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Selena Gomez Appears to Have Been Stung By Jellyfish on New Year's Day

Selena Gomez's new year got off to a bumpy start in Hawaii -- because she got stung by a jellyfish (or something like one) ... and had to be carried piggy-back style to safety.

The singer was vacationing in Honolulu a few days ago to ring in 2020, and while she was at the beach on Jan. 1 ... it appears she got zapped by a creature of the sea -- we're told it looked to be a Portuguese man o' war. It's a jellyfish-type of animal but is more than just a single organism. Bottom line ... they're poisonous and hurt like hell.

Selena's reaction certainly seemed to reflect that. Photogs captured her limping back to shore with the assistance of some girlfriends, who then attentively knelt beside her on the sand as they checked out her injured foot. She was wincing through the ordeal.

At one point, a strapping young fellow picked up Selena and carried her on his back -- presumably, to get checked out by more than just concerned beach-goers.

She eventually cracked a smile along the way ... so hopefully she's feeling better. If she isn't, she's definitely putting on a brave face on social media. Looks like she'll be okay.

Get well, SG. And, here's to a sting-free new decade ahead.

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A Father accused of killing his OWN daughter and her husband before turning the gun on himself

A man who shot himself on New Year's Eve after allegedly killing his daughter and her husband could soon be well enough to be charged. 

Lindita Musai had been trying to start a new life away from her father when she was cut down in a hail of bullets alongside her new husband Veton on New Year's Eve. 

Osman Shaptafaj, 55, remains critically ill in The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, but his condition has now been classed as stable. 

Daily Mail Australia has been told police remain hopeful Shaptafaj will survive the self-inflicted wounds so that he can face murder charges. 

Ms Musai’s father lived just 5km from the couple but was estranged from her and her mother amid accusations of turmoil within the family. 

He was found soon after the attack a block away with gunshot wounds to his head. 

Daily Mail Australia can reveal the accused gun man had lived a relatively legitimate life in Victoria with only two recorded offences listed against his name. 

In 2004 he was fined $700 and had his licence suspended for a month after pleading guilty to careless driving and drink driving. 

Retired Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg heard Shaptafaj had been picked-up with a blood alcohol level of 0.06 - just over the .05 legal limit in Victoria. 

He showed mercy to Shaptafak, releasing him without recording a conviction. 

But Daily Mail Australia has been told all was not well in the Shaptafaj household. 

A family member, who wished to remain anonymous, said Mrs Musai had endured a 'difficult' upbringing. 

He claimed Mrs Masai's mother had separated from Shaptafaj about eight years ago after spending time in hospital. 

'I'll just say it was nothing to do with his backgound or his beliefs, as he has no beliefs,' the man said of the attack. 

He claimed the alleged killer's daughter had bravely turned him away to begin a peaceful life with her new husband, who succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday. 

'It's really making me sick ... to be honest with you. Lindita and Veton were perfect, absolutely perfect,' he said. 

The relative said Lindita's mother had done her best to live in the unhappy household, but found the courage to leave after a stint in hospital. 

'She was trying to keep the peace, to the point of leaving him, the house, the car and money not to put (him) on edge,' he said. 

The pair were allegedly attacked in their home in Yarraville, western Melbourne about 10.30am on Tuesday last week.

Hundreds of mourners gathered to farewell the couple at the Albanian Australian Islamic Society mosque in Carlton North on Saturday. 

They packed the mosque to pray and to listen to short eulogies given during the hour-long service.

About three thousand more stood outside the mosque on the street to pay their respects.

Mrs Musai became the 266th Australian to be killed in 2019 - the last in Victoria - and the 72nd woman lost to violence last year. 

Mr Musai's brother Drilon paid tribute to the couple on Facebook on Sunday, expressing anger at their tragic deaths. 

'Finally, hate killed beauty, a devil killed love! The Angels were shot smiling, That the monster didn't sleep!' he wrote. 

'Veton, I am broken without you, The family is broken without you, but the memories we have of you will hold us together forever and help soothe these wounds.

'To everyone out there. Please remember Veton and Lindita for who they were, their love, their passion and their otherworldly presence, because to remember them for what happened is an injustice to love itself.'

Victoria Police are investigating a family dispute as the motive behind the chilling attack ahead of the New Year.

The couple reportedly had other guests at their home when the incident took place.  

They were found on the front porch of their house with gunshot wounds to their upper bodies. 

A gun was found at the end of the street on public land. Investigators are now trying to piece together what drove the man to allegedly open fire.

A witness told Channel 7 in Melbourne he had seen a man come out of a bush and shoot himself in the head, fall to the ground, then get up again and shoot himself again. 

Mr Musai's cousin shared his grief on Facebook after the 29-year-old died in hospital 30 houra after he was shot. 

'I don't know how to put the words together.. Allah knows best why things happen the way they do,' he started, before adding he 'can't even begin to explain' how he's feeling. 

'The only thing keeping us strong is belief in God.

'May Allah bring the two gorgeous souls together again in Jannah.'

The young couple had only been married a year, but had been a couple for at least five. Friends described their wedding as one of the 'best they'd ever been to'. 

'Such a lovely couple, such a lovely family... One of the best weddings I've been to in Australia,' a friend of the family wrote on Facebook. 

Mrs Musai was employed as a receptionist for real estate firm Colliers International in Melbourne's CBD while her husband worked at a nearby bank.

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Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal to keep DC sniper in jail for life

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the state's plea to reinstate the life-without-parole sentence of a teenage terrorist who shot 10 people in a series of sniper attacks in and around Washington DC in 2002.  

Lee Boyd Malvo, now 34, was 17 when he and his 41-year-old 'mentor' John Allen Muhammed killed 10 people at random in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. 

They struck at random over the course of three weeks, terrorizing the areas where the shootings occurred before being arrested while they were sleeping in their car. 

Prosecutors were never able to firmly establish their motive and Muhammed was executed in 2009.

Malvo, who said he was sexually abused by the man and who has tried in the past to plead insanity, was given life sentences without the possibility of parole from both Maryland and Virginia but now, his legal team is fighting to have one of them undone.  

They say that a change in law in 2012 that got rid of mandatory life sentences for juveniles means his sentences are unjust. 

His lawyers appealed it and the sentence was tossed out last year but now, the state of Virginia is fighting to have it put back in place. 

Malvo was also sentenced to six life sentences without the possibility of parole in Maryland and a judge there refused to review his case when he appealed it in 2017.    

He is also appealing those sentences.  

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled last year that while Malvo's life-without-parole sentences were legal when they were imposed, Supreme Court decisions that followed altered sentencing requirements for juvenile offenders. 

The appeals court judges said a resentencing would determine whether Malvo qualifies as 'one of the rare juvenile offenders' who can be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole because his 'crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility.'

They said if his crimes instead 'reflect the transient immaturity of youth' he's entitled to a sentence short of life without parole.

Malvo and Muhammed killed several more people in the days before they launched their three-week long attack.

Their spree began in February that year. In total, they slaughtered 17 people and committed robberies and burglaries.

The victims in the coordinated attack were shot through store windows and in the street.

One victim, a babysitter, was killed as she read her book while she was waiting for the bus.

The pair went undetected for weeks while public fear increased but they were eventually arrested after hearing from Muhammed's ex-girlfriend and realizing his car had been in the area of many of the attacks.

The pair were found asleep and were taken into custody. 

In an interview in 2012, Malvo admitted that he lied during the police investigation and trials by saying he was entirely to blame because he knew he would not be given the death penalty and wanted to save Muhammed's life. 

'I was a monster. If you look up the definition, that’s what a monster is. I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people’s lives. I did someone else’s bidding just because they said so.

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California couple whose son was born to a New York woman after a shocking IVF blunder reach settlement with the fertility clinic responsible

A California couple whose son was born to a New York woman following a shocking IVF blunder have reached a settlement with the fertility clinic responsible. 

Anni and Ashot Manukyan sued CHA Fertility Clinic in July after their son was born March 31 to a mother in Queens, along with another baby from a different couple.  

In a devastating mix-up, two fertilized embryos, one belonging to the Manyukans, had been wrongly implanted into a Korean-American IVF patient, with the mistake only realized when she gave birth to two Caucasian boys instead of the twin girls she had been expecting.  

The Manukyans, who live in Los Angeles, were then forced to enter a grueling legal battle in New York court to get custody of their son after the woman who carried and delivered him wanted to keep him. 

They were granted custody in May when the child, whom they named Alec, was six weeks old, after DNA tests proved they were his biological parents.  

