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erminally ill dad and partner celebrate 'fairytale wedding' after thousands raised through fundraising appeal

A dad with incurable cancer and his partner celebrated their dream fairytale wedding after kindhearted family, friends and M.E.N readers donated thousands to a charity appeal.

Jack and Amber-Jay Taylor, of Newton Heath, tied the knot at St Mary's Church in Failsworth followed by a reception at Holy Family, also in Failsworth, on Saturday.

A total of £2,800 was raised through an online fundraising appeal set up by Amber's cousin to help the couple fulfil their final wish of getting married.

The wedding cars were donated by a complete stranger, while a 17-year-old boy donated his make-up and hair services for the bride and bridesmaids.

Room decorations and photography services were also given free of charge.

Amber's cousin, Gemma Blackhurst, created a GoFundMe page for the couple who were forced to delay wedding plans after Jack, 28, was diagnosed with acute myeloid cancer two years ago.

Jack was diagnosed with the disease while Amber, 23, was pregnant with their daughter Zelda two years ago.

He has undergone chemotherapy and intense stem cell treatment, but doctors told him the cancer was 'incurable' after Jack relapsed in July 2019.

The couple have been described as being 'madly in love' and they told family they wanted to get married as their final wish.

They said they felt 'overwhelmed' by the support given following the fundraising appeal and described the wedding day as 'perfect'.

Gemma, 34, from Failsworth, said: "The couple had an amazing day and would like to thank everyone for their support.

"We honestly could be there all day thanking everyone and especially the public who donated money.

"It paid obviously for the room hire and buffet etc, but for luxuries like a photo booth for the extra special memories to be captured and all the stunning outfits.

"Jack's doing ok - in actual fact he is an amazing young lad the strength and determination is unreal.

"He’s had the odd bits of sickness here and there as he’s started chemo injections and they will give them as long as they are keeping things at bay."

Gemma added medics are now looking into a donor lymphocite infusion and clinical trials to treat the cancer.

She said: "We still haven’t been told that Jacks' cancer can be cured, but there’s now new avenues to explore which has given us as a family a whole new lease of hope and for the couple that is the best wedding present ever."

stella Posted on September 10, 2019 13:32

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Student in critical condition after 41-day fasting

LAGOS-(MaraviPost)-A Nigerian student who is a student of Ebonyi State University (EBSU) has been reported to have been hospitalized after allegedly engaging in fasting and praying for 41 days.

The identified as Ikechukwu Oke was said to have been hospitalized by his schoolmate. His mate revealed that he engaged in the 41-day fast because of the challenges his family has been facing lately.

The mate also identified as Christian Nwaokpa told reporters that;

“He is from Ebiaji in Ezza North LGA. It is his nature.

As it stands now, men of goodwill and ambassadors are on the way conveying him to the Accident and Emergency Ward in Federal Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki.”

stella Posted on September 10, 2019 13:25

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Man disguised bombs to look like teddy bears then left them in the road

The FBI has released a photo of a disturbing teddy bear bomb a man left on a road where children could find it. Wesley Dallas Ayers, 27, is currently serving 30 years in prison for planting three real bombs and three fakes ones across South Carolina. One of the bombs went off and injured a man in the leg when he went to investigate. The bombs were all left in Anderson County during January and February last year. Around the same time, he planted three hoax bombs along with threatening messages that more powerful devices were to come. The viable bombs were ‘dangerous and lethal’, a judge found, ‘weaponised with shrapnel, concealed in household items, and publicly placed in or near roadways,’ the Department of Justice said.

Judge Henry Herlong said it was only by the efforts of police and sheer good fortune that more people were not seriously harmed or killed. The man injured was driving with his daughter when he spotted glowing wicker basket in the middle of the road. The man stopped to examine the package and it exploded, causing minor burns to his leg. Police investigating found a piece of paper with Arabic writing referencing Osama bin Laden.

A week later on February 4, a bomb-like object was found, placed in a black box with a letter that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and said the community was no longer safe. On February 15, a bomb placed in a teddy was found.

Special Agent Christopher Derrickson, an FBI supervisor, said: ‘This was deliberately placed where a child or passerby could have found it.

Fortunately, someone saw it and knew to call us.’ Ayers was caught after a witness told police he had been talking about building bombs at home. A judge approved a search warrant and police found bomb components and copies of the writing found at the crime scenes. They also found two guns and a type of vest used by suicide bombers. Ayers’ search history showed he had viewed terrorist material from Anwar al-Awlaki, Osama bin Laden, and others. He was jailed on February 8.

stella Posted on September 10, 2019 13:18

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Prison officer locked up for compiling 'fake' report in bid to get violent robber's sentence reduced

A former prison officer has been locked up for what police called an 'outrageous but clumsy' attempt to pervert the course of justice after trying to secure a reduced sentence for a 'dangerous' Manchester criminal by compiling a bogus report.

Danielle Ashton, 30, wrote the report on behalf of violent robber Niall Kiernan ahead of an appeal court hearing despite not having the 'credentials, training or authority' to do so, police said.

In the five-page report, which was handed to Kiernan's legal team and titled 'Risk of Serious Harm Assessment', Ashton praised Kiernan's 'exceptional behaviour' behind bars.

It concluded: "It is in my opinion that current evidence does not indicate a likelihood of Mr Kiernan causing serious harm."

Kiernan - from Middleton - was jailed at Manchester Crown Court in 2017 for conspiracy to commit robbery and perverting the course of justice after a string of armed robberies described in court as 'highly sophisticated' in which victims were threatened with crowbars, axes and machetes.

A bank in Oldham and another in Heywood were robbed and a couple left terrified in their own home in Littleborough, Rochdale, by three men who burst inside and stole cars.

He was handed an extended prison sentence of 27 years.

The Court of Appeal in London sitting in May last year however smelt a rat over Ashton's report, which was on official headed paper but hadn't been requested, and the hearing to consider Kiernan's appeal was adjourned.

An investigation was then ordered, which a court heard found Ashton had met Keirnan when she was working at Strangeways prison in Manchester, where he was a serving prisoner.

"The nature of their relationship remains unknown, but the investigation revealed that Ashton did not have the credentials, training or authority to complete the report on Kiernan, and had never been responsible for his welfare," said the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Their relationship was described in court as 'improper'.

Ashton, of Vauxhall, Liverpool, had no working contact with Kiernan since September 2017, when she transferred to HMP Styal, a women's only prison in Cheshire.

The National Probation Service later said Ashton's report was not reflective of the risks posed by Kiernan.

They described it as inaccurate, selective and 'flawed at best', NWROCU said.

At the time, Kiernan was serving his sentence at HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Ankers said: "This was an outrageous but clumsy attempt to pervert the course of justice and try to hand a dangerous offender a reduced sentence.

"Due to diligence and knowledge shown across various law enforcement agencies, Ashton was identified and will now have to reflect on the consequence of her actions and the impact it will have on her future.

"We know the vast majority of prison officers are dedicated professionals who carry out their duties with integrity and professionalism.

