Mother left daughter unconscious for nearly two nights: court

The last words Donna Deaves heard her two-year-old daughter scream were “no no no”.
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Tanilla Warrick-Deaves died in Wyong hospital two days later, on August 27, 2011, after paramedics found her injured at her Watanobbi home, on the NSW Central Coast.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday Deaves, 29, pleaded not guilty to the toddler’s murder, but guilty to manslaughter on the basis of criminal negligence by failing to get medical assistance for the girl.

According to an agreed statement of facts tendered to the court, Deaves left Tanilla lying injured and unconscious for nearly two nights after her boyfriend, who Fairfax Media has chosen not to name, allegedly assaulted the girl in the shower.

The man is awaiting trial for Tanilla’s murder.

The man, who allegedly punished the toddler by hitting her with cords, straps and a wooden spoon and made her run constant laps of the lounge room, grew angry at the toddler when she wet herself on August 25, the document said.

He took her to the bathroom and put her in the shower, when Deaves said she heard what sounded like the child’s head hitting the glass screen.

“[Deaves] heard the deceased screaming ‘no, no, no’,” the statement said.

“When [Deaves] arrived, [the man] was holding the deceased by her wet hair. [He] banged the deceased’s head into the shower wall and [Deaves] noticed that the deceased’s mouth was bloody.”

The document said when Deaves told the man to stop, he slapped her across the face with the back of his hand, before allegedly banging the girl’s head on the shower screen.

“[The man] took the deceased to the toilet and held her head above the bowl. The deceased was naked, wet and shivering. [The man] held the deceased by one leg upside down and was yelling and screaming,” the statement said.

“He threatened to put the deceased’s head in the toilet and the deceased was screaming. [Deaves] was present throughout this period.”

According to the statement, when Deaves said she would call an ambulance, her boyfriend told her he would kill her, trash her house and blame her for the toddler’s injuries.

Tanilla was then put into a double stroller, which was parked in Deaves’ bedroom, where the girl stayed overnight and the next day, without regaining consciousness, the statement said.

After watching a movie the following night, Deaves woke up and noticed Tanilla was not breathing and had vomited. She called triple-0 about 4am.

Deaves did not tell police what happened to Tanilla for a month after her death, despite officers giving her opportunities, the document said.

In September, Deaves gave a comprehensive version of events and told police: “She’s better off dead then (sic) to have sustained injuries and lived like that so in the long run, I’d come to the conclusion that she wasn’t wakin’ up so I sat with her that other night and at that stage, I didn’t know what to do and I obviously thought I was going to be blamed.”

Doctors found the cause of Tanilla’s death was blunt force head trauma, which caused a subdural haemorrhage.

A pathologist found “there was clear and unequivocal medical evidence that the deceased was subjected to sustained physical violence of a non-accidental type over a period of possibly several weeks before her death”.

The pathologist said Tanilla may have survived if she had been treated promptly.

Outside court, Tanilla’s stepmother, Brooke Bowen, said her family had made repeated calls to the Department of Community Services (DoCS) concerning her welfare.

“It wasn’t just the last two weeks of her life she was being reported. She had 33 reports on her and she was only two-and-a-half. Alarm bells, hello?

“They let Tanilla down. A lot of people let Tanilla down.

“Let’s just hope after this is all over something can change in the system. It’s not going to bring Tanilla back, it’s not going to bring any other children back, but let’s hope this is an example to get them up on their toes.”

In a statement from the department, now known as the Department of Family and Community Services, a spokesman said staff were “deeply saddened by the tragic case of this little girl”.

But there would be no further comment until Deaves’ court case, and related cases, were finalised, the spokesman said.

Deaves will face a sentencing hearing in September.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Shooting victim had ‘heart of gold’

Tyrone Slemnik Tyrone Slemnik
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Shot dead: Tyrone Slemnik.

The victim of a fatal drive-by shooting has been described as having a “heart of gold”, with family and friends paying tribute to Tyrone Lee Slemnik as a peacemaker with so much to live for.

But police say he is the victim of an ongoing turf war between bikie gangs the Hells Angels, with whom Slemnik was affiliated, and the Comancheros.