The couple then sued the fertility clinic, seeking damages to cover their emotional loss and the $100,000 they spent on their care and travel while sorting out the ordeal. 

Court documents reported by the New York Daily News on Thursday confirmed that they'd reached an undisclosed settlement with a 'strict confidentiality provision'. 

The Manukyans asked the judge to approve the settlement's 'minor's compromise' clause, which allows an adult to sign on behalf of a child so the child can receive money. 

A hearing on that matter is set for January 3. 

CHA Fertility Clinic is also facing lawsuits from the other two couples embroiled in the IVF mishap.  

The Manukyans opened up about the traumatic experience back in July after filing their the lawsuit. 

The couple described the bittersweet moment the woman who carried their child for nine months finally handed him over to his biological parents after the taxing custody battle.    

'We were hysterically crying, all four of us,' Anni said of the heartbreaking meeting with the woman and her husband, identified in court documents as A.P. and Y.Z. 'They were saying "we're sorry, we're so sorry.

'We should have let you guys come and take him before, it's just that we love them. We wanted to take care of them as they were our own. We love them.'

'There was no tension in the room whatsoever. It felt like we were friends… It was just love, because we all have love of the same child,' the New York Post reports. 

The Korean-American woman had given birth to their son, prematurely, on March 31, alongside another baby boy - at first assumed to be a twin, but later found to be the biological son of a third, unrelated couple whose embryo was also wrongly implanted.

When the couple handed over the baby in May, they also handed over a series of gifts for the Manukyans', including gold bracelets, one celebrating the Year of the Pig and another with a crown; and a ring emblazoned with tiny baby shoes.

She had also saved the baby's umbilical cord, a tradition in A.P.'s Asian culture, and wanted to ensure it went with him, along with a tiny pink pillow from her mother, Anni said.

'I would like you to give this to him, to know it's from me,' A.P. told Manukyan. 'I think I'll keep that pink pillow forever.' 

A week after giving Anni and Ashot their baby, A.P. and Y.Z. relinquished Alec's 'twin' to his biological family. 

The couple claimed they were unsure of whether they would ever see their baby, but finally got to meet him on Mother's Day weekend.

Anni told The New York Post: 'We were so anxious to get him. I would cut off my right leg to have him in my arms.' 

In the seven weeks between learning of news and reclaiming baby Alec, Anni and Ashot said they were not allowed to know anything about their son, or the couple raising him - nor anything about his pre- or post-natal nutrition, care, or progress.  

DNA results had confirmed that the New York-born baby genetically belonged to the Manukyans.

When they were finally able to file their custody petition in mid-May, they flew to New York and spent 11 days waiting for a verdict.

But Anni told The New York Post that the Korean-American birth mother had fought to keep both of the babies. In a heartbreaking letter she had written she said: 'I kiss his little feet every day. I give him a bath. I breast fed him,' she wrote. 

'We’re their true parents and we’re the ones who want to be with him. We love them, they’re ours and they’re twins, they shouldn’t be separated.

'They snuggle with each other, they sleep with each other every night. How could you separate them?.' 

A psychiatrist informed the Manukyans that they should hand over their pillowcases so their son could become accustomed to their smell, and recordings of Anni reading.

She revealed: 'My voice was shuddering while I was doing it. It was just heart shattering. Me and my husband, we wondered what if the pillows we slept on, what if the scent wasn’t enough? We were hugging the pillowcases just to make sure,' she claimed. 

Both couples finally met in a New York courtroom on May 10, and a judge had ordered everyone out given the sensitivity of the case. 

Anni recalled: 'They came in and they were crying, and I saw them crying and I started bawling. My husband was trying to hold me. Even the security guard was crying.'

Anni claimed that she broke down as the judge gave his verdict, saying: 'DNA is DNA and genetics play a big role in everything, so the baby belongs with Anni and Ashot.'

The Manukyans' lawyer Eric Wrubel claimed that both couples sobbed, adding 'neither couple could speak.'

The judge recommended that the Manukyans first have two six-hour visits with their newborn over the weekend, before he was finally given to them on Monday. 

'DNA is DNA and genetics play a big role in everything, so the baby belongs with Anni and Ashot Manukyan,' the judge said in his ruling. 

They went to celebrate by having drinks and then spent $600 buying new baby clothes and other essentials for their son in Union Square.    

Wrubel hired a town car to take the baby from the Queens couple’s home to their hotel. Anni reveaIed: 'I had a big ass blanket, it was raining in New York and I don’t want my baby to get sick.

'When the car pulled up, I was running, my husband had the umbrella over my head we just ran and grabbed him.' 

'I opened the blanket that was on top of him and I didn’t know what to feel, my emotions were all — I was crying. He was so tiny, he was so delicate. I just held him for six hours.' 

The couple met the Queens birth mother on Monday in a hotel room, with Anni saying: 'I need[ed] to thank her personally, because she deserves that. 

'She carried my child for nine months, she fed him, she took care of him, she changed his diapers. It could have ended up differently.

'I pray for her every day,' Anni said, referring to the Korean-American New York mom who carried Alec. 

'She was a victim of this as much as I am. She's a lovely lady. She raised my baby inside of her and after he was born.' 

The Manukyans told reporters in July that they were unaware they had a son until the clinic contacted them out of the blue to obtain their DNA so that it could determine whether the child born to the New York couple was theirs.

Adding insult to injury, Anni later learned that she had been implanted with an embryo -- which failed to result in a pregnancy -- belonging to another couple who were also clients of the fertility clinic.

According to a lawsuit Anni and Ashot filed against the clinic on Wednesday: 'Their anxiety was unbearable. Anni developed a stress-related illness that was physically very painful. 

'She was admitted to hospital, where she stayed for two days. Both Anni and Ashot began to see psychologists to help grapple with their stress and worry.' 

The New York couple was the first to file a case against CHA Fertility Center, seeking damages to cover their emotional loss and the $100,000 they spent on their care and travel.   

The Korean-American couple, who identified themselves only as YZ and AP in a lawsuit they filed against CHA last week, married in 2012, and struggled to conceive for years before turning to IVF. 

After plenty of research, they found CHA Fertility Center, which they had been assured was one of the top clinics in the country, according to their lawsuit.

As is the case for all couples embarking on eye-wateringly expensive fertility treatment, they were desperate, but they were happy with co-owners Dr Joshua Berger and Simon Hong after their meeting. 

They embarked on the months of treatments - hormones, vitamins, test after test - to yield eight embryos, which is shy of the recommended 12, but an acceptable number. 

Their care and travel totaled $100,000.  The average cost of one cycle of IVF is $12,000 plus up to $3,000 for the medication, though research shows couples rarely yield enough embryos on the first try. 

Their first attempt at implantation in July 2018 failed. In August, the couple decided to try again, thawing two of their female embryos. And it was a success: they were pregnant with twins in September.  

According to court papers, the couple were 'confused' when sonograms showed twin boys, because they had only fertilized female embryos.

Berger and Hong tried to reassure the couple, saying that sonograms were 'not a definitive test.' 

Then, they delivered two white boys. The lawsuit says that the couple were victims of an 'unimaginable mishap' - so much so that they 'could not find the courage and the way to tell others about their devastating loss.'

The ordeal has left AP and YZ with 'permanent emotional injuries from which they will not recover,' according to the lawsuit. 

They 'may never know what happened to their embryos, as well as whether the currently cryopreserved embryos are genetically matched to them,' court papers state. They are seeking unspecified damages. 

The clinic is not commenting on the matter, and the third couple has not spoken out. 

CHA refuses to comment on what happened, though they confirmed that all of the couples confirmed were in the clinic on August 20, 2018 for their implantation.   

Their attorney Adam Wolf, of Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane, said: 'This incredible series of events demonstrates CHA's shocking incompetence. While I have handled hundreds of cases of fertility-center misconduct, this tragedy at CHA is among the most egregious I have seen. 

'Anni and Ashot put all their faith and trust in CHA. In return, CHA gave Anni and Ashot lies, excuses and heartbreak. We will not rest until this multinational corporation is held accountable.'

He added: 'It's fair to assume there are far more fertility clinic tragedies that happen than we know.'

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Loose Women treat star to luxury spa break complete with hot tub, unicorn cake and lavish dinner

Stacey Solomon celebrated her 30th birthday in style with her Loose Women co- stars and baby son Rex, six months, on Saturday.