"But this is another positive step in tackling prison corruption and we will continue our efforts to bring offenders to justice."

Ashton, a single mum-of-two who had got her 'dream job' as a prison officer in 2014 after obtaining a degree in criminology, was arrested last November on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

She later pleaded guilty to both offences and at Liverpool Crown Court, was jailed for two and a half years

Louise McCloskey, prosecuting, said Ashton 'did not have the expertise or authority to complete such a report'.

Judge David Aubrey QC, said: "The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) was concerned about the authenticity of the report. They were right and thus an investigation began.

"It was a false and bogus report compiled and concocted by you at home and I am satisfied it was done out of misguided loyalty to the prisoner.

"It is crucially important that all judges are able to rely on documents placed before the court….you were attempting to subvert the due process of law and the offence perpetrated by you was a gross breach of trust as a prison officer."

The report made reference to Kiernan as being 'best-behaved' and working in the 'most trusted' of jobs within the prison.

Miss McCloskey said the governor at HMP Manchester was asked to investigate the report after it was put before the Court of Appeal on May 1 last year.

Kiernan had been classed as 'a high risk of harm and a dangerous offender' by a probation officer which resulted in the extended sentence being imposed.

"As a result of the contents of this report, defence counsel advanced that the extended sentence imposed on Mr Kiernan should be revised," Miss McCloskey said.

"She had began working at HMP Manchester in April 2015 but she had some difficulties with other staff members whilst at HMP Manchester and it was this along with an intelligence report noting suspicions of an improper relationship which led to her transfer to HMP Styal in September 2017.”

Liverpool Crown Court heard that during the investigation, it was revealed there were several reports from 2016 and 2017 of an inappropriate relationship between her and Kiernan while they were both on G wing, which she denied when confronted by a senior officer.

Following the investigations, Kiernan’s legal team abandoned the challenge and the appeal was dismissed.

Ashton's barrister, David Toal, said: "For any officer to feel qualified to compile such a report when having no qualifications to do so is quite simply bewildering."

She would not be sent to Styal prison where she used to work and would instead go to a prison out of the area, he added.


stella Posted on September 10, 2019 13:07

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Parents thought children died in 2004 tsunami, reunited with them 10 years later

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that struck Indonesia was one of the biggest natural disasters in history. That year on Dec. 26, one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded triggered devastating tsunamis across Asia, destroying communities and claiming unprecedented casualties in its wake.

At least 230,000 people across 14 countries died in the tsunami, and thousands of others went missing.

The epicenter of the earthquake was the province of Aceh, Indonesia, which was hit the worst with 170,000 casualties.

Many families were caught in the chaos, including a woman named Jamaliah, her husband, Septi Rangkuti, and their two young children. When the tsunami suddenly struck their home in West Aceh District on Dec. 26, 2004, they couldn’t outrun the waves and were swept into the water—and had to improvise to survive.

The father grabbed a wooden board that was floating by, along with his two children, Raudhatul Jannah, then 4, and Arif Pratama Rangkuti, then 7. They all held on for dear life.

But as the tsunami waves ravaged on, the family became separated. The two children were suddenly out of their parents’ sight.

As the tsunami later subsided, Jamaliah and Septi desperately searched for their children—but there was no sign of them anywhere.

The parents continued to look, but as time went on, the tragic resignation set in. They believed their children were just two of the thousands of casualties of the tsunami.

A decade passed. Jamaliah and Septi accepted their fate and tried to move on. They never expected a miracle.

One day in 2014, Jamaliah’s brother spotted a girl on the street walking home from school—and there was something familiar about her.

She had striking features and bore a strong resemblance to his long-lost niece. She also seemed to be about 14, the age Raudhatul would now be.

It seemed impossible—but he couldn’t ignore the similarities. So he inquired about the girl.

Jamaliah’s brother learned the girl was swept to the neighboring Banyak Island in the tsunami 10 years ago. A fisherman rescued her and brought her to his mother, who has raised her ever since—80 miles away from where she was separated from her family.

The uncle was stunned. It defied all odds, but it was really true. It was Raudhatul.

He told Jamaliah—and the family finally made an unlikely, tearful reunion in June 2014, 10 years after the deadliest natural disaster.

Jamaliah couldn’t hold back her emotions when she finally saw the girl.

“My heart beat so fast when I saw her,” she told AFP. “I hugged her and she hugged me back and felt so comfortable in my arms.”

The mom knew the girl was her long-lost daughter the moment she set eyes on her. “If anyone is in doubt, I’m ready for DNA tests,” she said, according to

Jamaliah called it “a miracle from God.”

“My husband and I are very happy,” she added. “I am so grateful to God for reuniting us with our child after 10 years of being separated.”

The family says they will continue to have a close relationship with the foster parents who saved Raudhatul.

It was a life-changing discovery for the parents, who not only had their daughter back but had renewed hope they might find their son as well. Raudhatul informed them that he made it to the same island that she did.

Sure enough, the media attention the family received made it possible to reunite with Arif as well. It turned out their long-lost son had been living as a street orphan for years, sleeping in outdoor markets and abandoned shops.

A decade after a devastating tragedy, hope had finally returned.

stella Posted on September 09, 2019 20:19

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Boy, four, has a rare condition which means he is extra sociable

With his beaming smile, Alex Vasey is a bright and friendly little boy.

But the four-year-old has a rare medical condition which means he is extra sociable – and has no fear of strangers.

Alex suffers from Williams syndrome, a genetic disorder, which causes a range of health and developmental problems, including being over-friendly.

So, when he started nursery this summer, his parents Don and Bethan had no worries about him making friends because he will speak to everyone he meets.

But he has no understanding of when people are being unkind.

Mr Vasey, from Aberdeen, said: 'Alex will speak to anyone in the street. He's not shy. But he won't comprehend certain things like stranger danger.

'He is generally so happy and loving and caring. He sees the good in everyone. He's also very empathetic. If another kid starts crying, he wants to know they're okay and make them happy.

'He's very friendly and outgoing, and that's the thing – he could easily be taken advantage of. He lacks social awareness.'

His verbal skills are also greater than his nursery peers - another characteristic of the syndrome - which can often mask that there is an issue. 

But Mr Vasey, who is 40 and studying for a psychology doctorate, explained that Alex has no concept of when words are being said to upset someone, leaving him vulnerable.

He said: 'He picks up words from the environment he is in. He repeats them but he doesn't necessarily understand the concept of them.'

Mr Vasey and his 38-year-old wife Bethan, an engineering project manager, had never heard of the condition until Alex, who is also sensitive to loud noises, was diagnosed at a year old.

But the most visible sign of the disorder occurred months earlier.

Mr Vasey said: 'His eyes have a starburst pattern around his iris. Everyone kept saying "He has beautiful eyes", but that's a feature of Williams syndrome.'

For ten months, Alex, who has a two-year-old sister, Agatha, had appeared in perfect health.

But then he became ill with a cold and his mother took him to the GP, who found he had a slight heart murmur.

