because I didn't do that enough.'

The Asbury Park Press reported that the family was heavily in debt and were facing foreclosure on their home. 

Two weeks before the shooting, the Kologi's were declared in default of a mortgage from 2006 - one of multiple mortgages they had taken out on the $160,000 Long Branch property over the years. 

The family filed for federal bankruptcy in 2009, according to a document that also listed that Linda owed more than $72,000 in unpaid credit card bills and Steven Sr. worked as a US Postal Service mail carrier.  

Despite their financial difficulties, loved ones described the pair as hardworking and loving parents who went beyond to provide for their family. 

In addition to the three children Steven and Linda had together, Linda has a 25-year-old son from a previous relationship.  

People who knew the boy were shocked by the allegations and the severity of the crime. 

Joe Rios, a family friend, told the New York Post: '(The boy) came to watch the softball games with Linda and he was always smiling. This is totally out of the blue.'

'This is not something I ever thought this young boy would do. I don't know what happened. He was not a violent kid. He was always smiling.'

Rios also described Kologi as the 'nicest kid in the world.'

Kologi's case was initially contained in Family Court, but a judge approved the prosecutors' request to move it to adult court last month.  

Authorities have not publicly identified a potential motive for the alleged slayings.

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 21:52

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Man, 42, 'shot his girlfriend's son, 16, and daughter, 15, dead because they complained about him smoking in their house' then turned the gun on himself

A man shot and killed his girlfriend's teen daughter and son because they complained about his smoking, then turned the gun on himself.  

Paul W. Ferguson, 42, gunned down Della Jette, 15, and her brother, Sterling Jette Jr., 16, in their Watertown, Connecticut home Tuesday night, according to authorities.

Police responded to the home after the teens' mother, Dani Jette, 40, called 911 to report that her boyfriend had shot her children. 

Della and Sterling were found on scene with life-threatening injuries and died at the hospital, the Watertown Police Department said in a news release.

Ferguson was pronounced dead at the home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police. Dani was uninjured.

Watertown police said there was an argument before the shootings between Ferguson and Della. Police chief John Gavallas said at a press conference Wednesday that Della was upset over Ferguson's smoking cigarettes inside their house, and confronted Dani about it.

'It became a little bit loud,' Gavallas said. 'Ferguson was downstairs with the son watching TV. He came up and told the daughter to quiet down and not talk to her mother that way. They had a bit of a dust-up back and forth.'  

Gavallas said Ferguson went into a bedroom, got a gun and shot Sterling in the leg when the teen came upstairs to confront him. Della went out onto a deck and the mother ran downstairs to call for help.

Ferguson followed Della out onto the deck and shot her in the chest before coming back inside and shooting Sterling in the chest, the chief said.  

Ferguson then locked himself in a bedroom and shot himself, police said.

'The deaths of these children is a tragedy for our whole community and the police department extends our deepest sympathy to the victims' mother, family and friends', the police department said in its news release.

Della and Sterling were both students at W.F. Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury.

'There is nothing worse that can happen to a school community. Our number one priority right now is doing all we can to support our students, staff and families through this crisis,' said Jeffrey Wihbey, the state's superintendent of technical education, in a statement.

Crisis teams have been set up to provide counseling and support for those grieving the brother and sister, who had previously attended Watertown Public Schools through the eighth grade, superintendent Rydell Harrison said.

'The Watertown community has suffered a tremendous loss', the school district leader said in a statement on Twitter. 'Our school community, like the wonderful town we live in, will come together to do everything we can to provide support to our students, staff and families during this difficult time'.

A memorial service and candlelight vigil for the teens is scheduled to take place on Friday, Dec. 6, in Watertown. 

Ferguson, who was not legally allowed to be in possession of a gun after a 2007 sexual abuse charge of unlawful restraint, moved into the home about two weeks ago, police said. 

The investigation into this double murder-suicide is ongoing.

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 21:43

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Mum who lied about her baby's father jailed for eight months

A pregnant mother was jailed for eight months after lying about the father of her baby on the birth certificate to spite her ex-boyfriend.

Louise Boyce, 30, pretended her new boyfriend Nathan Leggatt was the baby's father instead of her former lover Ashley Sayce - and took him to register the birth. 

When the couple filled in the paperwork they told officials they were the baby's parents.  

Leggatt, 34, broke down in tears during the signing and told staff: 'It's a bit emotional to register the baby's birth.'

But Swansea Crown Court heard Boyce had 'acted out of spite' by leaving her ex-boyfriend off the birth certificate because the pair had a bitter split.

Their lies were rumbled after social services got involved - and a paternity test proved the truth in the case.

Boyce and Leggatt, both of Manselton, Swansea, were arrested and admitted will-fully giving false information concerning registration of a birth.

David Singh, defending Boyce, said she acted 'out of spite' towards her former partner Mr Sayce, and a 'desire' for Leggatt to be the baby's father.

Andrew Evans, defending Leggatt, said he 'had a genuine desire' to play an active role in the baby's welfare and wanted to be loyal to Boyce.

Boyce - who is pregnant again - was jailed for eight months and Leggatt jailed for six months at Swansea Crown Court.

stella Posted on December 09, 2019 17:29

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Widow who fought Apple for THREE YEARS to access to her late husband's iPhone family photos

A widow who fought a three-year battle with Apple to gain access to her dead husband's iPhone family photos has opened up about the emotional moment she showed the images to their young daughter.

Rachel Thompson, 44, from Chiswick, west London, spent thousands of pounds forcing the tech giant to open the account so she could help Matilda, 10, remember her father through the 4,500 images and 900 videos he stored online. 

Her initial attempts to access her husband Matt's account, after he took his own life in July 2015, were rebuffed by the American company, but last week a court order finally went in her favour.

Appearing on This Morning today, the single mother-of-one revealed she sat down with Matilda on Sunday to flick through the precious memories.

She told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield: 'I didn't really know how to present, "Here's 4,500 photos of your father, 900 videos, here you go, you're 10". That's quite a lot for a little child.

'I sat her down and showed her a few of them, and after five or 10 minutes she was like, "Mummy I think I want to go and play with the dog now, would it be OK if we went and looked at these another time?" Absolutely fine.'

Rachel, a property advisor, met her husband Matt at university when she was 19 and he was 18. They married 10 years later and went on to have Matilda, who was six when he passed away.

The couple separated in 2014 but never divorced, and a year later Matt tragically took his own life.

During his life, estate agent Matt took thousands of photos on his iPhone charting their relationship and Matilda's early childhood. 

'He was an amazing photographer, it was one of his passions,' Rachel explained.

'I had a Blackberry which wasn't great for taking photographs. He had a first generation iPhone from day dot. 

'He recorded our life as a family and Matilda's life growing up. When he died his phone shut down and I didn't have the passcode to get into it.'

His Apple account also contained photos of Rachel's father, who died 18 months after her husband. 

Rachel admitted that Matt had told her the access code but she'd forgotten it, explaining: 'Death is a funny thing, the brain shuts down.'

Even though Matilda's thumbprint could operate the phone, as the battery had died a passcode was required, so Rachel took it into her nearest Apple store. 

She told how she 'wandered in naively' and asked a staff member to open it for her, but they refused.

'They were like, "No sorry, we can't,"' she explained.

'And I said, "Oh, why?" and they said, "There is a process and we don't have access to it, we're really sorry."'

Rachel was informed she needed a grant of probate, which took six months to come through. She was then told that would only close the account; for them to provide her access to it, she needed a court order. 

This was because Matt had not specified what access others should have to his account after his death aged 39.

Under UK law, the loved ones of people who pass away have no legal right to access information held in the deceased's online accounts. 

Rachel said this contrasted with the easy transfer of all her husband's other assets and 'dragged out' the grieving process. But she refused to give up, for the sake of her daughter.

'It's only for Matilda that I did any of this in the first place,' she told Holly and Phil.

'I'm a single mother with an only child and she would sit there and say, "Mummy please can you tell me stories about Daddy?"

'I had my stock stories, and you can't keep retelling them. It's really nice to have the photographs to say, "Oh my goodness do you remember when you did this, we did this, diving in the swimming pool, we went on that holiday."

"Those are things that, over time, you forget.'

Having been provided with the appropriate wording of the order, Rachel went to a magistrates court but said she 'couldn't get anything from them'.

Eventually she enlisted the help of solicitor Matt Himsworth, who pointed out how 'very difficult' it is for a member of the public to pursue this kind of order by themselves.

After three years, in a ruling on the case at Central London County Court, Rachel was finally awarded access to her husband's phone contents.

Asked by Phil if she was worried she might discover something on there she'd wish she hadn't, Rachel replied: 'That is the risk, you find something you don't necessarily want to see, but for me it was a risk worth taking.' 

Judge Jan Luba, who ruled over Rachel's case, called for a change in the law and a simpler way to settle these cases in the future. 

Legal experts supported this, and said companies should owe a 'digital duty of care' to grieving families. 

Mr Himsworth said: 'Photos used to be kept in physical photo albums but now they're kept online. Now, instead of looking through a photo album, our loved ones need a username and password to access this material. But what happens when they don't have this information?

'The UK needs to deal with this issue as more and more of us use cloud-based accounts and social media.

'There should be a universal process in order for heirs of estates to access the data held in these accounts.'

stella Posted on December 07, 2019 17:32

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My soulmate killed himself after his family said he needed to be 'cured' of being gay'

It was a night out like any other when Matt Ogston's life changed forever.

A man with a soft voice asked to sit beside him in a nightclub in November 2001 - and so began a 13-year love story which ended in the most tragic fashion.

The voice belonged to Dr Nazim Mahmood, an up-and-coming doctor who would go on to run three London clinics.

The couple quickly fell in love and set up home in Moseley but one thing clouded their happiness. Nazim feared his family would not accept their relationship.

Wanting freedom and the anonymity of a new life in a big city, they moved to London, quickly formed a circle of friends and, in time, became engaged.