The presenter was treated to a luxury spa break at Pennyhill Park in Surrey by Denise Welch, Nadia Sawalha, Saira Khan, Kaye Adams, Linda Robson, Jane Moore, Kelle Bryan and Andrea McLean.

The girls pulled out all the stops to ensure Stacey had plenty of rest and relaxation -and Linda and Jane even babysat so the television personality could enjoy a massage. 

Stacey shared a slew of snaps on Instagram and said: 'We've finally made it! Special spa day with my favourite girls for my 30th birthday surprise.'

Leaving Rex in the care of his Loose Women aunties, Stacey headed in for a relaxing massage. 

Sharing a photo of herself lying on the massage bed: 'The girls have treated me to a massage so I've left the pickle with nanny Linda and the gang! May sleep the whole way through this'.  

After a spruce-up, Stacey enjoyed a lavish dinner with the girls complete with chocolate dessert, unicorn balloon and handmade cake. 

Uploading a montage of photos, including one of the group in a hot tub, Stacey wrote: 'I’ve had the most special night with the most beautiful friends who have no idea how much they mean to me!'

Stacey turned 30 back in October and was treated to a surprise birthday dinner party ahead of the actual day by partner Joe Swash. 

The Loose Women panellist admitted to feeling emotional and said 'everything is making me cry' as she documented the pink-themed night in a room filled with balloons, streamers and candles on her Instagram Stories. 

But the spa break seemed to come at the perfect time for Stacey, who admitted earlier this week maintaining a healthy work-life balance has proven difficult as Rex struggles to sleep through the night.

During a candid Instagram Q&A on Tuesday, Stacey admitted: 'I'm not coping, I'm just pushing through'. 

The former X Factor star revealed she often seeks help from other parents to combat Rex's 'micro sleeps', but joked she'll probably miss his irregular pattern 'once he snaps out of it'.    

She later thanked her fans for their support as she ended her string of posts: 'So many nice messages I'm reading through. Just really supportive and kind. 

'I'm having a little teary moment knowing that we are all in the same boat, all experiencing similar struggles and high moments. And the kindness on here and camaraderie is just so lovely it's almost overwhelming. 

'Then I read this question and lost it. "How are you?" "How you doing?" and "Are you OK?" Get me EVERY time I don't know why.'

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Doctors rebuilt teacher's jaw with her shoulder bone after her pea-sized mouth ulcer that wouldn't go away turned out to be cancer

A teacher whose mouth ulcer wouldn't go away was left devastated when doctors confirmed it was an aggressive cancer.

She now struggles to leave the house after her jaw was rebuilt with her shoulder bone, leaving her feeling like Frankenstein.

Ali Campbell, 53, from Shillingstone, Dorset, tried all the normal remedies when she discovered a pea-sized ulcer on the roof of her mouth in February 2017.

But she was fast-tracked to hospital when she showed it to her GP because it hadn't gone away after three weeks.

Concerned doctors confirmed her worst fears and she was immediately booked in for a 12-hour surgery to cut away the tumour and reconstruct her jaw with titanium plates and bone from her shoulder.

But despite being in remission and with the support of husband, Ian, 53, Ali said the ordeal has left her with PTSD, fatigue, and is so self-conscious of her face that she struggles to leave the house.

The former crochet tutor said: 'I didn't think the ulcer was anything at the time.

'It was just something that didn't go away. I had tried all the normal creams and treatments and they hadn't worked, so I thought I better consult the GP.

'She saw me that afternoon and said just to rule out cancer she was referring me to hospital.

'But by the end of the next month I'd had the operation. I woke up with 48 staples from my left armpit down the side of my back, missing teeth and a full neck dissection.

'That shocked me the most, I knew they were going to do it but I didn't think it would take 48 staples to close up my back, I woke up looking like Frankenstein.

'I'm very self-conscious of my face, I don't go out a lot because I get very anxious even if I'm meeting someone I know.

'I didn't go anywhere for the best part of two years.

'Now I will go round to my friend's house for coffee, but I still struggle to go out in public.'

When Ali told her GP the ulcer had started as white speck, but became painful and had grown to the size of a pea, she was fast-tracked to hospital where doctors warned her she would be having surgery in April.

But she was told had she not acted so quickly, the aggressive stage one cancer could have developed to stage four in a fortnight.

The mammoth operation left the crochet teacher with such poor co-ordination she could barely string a few knots together, and was forced to shut down her business.

In addition, biopsies taken during the surgery revealed the cancer had 'kissed' her bone and medics revealed she would need a six-week course of radiotherapy starting in the July.

A claustrophobic, she described the radiotherapy as the 'worst part' of her journey claiming that the facial protective mask which pinned her to the bed made the five minute treatment feel like 'hours' as well as causing parts of her hair to fall out.

She said: 'By the time I got home from the GP and told Ian, the hospital had called me and got me a place.

'I saw the head of the maxillofacial department and he said it was cancer and that it needed to be operated on as soon as possible.

'My consultant told me had I not been to see them as quick as I did, it would have gone from stage one to stage four in about two weeks.

'It was really hard at the time, seeing my husband crack up and cry was awful but I just tried to take a positive mental attitude.

'I had so much to sort out because I used to run my own business so I had to close that down, my whole life changed overnight.

'I was supposed to be in hospital for 30 days after the operation but I was so bored, so I asked my husband to bring my crochet things in but my co-ordination was totally gone, all I could put together was a few knots.

'I wanted to be at home with my creature comforts and they agreed to release me after two weeks but then they told me I would need to have radiotherapy.

'You're essentially pinned down while the machine zaps your face, I hated it, it was truly awful, even talking about it makes my stomach turn. I have got PTSD from it all.

'Even though it was only a couple of minutes it felt like a couple of hours and I had to seek financial help from Dorset Cancer Care foundation for the petrol getting there every day.'

She still has three major operations ahead of her - a bone graft from her hip to her jaw, one to fit teeth implants and another to reconstruct the left side of her face which dropped after the surgery.

Today she has to wear a specially moulded splint which supports the roof of her mouth and maintains its structure while she waits for her next surgery.

Continuing to struggle with the daily pain, Ali is still taking morphine two and a half years later and suffers with fatigue.

But the determined patient has managed to pick up her creative skills again and is now crocheting in her spare time, as well as maintaining a 'mini farm' of 14 ducks, 12 hens and two pygmy goats.

Ali said: 'Today I have fatigue because I'm so heavily medicated, I struggle with sleep apnoea and I'm still taking morphine two and a half years later for the pain in my face.

'But I'm crocheting again to keep myself busy and I spend most of my day looking after our animals.

'They don't care what I look like and they just give back all the love you give to them so I enjoy getting up to sort them out.

'I've still got a long way to go with my journey but I'm getting there.'

Ali is speaking out after new figures revealed cases of mouth cancer in the United Kingdom had risen to a record high.

Figures collected by the Oral Health Foundation show that 8,337 people in the UK were diagnosed with the disease last year. This has increased by nearly two thirds since 2007 1.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, says the charity is fighting an uphill battle against mouth cancer and more must be done to raise awareness of the disease.

He added: 'While most cancers are on the decrease, cases of mouth cancer continue to rise at an alarming rate.

'Traditional causes like smoking and drinking alcohol to excess are quickly being caught by emerging risk factors like the human papillomavirus (HPV).

'The stigma around mouth cancer has changed dramatically. It's now a cancer that really can affect anybody.'

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Said by a woman 'Why she supported her husband's decision to end his life'

In a leafy suburb in Perth’s hills, Margo Beilby, 79, spends much of her time knitting in her living room.

“My husband and I built this house, designed it and did most of the carpentry,” she tells SBS News. 

The house is quiet, and the knitting keeps Margo’s mind active and her hands occupied.

After a long battle with lung disease, her husband Michael took his own life in 2013 at the age of 73.  

“He had been a life-long asthmatic, and he gradually got worse until he was diagnosed with COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary [Disease],” she says. 

“He was down to 20 per cent lung capacity and he faced drowning in his own lung fluids. 

“When he asked how he was going to die, the doctor said, ‘if you’re lucky you’ll get pneumonia and you’ll die relatively quickly’.”

As his health further declined, Michael began to assess his end of life options. He discussed assisted dying with a doctor, but it was not legal in Western Australia at the time.

Instead, he took matters into his own hands using an illegal substance. 

“Obviously I didn’t want to lose him. We had been married for 51 years,” Margo says.

"But I could see that he was suffering and I knew how much he didn’t want to go into hospital. And knew that if he did go into hospital they couldn’t help.” 