Alex was referred to the city's Royal Hospital for Children, where medics discovered he had a heart defect called supravalvular aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. 

It is a common anomaly in patients with Williams syndrome, which affects one in every 18,000 people worldwide.

Scans so far have shown that his heart is functioning well enough without treatment, but his parents know that he could eventually need surgery.

Mr Vasey, who is UK fundraising officer and Scottish co-ordinator for the Williams Syndrome Foundation, said: 'When they told us, it was life-changing. What you imagined for your child is going to be suddenly changed.'

But the condition, which also causes mild to moderate learning difficulties, does not stop Alex from enjoying his love of music and dancing, and he shines at his regular ballet classes.

Mr Vasey said: 'At nursery, if they have to do a dance or sing, he's always the first one up. He is a funny, friendly, cheery little boy and he keeps us happy.'

stella Posted on September 09, 2019 20:13

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Mum died of drugs overdose while her young children played just a few feet away

A mum died after taking a cocktail of drugs while her children played just a few feet away.

Taylor Parsons was found seemingly asleep on her sofa by Clair McKune on the morning of February 8, 2019.

The neighbour and friend, who had noticed Taylor's car was still parked in the street, had been let into the house by one of Taylor's children, 

She took the two of them to one side before looking for the mum, who she found on the sofa in her dressing gown.

Realising the 25-year-old was not simply asleep, Clair called 999 and performed CPR on advice of the paramedics.

Despite her best efforts Taylor could not be revived.

The night before her death the mum had told Clair that she was going to take her "sleepers" and go to bed.

An inquest into her death at Plymouth Coroners' Court found the Torquay woman had had a number of different substances in her body at the time of her death, including two drugs prescribed to her.

A pathologist report suggested that the combined effect of all these drugs had acted together to target the central nervous system, making it increasingly hard for her to breathe.

Taylor had been prescribed drugs for depression, anxiety and back pain she had suffered following childbirth.

In the months running up to her death she had missed five meetings with the Torbay Depression and Anxiety Service, either because she had to cancel or the service did.

Just nine days before her death her GP had noted that she was studying a GCSE course and that she was concerned it would interfere with her looking after her children.

The doctor offered to up the doses of her medication, but she declined.

At a different point however, Taylor had impersonated her mother in a bid to get painkillers

Just a few days before her death the young mum had spoken to her grandmother, who said she was "a bit low".

During the inquest Clair McKune revealed that Taylor had supplemented her sleeping medication with Valium she bought from street dealers.

She said: "A couple of times I had to go and wake her.

"She suffered back pain from the birth of her youngest child".

Despite her struggles with medication and pain, Taylor had kept her house in order and was by all accounts a very good mother.

Det Sgt Andy Penhalligan, who carried out the investigation into her death, described the house as "very clean, very tidy... the two young children were very well cared for with all the equipment and toys you would expect".

When asked by assistant coroner Michael Bird if it was true that one description of the property was that it was "immaculate", Det Sgt Penhalligan replied "yes sir".

Police found a snapbag of pills which Taylor had not been prescribed.

Det Sgt Penhalligan suggested they had been "street bought".

He confirmed there was nothing at the property to suggest her death was intentional

Mr Bird said: "This was a very tragic set of circumstances. A young mum, with two children who she was devoted to, who had her struggles, doing something she shouldn't do and knew she shouldn't do.

"A sad and sorry situation like this turned into tragedy and children lose a devoted mum. You have my condolences for your loss."

He confirmed Taylor's cause of death as mixed drug toxicity and recorded a verdict of drug-related death.

stella Posted on September 09, 2019 20:08

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Paedophile' football coach killed himself by deliberately crashing into tree

A former youth football coach and scout facing historic child sex abuse charges took his own life, a coroner has ruled. Michael ‘Kit’ Carson, 75, crashed his car off the A1303 and hit a tree while on his way to Peterborough Crown Court, where his trial would begin that day. He was facing 12 counts of indecent assault and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, all of which he denied. The allegations involved 11 boys under the age of 16, and took place between 1978 and 2009. Cambridgeshire assistant coroner Simon Milburn has now recorded a conclusion of suicide at an inquest in Huntingdon, stating that Carson steered deliberately into the tree and ‘intended to take his own life’.

Carson’s wife Pauline said in a written statement that her husband had been ‘concerned because he was running late’ on the morning of January 7. He had wrongly believed the trial to be starting on January 9, and had called his barrister at about 9am to discuss where to meet two days later, the inquest heard.

Mrs Carson said her husband was then ‘stressed and confused’ when he learned he needed to go to court that morning instead. The inquest heard the barrister did not want Carson to be stressed and told him to take his time, but the route he took to Peterborough was described as being not the ‘most logical’. He died at the scene in Bottisham, near Cambridge, with his cause of death confirmed as a traumatic brain injury.

The coroner stated that there was no evidence whatsoever of Carson, of St Bartholomew’s Court, Cambridge, taking ‘avoiding action’ before he crashed into the tree. He said there was also no evidence to suggest the former coach was travelling at excess speed, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or had experienced a medical emergency. There were no mechanical faults in the vehicle, and collision investigator PC Sean Redman said there was no evidence of skidding. PC Redman also said the weather was calm and overcast that morning and described visibility as good. Carson, who worked as a football coach and scout for youth teams at Norwich City, Peterborough United and Cambridge United, was on bail at the time of his death.

stella Posted on September 09, 2019 20:02

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Aides Say Grandma ‘Fell Out of a Chair,’ but Family’s Hidden Cam Footage Tells Another Story

Black eyes, bruises, and split lips are the products of bar brawls, not nursing homes, aren’t they?

Nearly 2 million Americans are living in nursing homes. But are they all receiving expert, compassionate care? The short answer is no.

One in three U.S. care homes was flagged for abusive behavior toward its residents in a 2013 Families for Better Care report that has impacted the lives of thousands. Minnie Graham, a 97-year-old great-great-grandmother living just outside Dallas, Texas, was one such victim.

Graham suffered from dementia and had been living at Winters Park nursing home in Garland, Texas, for roughly 12 months. Her family began noticing suspicious bruises on Graham’s face; two black eyes followed.

“They said she fell out of her wheel chair,” Graham’s granddaughter Shirley Ballard told CBS News. “She was a fine Christian woman and very loving. She would do anything for anybody.”

Graham’s family suspected foul play. Wishing to confirm their suspicions, they placed a clock with a tiny hidden camera in Graham’s bedroom at the nursing home and left it recording; this is not illegal, says ABC 13. The footage they accrued left Graham’s family stunned.

In their footage, the family witnessed their usually gentle elderly relative resisting her aides’ assistance in changing her clothes; the nursing aides, rather than exercising patience, mocked the elderly woman, pulled her by the hair and arms, slapped her, and called her names.

“I just don’t know how people can be so heartless and careless,” Ballard told Fox 4 News. “Clearly it hurt when they pulled her by the arm; clearly it hurts when you yank someone by the hair.”

Minnie Graham died within weeks of the footage being collected. She “just gave up on life,” her family said, with regret.