But still Nazim, known as Naz, kept his sexuality a secret from his relatives back home until the truth emerged during a trip back to Birmingham for Eid celebrations in July 2014.

Within days, he had taken his own life. He was just 34.

Now Matt runs the Naz and Matt Foundation in his fiance's memory to help families learn to accept their children and see that being gay is not a choice.

He said some were still being pressed into forced marriages with members of the opposite sex, with families hoping it would "cure" their kids of being gay.

Matt recalled: "I first met Naz on a night out in Birmingham. I was sitting there and I heard this soft voice say: 'Excuse me, can I sit here please?"

"In that moment my life changed because he'd arrived. He was the one I was looking for.

"We got quickly got talking and we fell in love.

We just wanted to be together but to live our lives and be ourselves we had to move to London because living in Birmingham was just too scary.

"We couldn't walk down the street together, we couldn't even have our blinds open in the living room.

"Naz would say that if his parents drove past and saw us holding hands or doing something any other couple might do, they would be on the doorstep demanding we broke up because it wasn't acceptable in their family to have a gay son."

Nazim was raised by a strict Muslim family and he knew they would not accept his sexuality, Matt said.

He was questioned by relatives about when he was going to find a wife and pretended Matt was just a friend at family events, his partner said.

Matt said: "We had to do everything in our power to protect our relationship which is why running away to London was the only way forward for us.

"We didn't know anyone there but we wanted to find freedom in the bright lights, the big city with adventure ahead where we could be ourselves.

"When we were in London we could be ourselves but every so many weeks we'd travel back to Birmingham and he would see his family.

"That was where he would have to pretend to be the perfect Muslim son they wanted him to be.

"Then, when we got back to London, he would be grumpy because he'd been through a lot emotionally as he was having to hide his identity."

On their tenth anniversary, the pair decided they would throw a party to thank friends for their support - and Matt decided he was going to propose.

He continued: "I got down on one knee in the DJ booth and asked him to marry me and he said yes.

"But, if we were to get married he would have to come out because he wanted his mum at the wedding.

"We knew that might never happen because he feared what his family would do if they found out."

Despite knowing they may never marry, Matt didn't mind.

Just being engaged to the love of his life and getting to share that moment with all of their friends was enough.

However, in July 2014, Naz's family discovered his sexuality when he was visiting them during Eid celebrations.

Matt said: "His sexuality was brought up and challenged, which made him break down in tears.

"They told him he needed to see a psychiatrist to be cured because they saw being gay as a disease but it's not.

"Just as somebody is born straight, we were born gay. The only choice we have is to accept ourselves for how we are born and the way that God made us.

"This is a journey we all have to go on, hoping one day our parents accept us too.

"Quite often when we come out, many of us in the community face rejection, particularly when there is a strong, conservative, religious interpretation.

"That confrontation left Naz deeply upset and in the days following we talked about what happened and tried to make sense of it all."

Matt tried desperately to console his distraught partner but just two days later, their love story came to a tragic end.

On July 30, 2014, Matt received phone calls begging him to leave work and go home with no explanation of what was happening. 

He said: "I got home and I saw police cars and blue flashing lights.

"I was bundled into one of the cars when I tried to get into our home and that's when I saw a red blanket on the floor.

"That's when I realised that my fiancé and soul mate was gone, and when the police said the words I desperately didn't want them to say. I broke down.

"My reason for living was no longer here. In the weeks afterwards, it didn't get any easier."

Matt later changed his legal name to Matt Mahmood-Ogston even though they were not married.

He said: "Naz once asked me to promise him that, if anything happened to him, I would never forget him.

"When Naz passed away I wanted to make sure that I, and the rest of the world, would never forget.

"I changed my name to include Naz’s name so, whenever I write my name in full, his name will always be there next to mine."

“I hear from men and women who fear their parents will disown or emotionally or physically abuse them if they find out they’re gay.

"In some cases they force them to marry a member of the opposite sex in a belief it will somehow ‘cure’ them of being gay.

"It's made me realise that this was never an isolated incident.

"This is a wider issue that needs to be tackled in communities from all around the UK.

"There is a very strong religious interpretation that some families from any faith have that tells them that they can't accept someone from being gay, this is what happens.

"It leads to suicides and it's not acceptable. That's why we need to challenge these views because 

"I don't want anything to happen to their children. We just want acceptance for their children for how they were born.

"There's no one to blame, there's nothing wrong with them. 

"The true beauty of a relationship with your child is loving them unconditionally and that's all we ask."

stella Posted on December 07, 2019 17:27

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Bullied boy, 8, was 'knocked unconscious' at school two days before his suicide

Distressing surveillance camera footage shows the moment an eight year-old boy was allegedly knocked out in a school bathroom two days before killing himself. The video, filmed at Carson Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio, is said to show Gabriel Taye being punched to the floor before being ignored for seven minutes. Students can be seen prodding and poking the youngster, with lawyers for Carson Elementary in court Wednesday in an attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Gabriel’s family over his January 2017 death. Lawyers for the school say they should be immune from liability because they cannot be responsible for violence between students. Gabriel’s mother Cornelia Reynolds found him hanged next to his bunk bed, with the grieving family’s lawyers accusing Carson Elementary of covering up ‘rampant’ bullying there.

Jennifer Branch, the attorney representing the family, said: ‘The school district still, three years later, has not told us what happened. ‘What the principal knew, what the assistant principal knew about how he was bullied and how he was hurt throughout his entire career at Carson Elementary.’

Branch also accused the school of failing to save another video shot the next day, which showed Gabriel being ‘accosted’ by two boys in the same bathroom. Those alleged bullies are then said to have snatched Gabriel’s water bottle ‘and attempted to flush it down a toilet in front of him.’ They say that Gabriel immediately told his teacher what had happened, before going home that evening to take his own life.

The lawsuit further alleges that Gabriel fell victim to bullies’ aggression at least six times during his final school year, but claims Carson Elementary either failed to tell his parents or withheld vital information. A school spokesman said third-grader Gabriel had never mentioned being hurt by other students, and had no visible injuries that flagged-up what was going on. But Branch insists the school was negligent in its treatment of Gabriel, and told Courthouse News Service: ‘These parents had no idea how dangerous his third-grade school was. ‘These parents had no idea what was going on at Carson Elementary School.’ An initial attempt by Carson Elementary’s lawyers to have the case thrown out failed. They now want the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the wrongful death suit against the school’s then-principal and vice principal. The school argues that letting the lawsuit go ahead leaves them open to vexatious claims. But Branch is adamant that the circumstances surrounding Gabriel’s death should face legal scrutiny. She told WCPO: ‘The school district is arguing, “Wait, don’t let this case go forward … we’ll get sued all the time.” ‘And I said, “Great. You should be sued if you’re covering this up.”‘

stella Posted on December 07, 2019 16:54

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Young child tells court how they woke up to hear man in 'mean mood' attacking his estranged wife on night he is accused of stamping her to death

A young child told how they woke up to hear a man in a 'mean mood' hitting his estranged wife on the night he is accused of stamping her to death. 

Shaun Dyson, 28, is accused of the murder of Lucy-Anne Rushton in the early hours of June 23 by repeatedly jumping or stamping on her at the family house in Andover, Hampshire, while children were at the property.

The witness, who cannot be identified because of their age, said in a video interview shown to Winchester Crown Court that they woke up at 4am and heard Dyson shouting at Ms Rushton and 'slapping' her.

The child said: 'I woke up to loud noises and hitting. I did hear shouting.

'He was in a mean mood because I know what he is like when he is mean, so I know he was mean.'

They added Ms Rushton, 30, was speaking in her 'sad voice'.

The child said they were also woken up at 3am by 'shouting' which was 'scaring' them and then they heard Dyson order Ms Rushton to swallow her wedding ring.

They said Dyson said: 'Swallow the ring because we are not together,' and added: 'When I woke up I saw the ring on the stairs.'

The witness said they later heard Dyson say Ms Rushton was not breathing and had thrown a jug of water in her face to try to wake her up.

They said: 'I heard splashing noises.'

The witness said they saw Ms Rushton in her bedroom and said: 'She was lying on her bed, she wasn't wearing any clothes.

'She was looking up with her eyes closed and she wasn't breathing.'

They said Dyson called for an ambulance and then saw him performing CPR on Ms Rushton.

The witness added they 'felt sad' because Ms Rushton had died.

The child said that on the previous evening, Ms Rushton had got drunk and added: 'We had fun, we were having a little dance party with roller skates.'

The witness added Ms Rushton 'had disco lights in the kitchen and we were all having fun, then she got drunk by drinking something.'

The child said when they had gone to Asda that evening, Dyson had punched Ms Rushton after she had slapped him in the car, causing her to bleed.

They added: 'She didn't really slap him very hard but he hit her in the head, he hit her with his fist. They were saying mean things. She kept shouting and crying.'

Simon Jones, prosecuting, has told the jury there was a 'history of domestic violence' between the couple, who married by eloping to Gretna Green in 2010.

Dyson, of Andover, Hampshire, denies murder and the trial continues.

stella Posted on December 07, 2019 16:31

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Mom, 17, is charged with manslaughter for the overdose death of her nine-month-old son after she and the boy's grandmother, 43

Two Maryland women have been arrested in the death of a nine-month-old baby boy who overdosed on fentanyl and heroin on Thursday.

The baby's mother, 17-year-old Alexus Lorraine Taylor, and the baby's grandmother, 43-year-old Laurie Ann Taylor, were taken into custody by the Anne Arundel County Police Department after they concluded an investigation into the death of Niyear Taylor.

Alexus has been charged with first-degree child abuse resulting in death, second-degree child abuse, manslaughter and reckless endangerment. 

Laurie was given the same charges, but received an additional two counts of reckless endangerment in regards to her daughter, Alexus.

Emergency crews were called to a home in the 7900 block of Chesapeake Drive in Orchard Beach on July 27 where they found Niyear unresponsive and in medical distress.

The boy was taken to the Baltimore Washington Medical Center, where he died at 10.19am.