Michael died in his favourite chair, with his wife by his side, in the house they had built together.

He left a video message explaining his decision. 

Since Michael’s death, Margo has become one of the hundreds of Western Australians passionately campaigning for the legalisation of assisted dying. 

That campaign, which is at least 40 years old in the state, achieved success this week when WA became the second Australian state to pass voluntary assisted dying legislation after Victoria. 

Terminally ill adults will now have the option to legally end their own lives with the assistance of doctors and nurses.

To access the program, a person must be suffering from a terminal illness that is likely to cause death within six months or 12 months for neurodegenerative conditions. 

A person must be enduring suffering that they consider intolerable, and have the capacity to make their own, independent decisions about the assisted dying process. 

Michael was given a terminal diagnosis, although it is unclear how long he was given to live.  

Margo says if the laws had been around in 2013 he could have benefited from the involvement of a medical professional. 

"He had spoken to doctors about it, but it was not even on the table at that time". 

Assisted dying legislation in WA had previously been defeated on six separate occasions.

In August 2019, the state Labor government introduced the legislation to parliament, following an inquiry into end of life options and the report of an expert panel. 

All members of parliament were given a conscience vote and after several months of debate, the contentious bill passed both houses of WA’s parliament with 55 amendments.

It led to emotional scenes in the public gallery and on the steps of Parliament House.

“Every day when you go to work considering this [legislation], you have foremost in your mind, the pain and suffering that many people have experienced at their end of life,” WA Health Minister Roger Cook tells SBS News. 

“This is important legislation, and we all come to it with a great sense of responsibility.”

Supporters of voluntary assisted dying say it means those who qualify can choose a quick and peaceful death, using a lethal medication, which is overseen by a qualified medical practitioner.

But while the state Labor Government has described WA’s new assisted dying laws as ‘historic’, others have taken a more cautious approach. 

“One of the main concerns is that doctors don’t necessarily have to be an expert in the patient’s condition when assessing the patients for eligibility," Notre Dame University bioethicist Xavier Symons says. 

Critics also say WA’s laws are far more liberal and open to abuse than those in Victoria.

"Under the Victorian laws in 2017, doctors were required to refer the patient to a medical specialist for an expert opinion before signing off on their request for euthanasia. That’s not required under WA's laws," Dr Symons says.

"Rather, two GPs, for example, could assess a patient with pancreatic cancer over their eligibility for assisted dying.

"There’s a problem there because the GPs may not be experts in the conditions that the patient has. This could very easily lead to wrongful deaths.”

Unlike Victoria, WA's laws also allow a doctor to raise the topic of assisted dying with a patient if the patient hasn’t already done so themselves. 

"Medical professionals are some of the most trusted people in our society. Nevertheless, we should be trying to ensure that, as much as possible, requests are coming from patients and not from doctors," Dr Symons says. 

"Or perhaps of more concern, by families who might be pressuring doctors to discuss assisted dying with their loved one.”

Having won the support of the parliament, the WA Government believes the concerns won't persist over time.

The state’s health minister rejects claims the new laws are radically different to those in Victoria. 

“I think we struck the right balance. We want a cautious regime but we also want a compassionate regime,” Mr Cook says. 

“There are over a hundred safeguards in this legislation, with respect to making sure patients aren’t abused or coerced into accessing voluntary assisted dying. 

“In addition to that, extra measures were put in as a result of the debate and the government was happy to support them.”

Following the passage of the legislation, assisted dying will become available in WA in 18 months. 

In the meantime, WA health services and medical practitioners will learn about their rights and responsibilities and an independent statutory body will be established to administer the process. 

"In WA, we have the benefit of the experiences of Victoria, in terms of the work they’ve done there to bring their bill into law. We’ll borrow a lot from Victoria,” Mr Cook says. 

“The important thing is to get these laws right. We're going to take very cautious steps to make sure that we have the best regime possible.”

It’s a process Margo wants to see occur across Australia. 

“I’ve heard so many horrible terrible stories of people dying in agony,” she says. 

“Mike’s story was, he had a glass of port, he lay back in his chair and he went to sleep."

“He was dying, and people who are terminally ill should have that option.”

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Teens lured gay men on Grindr then tied them up and urinated on them

Three teenagers who lured gay men on dates and launched horrific homophobic attacks have been jailed for more than 37 years. Mohammed Sohail Khan, Qaasim Ahmad, and Muhammad Umar, all aged 18, created fake Grindr profiles before meeting their dates in Birmingham. They attacked and robbed their victims, tied them up and assaulted them as they yelled homophobic comments. One victims was spat at and urinated on during a traumatic two hour ordeal. The gang pulled down his trousers and took a video of his genitals while making derogatory comments, Birmingham Live reports.

Another had a pair of socks stuffed into his mouth and was forced to walk through dog excrement, while a third was threatened with having his head superimposed on to a video of a paedophile, Birmingham Crown court heard. The first attack took place on January 5 2019 with three further reports being made to authorities on March 18, 24 and 29. After a major police hunt was launched, forensic scientists were finally able to trace Umar when he spat on one of his dates, leaving DNA evidence on his clothing. He was arrested in the Bordesley Green area of the city along with two other teenagers who were later released without charge.

Khan and Ahmad were identified as suspects after and arrested at their homes on March 30. In a victim impact statement during a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, one victim said he was knocked to the ground, bound and ‘threatened with being stabbed’. He said: ‘As the punches hit my head and face I was expecting to be stabbed at any moment, it felt like hours as I was forced to lay face down in the dirt with my hands and legs bound not knowing if I would ever see my family again.’

Another said ‘every time something reminds me of the attack, it takes me to a bad place and it affects my sleep’. He said: ‘It is the memory of the fear of having that screwdriver rammed in my eye, that moment where the young man was threatening to do that.’ The court heard how the blood of one victim was found on the sleeve of a Canada Goose trial presented at the trial and that evidence was found on all three suspects’ phones. CCTV from shops and cash machines where the teenagers had used their victims’ stolen bank cards were also discovered. Khan and Umar pleaded guilty to both conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to rob and false imprisonment. Ahmad was found guilty of all three crimes following a 13 day trial. On December 11, Ahmad and Khan were each sentenced to 13 years and four months, while Umar was given 11 years and three months.

All three will be subject to an extended licence period due to the severity of their homophobic hate crimes. Police believe the gang may have robbed more victims who are too scared to speak out and have urged them to come forward.

After the case, West Midlands Police’s Detective Chief Inspector Ian Ingram said the teenagers had showed ‘no remorse for what they had done’. In police interviews and ‘seemingly had no grasp of the trauma they had subjected their victims to’. Det Chief Inspt Ingram added: ‘I know it took the four victims in this case a huge amount of bravery and courage to come forward and support the criminal justice process through to trial – and I commend them for doing so. ‘Their evidence enabled us to launch a full scale investigation and a build a strong case, which ultimately brought the offenders to justice, and has undoubtedly prevented many other people from becoming a victim.’

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This 14-year-old beat stage 4 cancer, just in time to make it home for Christmas

At the time, father Shawn Cress thought daughter Chloe, then 12 years old, just needed some physical therapy. That was June 2018.

But the limp turned into a fever, which led to lab tests at the doctor's office that "didn't look good," Shawn recalls. And by then, Chloe was having back pain.

All this for the Kingsport, Tennessee family turned into a referral to Niswonger Children's Hospital in Johnson City, about 34 miles away, where doctors gave Chloe a CT scan. That's how they found the mass -- a giant tumor near Chloe's heart that had spread down to her esophagus and into some of her vertebrae, causing the back pain.

It was stage 4 cancer -- alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, which is cancer in the skeletal muscles, according to the American Cancer Society. Not even 12 hours after the results came back, Chloe was flown to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, and the family has been there ever since.

All this for the Kingsport, Tennessee family turned into a referral to Niswonger Children's Hospital in Johnson City, about 34 miles away, where doctors gave Chloe a CT scan. That's how they found the mass -- a giant tumor near Chloe's heart that had spread down to her esophagus and into some of her vertebrae, causing the back pain.

It was stage 4 cancer -- alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, which is cancer in the skeletal muscles, according to the American Cancer Society. Not even 12 hours after the results came back, Chloe was flown to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, and the family has been there ever since.

Back in June 2018, life was quickly turned upside down.

Shawn told CNN that initially upon hearing the news "you just break down."

They had known it was bad, he said, but they didn't expect it to be that bad.

"It just scares the life out of you," he said. "You just think, 'I'm gonna lose my kid.' And it's really helpless, because there's nothing you can do."