Slemnik, 37, was gunned down when at least six bullets from two different guns were fired into a car park outside an Eastlakes unit block from a dark sedan just before 10pm on Monday night.

Another man, aged 25, was shot in the leg outside the George Street property, while a third man who was standing outside the block called triple-0 and tried to revive his friend. He ran away when police arrived.

As police searched the unit block on Tuesday, a friend of Slemnik’s approached Fairfax Media and told of his distress at the incident.

“He had such a good heart, really, he had a heart of gold,” the friend said.

“It’s always the good guys who go first, always the good guys.”

The man, wearing a grey hooded jumper, said he was also friends with the owner of the unit connected to the shooting, and was waiting for him to talk to police.

“My mate got a call from the cops who said they were going to break his door down if we didn’t come and open the doors,” he said.

“So our mate gets shot and the cops raid my mate’s place. The law doesn’t make sense, man.”He said the other victim, who had been shot in the calf, was “completely fine”.

On social media, a sister of the deceased said: “Today my heart bleeds n my body is empty im going to miss you so much my baby brother R.I.P TYRONE SLEMNIK I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU.ITS NOT FAIR”.

Another relative said she “can’t express my feeling of how much pain the loss of my Uncle Tye has cause to me and the entire family. He was a peacemaker, the laugh of the party, a fantastic father/boyfriend/uncle/son/brother and so much more. Miss you so f—ing much uncle Tye, I hope the guy who did this rots in hell. R.I.P. Uncle Tyrone”.

Later, she added: “This is bullshit, targeted attack pfft, more like little f—ing kids with guns shooting around. He didn’t deserve to die, he had so much to live for. R.I.P Uncle Tye, I pray to God that who ever took my uncles life gets caught & sent to jail for life, getting put down like the mutts they are is just the easier way out, they deserve to rot in bars.”

A police source said an autopsy would formally confirm the victim’s identity.

Homicide Detective Inspector David Laidlaw said both victims were known to police and officers were interviewing a number of associates from each gang.

“We believe it’s a dispute between two gangs, two rival gangs,” he told reporters.

A black Mercedes four-wheel-drive seen leaving the scene shortly after police arrived on Monday night returned the next morning as police seized several items from a unit.

‘Bang, bang, bang, bang’

One neighbour said he was in the back room of his home when he heard four initial gun shots.

“Then there was about one second, and then bang, bang, bang, bang, at least another four shots,” said the neighbour, who asked not to be named.

He said about 10 seconds later he heard a car speeding away.

The shooting victims were screaming in the street, he said.

“I heard the man yelling ‘Argh!’, and I heard the other man yelling somebody’s name, and then he said ‘Oh no’.”

The neighbour said he heard screams for help coming from the street. The police came about 10 minutes later.

The neighbour said when he went outside he saw the body of the shooting victim lying on the road, and the injured man lying on the footpath.

“He was yelling ‘Argh, my leg!’,” the neighbour said.

He said he did not know the people involved in the shooting, but had heard several arguments on the street in the past year between two groups of people, including one group who lived in the apartment block.

Another George Street resident who lives a few doors down said her husband ran out onto the street after hearing gunshots and saw two bodies on the ground.

One man was lying on the nature strip and another on the road.

“I was on the phone about 9.50pm and I heard two shots and I thought they might have been coming from a car, and then no more than about 20, 30 seconds [later], about another four shots in quick succession and then a car just sped off,” the woman said.

“My husband … I didn’t want him to come out, but he just went to the front fence and then he saw … up out the front of the units, a body on the nature strip and then one was on the road ’cause he saw his foot on the curb,” she said.

“It was mayhem. There were police cars everywhere there would have been about five ambulance and then lots of cars with guys all running up the street, screaming, yelling. Was just chaotic for a bit.”

Another neighbour said a “gang” had moved into the block about six months ago.

He said he heard two gunshots, followed by four more and then a man screaming for help.

“One of them was screaming and screamed ‘help’. They are a bad bunch,” he said.

A man who lives a few doors down from the cream brick unit block said he had been living in the street for 35 years and described it as “the quietest street in Sydney”.