Investigators interviewed relatives familiar with the situation who said the baby was 'wheezing' while he was put to bed around 2am that morning.

Alexus and Laurie, who were sleeping with the child, called 911 when they learned Niyear was not breathing 

An autopsy conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed that the child had fentanyl and morphine in his blood, liver and stomach.

Further testing found that Niyear had ingested heroin and fentanyl, prompting the medical examiner to rule the baby's death as an overdose with the manner being homicide.

It was unknown to authorities at the time, but Laurie had driven her two daughters and Niyear to Baltimore City to purchase four heroine capsules to share among themselves on July 26.

When they returned home, Laurie realized that one capsule was missing and the three women searched their home extensively  to no avail. 

The missing capsule was never found.  

Laurie and Alexus drove back to Baltimore City to purchase another heroin capsule before returning home around 1am to find Niyear 'breathing oddly.'

Laurie wondered if Niyear had accidentally ingested the capsule, but decided to 'wait and see' after discussing medical care with Alexus.

Detectives with the Homicide and Fatal Overdose Units executed a search warrant on the Taylor's home on August 14 and discovered empty capsules with powdery substances in every single room of the residence.

'Upon completion of the search warrant over one hundred gel caps were recovered from the floor, the infant’s diaper bag, and various other areas within the residence.' the Anne Arundel County Police Department said.

Lab tests confirmed that the capsules contained heroin and fentanyl.

stella Posted on December 07, 2019 16:12

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'I'm only alive because a 17-year-old Welsh boy who died playing football gave me his heart'

Simon Keith is one of the world’s longest surviving heart transplant recipients and one of the only people to have played professional sport after the operation.

He owes the last 30 years of his life to 17-year-old teenager Jonathan Edward, from Newport, who died following a sudden brain haemorrhage while playing football in the park with his friends.

Their story is an incredible one that reveals how powerful and enduring the gift of life from a transplant can be.

Simon, a former professional footballer, was 21 years old and on the verge of playing in the Fifa World Cup when he was given the devastating news that a rare virus had caused his heart to become enlarged and not function properly.

The gifted striker, who was with the Canadian first team at the time, said the diagnosis meant his lifelong dream of representing his country was in tatters.

"I had to watch my teammates all prepare for the World Cup, and it was devastating to know that I wouldn't be able to play alongside them," he said.

While his former teammates were enjoying the pinnacle of their careers, Simon soon found himself struggling to breathe during training.

It also became progressively difficult for him to warm his hands and feet which were often "ice cold" at the end of sessions.

"I just didn't feel myself. My hands and my feet would just go shockingly white," he added.

"I didn't want to 'crush' people anymore competitively. I just wanted to get through practice."

In March, 1986, just months before the World Cup was held in Mexico, Simon was diagnosed with a condition known as viral myocarditis.

Triggered by viral infection, it leads to inflammation of the heart muscle and reduces its ability to pump blood. Clots can form in your heart, leading to a stroke or heart attack.

In Simon's case, the myocarditis caused his heart to fail to such an extent that only a transplant would save him.

"The doctor comes up to me and says 'we've done everything we can'. You need a heart transplant or you're going to die'."

Simon did not qualify for an immediate heart transplant in Canada, and in the USA there was a huge waiting list of 14,000 patients.

But because he was born in the UK he had dual citizenship which allowed him to be put on the UK transplant list.

"Although my heart's function was slowly deteriorating, I wasn't sick enough to qualify for a heart transplant in Canada," added Simon, who was born in the English coastal town of Eastbourne before moving to Victoria, British Columbia.

"My parents, who were desperate to see me added onto the transplant list, decided to move us back to the UK and I was immediately taken to King’s Cross Hospital in London."

After arriving back in the UK, it didn't take long before a "perfect" donor heart was found for Simon.

"I remember the day it finally came. My parents and I were in the hospital, it was a hot day in July and we'd just about given up all hope," he added.

"It was a strange moment, and one I don't think I'll ever be able to put into words. To be simultaneously celebrating and feeling remorse for the loss of someone else's life; it was a complex thing to feel."

In July, 1986, 21-year-old Simon underwent the heart transplant which proved to be a huge success - and within three years he had miraculously returned to playing football professionally in the USA and Canada.

But over the years he became increasingly eager to know who gave him the chance to continue his football career and allow him to become a dad-of-three.

When transplants were carried out in the '80s and '90s donor families and recipients tended not to get in touch with one another.

He added: "I had always been intrigued to find out whose heart I had beating in my chest, and of course I wanted to sincerely thank the family who made the life-changing decision to donate their son's organs."

In 2011, at 46 years old, he set up the Simon Keith Foundation to support children who have had an organ transplant in resuming an active and healthy lifestyle.

More than ever, he was desperate to show his donor's family that their precious gift was having a positive impact on so many other people.

"I noticed that a lot of people were using Facebook to get back in touch with friends and family of years gone by, so I thought 'why not?'

"By that point I was working with a writer to publish a book about my experience, and he managed to track down the family through social media."

It transpired that the heart donor was 17-year-old teenager Jonathan Edward, from Newport, who died following a sudden brain haemorrhage while playing football in the park with his friends.

After contacting the family, Simon, who was now living in Las Vegas, flew back to the UK to meet Jonathan's dad Roger and his best friend Richard Parker.

Simon recalled: "I spent the day with Roger listening to stories about Jonathan, and he even took us to see where he'd gone to school, grown up, and to his final resting place."

Ever since their meeting, the two families have stayed close, with Simon regularly making trips back to the UK to meet Roger and Richard and share his organ donation story with the wider community.

Jonathan's best friend Richard Parker, 49, from Newport, said: "I've become great friends with Simon and his family and now realise what an amazing legacy has come from my friend's passing.

"Simon's son Sean has lived with us off and on over the past couple of years whilst he fulfils his own footballing dreams."

In 2016, Richard and Simon organised a football game, called 'The Match For Life', in Newport which celebrated Simon's 30-year anniversary post-transplant.

He is now one of the world’s longest surviving heart transplant recipients. He was also the first athlete to have played professional sports after having undergone a heart transplant.

Simon is now backing the upcoming British Transplant Games taking place in Newport between July 25 and 28.

It promises to be a "celebration of organ donation", highlighting the health, fitness and wellbeing of recipients who wouldn't have been able to compete without the kindness of donors and their families.

stella Posted on December 07, 2019 15:34

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Epileptic father-of-four was killed by a London Underground train and lay undiscovered for five hours after walking into tube tunnel in a state of confusion following a fit

A confused father-of-four who had just suffered a seizure died after he wandered into a Tube tunnel and was hit by a train before lying undiscovered for five hours.

Alfonso Sinclair, 29, was able to walk around in the tunnel undetected by staff at Warren Street station for nearly 20 minutes and avoided five trains before being struck.

A Coroner's report found that Transport for London (TfL) missed what were 'potential opportunities to prevent this death' and recommended they install alert systems and alarms on barriers.  

Mr Sinclair was suffering from 'postictal confusion' - an altered state of consciousness after an epileptic fit - when he approached the station.  

He entered and exited the station four times in just minutes before jumping over the barrier and rushing down two escalators unchallenged by staff, the report found.

A coroner ordered the Regulation 28 Report to Prevent Future Death which said his behaviour at the gates and time in the tunnel before being struck were 'potentially lost opportunities to prevent this death'.

Mr Sinclair's devastated mother Paulette, 53, is upset that TfL hasn't sent her a condolence card, and wants 'justice for her beloved son'.

Paulette, from from Manor Park, London, said: 'I can't understand how it had taken them five hours to notice he'd been lying there, run over by trains over and over again.

'How could no one have stopped him when CCTV showed that he wasn't himsel

'I'm appalled because my beautiful son has left behind four beautiful children, and I've had nothing back from TfL about this terrible terrible tragedy.

'TfL hasn't even sent a condolence card or anything - where's the justice in that?'

Mr Sinclair suffered with epilepsy since being hit on the head with a metal bar in 2009.

He was due to attend the funeral of his grandmother Sonia, on August 31, 2018, but disappeared some time before 5.30am, his mother said.

Paulette noticed he was missing so contacted emergency services to check if anybody matching Alfonso's description in the area had been found.

'We'd chatted late on Saturday, so neither of us had slept much,' Paulette said.

'I woke up around 5.30 in the morning to get things ready for the burial when I noticed that Alfonso, who was living with me at that time, had already gone.

'I called police and the hospitals to give Alfonso's description and ask if he'd been found - but they said they hadn't, and told me to relax.'

Paulette heard nothing until September 2, when British Transport Police visited to ask for DNA samples, after a body was found, she said.

She said staff at Warren Street station found a Freedom Pass - a concessionary travel card - with his name on.

'They told me what they'd found in the underground, and wanted DNA samples - a bit of hair, or something from his toothbrush - but were confident it was Alfonso,' she said.

An inquest on April 23 at Westminster Coroner's Court heard that Mr Sinclair was killed by postictal confusion combined with the accidental collision.

After the hearing, Dr Fiona J Wilcox, HM Senior Coroner for Inner West London, ordered a Regulation 28 Report to Prevent Future Deaths to look into the incident.

The coroner's report said that Mr Sinclair's epilepsy was 'complicated by postictal confusion and cannabis misuse'.

'Mr Sinclair had been behaving oddly at the ticket barrier earlier, entering and re-entering 4 times in the course of a few minutes,' the report stated.

'He then travelled elsewhere, returning shortly and jumping over the ticket barrier.

'He then descended two escalators, ran across the concourse, down the platform and vaulted the barrier at the train entrance end, and then jumped down onto the tracks and walked into the tunnel at 11:00:29.

'He must have evaded around five trains before being struck at 11:20. This meant that he was in the tunnel for approximately 19.5 minutes before being killed.

'His body was found at approximately 16:30 and he was recognised as life extinct at the scene at 17:23.'

The coroner said there was extensive CCTV throughout the station, but that staff on duty at the time - of which there was an 'appropriate number' - didn't stop him.

'This overtly odd and then illegal behaviour went apparently unnoticed and unchallenged by staff,' Dr Wilcox wrote.