Chloe, now 14, said she was mainly worried at first.

"I was worried about something happening to the whole family because of me," she told CNN. "I mean like money problems, and all sorts of things like that. Unable to have the same house that I grew up in, having my dogs, having everything I love that isn't allowed to be at St. Jude."

Days that had been filled with school and work were replaced with doctors' appointments -- with the family sometimes spending up to 14 hours in a day at the hospital.

Chloe especially missed her two dogs, Buu and Rollie, she said. Getting to see her dogs every month was consistently the most uplifting part.

"They're my emotional link," she said.

It doesn't help that the family is based in Kingsport, 8 hours from St. Jude in Memphis, on the other side of Tennessee. So they've had to basically move cities, Shawn said.

On Tuesday, the doctors told the family the good news: The cancer was in remission. Though they'll have to return for follow-up appointments every three months, the family can finally head home on December 21.

Last Christmas, the family was able to return home for a few days, but they had to drive back to St. Jude on Christmas day for appointments on December 26, 2018.

"This one is more exciting because it's for good," Shawn said.

But after 18 months, he said going home feels "surreal." There were days when they didn't know this day would come.

Chloe said she feels relieved about finally going home. She won't be able to return to school right away, and will probably be bedridden at least for the rest of the school year.

But that doesn't matter. She says she looks forward to finally spending some quality time with her dogs -- and maybe adopting another one, too.

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Family in desperate battle to raise £200,000 to help Edie, 6, to beat deadly brain tumour

A six-year-old girl is facing a desperate fight for life in the run-up to Christmas after being struck down by an aggressive brain tumour. Edie Jackson’s distraught family have launched an appeal to raise £100,000 to fund new ways of treating the rare and deadly DIPG growth.

Barely three weeks ago, the happy, smiley, youngster was her usual self, playing at home with her brother Charlie, nine, and their dog Coco. But after their father Craig noticed a squint in her eye and took her to have it checked out, doctors made the devastating discovery. Mr Jackson, 39, said medics at the world-famous Great Ormond Street Hospital diagnosed a “diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma” tumour or DIPG.

DIPG attacks as few as 20 children per year but are the deadliest form of childhood cancer.

Patients have an average survival time of just nine months and less than one per cent manage to live another five years.

They are also located in the centre of the brain, and, unlike other tumours, cannot be cut out without the surgeon risking damage to the surrounding tissue.

Mr Jackson, a heating engineer from Waltham Abbey, Essex, said Edie’s main hope is to explore innovative but costly new treatments at private clinics.

He and his wife Lois, 38, a fashion account manager, are now working round the clock to find a solution, while comforting their daughter in hospital.

Other family members have set up a Gofundme web page – entitled “Edie’s Fight – which has already raised nearly £95,000 of a £200,000 target.

Mr Jackson said: “Lois and I were utterly devastated and heartbroken.

“Having to contemplate losing our beautiful little girl is something we will never ever come to terms with, and is something that makes us feel numb whenever we think about it for too long.

“At the same time, a resolve and determination have come from it.

“We know we have the biggest fight of our lives on our hands, but we are ready to fight this awful disease head on and with everything we've got.

“We will do anything we can to save Edie and thus we have thrown ourselves into almost around the clock research, exploring specialists, clinics and the potential treatment options available to us.”

He added: “Our Edie is such a smiley, happy-go-lucky little 6-year-old girl. She loves performing and is a gentle soul who is loved so much by everyone.

“During her treatment, Edie has been an absolute star, so brave and strong.

“She had a custom mask made to allow accurate, consistent positioning of the head for each treatment and that helps her to remain still during treatment. “

The family noticed something was amiss on November 16 when Edie’s left eye began squinting and she complained of double vision.

She saw an optician four days later, and was referred to a GP, who ordered them to see a specialist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, central Loondon.

Edie was transferred the same day to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, where a tumour was diagnosed, then Great Ormond Street, where the DIPG was identified.

She began intense radiotherapy treatment – which can temporarily shrink the tumour - on December 2 and is due to complete it on Wednesday.

Mr Jackson said: “Many children have to have general anaesthetic to have their radiotherapy masks made and to actually go through the treatment every single day.

“But not our Edie, after some initial upset, she goes in happily now and sets herself up on the bed and lays perfectly still while we read her a story via the walkie talkie.”

He added: “Edie’s radiotherapy will finish on Wednesday 18 December which is why we need to act quickly to find and make a decision on her next course of treatment.

“Whether we seek additional medical treatment in the UK or abroad, it will need to be privately funded and will be extremely costly.”

Another problem with DIPGs is that their cells are spread out instead of being compact, so that even if the surgeon could take out some, others might remain to regrow.

The family have started researching the options, but most are in the form of clinical trials where experts are testing different combinations of drugs.

Mr Jackson added: “The reality is that these treatments are only trials and offer no guarantees, but we haven't even considered not trying.”

 “Another frustration with DIPG is its unpredictability so what you can only hope that what hasn't worked for a number of people before you, will deliver a different result for us.

“This is something we live in hope of every single day.” 

 Because the condition affects as few as 20-30 children every year in the UK, awareness of and funding for research into DIPG is low.

The family are hoping to trigger a debate on funding and research in Parliament by collecting 100,000 signatures on a petition.

They are being supported by family, friends and well-wishers in Waltham Abbey, who have offered cash, help and fund-raising ideas.

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Mum hit her head and went to sleep': Four-year-old only witness to Auckland mother's treadmill death

The grieving husband of a New Zealand mum-of-two has spoken out on the heartbreaking moment their young son watched her collapse and die.   

Shari Fietje, 29, was found dead on December 3 after exercising at her Ararimu, South Auckland home. 

The mum had been running on a treadmill in the shed in front of her four-year-old son Astin, while her younger son Axell, one, slept in the house.  

The events leading up to Shari's death are unclear but she is believed to have finished her run before suffering some type of a medical event and collapsing. 

Her heartbroken husband Jamie revealed the only information he has about his wife's final moments has come from little Astin, who was the only one to witness her death.    

'From what I understand from Astin is that, "mum was on the treadmill and got off and turned it off, then she fell over and hit her head and went to sleep, so I went to sleep with her",' the dad said in a Facebook post.  

'It was so hard to hear this from Astin, I am not sure of the exact cause yet but nevertheless it caused Shari to pass away at only 29. 

'I cannot comprehend why and am in complete disbelief this happened, I can only look to God and trust that this was in His time and I find some comfort in that.' 

Jamie told the NZ Herald this week his wife's cause of death is still unknown, but doctors believe she suffered a medical event as opposed to hitting her head.  

He said his wife was an avid runner but had taken some time off to heal from a recent nasal reconstruction.

She had just started to take up running again at the time of her death.  

The dad-of-two had shared a photo of him and his wife that was taken after she completed her first 10km marathon in Tauranga.  

'I was proud of her then, but I really wish I expressed how proud I feel now of her back then. This marathon was her first of many to come, and with tears I write was her last,' he added. 

'Shari was such a great mum, she absolutely loved our boys Astin and Axell, and loved where we lived, our first home together. It's our slice of paradise, Shari always said, if we sold up it would be because we were going to a bigger property and could never move back to town. 

'I am so sorry Shari, that you won't get to see Astin and Axell grow and develop, or share any more laughs and adventures with us, the thought of this I cannot comprehend, it's just not fair. 

'I promise I am going to try my best for them and for you, and my prayer is that I hope one day we will join you again. You are still in all of our hearts.' 

A funeral service for the young mum was held at Pukekohe Reformed Church on December 7.   

A coroner will determine her official cause of death.

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Oh, Brooklyn Beckham introduces new girlfriend Nicola Peltz to his grandparents as they join brothers Cruz and Romeo at the theatre

He sparked up romance rumours with the American actress when they were seen together three times in less than one week back in October.

And it seems Brooklyn Beckham's relationship with Nicola Peltz is going from strength to strength as he introduced his new girlfriend to his grandparents, Jackie and Tony Adams, during a trip to watch Thriller – Live at the Lyric Theatre in London on Saturday.

The aspiring photographer, 20 - who was also joined by his younger brothers Romeo, 17, and Cruz, 14 - appeared completely smitten with the screen star, 24, as they gazed adoringly at each other while tucking into some street food.

Opting for an effortlessly cool appearance, the eldest son of Victoria and David Beckham teamed a camel jacket with navy trousers.

The celebrity offspring put on a sporty display in the footwear department as he donned a pair of box-fresh white trainers.