“She didn’t want to live anymore,” Ballard explained, “and then to be treated like that in her last days …”

The elderly woman’s heartbroken family turned their efforts toward advocacy for better care in nursing homes. They shared their shocking footage with Brian Lee, executive director of non-profit elder advocacy group Families for Better Care.

“That should never happen to people ever, in nursing homes, anywhere,” Lee responded in an interview with CBS News. “You’ve got to be able to have a good vetting process to be able to determine which people, the caregivers, are going to treat the residents with dignity and respect.

“You’ve got to hire the right people, and nursing homes need to hold themselves accountable and step up and start providing better care.”

Nursing home abuse is not a new phenomenon. In 2012, the family of 96-year-old Erytha Mayberry hid a camera in her room, suspecting that their elderly relative was being abused. “We didn’t like what we saw, of course,” said Mayberry’s daughter Doris Racher, according to ABC 13.

The family witnessed Mayberry’s aides shoving latex gloves into the elderly woman’s mouth and pressing on her chest. She died soon afterward, and one aide was sent to jail.

In response to growing concern, Families for Better Care ranked state services from grades A to F based on their staffing, inspections, deficiencies, and complaints. Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Michigan, Nevada, Illinois, and Iowa were sadly ranked F.

“We’re at the bottom of the barrel,” Amanda Fredriksen, associate state director for Outreach and Advocacy for AARP Texas, admitted to KVUE. Texas issues the lowest fines nationally for nursing home violations; “It sends the wrong message,” Fredriksen said.

Alaska, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Oregon, Maine, Utah, Idaho, South Dakota, and North Dakota, on the other hand, scored an A. Only seven states, however, provided their nursing home residents with more than one hour of professional nursing care each day.

According to Fox 4 News, both of Minnie Graham’s allegedly abusive nursing aides at Winters Park in Garland were arrested. However, their employment resumés remained active and both continued to work in the field.

As the country’s nursing home population is only expected to increase, a solution is more imperative than ever.

stella Posted on September 09, 2019 19:56

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74-year old woman delivers twin baby girls after 54-years of marriage

Indian newspaper, The Hans India reported that the delivery was done in a private hospital in Guntur city on Thursday, September 5th. According to doctors, Yerramatti Raja Rao who hails from Nelapartipadu in East Godavari district married Mangayamma on March 22, 1962.

The marriage was fruitless for decades until Yerramatti read about a pregnant 55 year-old woman residing near her house. The woman became pregnant through IVF.

Mangayamma drew inspiration from the neighbour and along with her husband approached Ahalya Nursing Home in Guntur city.

They met IVF experts who collected Mangayamma’s husband sperm and tried in the IVF system.

The doctors efforts were fruitful. Since then, Mangayamma was under the supervision of doctors in the nursing home.

Dr.Umashankar performed the cesarean on the 74 year-old woman today and she delivered two baby girls.

Dr. Umashankar said: ” It is another world record. Yerramatti and her husband Mangamma are also happy”.

While the birth may be an Indian record, it is not a world record.

The world record holder, according to the Guinness Book of World Records was Anatolia Vertadella, a 101-year-old Italian woman.

She gave birth to a 9-pound baby in 2016 after a controversial ovary transplant widely criticised by medical professionals because of her advanced age.

In India, a woman, Daljinder Kaur believed to be at least 70 years old, gave birth to a son named Arman (meaning “wish” in Hindi) on April 19, 2016.

Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the Oldest mother to conceive naturally, set by British woman Dawn Brooke, who became the oldest natural mother when she gave birth to a son by Caesarian section at the age of 59 years.

She conceived accidentally, having managed to ovulate past her last period.

stella Posted on September 09, 2019 19:49

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Cancer sufferer who planned her own funeral completes Great North Run

A cancer sufferer who planned her own funeral after being told the disease was terminal has completed the Great North Run after making a miraculous recovery. Emma Burrow, 34, wrote goodbye letters to her family and made detailed arrangements for the modest service, including a lighthearted speech and picking out the music she wanted to be played. But fast forward four years and the NHS worker has since been given the all-clear and completed the famous half-marathon, raising around £4,000 for the Anthony Nolan Trust which helped save her life. Emma, from Darlington in County Durham, said: ‘In 2015 I did not have a future. I had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. ‘I can barely believe, looking back to that time, how far I have come. It’s simply amazing. I never, ever thought something like this would be possible.’

Emma was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 25 and entered palliative care in June 2015 after being told the disease was terminal. She endured rounds of chemotherapy and underwent two stem cell transplants as part of her treatment. Believing she had no future Emma decided she wanted to have a humanist service and to be cremated. She planned the songs to be played during the service, chose what she wanted her guests to wear and penned a lighthearted speech to be read out at her wake. But to everyone’s amazement she began to respond to treatment while in palliative care and was given the all-clear just three months later.

Now Emma and her best friend Leanne Pilkington, also 34, have raised thousands for the charity after taking part in Sunday’s race. She added: ‘I owe my life to the charity. It’s not just the money that’s important, it’s raising awareness. ‘Not everyone knows about the Anthony Nolan Trust or how easy it is to sign the onto the donor register. ‘They were the ones who found a donor for me, the stem cells, and then carried out the transplant and the after care. ‘I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them.’

Emma praised the ‘amazing’ atmosphere at the UK’s biggest running event, which saw 57,000 people pounding the roads between Newcastle and South Shields. ‘The crowds were all cheering us. It really spurred both of us on,’ she said. ‘I am not quite fit enough to run, so we walked and we did it in three hours and five minutes. ‘We expected it to take us around five hours so it feels like a definite achievement.’

stella Posted on September 09, 2019 19:43

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‘Boy, 14, massacred entire family after discovering his mom was his stepmother’

A 14-year-old boy allegedly gunned his entire family down after finding out his mother was not his biological mother, a relative claimed. Police said Mason Sisk, 14, confessed to killing his father John Sisk, 38, his stepmother Mary Sisk, 35, his half-brothers, Six-year-old Kane and six-month-old Coleson, and his half-sister Aurora, 5, at their home in Elkmont, Alabama on August 2. Authorities have not yet released a motive, but Mason’s cousin, Daisy McCarty, told WAFF-TV that Mason learned Mary Sisk was not his biological mother shortly before the shooting. McCarty also said that Mason had been exhibiting problematic behavior in the months leading up to the shooting, such as burning animals alive and breaking into his school. Steven Young, spokesman for the Limestone Sheriff’s Office, said Mason is currently charged with five counts of juvenile murder, but could later face adult charges.

Police say the teen called 911 on himself after the shooting and told responding officers that he was in the basement of the home when he heard gunshots upstairs. Young said: ‘The offender called 911…he met deputies in the driveway and told them he had been in the basement of the home and heard gunshots from the main level of the home upstairs.’

He continued: ‘He said he ran out the door and there was very little other information given.’ According to Young, ‘discrepancies were found in his statement’ and when officers confronted the teen, he ‘admitted to shooting the five family members.’ The teen then reportedly helped officers find a handgun that he tossed on the side of the road near the home. Authorities later said that the handgun was in the home illegally.