'There was extensive CCTV throughout the station, but none of Mr Sinclair's unusual or dangerous behaviour was noted by staff on duty at the time.

His behaviour at the gates and time he spent in the tunnel before being struck were potentially lost opportunities to prevent this death.'

The report ordered that action - a system for staff to alert odd behaviour and then track an individual of concern on CCTV, and fitting an alarm at the barriers at the platform ends - should be taken by TfL to prevent future deaths.

Nigel Holness, managing director of London Underground, said: 'Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Alfonso Sinclair who tragically lost his life in a tunnel between Warren Street and Oxford Circus stations on 31 August last year.

'We are carefully considering the Coroner's Prevention of Future Deaths report and will respond to the issues raised.'

stella Posted on December 07, 2019 15:27

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The little girl behind Simon Cowell's tears on X Factor: Celebrity

Simon Cowell was reduced to tears during Saturday’s X Factor: Celebrity final as the remaining acts premiered the music video for their charity single. The music mogul was overcome with emotion and cried as Dermot O’Leary asked him for his opinions on the cover of Snow Patrol’s Run, and it turns out he was upset over a little girl who also featured on the track. Following a surprise visit from Simon to the Demelza Hospice in Sittingbourne last month, Hallie from Kent was given the opportunity to fulfil her lifelong dream – to sing on this year’s X Factor record. Simon, who is a Patron of Together for Short Lives, visited the hospice and spent the afternoon chatting with children, siblings and families and posing for photos and selfies. Hallie, who has osteopetrosis, a rare and life-limiting genetic condition that can result in bone fractures, restricted height, frequent infections, sight loss and hearing impairment, treated Simon to an impromptu performance of A Million Dreams from the Greatest Showman. And the judge was so bowled over by her performance that he invited her to sing on his ITV show’s charity single

Hallie was taken to the X Factor studios where she recorded the song and then she attended the final on Saturday night along with her parents and brother. ‘We had a fantastic afternoon with Simon at the hospice in November,’ Hallie’s parents enthused. ‘And for Hallie to be asked to be a part of this year’s X Factor is a dream come true for her.’ They continued: ‘We can’t thank Simon and his team enough and were made to feel so special. ‘Times like this can never be underestimated and it’s a day we will never forget!’

Demelza provides specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones throughout Kent, South East London and East Sussex and is currently aiming to raise £30,000 in this year’s Christmas appeal to support their Care at Home project. X Factor: Celebrity came to an end on Saturday with Louis’ act Megan McKenna being named winner of the series, beating Max and Harvey, V5 and Jenny Ryan to the top spot.

stella Posted on December 03, 2019 00:15

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Mid-surgery decision to leave abdomen open for two days saves woman’s life

Phyllis’s life was on the line. A twist in her small intestine was causing it to die. But a surgical technique to leave her abdomen open saved her life

Excruciating chest pains woke Phyllis Holmes from a deep sleep. A trip to the emergency room revealed a twist in her small intestine. Doctors used an uncommon technique that involved leaving her abdomen clamped open for two days after surgery — it’s the reason Phyllis is alive today.

The first of many miracles

For 18 months Phyllis experienced on-and-off pain in her chest. Some episodes lasted for only a few minutes, while others lasted for several hours. Unable to pinpoint the cause of her pain, Phyllis’s doctor started an elimination process; sending her for various tests, including a visit to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. When results revealed it wasn’t her heart that was causing such discomfort, doctors ordered a CT scan hoping it would provide some answers.

However, only a few days prior to her scheduled appointment, Phyllis jolted awake in excruciating pain. Lying next to her, concerned, was her husband, Brian Jackson, who insisted they pay a visit to the emergency room. Her pain persisted as they checked in at The Ottawa Hospital’s General Campus. Recognizing the severity of her pain, the admitting staff immediately put her in an examination room.

A life-threatening diagnosis


After several tests, Phyllis underwent a CT scan. The results showed her life was on the line.

As Phyllis recalls her experience, she describes hearing only one thing — they would need to perform emergency surgery immediately. “That was all I heard,” said Phyllis. “We have to do emergency surgery or you may be faced with a life-threatening circumstance.”

What the CT scan revealed was a small twist in her intestine, causing her entire bowel to turn purple, almost black. “Her whole small intestine was dying,” said Phyllis’s surgeon, Dr. Guillaume Martel, “which is not survivable. But we got to her quickly, and that day, things lined up perfectly.”

Traditionally, with a bowel in such a condition, surgeons would have removed the section of the bowel that was compromised. However, in Phyllis’s case, almost her entire bowel was jeopardized. Removing such a large portion of her bowel would have reduced her to being fed through IV nutrition for the rest of her life.

An unconventional surgery technique

Once Phyllis was in the operating room, doctors were able to more accurately assess the severity of the damage caused to her intestine. Some vitality in her bowel remained — an encouraging sign that there was a chance it could be saved. Rather than remove the intestine, they decided to leave her abdomen clamped open and wait.

For two days Phyllis lay sedated in the intensive care unit, her abdomen left open. Throughout that time, Brian recalls the nurses and doctors were attentive and compassionate, letting him know what was going on every step of the way. “I was always in the loop about what was going on,” said Brian, something that he was grateful for during a particularly emotional and stressful time.

“Leaving a patient open can be a form of damage control,” explained Dr. Martel. “This technique relieved a lot of pressure in Phyllis’s abdomen, allowing time to see whether her bowel would survive. However, it can be difficult for a doctor to know if this technique will work for one patient over another. Luckily, in Phyllis’s case, it did.”

The wait was over

When Phyllis was brought back to the operating room for her second surgery, Dr. Balaa, the surgeon, told Brian what to expect. It could be a long procedure, where they would remove part of her intestine, and in its place attach a colostomy bag. Brian settled in for a long and stressful wait, unsure of what life might be like once Phyllis’s surgery was complete. But less than an hour later, Dr. Balaa appeared with incredible news.

When they took off the covering — a sheet that protected her abdomen while she lay clamped open — her intestine was healthy and back to normal again. To their amazement, her intestine remained viable and all they needed to do was stitch her back up.

Recovery period

The next morning Phyllis woke to Brian’s warm smile at her bedside. While she was unaware of the incredible turn of events, she was grateful to be alive.

She remained at the hospital for a week after the first surgery. While she recovered, Phyllis recalls receiving exceptional care. “The doctors always had so much time for me when they did their rounds,” said Phyllis. “They were very patient and engaged in my situation; it was heartwarming and wonderful.” Phyllis was so grateful, she wanted to show her appreciation.

A guardian angel

That’s when Phyllis heard of the Guardian Angel Program. This program was developed as a thoughtful way for patients to say thank you to the caregivers who go above and beyond to provide extraordinary care, every day. It’s a way for patients, like Phyllis, to recognize caregivers by giving a gift in their honour to The Ottawa Hospital. The caregivers are presented with a Guardian Angel pin and a special message from the patient letting them know the special care given did not go unnoticed. 

Honouring Dr. Martel and several others through the Guardian Angel Program was a meaningful way for Phyllis to say thank you. “I wanted to be able to give something in return,” said Phyllis.

Dr. Martel was touched by the gesture. “When you receive a pin from a patient like Phyllis, it’s very gratifying,” he said. “It’s something you can feel good about receiving.”

A healing experience

Phyllis’s journey at The Ottawa Hospital was far more than an emergency room visit and two surgeries. When asked to reflect on her experience, she tells a story of compassionate care and healing, both physically and mentally. “I felt that even though I was there to heal physically, I was getting psychological support as well,” Phyllis explained. “Everyone would use eye contact, or they’d touch my hand with compassion. It was very personal. I saw the divinity in those people. I saw it. I experienced it first hand. And it is healing. That is the healing that takes place when you have those very special encounters. It heals you.”

“I felt that even though I was there to heal physically, I was getting psychological support as well.”

Today, Phyllis feels incredibly grateful for the care she received at The Ottawa Hospital. “It was second to none,” she said.

Honour a physician, nurse, health care team member or volunteer for exceptional care you or a loved one has received at our hospital.

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa.

stella Posted on December 03, 2019 00:05

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The mum who kidnapped her daughter and evaded police for 20 years

A mother who kidnapped her own daughter after a bitter custody battle and evaded the FBI for two decades has made a remarkable bid to return to Australia.

Dorothy Lee Barnett, 58, from South Carolina, insists she is 'not a threat to anybody' and is willing to renounce her American citizenship to return to the Sunshine Coast.

In a series of events worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster, Ms Barnett kidnapped her own daughter and fled through Europe, South East Asia and Africa before settling in Australia.

In 1994, after a lengthy and resentful custody battle with Harris Todd, her ex-husband and father to her 11-month-old daughter Savannah, Ms Barnett took off, the Courier Mail reported.

Reborn as Alexandra Maria Canton, she picked up the infant, renamed Samantha, during one of her brief weekend visits with $8,000 in cash, fake passports and birth certificates.

She moved between Germany, France, Malaysia, South Africa, Botswana and New Zealand, before settling on the Sunshine Coast in 2007.

There, she says, she started a new life with a geologist she married in South Africa - Juan Geldenhuys.

Mr Geldenhuys died only a week before his wife's arrest in 2013.

Ms Barnett said she made long-term friends in Australia while raising her daughter, who only ever knew her mother as 'Alex'. 

'I want to be able to be there for Samantha and her wonderful husband-to-be and catch up with all my friends,' she told the publication. 

Her 20-year-long stint on the road only came undone when a friend dobbed her fake documents into the authorities. 

Ms Barnett was extradited to the US in 2013 and pleaded guilty to parental kidnapping and making false statements in a passport application.

A maximum possible jail sentence of 23 years was reduced to less than two years imprisonment and two years probation.

But she was released two-and-a-half months early, and returned to her home in South Carolina. 

She now wants to reunite with her daughter on the Sunshine Coast, who still goes by Samantha.