Brooklyn appeared in great spirits as he took his new love to watch a play with his mother's parents. 

New Yorker Nicola, meanwhile, flashed a hint of her toned abs in a black crop top and flared jeans. 

The Transformers star nailed biker chic as she rocked an edgy leather jacket and platform boots.

With her tresses styled into loose waves, Nicola accentuated her naturally stunning features with a light dusting of make-up.  

In October, the pair first set tongues wagging as they enjoyed dinner dates at TAO in Los Angeles and at The Nice Guy in West Hollywood, and even left Leonardo DiCaprio's Halloween party together.

He has been linked to a string of women over the past couple of weeks following his split from model Hana Cross, including Canadian actress Natalie Ganzhorn, 21, and brunette actress Phoebe Torrance, 25.

Most recently it was claimed he and Lottie Moss had a 'secret fling' before he started dating his now ex-girlfriend Hana.

Brooklyn's romantic endeavours since splitting from Hana have allegedly left his  parents 'concerned about his reputation'.

A source told The Sun on Sunday that they were 'less than impressed' after finding out about his reported fling with Kate Moss' younger half-sister Lottie, 21.

They added David and Victoria are 'genuinely concerned about his [Brooklyn's] reputation' and have ­compared some of his antics to those of Calum Best.

'The idea of a girl doing a kiss-and-tell on their ­little boy is basically David and Victoria's worst nightmare,' the source told the publication . 'It’s all a bit embarrassing. The whole thing seems a bit too close to home'.

The new couple's outing comes amid reports Brooklyn's siblings Cruz and Harper, eight, will be christened this Christmas. The showbiz pair have only had their eldest sons baptised, and reportedly feel the time is right for Cruz and Harper to experience the Christian rite.

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Boy, 5, is 'turning to STONE' as his muscles slowly morph into bone

Little Aidyn suffers from fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), also known as stone man syndrome, which is causing his muscles, tendons and ligaments to turn to bone.

The condition is incredibly rare with only 800 documented cases worldwide, but for Aidyn McWilliams it’s part of everyday life.

His mother, Javette, said the disease has already frozen both of Aidyn’s arms in place. And over time it will gradually restrict his ability to move and even breathe.

“Aidyn cannot reach to do certain things – his arms are locked to his side and one of his arms is locked at the elbow, which means that it is locked close to his chest,” she said.

“Most of Aidyn’s falls cause more bone growth and he can't break his falls, therefore he’s had trauma to his head several times.

“Aidyn also has bone growth in his chest, restricting his breathing.”

There is no cure for FOP and no treatment to ease the condition.

“Aidyn is on several medications to help his breathing and there is one that he takes for flare-ups to ease the pain,” Javette said.

“He’s also on a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine at night because he has developed severe sleep apnoea due to the restriction of his breathing.”

Javette, Hartsville, South Carolina in the US, said she first noticed Aidyn’s condition when he was five months old.

“I noticed the shortness in his neck,” she said. “I also noticed that his toes on both feet were a little different.

“His doctor actually wanted to wait until he got a little older to see if he would grow out of it, but I took matters in my own hands and made him an appointment to see a specialist.”

It took three months for doctors to finally diagnose Aidyn with FOP.

“I cried so much,” Javette recalled.

“It was so hard for me to explain to Aidyn's father that his son will never be able to play any sports or have a regular life like other little boys.

“It hurt him as well as our families.”

Despite all his difficulties Aidyn is a happy kid and, though he is in special needs classes now, could join mainstream school soon.

“He is very intelligent and such a happy boy,” Javette said.

“People who encounter Aidyn fall in love with him because of his personality.”

“Because Aidyn has no developmental problems as far as education, he is able to be in a regular classroom once he gets into grade school.”

As for the future beyond that, the long-term prognosis for Aidyn is uncertain.

“Aidyn’s case of FOP is very severe for his age,” she added.

“But there is no life expectancy. People with FOP don't all have the same issues – it varies.”

Due to its rarity, FOP is often misdiagnosed as cancer or fibrosis, which can cause doctors to order biopsies, stimulating further bone growth.

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Dad who 'accidentally' killed son, 3, took gun to mum's head to cover up crime

Young mum Emily Quijano was living in Orem, Utah, but she was dreaming of going home to California.

Emily, 23, had big plans for herself and her beloved three-year-old son Gabriel Almiron.

And in 2015 she was on the brink of the next exciting phase of her life.

Since Emily had divorced, she had reverted to her maiden name and as the strong, independent woman she’d always been, she wasn’t daunted about starting again.

Emily had enrolled at college and invested $13,000 (£10,000) to do a massage course.

She was close to graduating and planned to move back to California, where she and her family were from. A job in an Italian restaurant was helping pay for the move, too.

Her new career was all part of providing the best life for Gabriel. The little boy, who loved dinosaurs and his blankies, was Emily’s whole world.

Being a qualified masseuse would enable her to work from home and spend as much time with her son as possible.

Emily’s family were excited at the thought of having her back in California.

Emily’s dad, Jesse, was a professional musician, and Emily was a talented singer, too. They talked about making a record together.

Mum Brenda was thrilled at the thought of having her daughter and grandson closer.

The only tie that Emily had to Utah was her boyfriend Christopher Poulson, then 28. They were living together.

Although it’s not known how serious Emily was about him, it’s clear they were on different paths.

While Emily worked day and night to better her life, Christopher had a weakness for drugs and alcohol. Still, Emily must have seen some redeeming qualities in him.

On September 8, 2015, Emily had a massage class and Christopher was left looking after Gabriel. Instead of focusing on the gentle, loving boy in his care, he took methamphetamine and drank alcohol.

Only Christopher will ever truly know what happened over those fateful hours, but his neglect meant that Gabriel suffered a terrible injury – possibly to the head.

Christopher hastily put the three-year-old in his bed, and when Emily returned home, she believed her son was sleeping and also went to sleep.

Christopher knew there was no going back and in the early hours of the next morning, he says he went to check on Gabriel and discovered he was dead.

Instead of getting help, or confessing, he decided to cover up his crime. Emily would wake soon – and find out what he’d done. He had to make sure that didn’t happen, so Christopher went to fetch his gun.

Wrapping the weapon in a towel to muffle the sound, he crept to where Emily was sleeping, put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Now Emily and Gabriel were both dead.

A few days later, Emily’s loved-ones grew suspicious. Emily hadn’t turned up with Gabriel for his dad’s time with him, and she hadn’t appeared at work.

At first, it was classed as a missing person’s case – then fear escalated when Emily’s Toyota was found in a local car park, containing bags of her belongings and Gabriel’s car seat. It was totally out of character.

When questioned, Christopher said they’d argued and split up on September 8, and Emily had packed her things and headed to California as planned.

But it seemed very unlikely. Investigators discovered that around the time of Emily’s disappearance, Christopher had bought a shovel, bed sheets and gloves.

A cadaver dog also indicated the presence of human remains in the trunk of Christopher’s Mustang – a vehicle he’d sold soon after Emily and Gabriel had vanished. And GPS tracked him driving to local dumpsters.

They suspected foul play but without bodies, police had to build a case and while that was happening, Christopher fled to Hawaii and got himself a job in a restaurant.

It wasn’t until late 2017, after two years of relentless detective work, that it was felt there was enough evidence to charge Christopher with two counts of murder.

Still, he pleaded not guilty as he was extradited back to Utah. There, he had a change of heart when he was offered a potential plea deal If he led police to where the bodies were, he could reduce his prison sentence down to a maximum of 30 years in prison, rather than life.

Christopher agreed and in August this year, he finally pleaded guilty to one count of murder and one count of manslaughter.

While he still refused to say what had happened to young Gabriel – he claimed in his drugged state, he can’t remember what happened – he admitted shooting Emily to cover up the young boy’s death.

Even with the possible deal, Christopher still brought heartache to Emily’s family insisting his drug-addled memory made him confused about where he’d buried his victims in the desert.

With hazy recollection, and talk of a cedar tree, a volunteer searcher eventually uncovered a shallow grave near Eureka.

Just below the surface, the skeletal remains of Emily and Gabriel were found. They’d been wrapped in bed sheets.

There was a bullet shell in Emily’s skull, however Gabriel’s cause of death couldn’t be determined.

Christopher had talked about Gabriel’s death being an accident, and Emily’s killing being panicked reaction, but investigators noted how cold-blooded the burial was.