A man who identified himself as the Sisk’s neighbor wrote in a Facebook post: ‘This is surreal. The teenage boy used to play at our house often as a kid. He came in and played and ate snacks. We carried him to church occasionally.’ ‘It’s hard to imagine what has happened in 14 years to come to a point that wiping out your entire family seems like the best option. Now he has no one.’

He’s brought this upon himself. He’s rocked a community. There’s no denying his heinous act,’ the post continues before urging forgiveness for the boy. According to, Mason’s biological mother died in Indiana in 2011. John Sisk reportedly sought full custody of his son in 2010, claiming Mason had not seen his biological mother since 2008, when he was three years old. At a court hearing, John Sisk told a judge that Mason’s mother was often drunk and on pills. He was granted emergency custody of Mason on the day his mother was found dead, according to WHNT. It is unclear when the boy is due in court.

stella Posted on September 09, 2019 19:38

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Girl, two, has brittle bone disease that makes her limbs so delicate she was BORN with a broken arm

A two-year-old girl has broken more than 50 bones due to a rare condition that saw her born with a fractured arm.

Winnie D'Arcy, of Chelmsford in Essex, was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), or brittle bone disease, at three months old.

The toddler also has the blood disorder Von Willebrand disease (VWD), which causes her blood not to clot properly and can result in heavy bleeding.

All this has caused serious developmental challenges, with Winnie being unable to walk, sit or feed herself. 

Although OI is incurable, she is set to start a series of operations next month that will hopefully strengthen her bones and finally enable her to walk.

Winnie's father Steve, 33, claims her condition went undetected while his wife Emma, 32, was pregnant.

'It's hard to look back at early baby pictures,' he said. 

'You want to look back with fond memories, but we just feel guilty, because we may have done normal things like picking her up under the arms, which could have caused some of her fractures.'  

Doctors have reportedly told the parents Winnie's condition is incurable but should improve by the time she reaches puberty. In the meantime, the slightest movement can cause her bones to break. 

'With some children it can be so bad just a sneeze can cause a break,' said Mr D'Arcy, who worked with acts like Tom Grennan and The Libertines before they became famous.

Winnie has to sleep in her parents' room in a cot padded by foam. The couple then take it in turns to sit and monitor her in one-hour shifts.

Mr D'Arcy even quit his job as a music industry booking agent to become his daughter's full-time carer. His wife still works as a personal assistant.

The father-of-one has also learnt a 'simplified form of sign language' called Makaton, so he and his daughter can communicate with each other.

'It's less formal than British Sign Language,' he said. 'You speak as you sign and it's been great for helping to build Winnie's confidence to speak out loud.'

Winnie's parents have also bought her a cockerpoo puppy, called Babs, which they will train as a therapy dog.

'We will be able to train the dog to tell us if Winnie is in pain or has broken anything,' Mr D'Arcy said. 

Despite all they have endured, the pair manage to stay positive and have not let Winnie's condition put them off expanding their family.   

'OI can be inherited but in Winnie's case it wasn't, so the doctors have told us it's very unlikely we would have any more children with the condition,' Mr D'Arcy said. 

The parents are anticipating their daughter starting a series of procedures at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London next month.   

'Winnie's legs have broken so many times they are quite bowed,' Mr D'Arcy said. 

'The initial surgery will be to break them, so a rod can be inserted to help the bones grow straight. We don't know if she will ever walk but the rods will help strengthen her legs. 

'They don't normally do this surgery until a child is three, but Winnie has had so many breaks they are doing it a year early.' 

Winnie's surgery is complicated by her VWD. To prevent her losing too much blood, the doctors will only operate on the lower part of both legs.

If everything goes to plan, the surgeons will then operate on both of her legs in separate surgeries.

All these procedures will leave Winnie in a cast from the waist down for three weeks.

The family, who will shortly be moving into a first-floor flat, will require special equipment to move her safely around their home.

Mr D'Arcy has started a GoFundMe page to help the couple cover this expense, as well as the cost of a hotel room during Winnie's expected five day hospital stay.  

'Even the most basic London hotel can cost £150-to-£200 ($182-to-$243) a night, so we set up the fundraising page to help out with these expenses,' he said. 

'I am also taking part in the 10k Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Run in London in January 2020, to raise funds which we will need ongoingly.'

The couple have already exceeded their £1,000 ($1,219) target. 

'This takes a lot of the stress away,' Mr D'Arcy said. 'It means we can now concentrate on Winnie and trying to get her well.

'We both feel eternally grateful for people's generosity.'

stella Posted on September 09, 2019 19:32

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Twin girls escaped fire at flats ‘with just the babygrows on their backs’

A crowdfunding page has been set up for a young couple with twin baby daughters who escaped the Worcester Park inferno with just the clothes on their backs.

Lauren Woods and partner Jack Edwards fled from the top floor of the four-storey Hamptons residential block in south-west London in the early hours of Monday, clutching six-month-old daughters Mia and Grace.

The family escaped the blaze unharmed, but are face having to rebuild their lives after all their possessions were destroyed as the fire took hold

They had to leave in the middle of the night without their two cats, while their vehicle was parked in the now-flooded basement and is expected to be written off.

Much of the 23-apartment building has been destroyed.

Louise Anns, Ms Woods’ friend and colleague at a London-based healthcare company, told the PA news agency: “Lauren’s devastated. Everything they have is in that flat, and it’s gone.

“The girls only moved into their nursery in the last few days; Lauren was so excited, it was all decorated for them.

“The most important thing is that everyone got out safely, and it looks like that’s the case.

“But poor Lauren was on maternity leave, so this has been even worse for her.

“I’ve spoken to her this morning and she said she can hardly speak at the moment, it’s all too much for her.”

Ms Anns, 47, has set up a donation page on the website to help raise £5,000 to support the family.

She said: “The girls left the flat with just their babygrows on their backs. Lauren and Jack threw some clothes on and that was it – they’ve got nothing.

“I know the community will really help them, because it’s not cheap to buy everything from scratch for a baby, let alone two babies.

“Lauren has no airs or graces, she will go to the charity shops and get the bargains. But we just want her and Jack to know the community is supporting them.”

stella Posted on September 09, 2019 19:27

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Kidnap gang who abducted stranger from streets and threatened to kill her are jailed

A kidnap gang who snatched a woman off the street and threatened to kill her have been jailed. The woman’s boyfriend was then ordered to pay £2,000 by the blackmailers who said they would cut her throat if he didn’t pay up. The terrifying ordeal took place in South Shields last June and lasted for almost four hours. During that time, the strangers told her they would kill her, throw her in the River Tyne and send a picture to her partner.

The woman suffered a broken breastbone before she was eventually dumped more than five miles away. Newcastle Crown Court was told that the woman was ordered to repeatedly contact her boyfriend so the kidnappers could speak to him. Her boyfriend, who called police, said: ‘It was like something out of the movies, not real life, so far-fetched.’