Her most recent application for a 12-month Temporary Activity visa was denied by the Australian Government, with a delegate for Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, saying: 'Ms Barnett has not satisfied me that he (sic) passes the character test'.

The department decided she poses a risk to the community, contradictory to her claims she only wants to be with friends and family and advocate for the Australian Paralegal Foundation for children's safety and wellbeing.

'I'm not a threat to anybody. Hopefully, the Australian Government will see that and when I submit my next visa application it will be looked at favourably,' she said.

stella Posted on December 02, 2019 23:45

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Missouri man, 27, walks into police station covered in blood and admits murdering his girlfriend, 33, and a teenage boy in two separate Thanksgiving Day shootings

A suspect in two deadly Thanksgiving Day shootings was charged with murder on Friday after he walked into a Missouri police station covered in blood and confessed to killing two people.

Torry Andre Upchurch, 27, went into the Jefferson City Police Department just hours after 17-year-old Earle Key Jr. and 33-year-old Shantae Hill-Cook were shot dead on Thursday, allegedly telling an officer in the lobby, ‘I know I committed two murders’.

Upchurch was arrested moments after and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, in addition to armed criminal action, unlawful use of a firearm, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Reports from authorities confirm the first shooting occurred at around 6pm, when Upchurch reportedly knocked on the door of 1308 W. McCarty St, where Key had been staying.

Upchurch, dressed in all black, is said to have shot the teenager in the face with a 9mm handgun as he opened the door, killing him instantly. 

The pair are said to have known one another, however the extent of their relations was not specified by authorities. 

By the time police arrived, the suspected gunman had vanished with witnesses claimed to have seen a man running from the scene on foot.

A search was conducted of the surrounding area but officers were unable to yield any trace of the culprit. 

Less than three hours later, police received multiple calls regarding another shooting, this time in the 2300 block of Southridge Drive, just five miles away from the scene of Key’s murder.

Police arrived at 8.44pm to find Shantae Hill-Cook dead in the street having suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Her car was also missing from the driveway. 

A witness told officers that Hill-Cook and Upchurch had been involved in a romantic relationship for the past few months, documents show.

Upchurch had reportedly been upset with Hill-Cook for wanting to assist the witness with her belongings and child.

It was then, the witness said, that Upchurch told Hill-Cook to ‘stay in the car’ before he pulled out a handgun and opened fire, fatally striking Hill-Cook numerous times.

Upchurch reportedly fled in Hill-Cook’s car before officers arrived. He eventually drove to the Jefferson City Police Department on Monroe Street, dressed in black clothing and covered in blood.

Officers arrested Upchurch and, during his initial interview, he implicated himself in both of the homicides, telling officers specifically that he’d shot Hill-Cook in the temple.

stella Posted on December 02, 2019 23:15

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Chilling moment heavily armed cartel 'hitmen' storm Mexican hospital and kidnap a stretcher

The chilling moment a group of armed 'hitmen’ stormed a Mexican hospital and hauled away a patient on a stretcher, who was later murdered and dismembered, has been captured in shocking surveillance footage.

Heavily armed with assault rifles, the seven masked assailants - believed to be members of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel - are seen ransacking rooms in the General Hospital of Salvatierra in Guanajuato, southern Mexico, on November 21.

Holding a security guard hostage and forcing him to help them find their target, the men move quickly from room to room before they’re seen hauling a patient on a stretcher from a room on the far right of the corridor.

One of the men is seen shoving the terrified security guard to the ground, before the gunmen flee the hospital.

According to local reports, the gang members stole the cellphones of hospital staff to prevent them from alerting authorities.

Just hours later, police were summoned to a roundabout on Torress Landa where the dismembered body of a man was found placed on white sheet, along with a message written on a cardboard square.

What the message specifically said hasn’t been released by authorities, but the man was confirmed to be the patient taken from the hospital in Salvatierra.

The patient, who has not been identified publicly, had been brutally butchered with many of his body parts found scattered along the roadside.

However, he wasn’t the cartel’s only victim, as police confirmed two other armed groups stormed hospitals and Juventino Rosas and Apaseo el Grande in identical attacks the same day.

In the latter incidents, a group of heavily-armed assailants burst through the doors of the two hospitals and opened fire, kidnapping one man and later killing him, in addition to critically injuring a second - named as Julio Cesar - who survived. 

State Security Commissioner, Sophia Huett, said that no medical staff were injured in any of the incidents, as the attacks were ‘very targeted’.

However, Huett assured that to avoid similar violent scenes unfolding in the future, the Secretariats of Public Security and Health are working together to increase security and surveillance efforts.

The area of Guanajuato has been experiencing a difficult period of conflict between local criminal gangs of late, officials said, primarily between Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel.

On Wednesday 27, Mexican authorities responded to the three hospital sieges with raids on various homes said to be used by the cartel as safe houses.

To stem their efforts, gang members reportedly blocked surrounding roads with large vehicles and set them on fire.

In Guanajuato in the last few days alone, at least 37 murders have been reported across 10 different municipalities.

stella Posted on December 02, 2019 23:03

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Alison Lapper says dead drug addict son started smoking cannabis aged 11

Artist Alison Lapper tells how her drug addict son, who died in a hotel room, started smoking cannabis at 11.  

Parys Lapper, 19, was found dead at a hotel in Worthing after battling with his mental health.   

His death was believed to have been an accidental overdose from his drug addiction coupled with heavy medication from ongoing depression

His mother remains stricken by grief having lost the son whose birth was a miracle itself. 

She believes the combination of low-level cannabis use that began at the age of 11 with an increased sensitivity of his mother's disability through teasing at senior school caused his depression and addiction to spiral. 

Nearly two decades ago Miss Lapper agreed to pose heavily pregnant with her unborn son Parys. 

The white marble sculpture spent two years on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Sqaure and was unveiled on September 15 2005 at a public ceremony attended by the artist Marc Quinn and Miss Lapper. 

'How amazing would it be to have a sculpture that is going to live longer than Parys and me? 

'A sculpture that would be around for a very long time, even when we are not.' I had no idea that Parys would die aged 19,' she told The Telegraph

She told how from the age of four Parys would ask his mother why people were staring at them. 

Initially she would tell him it is because he is so 'beautiful' but as time went on she said: 'Because I am like this, son. And they think I can't cope with you.' 

Lapper described his primary school years as happy but the confusion of adolescence mixed with losing a grandmother figure caused him to become more withdrawn.   

'It was me and him against the world, it really felt like that', Miss Lapper told The Telegraph. 

However the 6ft 19-year-old ended up weighing six stone and was emotionally detached from everyone. 

He was sectioned aged 16 and moved accommodation frequently including a unit for anorexics and a hostel for asylum seekers.    

Unable to live at home due to escalating violence, he lived in B&B and hotel accommodation where his case worker had a caseload of more than 40 people. 

It is estimated his body lay undiscovered in the hotel room for three days. 

Police had become woven in Parys's life. In his 19 years he has been knocked over by a car, held a gunpoint and beaten up after a robbery. 

In an effort to raise awareness of improved mental healthcare for young people, Miss Lapper contacted YoungMinds two weeks after losing Parys. 

The charity aims to provide better healthcare for 14 to 25-year-olds and is calling for the next party leader to ensure a cross-government strategy to establish better mental healthcare provisions for this age group. 

The campaign Act Early is to raise awareness of triggers, provide better online support, improved resources for schools and early intervention in every community through drop-in centres. 

Miss Lapper said: 'By the time it got really bad, I phoned the authorities and said, 'My son needs help,' but that help wasn't what Parys needed by then. He was treated as a naughty boy.' 

She described how drugs complicated the treatment he received and Parys refused to go to volunteer for rehab. 

At the age of 18 Parys was unable to even wash himself but his mother was denied a say in his welfare. 

Miss Lapper was always told she wouldnt be able to carry a child and said she almost didnt have a baby because of the pressure of people saying 'what if he's like you?' 

She is no longer in contact with Parys's father but describes his conception as 'a happy accident'.   

'All I ever wanted to do was love him... Sorry, sorry... It's so raw still. I miss him so much. I just want him back,' Miss Lapper said.  

At the age of 11 Parys, who was dyslexic, left his small junior school in Shoreham, Sussex, to start at a much bigger academy. 

Around this time he learned his half-sister had taken her own life aged 22, his surrogate 'granny' died from cancer despite a glimmer of hope of recovering, and a live-in support worker made an allegation that Miss Lapper was sexually abusing her son - a claim that was investigated and disproved but that took its toll on the family. 

By the age of 14 Miss Lapper said 'dodgy' people were knocking at the door and Parys began asking her for money to avoid being 'beat up'. 

At 16 Parys's drug use became more serious and he was moved to a special unit of the school. 

After leaving with no qualifications he became prone to violence and at the same time Miss Lapper was fully dependent on live-in support workers who were unable to cope with the violent episodes.  

She said Parys had no connection with anyone and he needed a male role model in his life after always having female social workers. 

Parys was cremated and some of his hair and ashes will now be used to make a diamond wedding ring to wear on Lapper's left toe when she marries her fiancé, Si, next year.

stella Posted on December 02, 2019 22:55

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Nine-year-old boy screams for his mother as he balances on air conditioning unit eight floors up to escape blaze at Russian apartment where he was left home alone

A nine-year-old boy was left screaming for help from on top of an air conditioning unit eight floors up after he crawled outside to escape a blaze in Russia.

The youngster, who has only been identified as Denis, was heard screaming 'mama, mama help me' - but his mother, Natalia, had left him home alone after school.

One resident of the apartment block in Samara city said 'his screams broke my heart'.

Choking on the smoke, Denis was forced to climb outside an open window after failing to open the flat's outer door.


Terrifying video footage shows the boy crouching on top of the air conditioner and desperately clinging on to the window frame. The boy's training as a climber may have helped him as he battled against falling.   

Anastasia, who saw the blaze, said: 'The boy was home alone. The fire was very strong, flames were coming outside from the balcony.

'The kid had nothing else to do but climb out of the window and crouch on the air conditioner. We feared that the air conditioner would break off and fall.'