Rather than being gently laid to rest, the mum and son were heartlessly dumped on top of each other in a tight hole and a cigarette butt had been flicked on top of them before the makeshift grave was filled.

Emily’s devastated dad, Jesse, expressed his extreme sadness that his daughter and grandson had been found dead, saying that the four years since her disappearance was like enduring a ‘mental prison’.

‘I no longer have the desire to play music,’ he said in a statement. ‘This is finally sinking in and it’s tearing my heart to shreds. I feel no freedom or relief from this mental anguish.’

Christopher admitted that, after fatally injuring Gabriel, he’d panicked and shot
Emily while she slept to stop her finding out what he’d done.

In September this year, just weeks after Emily and Gabriel were found, Christopher faced sentencing, where the prosecution said he was ‘cold-blooded’.

The double killer sat in silence, dressed in a red prison jumpsuit and shackles as photos of young Gabriel and his mum were shown in an emotive slideshow of memories.

Christopher had piled on weight and his time in prison had taken its toll.

Brenda Marsh, Emily’s mother, said she has found comfort in her faith and said she forgives her daughter’s killer.

She said that although the sentence will not bring her joy, it will help her find peace. Richard Poulson, Christopher’s dad, spoke bluntly to his son.

We love you very much, and that will never change,’ he said. ‘But these are serious crimes, and you need to be held accountable for those crimes.’

Christopher made a statement in court. ‘I take full responsibility. I feel terrible,’ he said. ‘I am sorry. I was not in my right mind. Emily, I am sorry. Gabriel, I am sorry.’

But the judge was not moved by his words and rejected the potential plea deal that Christopher had been offered.

‘It’s difficult for me as a court to accept a 30-year limit on two very important lives,’ he said. Instead, he sentenced Christopher, now 30, to life in prison and told him he would serve a minimum of 16 years before the chance of parole.

Emily was striving for the best future for her and her son. But she let her guard down to a person she felt she could trust, and he would cut both of their promising lives short.

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Teenager, 14, born with clubfoot opts to have her leg amputated to finally be pain-free - and is now pursuing her dream of being a dancer

A brave teenager who was born with clubfoot and opted to have one of her legs removed to ease the debilitating pain is pursuing her dream of becoming a dancer - using a prosthetic limb.

Ruby Bryan, 14, from Denbigh, Wales, made the life-changing decision to amputate her right leg below the knee nine months ago. 

She was born with bilateral talipes club foot - which was picked up on her mother Angela's 20 week scan.

Ruby spent most of her childhood in casts and specialised boots and bars, as well as undergoing numerous operations to correct her feet, reports North Wales News Live

But one foot continued to continue turning inwards, causing her a great deal of pain and affecting her mobility.

After considering her options, in March this year Ruby decided to amputate one of her legs to give her a better quality of life - and is now making incredible progress.

Mother-of-three Angela said: 'She was given walking sticks to help her but got rid of them within two months.

'She even managed to walk for miles around the Manchester Christmas markets. I am so proud of her.'

As a baby, Angela told how Ruby was in full leg casts for the first year of her life, then had to wear boots and bars (Ponseti method) as she got older until she turned five.

But with one foot constantly giving her problems, Ruby was often forced to take strong painkillers to help her cope with her condition.

Her mother said often being in agony 'dragged Ruby down' - but since having a below-knee amputation, under the guidance of her consultants, the teenager is now a 'different person'.

'She's completely adjusted to it and doesn't have to take any medication any more,' Angela said. 'She doesn't let anything stop her.'

The proud mum praised the NHS for the care it's shown her daughter; but while she is coping well with her prosthetic, Angela said they would love to get her a new one which better suits her active lifestyle. 

Ruby is a passionate dancer, with one of her teachers - Sarah Leanne Davies, manager of Shine Theatre Arts Academy, who has taught her for five years - branding her a 'talented performer' and 'an inspiration'.

Sarah is spearheading a fundraising drive to help boost funds towards a new prosthetic leg for Ruby, and is organising a Christmas concert in her honour. 

She told North Wales News she was amazed by Ruby's progress when she returned to dancing in September - just six months after her operation. 

'I'm so proud of her achievements and love that her Shine friends are by her side,' Sarah said.

'We want to raise as much money as possible for Ruby because she's so determined, she simply won't give up.'

The Shine On With Friends Christmas charity concert takes place at Denbigh Town Hall on December 22 at 7pm.

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Girl who suffered 30 seizures a day hasn't had one since radical brain surgery

A "miracle" teenager made the brave decision to undergo brain surgery to put a stop to 30 epileptic seizures per day even though doctors told her she may never walk again.

Shania Taylor, 13, begun suffering seizures just before her tenth birthday due to a rare condition called Rasmussen syndrome.

She opted for surgery despite the risk of losing her mobility and her recovery is defying doctors' predictions and she has not had a single seizure since, BirminghamLive reports.

The teen, from Telford, Shropshire, has taken her first steps, is now able to walk up and down stairs on her own, and walked down the aisle as a bridesmaid at her mum's wedding.

Shania, who had the operation in February 2018, is even finding ways to open her Christmas presents one-handed.

Her mum, Tillly, said: “The doctors had said she might never walk again, that she might not be able to do anywhere near as much as she had been before her operation, and look at her now, she's amazing.

"I think it's down to her determination to prove them wrong, to show them that she can do things they said she might not be able to."

She added: "This will be a really special Christmas for us. It's a miracle she is still here. We celebrate every day like it's Christmas because we are lucky enough to still have Shania.”

Tilly, who is also mum to Kiara, nine, and Keoghan, eight, said she had met some families that haven’t had the luck of seeing their children recover.

She added: “It makes you realise that you should celebrate every day and not take life for granted but appreciate what you have been given.”

In August, Shania walked down the aisle as a bridesmaid when her mum married her partner Kev.

Tilly said: "It was a tearful moment. It had been a goal for Shania because she wanted to be able to stand up in her bridesmaids dress rather than sitting in her wheelchair. It was lovely."

Shania had her first seizure in January 2016 and was eventually having up to 30 a day.

Her condition, Rasmussen syndrome, affects just one in 1.8 million people.

It causes cells in one half of the brain to become inflamed, resulting in multiple seizures.

The operation in February 2018 was done to disconnect the right side of her brain in a bid to stop the seizures.

Shania found strength from all of the Facebook messages that were sent in on a page her mum set up to support her.

Tilly said: "When she saw all the messages, she said 'I couldn’t do it but now I will'."

Tilly was discharged from hospital three months later.

Her family moved into a new home that could accommodate her wheelchair and she then underwent specialist brain surgery rehabilitation at Tadworth Court in Surrey.

She spent eight weeks there before she eventually returned home in October 2018.

Tilly said: "Both Kev and I have pushed her too.

"She managed to walk up and down a few steps in Surrey so we carried it on further at home by installing a handrail and putting her bedroom upstairs rather than downstairs.

"This means she goes up and down at least twice a day."

Shania still has no feeling in her left arm and no peripheral vision in her left eye.

She can only see what is ahead and to the right of her.

Tilly added: "As a family we joke about everything, it's the best way to deal with things. If Shania falls over, instead of crying about it, we laugh and make a joke of it.”

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Father is arrested after Philadelphia high school football star is accidentally shot dead by his twin brother

A Philadelphia man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after his high school football star son was accidentally shot dead by his twin brother.

Suhail Gillard, 18, was killed when his twin brother Fayaadh shot him in the chest on December 1 at around 5.20pm.

Their father, Aleem Gillard, 42, was arrested Thursday night and charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and possessing an instrument of crime. 

Authorities said Aleem had been showing his children - Fayaadh, Suhail and their 16-year-old sister - how to load and unload a gun when Suhail was shot, CBS Philly reported. 

As a convicted felon, the district attorney's office said, Aleem should not have been in possession of a gun per Pennsylvania law. 

Authorities said that after the incident, Aleem encouraged both Fayaadh and his sister to lie about what happened. 

Aleem's arrest came just two days after murder charges were dropped against his son Fayaadh.

The 18-year-old had been arrested December 2 and charged with murder, possession of an instrument of crime, unsworn falsification to authorities, and obstructing justice for reportedly lying to police.

Police said Fayaadh had initially claimed that Suhail was shot by someone else at a store. 

District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement: 'While our office’s initial decision to prosecute Fayaadh Gillard was rooted in the fact, volunteered by him, that he was holding the gun that caused his brother’s death, further careful investigation led us to conclude that this was a horrifically tragic accident for which Fayaadh Gillard, already grieving and traumatized, should not be held criminally liable,' 

Further careful investigation led us to find that Fayaadh and his younger sister were also victims of a criminal act, by their father who put the lives of his three children in danger on that terrible day,' Krasner added. 