Kenneth Cook, 26, of Bensham Bank, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to blackmail and was found guilty by a jury of kidnap and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He has been jailed for 15 years with a four year extended licence period. John Kyle, 30, of Ribble Walk, Jarrow, was found guilty at the same trial of kidnap and blackmail. He has been jailed for ten years with a four year extended licence period. Christopher Brown, 42, of Grosvenor Crescent, Hebburn, was found guilty of blackmail and has been jailed for four years.

Prosecutor Richard Herrmann said the ordeal started when the couple were on their way home and one of the men thought there had been a ‘perceived slight’ by them towards him. After they were confronted, the boyfriend was threatened with a knife before he was chased and escaped. As the woman fled, she was caught by the gang who forced her in to the back seat of her car. She was then driven to the banks of the river, ordered to get out of the car and attacked by Cook who kicked her in the chest and broke her sternum.

The gang then took her to a house and demanded to know how they could track down her boyfriend and get the ransom money. When they failed, she was dumped in Hebburn and located by police. Judge Amanda Rippon said Cook and Kyle were given extended sentences to protect the public because they were ‘dangerous’  and ‘posed a significant risk of causing serious harm.’ She said Brown did not pose a danger.

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 12:09

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'Cannibal killer' frat boy, 22, who 'believed he was Jesus when he murdered a Florida couple and ate one of their faces' looks unrecognizable as he appears in court to challenge insanity rules

The 'cannibal killer' frat boy accused of murdering a Florida couple and eating one of their faces has appeared in court to challenge insanity rules in the state. 

Austin Harrouff, 22, said he was fleeing a demon-like figure in when he ran to a Tequesta home and attacked John Stevens III, 59, and Michelle Mishcon, 53, spitting out a piece of flesh when deputies arrived and were finally able to subdue him. 

The suspect appeared in court Thursday where his attorneys attacked the constitutionality of the state's laws governing insanity defenses, arguing it wrongly places the burden of proof on defendants instead of prosecutors.

Harrouff, who believes he is part dog, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and is pleading insanity. 

He entered the courtroom dressed in a red-striped jail uniform with a cropped haircut and looked markedly different to previous mugshots and arrest pictures in August 2016.  

Harrouff, a former Florida State University student, was living with his mother in a home in Jupiter, Florida when the attack took place. He did not know the couple he murdered and the attack was reportedly unprovoked. 

An attorney for Harrouff told Circuit Judge Sherwood Bauer Jr. the law's requirement that defendants prove insanity to a 'clear and convincing' level of proof discriminates against the mentally ill because it is a higher burden than for defendants who claim self-defense or duress. 

Under self-defense, the burden is on prosecutors - they must prove it wasn't. Defendants who claim duress must only prove that it is more likely than not that they acted out of necessity.

Attorney Robert J. Watson also said it is unconstitutional that jurors are told before deliberations they are to presume the defendant is sane. 

He argued that goes against Harrouff's right to be presumed innocent of the August 2016 killings of John Stevens and Michelle Mischcon Stevens. Bauer questioned Watson extensively on this point, asking him how this is unfair to Harrouff.

Watson replied that to convict Harrouff of first-degree murder, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt he killed the Stevenses with evil intent. 

He said since Harrouff is not disputing he killed the Stevenses - his only defense is that his mental illness made it impossible for him to form intent. Given that, Watson said, it is unfair that jurors are told to start with the presumption that 'the defense is invalid' unless proven otherwise.

'We are not presuming you are insane, which is what we should be doing if we are applying a presumption of innocence,' Watson argued.

A 38-page psychiatric assessment of Harrouff lists a disturbing and frightening descent into alleged psychosis.

It states that Harrouff felt he had 'superpowers within him' and felt like 'he was Jesus'. 

He began walking around in a 'slow harmonious manner' and believed he had a responsibility to fix people's problems, according to the assessment. 

The suspect is also said to have bought a Fitbit, which while wearing, made him feel like The Terminator - part robot, part man.

He also, at another point, became fixated on horses - following his Sagittarius star sign - and believed himself to be a mythical beast Centaur, according to reports. 

Prosecutor Jeffrey Hendriks said there is no discrimination in Florida's insanity law against people with mental illnesses. He said some states don't even allow an insanity defense.

Bauer said he would rule soon. Harrouff's trial is scheduled for the fall.

Harrouff told the 'Dr. Phil' television show two months after the attack that he was fleeing a demon he called 'Daniel' when he ran to the Stevenses' home. 

About 45 minutes before the attack, he had stormed out of a restaurant two miles away where he had argued with his father. Earlier, his mother had found him at her home drinking cooking oil mixed with Parmesan cheese - a lawsuit filed by Michelle Stevens' family alleges the concoction was spiked with hallucinogenic mushrooms. 

Harrouff told host Phil McGraw that he doesn't clearly remember the attack and forensic psychologist Dr. Phillip Resnick has said Harrouff believed he was 'half-dog, half man' when he attacked the couple. 

According to court documents, deputies arrived to a horrific scene at the Stevenses' home. Michelle Stevens, 53, lay mangled and dead in the garage and Harrouff, then a muscular exercise science major at Florida State University, was attacking and biting her 59-year-old husband in the driveway. 

Harrouff is alleged to have also wounded a neighbor who tried to save the couple.

One deputy ordered Harrouff off at gunpoint while another used an electric stun gun on him, but he wouldn't let go. Deputies say they didn't shoot Harrouff because they feared hitting John Stevens.

Finally, a deputy with a dog arrived and its bites enabled deputies to subdue Harrouff, who had no previous arrest record. 

He told deputies: 'Help me, I ate something bad' and then admitted it was 'humans' as he spit out a piece of flesh, court documents show. He begged deputies to kill him after they pulled him off Stevens, according to the records.

'Shoot me now; I deserve to die,' Harrouff said.

He had to be hospitalized for two months as he ingested an unknown chemical from the Stevens' garage, burning his esophagus.

If convicted, Harrouff faces life in prison without parole. His attorneys want him committed to a mental hospital for life.

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 11:48

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Student who fell from bridge to death was unaware she was pregnant

A mentally ill student who died after jumping into oncoming traffic on a motorway was unaware that she was pregnant.

Yazmina Howard had previously miraculously survived falling seven storeys as a three-year-old while in the arms of her suicidal mother, an inquest heard.

The 18-year-old had a history of drug overdoses and suicide attempts when she threw herself from a bridge into oncoming traffic on the M20 London-bound carriageway in Aylesford, Kent, on October 1, 2018.

Her on-off boyfriend stopped a similar suicide attempt less than a month earlier, which resulted in her being sectioned, although she was released after a day.

Kent Coroner's Court was told she convinced medics her latest episode was a blip - despite pleas from her family to have her detained for longer over fears for her safety.

Ms Howard later told mental health workers she was feeling "eight out of 10", and was optimistic about the future.

But 10 days later she killed herself, having been told by staff at Mid Kent College she would have to retake her multimedia course following a fitness-to-study meeting, something the court heard was playing on her mind.