Anti-bikie Strike Force Raptor was assisting homicide and gangs squads with the canvass of the scene and interviewing witnesses. Detectives from the strike force have spoken to a number of residents on George Street and asked them not to talk to anyone.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

McKenzie to tackle ill-discipline in Wallabies

McKenzie: no messiah, but a visionary
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New Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie will tackle lingering discipline issues in the Australian side by clearly outlining what is expected of players representing their country.

Promising to deal with players who have “fallen off the perch”, McKenzie was officially unveiled as the new Wallabies coach during a press conference with Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver in Brisbane on Tuesday afternoon.

Pulver said McKenzie was conclusively the stand-out applicant for the role following a series of interviews with domestic candidates two weeks ago, the rugby boss convinced the Queensland Reds coach can get the Wallabies playing a running style which will capture the nation’s imagination.

But Pulver also identified team discipline as a key issue which needed to be addressed.

Pulver said he and McKenzie would be drafting a set of principles of behaviour that were acceptable at the Wallaby level.

“I will make it quite clear about what I think is important to be a Wallaby and what that means, and the sacrifices you need to make, and in due course whatever players are lucky enough to get the opportunity to step up, they’ll understand what I think and what’s important,” McKenzie said.

“In the end players have a very simple life, they’ve got to contribute their skills, but I’ll ask them to wear the right clothes and do the right thing at the right time and turn up on time.”

McKenzie stressed the Wallabies team was a representative side that needed to be treated by the players with reverence.

“The only opportunity you get to play for the Wallabies is if the Wallabies coach chooses you to play and to me that’s a week-to-week contract, so if you’re not doing the right thing at the right time that week-to-week contract might not be there,” he said.

“I want players to step up, to be very proud of the opportunity and I don’t want to make it an opportunity that everyone gets easily. When you’re there you’ve got to make the most of it.”

McKenzie dodged questions on current Wallaby flyhalf James O’Connor and Reds star Quade Cooper, reiterating his admiration for Cooper as a player.

He said that selecting the team was his most important job, and he’d be reviewing every position in the Wallabies side, noting that some positions, which he did not disclose, could be filled by up to eight or nine players successfully.

“I’ve got to find ways to get exposure to those players so that I make sure we’ve got the best players now or in a couple of years time,” he said.

Pulver said he met with Robbie Deans yesterday afternoon and agreed the Wallabies mentor since 2008 should step down.

He said McKenzie would sill have been announced as the new coach today even if the Wallabies had won the final Lions Test on Saturday night.

“Ewen has served what I think is the perfect apprenticeship preparing for this role,” he said.

“He rates extremely highly against all the key criteria such as leadership, discipline, coaching capability, coaching record. He’s a former Wallaby himself, having played 51 times for his country.

“Arguably the most important variable of all is that Ewen has the capability of coaching the way the Australian public wants to see the game played and that is smart, creative, running rugby.”

McKenzie said he felt proud and privileged for the opportunity to coach the Wallabies, having put his hand up for the role earlier this year.

He will start coaching the Wallabies full time in five weeks in the lead up to Australia’s next Test against New Zealand in Sydney on August 17

“[There is] no better job, no better task, no better coaching assignment than to go and pit yourself against the All Blacks,” he said.

“I’ve played in a bunch of Bledisloe Cup games in my time and to get another crack against the All Blacks is terrific.”

McKenzie, who won the Super Rugby title with the Reds in 2011, saw off a challenge from South African Brumbies coach Jake White to claim the position.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Husband faces murder charges 16 years after murder of teen mother of two

Kimberley Made a public appeal: daughter Kimberley. Photo: Sylvia Liber
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Police inspect the crime scene in September 1997 where Jodie Fesus’ body was found. Photo: Orlando Chiodo

It was 16 years ago that an anonymous phone call led detectives to a beachside camping ground near Gerroa on the NSW south coast, where they dug up the body of a teenage mother of two.

On Monday night at a hotel in The Rocks in central Sydney,  police arrested the 42-year-old husband of Jodie Fesus and charged him with murdering his then 18-year-old wife before burying her body at the Seven Mile Beach camping ground in 1997.

Fesus’ body was found one month after she disappeared from her home in Mount Warrigal, about 30 kilometres north of Gerroa.

The alleged killer had dug a shallow hole and buried Fesus’ body near the end of a dirt track leading to the beach, then erected a tent over her body.