Officials said Aleem encouraged his children to handle the weapon, and then told them to lie about what happened after the deadly shooting. 

The twin brothers were seniors at Mastery Charter High School, where they were star football players who recently recently given first-team All-Public honors. 

In addition to being a three-time All-Public League player, Suhail was a member of the school's track team.  

The twins' uncle, Hasan Ford, said that they were co-captains on the football team and that they were dedicated to both academics and sports, which made them leaders at the school.  

'It’s a tragedy. To come back from the Thanksgiving break and find this out, we’re all just shocked and devastated,' Mastery spokeswoman Rae Oglesby told the news station. 'Our prayers are with his family and his teammates.'

Aleem is being held on $500,000 bond.

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Wow, Aston Merrygold expecting a second child with fiancee Sarah Lou Richards

Former JLS star Aston Merrygold and fiancée Sarah Lou Richards have confirmed they are expecting their second child, almost a year after announcing their engagement. 

The couple, already parents to 23-month old son Grayson Jax, broke the news in an Instagram post shared with Merrygold's followers on Sunday afternoon. 

Captioning the post, in which the couple perform a choreographed dance routine to Pharrell Williams track Happy, the singer, 31, wrote:  'So we’ve got something to tell you and the only way to do it is... 3 just became 4 (I really am the luckiest man alive!!!!!!!!) love from the Merrygold family.' 

Speaking to the latest edition of OK!, Sarah, who is due in May, admitted her pregnancy is something of an early Christmas present because neither of them had planned to extend their family. 

'It was a very pleasant surprise!' she said. 'I felt different for a week, and Aston was away filming. He came back at the end of the week and we took the test and it was a very clear, definite yes.' 

She added:  'I was quite shocked and it took me a minute to get my head around it because I just wasn’t expecting it.' 

The couple announced their engagement on Boxing Day 2018, and subsequently admitted their wedding had been delayed due to work commitments.  

'We'd like to do it this year. We've just been so busy we haven't had time to organise it before,' Aston told the Belfast Telegraph in March. 

'In a way, we'd like it to be small and intimate, but you only get married once and we want all our friends to be there and, of course, the boys from JLS, so it will be an occasion. Family and friends keep asking us when we're going to set a date.' 

The singer also admitted they were keen on having more children, but not in the immediate future. 

'We'd love more children but probably not for a couple of years, because we definitely want to enjoy our time as new parents,' he said. 

'We're using Clearblue's Connected Ovulation Test System to help us monitor Sarah's fertility, so we can plan the timing of our next child.'

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BBC Drama Responsible Child Based On True Story Of Boy Tried For Murder

Responsible Child follows 12-year-old Ray and his 23-year-old brother Nathan who are arrested and charged with murdering their abusive stepfather.

Despite only being on the cusp of adolescence, Ray is tried in an adult court, as the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is only 10. The 90-minute drama raises questions about the criminal age of responsibility and explores the circumstances surrounding the murder and the affect of the trial on Ray.

A synopsis reads: "Ray (Billy Barratt) and his 23 year-old brother Nathan (James Tarpey) are arrested after stabbing their mother's partner. Whatever the circumstances that have led a child to kill, the law is clear: the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10, and at 12 years old, Ray must stand trial in an adult court.

"Based on a true story and told in two time frames, the film follows both the events that led up to the murder and the unfolding drama of the trial, taking us inside a young boy's experience of the legal system and asking powerful questions about responsibility and redemption."

The drama is based on the 2014 case of Jerome Ellis, 14, and his brother Joshua, 23, who murdered their stepfather in a knife attack as he lay on the sofa.

Both siblings stated that their stepfather was abusive and had previously threatened to kill Joshua, who struggled with depression.

BAFTA-winning documentary maker and director of Responsible Child, Nick Holt, said he has been wanting to tell this story since he attended the trial of the Ellis brothers.

He said: "Whilst making The Murder Trial, I discovered that in England, we put children as young as ten on trial for murder.

"It's an extraordinary and little-known aspect of our justice system. 10 is one of the lowest ages in the world and breaches our obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"This is a story I've wanted to tell for a long time, since I attended the trial on which our film is based, and I'm delighted to be working with Kudos [production company] and the BBC."

The cast includes the likes of Game of Thrones' Michelle Fairley, The History Boys actor Stephen Campbell Moore, Killing Eve's Owen McDonnell and Top Boy actor Shaun Dingwall, and is written by Skins' Sean Buckley.

Responsible Child will air on Monday, 16 December at 9pm on BBC2.

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Retired jockey, 60, died when she fell onto an eco-friendly metal drinking straw which impaled her eye in a freak accident, inquest hears

A retired jockey died when she fell onto an eco-friendly metal drinking straw that went through her eye and impaled her brain, an inquest heard today.

Elena Struthers-Gardner, 60, suffered horrific brain injuries after the freak accident at her home in Broadstone in Poole, Dorset on November 22.

She was carrying a mason jar glass with a screw-top lid when she collapsed, with the 10in stainless steel straw entering her left eye socket and piercing her brain.

Today a coroner said metal drinking straws should never be used with a lid that fixes them in place, and warned that 'great care should be taken' while using them.

They have increasingly replaced plastic straws after BBC's Blue Planet drew attention to ocean pollution, with the UK alone throwing away 8.5 billion every year. 

In a statement read by the coroner, her wife Mandy told of the moment she found her partner, also known as Lena, with a straw sticking through her eye.

She said: 'I went to the kitchen door and could see Lena lying on her front at the doorway between the den (a room where she watched TV) and the kitchen.

'She was making unusual gurgling sounds. Her glass cup was lying on the floor still intact and the straw was still in the jar.

'I noticed the straw was sticking into her head. I called 999 and requested an ambulance.

'While I was on the phone, Lena appeared to have stopped breathing. The lady on the phone asked me to turn her over.

'I slid the glass off the straw and turned her over. I could see the straw had gone through her left eye.'

Mrs Struthers-Gardner was rushed to Southampton General Hospital in Hampshire.

Her wife continued: 'I was quickly informed that due to the severity of her injury it was very unlikely she would survive.

'We saw a couple of specialists and were told there was nothing they could do.'

Mrs Struthers-Gardner's life support was switched off, and she died the next day.

The inquest heard she had suffered with mobility difficulties following a horse riding accident when she was 21-years-old.

Following a reduction in her high levels of fentanyl pain medication, she had become alcohol dependent.

In the months leading up to her death, she had been drinking around half a litre of vodka a day, mixed with orange juice, from the mason jar cup, using the metal straws which were a birthday gift.

Due to severe pain from her riding accident, which caused multiple fracutres to Mrs Struthers-Gardner's lumbar spine and caused scoliosis, she was prone to falling over, collapsing 'like a sack of potatoes' at random intervals, her wife added.

Dr David Parham, who carried out her post-mortem examination, said the cause of death was a traumatic brain injury, after the straw pierced 'through her left eyelid and left eyeball'.

Detective Inspector Wayne Seymour, who carried out an investigation into the death after Bournemouth police were called by the hospital, said the case was very unusual.

He said: 'Medical staff had never seen an injury like that. They said it was unusual more than anything else.'

Reading a statement to the inquest, Robin Struthers, Mrs Struthers-Gardner's brother, called for the coroner to comment on how easy it is to purchase metal straws, adding: 'These straws can very easily be lethal.'

Mandy Struthers-Gardner added: 'I just feel that in the hands of mobility challenged people like Elena, or children, or even able-bodied people losing their footing, these things are so long and very strong.

'Even if they don't end a life they can be very dangerous.'

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, assistant coroner Brendan Allen said: 'There is insufficient evidence to explain how Lena came to fall.

'It does not allow me to conclude that any reduction in fentanyl cause Lena's fall.

'There was no alcohol present in the urine sample so intoxication did not contribute to the fall.'

He added: 'Clearly great care should be taken taken when using these metal straws.

'There is no give in them at all. If someone does fall on one and it's pointed in the wrong direction, serious injury can occur.

'It seems to me these metal straw should not be used with any form of lid that holds them in place.

'It seems the main problem here is if the lid hadn't been in place the straw would have moved away.'

Speaking after the inquest, Mandy Struthers-Gardner said: 'I miss her very much, she was taken far too early.

'I hope this never happens to anyone else.'

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