She was also "emotional" following her split from boyfriend, who previously stopped her from jumping from a bridge.

Ms Howard's death came after her mother Maxine's suicide.

The youngster, from Maidstone, suffered multiple injuries but went on to make a full physical recovery, although friends said she was tormented by her past.

The coroner, Eileen Sproson, recorded a verdict of suicide after hearing Ms Howard left a post on Instagram "saying her goodbyes" before leaving her possessions by the bridge and jumping off - despite desperate attempts by a passer-by to intervene.

A post-mortem report found she died of skull, head and brain injuries after jumping from height. 

It also confirmed she was pregnant at the time.

The coroner said: "I take into account that Yazmina had previously attempted to end her own life and I take her message on Instagram as evidence that she wished to take her own life.

"It leads me to the inevitable conclusion that the intention was to take her own life."

Ms Howard's family, who occasionally wept and left the room at various points during the inquest, told the coroner they felt she was "totally let down" by Kent mental health services.

Michael Howard, her grandfather, told the inquest: "There wasn't enough care and attention given to her - she was totally let down by a system that doesn't work properly.

"That's how people like me feel."

The inquest heard Ms Howard was not on any medication at the time of her death and was never diagnosed as depressed, despite her mental health history.

Following her suicide attempt in September 2018, doctors said Ms Howard was better off with a package of optional care in the community, having been confident her mood was much improved, the inquest heard.

A serious incident report conducted by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) found there was no reason to doubt Ms Howard when she told doctors she no longer had suicidal thoughts and that she was optimistic about the future.

The report concluded "there were no care or service delivery problems".

Ms Howard was spotted on a bridge over the M20 at about 10.10pm by motorist Daniel Curley, who told police he tried to persuade her not to jump.

He told police: "I said, 'Don't be silly, you don't want to do this'.

"But she just looked straight through me and didn't say a word."

CCTV evidence showed Ms Howard spent roughly three minutes on the bridge before falling to her death.

She suffered multiple injuries after being struck by a lorry, and was probably hit by "at least two other vehicles", the court heard.

Boyfriend Mr Jones told the inquest he and Ms Howard had been "on a break" in their relationship in the weeks leading up to her death, following an argument when he found out she had failed to keep appointments with medical professionals despite telling him she had.

He said he received a text from her saying "Hey, I love you" at 10.08pm on the night she died, but added that it was when he saw her Instagram post shortly afterwards that he contacted police.

He denied an allegation by Ms Howard's grandfather he knew about the pregnancy and left the teenager "holding the baby", saying he found out "10 days after Yazmina died".

The inquest heard Ms Howard told a friend she thought she might be pregnant but had not taken a test, while her grandfather said he was also unaware, although his wife "might have had her suspicions".

The coroner declined to make a "prevention of future deaths" report.

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 11:30

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'Miracle girl' Milli, 12, is 'doing well' after treatment in Germany

A miracle girl who was given just weeks to live earlier this year is already back at school after receiving pioneering brain surgery from Dr Charlie Teo. 

Amelia 'Milli' Lucas was told in May that she would die from a brain tumour, before Dr Teo took on her case and wiped out 98 per cent of the growth on her brain stem.

Dr Charlie Teo's Foundation shared an update on the 12-year-old, who suffers from the extremely rare Li-Fraumeni syndrome, saying that her story is one of 'hope and incredible bravery'. 

'Milli Lucas has battled with terminal brain cancer for the last three years. Only a few months ago she wasn't responding to treatments and only had weeks to live but Milli and her family were not ready to give up,' they wrote about the girl from Perth.

Wearing a 'Wish for Milli' scarf the family made, Dr Teo successfully removed 98 per cent of her malignant tumour in June, despite it being attached to her brain stem.

He then referred her for 'alternative treatments' in Germany to stave off the remaining cancer.  

'Milli has recently returned [from Germany], is doing well and now back at school with her 15-year-old sister Tess,' they said.  

She has also started back at her local music school, with singing one of her favourite pastimes before she was diagnosed with cancer.

The teenager's father Grant Lucas, 49, shared his heartwarming vote of thanks to Dr Teo on Facebook, saying if they had listened to critics about his work he might have lost his daughter.

'Thank you Charlie Teo, if we had of listened to doctors in Western Australia it may not of been possible to have my three beautiful kids on Father's Day,' he said on Sunday. 

After landing in Bochum, Germany, in last June Milli went through four weeks of treatment involving daily doses of chemotherapy and hypothermia, which sees doctors raise the temperature of the tumour.

After landing back in Perth in July the family are now waiting for a further brain scan to tell them whether the tumour has shrunk any further. 

Only then will they know if Milli has a chance of a full recovery. 

Milli made headlines in May this year after her parents Grant and Monika Smirk, 47, were forced to crowdfund over $160,000 to afford the operation with Dr Teo at a private hospital in Sydney.

Chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy were no longer working on her tumour and doctors in Perth refused to operate out of fear the invasive procedure could lead to paralysis or even death.  

After hearing about her story, Dr Teo - who is known for tacking terminal brain cancer cases - said he would perform the 'difficult' procedure.

But the risky surgery carried out by the Sydney-based neurosurgeon was a tremendous success and saw her walking three days later.   

Dr Teo said Milli's operation involved navigating the brain stem - 'the no-go zone' - where most doctors won't touch.

But with chemotherapy and radiation no longer working, there was no other choice.  

'They [the family] know the risks, they know it's not curative and could reduce her quality of life, but they just aren't ready to give up. It's a brave decision,' Dr Teo said in June.

Tragically, Milli's mother Monika, 47, learned her breast cancer had returned days after her daughter's successful surgery.

The 47-year-old lives with the same rare gene disposition as Milli and is one of less than 1,000 people in the world with the illness.

The mother-of-three went through a double mastectomy and hysterectomy three years ago to try and prevent it from returning.

'I can see it, it's not grown so it can wait, but it'll have to come off eventually,' Ms Smirk said of the lump to the West Australian.

In addition to Milli's debilitating condition, her sister Tess was also diagnosed with a brain tumour but has since been given the all-clear.

The  page that saw their family's journey catapult into the spotlight is still open and has seen 2,700 people donate $170,000 in three months.

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 11:05

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Evil monkey kidnaps kitten and holds it hostage while eating bananas

This is the shocking moment a monkey which had kidnapped a kitten holds it while eating bananas - and neither the monkey nor the little have been seen 48 hours later.

The primate grabbed the feline as it wandered around outside a home in Rayong, eastern Thailand, last Saturday afternoon. 

Footage shows the monkey on a roof holding the terrified kitten in its arms before it eats a series of bananas as shocked onlookers look on in horror. 

Neither animal have been seen since, more than 48 hours after the monkey took the cat.  

Concerned neighbour Chantra Sakulphitak, 50, said: 'The monkey was seen on Sunday morning again with the kitten. But it was then seen alone on Sunday afternoon at 4pm without the kitten.

'Since then nobody has seen either of them again. We don't know if the monkey has killed the cat or it escaped and ran away.'