Firefighters first attempted to raise a ladder up to the boy, but it got stuck in trees next to the block.

Eventually, rescuers made their way into the flat and pulled Denis to safety. 

Firefighter Evgeny Gulyaikin said: 'My partner and I rushed to the bedroom where the boy was outside the window.

'He saw us, I grabbed him tightly. I was so afraid to drop him - the height was eight floors.

'I brought him in through the window. I immediately took him out of the apartment block and handed him to medics. The boy, of course, was in shock.

'And for us it was very worrying.' 

After being alerted to the fire, the boy's father had rushed home and let rescuers into the flat.

Anastasia added: 'His parents arrived at the same time as the firefighters. Thank God, the child is okay, just very scared.'

Denis was hospitalised after suffering serious smoke poisoning in the blaze, and his mother rushed to his bedside. It is believed the boy's parents were at work when the fire started. 

In total, 31 residents were evacuated from the burning block. Some 67 firefighters were involved in extinguishing the fire.

stella Posted on December 02, 2019 22:18

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Fisherman shipwrecked 19 years ago is found via Facebook

A fisherman who disappeared 19 years ago has been found by family members after they spotted a picture of him on Facebook.

Angel Ramirez Lopez, 56, was believed to have died at sea in 2000 after the ship he was working on sank off the shore of Talara, a city in the Piura Region in northwestern Peru.

But almost 20 years later, Mr Lopez has been reunited with his family after his cousin Milena Ramirez found him living on the streets of Chimbote in northwestern Peru

Milena reportedly recognised Mr Lopez, who suffers from memory loss and is easily disorientated, in Facebook pictures that people had taken of him and posted online to ask for help because he was homeless.

“They went fishing and never came back, it has brought joy to the family and friends, it is a miracle of God, it surprised us, it was totally unexpected,” Milena said.

“He doesn't remember many things, he remembers that he saved his life during the shipwreck by swimming, and a foreign ship took him and exploited him. They mistreated him, then he doesn't remember anything else, nor how he got here,” she said.

Reports state the fisherman was taken to a police station with his cousin and officers took his fingerprints, but he ran away shortly after.

The family are now trying to locate him again with the hopes of taking him to therapy while they await for DNA results to confirm the man is their relative.

stella Posted on December 02, 2019 19:47

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Texas woman delivers baby girl by candlelight during tornado

As a powerful tornado raged outside a birth centre in Texas this week, a baby girl was safely delivered by candlelight in the facility's laundry room, prompting people to suggest that Stormy would be an apt baby name.

The unnamed woman was pictured beaming with joy shortly after the birth of her baby beside the washing machines at the Bump Birthing Centre in Dallas.

The centre posted the photo, along with one of the terrifying tornado, which saw 16 counties in the state of Texas declared disaster zones on Sunday.

"Baby girl born in our laundry room with the tornado sirens going off, a tornado on the ground half a mile away, and no candle light!! Welcome to the world beauty!" the centre wrote alongside the photos on Facebook with the hashtags #tornado #crazymidwifelife #laundryroomdelivery #wereallsafe #godisgood.

Of course, the baby name suggestions came flooding in, with commenters suggesting Stormy, Rainey, Siren, Rainbow, Dorothy, Autumn, Reign and Tempest for the baby girl.

"Oh man, what a warrior Mama! I'd be so tempted to use Tempest or Storm as a middle name."

"Did they name her Siren? Because that would be epic."

"Name should be RAINBOW ???? a blessing after the storm."

Then there was this suggestion.

"L'aundry Stormy or L'aundry Siren will be beautiful name for baby girl."

Kasie McElhaney, owner of the birth centre and the midwife who delivered the baby, was inundated with concern for her wellbeing by friends after the tornado.

"We're ok. Just delivered a baby in the laundry room, with tornado sirens going off, and no candle light," she replied on Facebook.

Bravo to both Kasie and the new mum, who each pulled off an awesome feat.

stella Posted on December 02, 2019 19:09

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Mother shocked as she spots her “late father kissing her unborn daughter”

A Californian woman claims her ultrasound picture shows her late father kissing her unborn daughter. 

Shantel Carrillo, 30, from Santee, posted the 20-week ultrasound to social media and friends were quick to notice something unusual. 

'Right when I posted it, like 30 seconds later, someone was like, 'There's an angel kissing your baby,' Shantel told NBC San Diego.  

Shantel believes her late father, Chuck, who passed away in 2016, can be seen kissing her daughter in the womb. 

It shows a figure in the top left corner which Shantel believes resembles her father. 

'It has his nose, his little chubby cheeks, his little double chin, and my dad wore a hat like all the time. It looks like the bill of his hat and his lips are just touching hers so perfectly,' Shantel told ABC10. 

The scan was posted alongside a picture of her father holding her first daughter Myree. 

And Shantel said her father would be 'over the moon' to be now be part of her second daughter's life. 

While she added it could be that her placenta looks like her father she is overjoyed at the special picture.     

Her daughter is due in April which is also the same month her father was born.

stella Posted on December 02, 2019 16:18

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A Mother-of-three continued to hunt while pregnant, to provide organic meat

A mother-of-three who was still hunting to provide food for her family at nine months pregnant says her children 'love the adventure', despite receiving death threats from critics. 

Lucy Rose Jaine, 29, from Wanaka, New Zealand, who began hunting when she met her partner, Sharn, fell in love with the hobby because she's against intensive factory farmed food, and wants to feed her family in an organic and sustainable way.

The lovers of the outdoors, go hunting between five and eight times a month with  their children, Indie, seven, Kahu, four, and Daisy, five months.

The house painter and full-time mother, said that her children 'love the adventure'. 

The hunters mainly kill wild pigs, hunt deer, chamois, tahr, goats, rabbits and wallabies to fill their freezer. Lucy estimates she saves approximately $300NZD (£150) per month through hunting animals for meat.

The 29-year-old who was still hunting at nine months pregnant, shares her family's hunting adventures on Instagram under the handle, @hunting-lucyjaine, where she largely receives an overwhelming level of support from other women in hunting.

However, she has also been subject to death threats from people who don't understand her hobby. 

'I began hunting when I met my amazing partner Sharn. We love hunting and the outdoors. Pig hunting mainly, but we do it all and bring the kids along for the ride,' said Lucy.

'A day hunting is always different, but usually starts with packing the truck and heading off into the mountains or the bush. If it's a pig hunt, we bring the dogs and when we get to the spot we collar them up and follow them in.

'When they find a pig, they let us know by barking and we follow our GPS to where they are. We then stick the pig or shoot it, gut it then carry it out.

'I like that we can teach our children how to hunt their own food. I hate factory farming so hunting wild meat is ideal. Organic and sustainable. The animals are living a good life. I don't support factory farming and we prefer organic. It's free, it's fun and it helps the farmers.

'We gut, skin and clean the animals. Then we cut it up and pop it in the freezer to eat.

The kids love the adventure. We don't do screens in our family. Being in the wilderness so much really sparks their imaginations.

'The hardest thing is finding places to hunt, but we are pretty lucky with farmers ringing us to help them with their pig problem, and New Zealand does have a lot of public hunting land. It's all about who you know really.'

The family who hunt between five to ten animals each month, revealed the largest creature they've hunted to date is a a 250lb boar.

Speaking about how she copes with the reaction on social media, Lucy revealed there's an uplifting community of women who hunt.  

She said: 'They say that I'm a hot little blonde pig hunting pocket rocket

'I receive great support, especially from other women who hunt. It's a really uplifting community.

'I've had a few death threats from people who just don't have any experience with hunting. Or maybe they are against animal cruelty. But I don't take it to heart.

'I just tell myself, "That person must be going through something in their own life and I can't judge what I don't understand". We make sure we respect the animal in the process.

'Some guy just said, "I hope you die". I obviously didn't respond. I hope he finds happiness.

'Be kind, everyone on this earth is especially doing their best.'

stella Posted on December 02, 2019 12:21

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A Art dealer who conned his associates out of $55M before going on the run is found after 18 YEARS

It's been 18 years since art dealer Michel Cohen conned his New York associates out of $55million in 2001 - the biggest swindle the art world has ever seen. 

After racking up millions of dollars' worth of debt following a series of dismal trades on the stock market, the French-born charlatan scammed cash out of private collectors, auction houses and other art dealers before eventually going on the run.

He was arrested and imprisoned in Brazil in 2003, but Cohen managed to escape and subsequently disappeared off the face of the earth.

Now, 16 years later, Cohen has been tracked down by documentary-maker Vanessa Engle - and insists he never 'stole' the paintings he deceptively acquired as he saw them as 'loans'.

During the 90-minute film, which airs on BBC Two tonight, Engle quizzes him over a Picasso painting he 'borrowed' from art dealer Paul Gray.

She reveals Cohen, now 60, was given the artwork on consignment, having not paid Gray a penny, after telling him he could sell it for $2.2million.

Then, without the dealer's permission, Cohen 'put it on a private plane to Iowa' where he 'sold it to a collector for $4.5m'. 

But Cohen disputes this, arguing he 'owned' the painting because Gray 'invoiced him for it' - despite him having never coughed up the $2.2m.

'It's not stealing,' Cohen tells Engle. 'When you steal it's like a robbery, it's not stealing. He invoiced me - there are many examples of galleries who buy your picture and they don't pay, or they pay half of it, they have money problems, that's not stealing. Stealing is when you rob something.'

Engle then brings up a Monet painting that Cohen 'sold' to a gallery in Switzerland for $5m as well as an investor in Los Angeles for another $5m - despite not owning the piece.

It total, three different people gave Cohen a total of $12.5m for one painting which wasn't even for sale - but he is quick to argue that these payments are 'loans'. 

'They were loans at the time. I did not know 10 years later I would not be able to pay them back,' he explains.

So how did Cohen manage to pull off the biggest art swindle of all time?

Having grown up in a relatively poor household - his father was a taxi driver and his mother a secretary - Cohen became the family 'provider' when his dad left.