Under the tent, police found a skull and knee bone protruding from the earth. The body was dressed in a nightie.

Fesus’ husband, Steven Frank Fesus, was the last person to see her alive. He said at the time he had left his young wife sleeping at their home and had taken their two children – Kimberley, 2, and Dylan, 1 – on a trip to a local club to drop off some paperwork related to his work as a security guard.

Fesus was gone when they returned home later that morning, he said. Two days later, Fesus’ purse was found near Oak Flats railway station with her identification still inside.

Police formed Strike Force Clanton II to investigate the killing.

Last week, detectives said they had received new information that led to the arrest of Fesus’ husband.

Mr Fesus did not appear when his matter came before Sydney’s Central Local Court on Tuesday.

The arrest comes a week after Fesus’ daughter Kimberley, who is now almost 18, pleaded for anyone who could help identify the killer to come forward.

”I am almost the same age that my mother was when she was murdered. The older I get the more questions I have,” Kimberley said last week.

”I was just two years old when my mum was taken from me. I don’t remember her. All I have is photographs to look upon and a few keepsakes that belonged to her.

”I want someone to be accountable for my mother’s death.”

Kimberley said it was hard losing her mother at such a young age.

”It was really hard not having a mum around, especially when you go to your year 6 formal … or when you have your first boyfriend or something like that, it’s definitely hard,” she said.

Fesus’ body was found four months after she married Steven Fesus. At the time of the death, Mr Fesus said he loved his wife ”so much” and that only his friends, family and children were keeping him alive.

”I still wake up thinking it’s all a dream and she’ll come back,” he said. ”This whole thing is unbelievable. When no one is around I get the wedding video out and just play and play it.”

Detectives have never identified the anonymous man who phoned police to say they would find a body at one of the public camping sites at Gerroa. Police were amazed at the time that the alleged killer chose to bury Fesus in an open, publicly accessible area with picnic barbecues nearby, rather than in the dense tea tree and banksia scrub surrounding the camp site near the coastal village of Gerroa.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Maitua says Allgood had to hit or be hit

Eels co-captain Reni Maitua believes Mitchell Allgood had no choice but to hit or be hit when he took on Manly’s Steve Matai on Monday night.
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While Maitua said he doesn’t condone violence on the field, he has defended his teammate for punching Matai after the Sea Eagles centre went out of his way to challenge him.

“Mitchell’s desire and want got the better of him in the end,” Maitua said.

“Frustration came into his game. Stevie is a scary guy and he’s been a bit of a bully, so to speak.

“I’ve been good friends with him over a number of years but I think Mitchy saw him coming and it was hit or be hit. I don’t condone it and it’s not a good look for the game but it happened. It’s what Mitch has to deal with now.”

It isn’t the first time this season Allgood has been involved in an on-field brawl.

The 24-year-old prop went toe-to-toe with Brisbane’s Josh McGuire in May, but on that occasion he was the one on the receiving end of a blow to the head.

“He has been on the other end of it against Brisbane,” Maitua said. “He took out Peter Wallace a bit late and there wasn’t much in it, but he hands down and got king hit. He probably thought in his mind that he’s not going to let that happen again.

“Stevie came a long way out of the line to confront him and I don’t know if he was going to hit him or not, but Mitchell took it into his own hands and he’s going to have to deal with the consequences. It’s either hit or be hit, that’s the reality of the situation. Stevie is a great guy and he probably wasn’t going to him but it happened and the match review committee can deal with it now.”

Allgood has copped a grade three striking charge for the incident that escalated after his swinging arm on Jamie Buhrer riled Matai in the final minutes of Monday night’s clash at Brookvale Oval.

If he takes the early plea he’ll cop a two-game ban but if he fights the charge and is unsuccessful he will miss three matches.

It’s understood Parramatta will use vision of the Trent Merrin and Paul Gallen punches they landed in Origin over the first two games, which each resulted in them missing one game, as part of their defence if they decide to fight the grading.

“Mitchell is a good kid and he really wants to win,” Maitua said. “Unfortunately he took it to the 70th minute and even though the game was out of reach he still wanted to lift the team, but he lifted the team the wrong way, I guess.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.