Richard Roy, a friend and assistant to Cohen, tells in the documentary how at age 16, Cohen pushed his mother to divorce her husband because he was 'abusive' to her. 

'He became the man of the family and he felt he had to take care of his mother, brother, sister - he had this idea that money could save the day,' Richard recalls.

'He was a high school drop-out but he was very bright, very intelligent, and a great memory, he could really remember things. He played chess and he was very good at it. Chess is strategy. For him, life is a bit of a chess game.'

As a teenager Cohen sold the encyclopedia door-to-door and was the number one salesman in France.

In want of 'something more', he and Richard moved to the US where they begin making and selling French paté.

Realising they would 'never become rich this way', Cohen moved on to selling posters and framing them, and soon became ensconced in the art industry - even buying a boat to entertain clients on-board.

'I got to know the owners of these galleries and the people, and I decided to put a small ad in the San Franscico chronicle listing some graphics for sale by these artists and I got calls,' Cohen explains. 

'I met my first private clients for an ad that cost me $100.'

Despite knowing very little about art in the beginning, dealer Ed Russell calls him an 'opportunist', adding: 'He took every opportunity offered to him.'

Richard adds: 'When you sell art, and you're French, and you have a French accent, it's a good selling point. Americans always think that somebody from somewhere else is going to know more than they do.

'He had piles of auction catalogues, and he would know them by heart. I remember there were post-it notes on almost every page. He would remember the size of the painting, the year of the painting, the price that it did at auction, he would remember everything.'

San Francisco-based Cohen became a successful dealer, selling Picassos, Monets, Chagalls to clients in New York.

'He always loved nice things,' Richard recalls. 'He felt that the more rich you look, the more trustworthy you are.

'The nice suit, the shirt, the tie - he had his suit to measure in Beverley Hills - he made that character as a very successful art dealer.

'He managed to get the trust of these people who would actually even send him paintings without any paper work, that's the crazy thing about the art world. But because of his reputation and the volume of work that he's done and in those days, anything that he would say he would do, there was no delay, sure thing.'

Unfortunately it was Cohen's love of the high life that ultimately became his downfall. In the early 1990s, he began options trading, initially to raise more capital to invest more into art.

His first successful trade saw him invest $20,000 and get $100,000 back within days.

'I felt, it's great, it's better than art, the returns are tremendous,' Cohen admits. 'It's nice to make money, lots of money.'

In 1996 he got lucky on the options market again and turned $30K to $13m, which is when he met and married his wife - an art consultant dealer - in Las Vegas.

They had their first baby in 1997 and moved to Circles on the Point at the top of Point Dume in Malibu - which featured in the 1994 movie Color of Night starring Bruce Willis and Scott Bakula - where they welcomed their second child. 

Cohen continued to buy and sell art from the west coast - to cover his $10,000-a-month mortgage, private chef, nanny, maid, gardener, his wife's horses and $5,000-a-month car loans.

His friend Robert Galoob, an art collector, describes him in the documentary as a 'young French Jewish Icarus' - referring to the character in Greek mythology who soared so high the sun melted the wax cementing his wings causing him to fall into the sea.

'It may have happened too quickly for him, I think that was one of the problems,' he says.

Things then took a turn with his trading, and a series of bad investment choices cost him millions. According to his former assistant, Cohen would lose vast fortunes in one day that he couldn't afford to pay back.

By the summer of 2000, Cohen admits in the film that his debt was 'less than $15million'.

Richard recalls: 'I was observing a train crash in slow motion because the level of debt; things became really crazy because he used money from the paintings to play the market.'

Speaking about his decision to begin swindling his associates, Cohen says: 'I tried to get back losses and then I used other people's loans or proceeds to try and make some money and pay the loans off like I did before. 

'In my mind I always thought I would pay them back. One good trade and I would have made the money and nobody would have known what I did.'

Despite his finances being in dire straits, Cohen continued to live his Champagne lifestyle, having moved back to New York to a $25,000-a-month rented apartment, and splashing out $1,800 in Prada, $2,500 on bedlinen and $13,000 on a hotel in Palm Beach for a holiday.

Six weeks before he fled, he spent nearly $4,000 in a watch shop and £22,500 on a Steinway piano. 

When quizzed about his elaborate spending by Engle in the documentary, Cohen reasons: 'I wanted the kids to learn the piano.

'If you were $20m or $30m [in debt] it's not making any difference if you spend $50,000 that month, especially with an American Express card because you don't have to pay it, you just pay the interest.'

Sotheby's eventually called the police after Cohen defaulted on a $10m loan he owed them. That's when it emerged he had been selling the same paintings over and over again for very large amounts of money - despite never actually owning them.

On January 27 2001, Cohen fled from New York, having stolen a total of $55m and leaving the art world in shock. 

To this day it appears Cohen feels little remorse for what he did. He tells Engle: 'There are pepople who have assets of $50million to billions, so it did not affect their lives, but my life was affected. 

'Yeah I feel bad, but not as bad as if you lose money for people who need to survive on it.'

Speaking about his decision to flee, he says the sentence he would have received had he stayed and been arrested would have been 'like the death penalty'.

'When the lawyer told me in the State it's five years per count... then it's five times 24 and maybe it would have been five times 50 in the end, but anyway you look at it it's like the death penalty.

'I was 48 years old then, so why should I wait for a 20 year sentence or a 15 year sentence? I did not kill anybody.'

Having flown to Madrid, Cohen then boarded the next available flight - to Rio de Janeiro, calling his random choice 'another adventure'.

After a few weeks he was joined by his wife and children, but in May 2003 he was arrested by Federal police and Interpol and taken to an underground prison.

After several months surrounded by 'dangerous people', Cohen says he 'could not take it for much longer' and hatched a plan to escape.

Hearing one of the prison ambulances was broken, he asked to go to hospital and was escorted there in a private car with two armed officers.

On a busy one-way street, Cohen leapt out of the car and ran - with the policemen unable to shoot him in the crowded area.

'I ran really fast, I mean, so fast after a few hundred metres I thought I would have a heart attack, I could not run anymore,' Cohen recounts.

'I saw a taxi and I had him drop me off at a shopping mall not far, so I bought a baseball cap and some cheap sunglasses.'

He then spent six months travelling across the Amazon to get on the other side to Guiana, which is French territory, arriving in January 2004 before flying back to France in August of that year. 

Cohen would call Richard asking for money, which he would send until cash flow became tight his end.

'When I ran out of money I had times where I could not eat,' Cohen recalls.

'Once it happened four days in a row so I had hot water and sugar, but then I could not sleep because when you have too much sugar you just, you know, you feel your pulse in your head, it's a very strange feeling, it's awful.'

His family joined him five years later in 2008, and his youngest son, who was just six months when Cohen fled, failed to recognise him - something that clearly caused the fugitive a great deal of pain. 

These days Cohen admits he does not dwell on the past because it's 'not productive', adding: 'It's not in my mentality to have regrets.'

stella Posted on December 02, 2019 11:19

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Russian professor who beheaded his 24-year-old student lover while dressed as Napoleon

A top professor who beheaded his PhD student lover was overpowered when he grabbed a sword during a police crime scene reenactment aiming to kill himself.

Leading Russian military historian Oleg Sokolov, 63, has confessed to stabbing and dismembering 24-year-old Anastasia Yeschenko before disposing of her body parts in a river.

The Napoleon expert was taken from his custody cell to his luxury St Petersburg flat to show detectives how he committed the murder as part of the criminal investigation.

With his handcuffs off he tried to grab the Napoleonic sword but was stopped by officers, say law enforcement sources.

His lawyer Alexander Pochuev said: 'The defence can only confirm that he tried to commit suicide.

'He was stopped by policemen. There was no threat to third parties, the act was aimed only at himself.'

He had been taken to the reenactment wearing a police helmet and bullet proof vest for his own protection.

The sword had been lying on a table.

During the reenactment he demonstrated on a mannequin how he killed the PhD student and cut up her body using a saw.

The victim's grieving mother today claimed Anastasia had told Sokolov she was leaving him - and she believes this triggered his violent attack.

Galina Yeschenko, a 49-year-old police Lt-Colonel, said: 'She just got fed up with total control by Sokolov, and she told him that she was leaving.'

The mother told Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper she had earlier urged her daughter to leave a man old enough to be her grandfather.

Pochuev said Sokolov was 'tormented' after shooting his lover four times and dismembering her body.

'He repents,' he said. 'He wants to apologise to the family, to the extent this is possible and wishes to correct the situation.'

The lawyer claimed the killing may have happened because of a full moon.

'It is a known medical fact that many schizophrenic debuts… happen this time,' he said.

Sokolov is in custody pending the murder investigation.

He faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

stella Posted on November 29, 2019 15:59

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A Medics restart baby's heart after dunking her in bucket of icy water

A newborn whose heart rate began to soar was dunked into a bucket of ice water by doctors trying to save her life. Medics believed the shock of the freezing water might restart her heart, which had risen to 320 beats per minute. Holly Hutchinson had been rushed to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle 10 minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve at just 12 days old. Despite the ice shock, her parents were told her heart rate was not slowing. She was eventually given powerful drugs that brought her back from the brink just in time. Her stunned parents Jenny and Ian Hutchinson were given the happy news as fireworks were let off outside.

A newborn whose heart rate began to soar was dunked into a bucket of ice water by doctors trying to save her life. Medics believed the shock of the freezing water might restart her heart, which had risen to 320 beats per minute. Holly Hutchinson had been rushed to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle 10 minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve at just 12 days old. Despite the ice shock, her parents were told her heart rate was not slowing. She was eventually given powerful drugs that brought her back from the brink just in time. Her stunned parents Jenny and Ian Hutchinson were given the happy news as fireworks were let off outside.

After several attempts to shock her heart using other methods failed, she was rushed to the Freeman Hospital where the process was repeated and she was intubated. Ian said: ‘Right in front of our eyes, we could see the blood retracting from Holly’s limbs to try and protect her core, making her go grey. ‘It was absolutely horrendous to see our newborn become so ill, so quickly. Watching her being submerged in the water and be prodded with needles like a pin cushion is something no parent wants to see. ‘It was so hard knowing there was nothing we could do.’ The parents were taken into a side room at Freeman Hospital while doctors tried to save Holly’s life. Just 10 minutes later, they were told her heart had gone back to its normal rhythm and rate.

Her dad said: ‘Suddenly fireworks were going off and people were cheering – it was surreal. ‘If we’d arrived 20 minutes later, Holly might not be here today.’ Training for the half marathon between Newcastle upon Tyne and South Shields has been ‘tough’, Ian said. He added: ‘If Holly can hold on with a heartbeat of 320, a half marathon should be pretty simple right?’

stella Posted on November 11, 2019 21:37

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Couple who ignored doctors’ advice to TERMINATE two of their quadruplets to avoid a risky pregnancy show off their four healthy babies

A couple have revealed how they have welcomed quadruplets into the world - after ignoring the advice of doctors to terminate two of their babies.

Morales Osuna, 30, from San Diego, California, gave birth to three girls and one boy via C-section, following three years of fertility treatment. 

She managed to carry the quadruplets - who all weighed 4lbs - until 34 weeks, enjoying a stress-free pregnancy.

Morales and husband Issac, 29, had ignored advice to terminate two of their babies to avoid a risky pregnancy. 

Morales and Issac explained their delight at welcoming Marissa, Marcelo, Ivanna and Isabel into the world, after years of trying to start a family. 

'The quadruplets are little miracles and we couldn't be happier to finally have a family,' Morales said.

'We started trying for a baby in 2015 but I had a number of fertility problems. I had cysts on my ovaries, a blocked fallopian tube as well as endometriosis, so falling pregnant wasn't going to be easy.

'After two rounds of a treatment called IUI - which inserts sperm directly into your uterus to give you a better chance of concieving - I fell pregnant.' 

The couple were over-the-moon when they were told that they were expecting quads at seven weeks along. 

Morales, who is a teacher, said: 'We'd always wanted four children but we never imagined we'd have four all at one.

'I felt excited but the doctors were quick to tell us about how risky it was. We were offered to terminate two embryos but there was no way we could choose.' 

Luckily, the pregnancy went smoothly despite the risks involved in carrying quadruplets. 

'I hardly had any morning sickness and my pregnancy was really smooth the whole way through,' Morales said. 

'I managed to carry the quadruplets up until they were 34 weeks old before I had a C-section. By this point I was struggling to breathe and my bump was huge.

'They were all born weighing over 4lbs and we were all home together just nine days later.'

Isaac and Morales now run a military style operation at home to ensure they can feed and change their babies at the same time.

Morales said: 'We were super nervous when we first bought all our babies home as we had no idea what to expect.

'The nurses had kick started our quadruplets routine and now we ensure we feed two babies at a time.

'They are very good at telling us what they need as they'll cry when they're hungry or need their nappy changing.'

She added: 'They are very well behaved but having four babies is hard work. We get through tonnes of washing every day as well as changing 32 nappies.

'It's all worth it though, we couldn't be happier with our family which is definitely complete now.'

The couple chose to document their journey online – on their 'Zero 2 Quads' blog - from the start of their pregnancy to help inspire other hopeful parents.

Morales said: 'Not only do we want to document our quads milestones but we want to show everyone else not to give up on their baby dreams.

'Our story is a story of hope and we are so lucky to finally have our dream family.'

stella Posted on November 11, 2019 21:15

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Baby left severely burned after vegetable steamer spills boiling hot water

A toddler nearly died and was left with third degree burns all over his body after he pulled a vegetable steamer filled with two gallons of boiling water over his head. 

Dougie Dodd, then aged one, suffered horrific burns to his face, neck, chest, hands, wrists and feet after a spoon he was playing with got tangled in the cables connected to mother Nadia Hulse's broccoli and cauliflower steamer.

The 25-year-old, from Cannock, Staffordshire, lunged towards her son but was too late to save him as the three-tier machine toppled over and spilt its contents across the kitchen. 

He was in hospital for two months, fighting for his life as he battled infections from the third degree burns that covered half of his body. 

 'I was right next to Dougie when it happened, and I tried to stop the steamer falling, but I just couldn't move fast enough,' said Nadia as she re-lived the experience.

'He was touch-and-go in the hospital at one point, and I just couldn't stop crying, I was an absolute mess.

'I practically lived in the hospital with Dougie. I was so scared of losing him.'

Receptionist Nadia was overjoyed when she found out she was pregnant and gave birth to her only son on 24 July 2017.

The single mum learned how to juggle household chores with looking after a boisterous baby.

She was preparing dinner in the kitchen at home on March 8 this year, with little Dougie playing on the floor when disaster struck.

Nadia said: 'I turned the vegetable steamer on to heat up the water.

'I was sitting at the kitchen table with the phone propped up on video chat to my mum, showing her Dougie sitting on the floor playing with the saucepans when he suddenly reached up towards the steamer with his spoon.

'I shouted 'Dougie, no!' which startled him, and as he jumped back, the handle of the spoon got caught on the wire and the vegetable steamer tipped.

'I lunged forward but I just couldn't get there fast enough and the steamer toppled over, covering Dougie in hot water and vegetables.

'I stripped Dougie and raced him upstairs into a cold bath but he was screaming hysterically, trying to climb out of the bath and onto me.

'I had to hold him down and keep putting cool water on him until the ambulance came, and as much as I wanted to pull him out and cuddle him, I knew he needed to stay in there so he wouldn't be in any more pain than he already was.'

Nadia's mother raced to the house after watching the scene unfold on FaceTime and called an ambulance for Dougie as his skin bubbled in blisters.

Paramedics gave him morphine and covered his burned body in cooling gel before wrapping him in cling film to prevent any infection.

The traumatised toddler was rushed to Birmingham Children's Hospital and diagnosed with third degree burns across his face, neck, chest, hands, wrists and feet.

Nadia said: 'Dougie's body was all red and sore, so when the burns on his neck and wrist started turning white, I thought that was a good sign, like his body was fighting back.

'My heart broke when the doctors explained that the burns turning white meant the nerve endings could be damaged and were therefore less likely to repair themselves so he could end up needing skin grafts.

'The doctors told me they might need to shave his hair to stop the burns getting infected which upset me as Dougie has these gorgeous, golden curls, but I just wanted them to do whatever they could to help him recover the quickest.'

Over the next few days, Dougie was kept in hospital as doctors checked his blood vessels for nerve damage, drained his blisters and shaved the front of his hairline.

When the burns that had turned white did not regain pinkness, Dougie was taken into theatre for skin grafting with skin taken from his thighs to cover his left wrist and chest.

The toddler was bound in bandages head to toe to prevent infection and help his skin recover, and went under anaesthetic in theatre every other day to have his wounds cleaned.

Nadia said: 'When he got the grafts, it was horrible. Me and his dad had to take him through to theatre and hold the mask over his face while he went to sleep.

'We were both crying, but the doctors reassured me that it would help to prevent scarring and help him to heal a lot quicker.'

After a long week in hospital, Nadia was finally able to take her little boy home.

But her joy was short-lived as Dougie became ill and was admitted again after just one night at home.

Nadia said: 'I was so happy that we could try and get back to a bit of normality and be able to see him in his own environment again.

'The first night he was really quiet and lethargic but still happy as we sat on the sofa and watched cBeebies before bed.

'In the night, he pulled his bandages half off his face - I was worried about pulling them off completely in case I made the scabs any worse but also worried about leaving them on in case they wrapped round his neck in the night.'

Nadia took Dougie back to the hospital the next morning on 14 March 2019 where a nurse noticed he had a high temperature and his hands had come up in a pin prickly looking rash which is a symptom of toxic shock syndrome.

Toxic shock syndrome is a sudden and potentially fatal medical condition caused by a bacterial infection.

Blood tests confirmed Dougie had TSS and as his blood pressure hit a staggering 190, he needed an oxygen mask to breathe and doctors were forced to administer a blood plasma transfusion.

The toddler was closely monitored by doctors, and if his condition didn't improve in the first few hours, Dougie would need to go to the intensive care unit or he could die.

Nadia said: 'The doctors had said they'd like to keep him in overnight after spotting the rash but ultimately it was up to me, and I'm so glad I went with my gut and kept him in there.

'I felt so sorry for him, I just wanted to take the pain away from my little boy.

'The consultant and nurses stood around his bed with us and said we will keep an eye on him so it's going to be an unsettled night and that the frozen plasma will hopefully help his body to fight the infection.

'I asked what happens if it doesn't and the consultant said they'd have to take him to the ICU to keep a closer eye on him and help him fight the infection.

'I burst into tears, I felt so sick and was a wreck as a nurse hugged me and made me a cup of tea to calm me down.'

A few hours after the plasma transfusion, Dougie's temperature, oxygen and blood pressure started to improve as his body began to fight the infection.

The little boy was in hospital for another week as doctors did more blood tests to make sure that the infection had cleared.

He had to return to the hospital every other day for surgical day care but was finally discharged when he was more healed on 8 April 2019.

Dougie, now two, is back to being himself again but still has to wear a compression vest daily for as long as possible to prevent excess skin tissue growing and turning into a hypertrophic scar.

Doctors have said the toddler can either sleep in the vest overnight or wear it for a few hours on and off throughout the day.

Nadia said: 'Dougie is such a happy, lively little boy and has not changed his outgoing personality one bit, but I still feel guilt.

'I know it was a freak accident and the only thing I could have done differently was to not let him play with the saucepans, but I wish I could turn back time and get his cars out for him to play with instead!

'It still breaks my heart to think about it which I do everyday and to see the pictures of him in the hospital.

'I worry about him growing up with his scars, but will constantly reassure him every day of how brave he was and how beautiful he is with his scars, and that they will fade as he grows older.

'I'm just so grateful for the hospitals fantastic work and that he's ok - they worked so hard and saved his life.'

stella Posted on November 11, 2019 20:05

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