Shocked locals noticed the 'cat-napping' and called for the monkey to release the animal.

One woman can be heard in the video shouting 'let him go! don't hurt him!' They then shout 'cat, cat, cat' several times to try and encourage the kitten to flee its captor.

Chantra said that residents recognised the monkey as it had been terrorising locals in recent months by stealing food.

She said: 'When this happened, somebody was trying to feed the monkey with food. But it didn't just take the food, it also took the cat.

'It grabbed the kitten then ran away. People tried to tell him to give the cat back but it wouldn't let him go.'

Neighbours said that they called the local rescue team then left the monkey on the roof after night fall.

Animal handlers arrived the next morning but there was no sign of the monkey or the cat. 

Residents are keeping a look out for the cat in to treat it if it has been injured during the ordeal.

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 10:17

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Former soldier, 42, reveals he begged his mother to kill him after developing locked-in syndrome from a stroke - but has since fully recovered

A former soldier who asked his own mother to help kill him after being left paralysed says he has made a full recovery. 

Peter Coghlan, 42, bumped his head in 2011 which triggered a stroke. It left him completely unable to move.

He was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome, which causes sufferers to be unable to move or communicate despite being aware of their surroundings.

While lying in a hospital bed, Mr Coghlan came to the realisation he may remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.

He blinked out the letters of the alphabet to his distraught mother, Anne Coughlan, 63: 'Mum, I want to die. Please kill me.'

But slowly, over the next few weeks, Mr Coghlan regained small movements with sheer determination to recover.

After six months, he became the first locked-in syndrome victim to walk out of the hospital ward he was on - and now lives a normal life.

Mr Coghlan, of Manchester, joined the Army when he was 18, but on his 21st birthday was diagnosed with lung cancer and discharged from the forces.

After two years of treatment, he decided to pack his bags and emigrate to Australia for a new life with his mother and sister.

They moved to Perth when Mr Coghlan was 23 and he began a career as a bricklayer. 

In 2011 he was working on a tunnel under a road when he stood up and smacked his head on a concrete curb.

The blow to the head caused a brain haemorrhage, also known as a haemorrhagic stroke. 

His sister Vicky, 37, took him to A&E at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth and he was later diagnosed with locked-in syndrome.

The rare brain disorder causes complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except the ones that control eye movements.

It can be caused by damage to the brainstem by a stroke and is believed to strike around one per cent of people who have a stroke, as well as trauma, tumors, or infection. 

Doctors told Mr Coghlan's mother that he was unlikely to ever recover, and would probably never walk or talk again. 

For most patients, the prognosis is very poor, leaving their conscious mind 'trapped' in their own body. 

After three weeks of lying in hospital consumed by misery and pain, Mr Coghlan gave his mother the hardest ultimatum of all.

He said: 'I spelled out on my letterboard, "Mum, I want to die. Please kill me".

'I didn't want to be rolling around in my own faeces, with nurses cleaning me up and people injecting me.'

Mr Coghlan's mother begged her son not to give up.

He said: 'She said, "If you still want to die in three months' time, then I'll help you somehow. But just hold on for now, you're doing really well".'

After four weeks lying helpless in hospital, only able to communicate by blinking his eyes, Mr Coghlan built up the strength to move his thumb half a millimetre towards his index finger.

The tiny movement was the start of the long journey towards the recovery Mr Coghlan had initially thought impossible.

He said: 'After that, I became obsessed. I'd spend all day moving my thumb and index finger, slowly bringing them closer together.'

Mr Coghlan had the condition for three months and claims to be one of the speediest recoveries ever seen.

Over a gruelling six months, Mr Coghlan built up his strength. Once he got his thumb and finger to touch, he didn't stop pushing himself.

He started moving his hands, arms and legs while lying on his back. Another milestone was when he managed to kick a pillow off his bed.

Eventually the former soldier taught himself to walk again, and would spend hours practicing walking up and down his ward and doing pull-ups off the side of his bed.

The medical marvel said he was the first patient with locked-in syndrome to leave  Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital without being in a wheelchair.   

The two years after his discharge were difficult, as Mr Coghlan tried to get his life back together between various specialist treatment.

He was unable to work and lost many friends, and even divorced the woman who he married when he left hospital. 

In 2014, he decided to return to the UK and settled back in his hometown after coming so far with his recovery.

He hasn't needed an appointment with a healthcare professional, such as a neurologist or physiotherapist, since his return.

Doctors are keen to study why he made such a quick recovery, according to Mr Coghlan.

Mr Coghlan now works as a disabled carer and has written a book - In the Blink of an Eye: Reborn - about his experiences.

Speaking of locked-in syndrome, he said he now supports sufferers' right to end their own lives.

He said: 'I want people to hold on. With strokes and brain injuries, the brain can heal with struggle.

'But I do support the right to euthanasia. I believe in the right to choose to die if there's no sign of improvement in your condition.'

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 10:08

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Mysterious wooden vessel washes ashore in Ireland with a strange message inside

When the coastguard was alerted about a strange vessel that had washed ashore in County Mayo in Ireland, no one could have expected what they were about to find. The unique, handmade wooden contraption had floated all the way across the Atlantic from Canada, and had locals wondering about how it got there. 

Unusual items getting washed ashore is a common thing of course. But in the fall of 2016, officials were dumbfounded at the contraption that turned up. It was a wooden houseboat built on polystyrene, about 20 feet long and 10 feet wide, with solar panels on its roof. There was no one aboard.

All things considered, the ship was in remarkably good shape, though it was filled with debris and had seen some wear and tear.

Inside the houseboat, there was a mysterious handwritten message scrawled on the wall, which the previous owner apparently wrote. It read: “I, Rick Small, donate this structure to a homeless youth to give them a better life that Newfoundlanders choose not to do! No rent, no mortgage, no hydro.” 

What puzzled authorities the most was the seeming likelihood that this solar-powered wooden contraption had made its way all the way from Canada.

“To think this apparatus could have come all the way across the Atlantic Ocean,” Michael Hurst, an officer of the Ballyglass Coast Guard Unit, told ABC News, “[is] quite something.”

As the mystery of the boat’s origin unraveled, it was discovered that the boat’s builder was Rick Small, a Canadian environmentalist from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Small had only a year prior made headline news in Canada when he rode a solar-powered bike from British Columbia to Newfoundland. That is a distance of 7,000 kilometers (approx. 4,000 miles). 

Hurst stated, per ABC, that several residents from Newfoundland contacted County Mayo officials with recollections of having seen Small back in 2015 with the houseboat. One such resident, Timothy Legrow, not only sent a picture of the boat parked at his local docks but also recalled a conversation he had had with the owner. The man had told him that Small was planning to cross the Atlantic with the wooden boat. “He told me his plan was to take the boat and prove that solar power could sail it across the Atlantic,” said Legrow, per an ABC report. 

After being recovered, the boat was taken inland, where it was to stay and wait to be claimed by its owner. But authorities didn’t think that was likely to happen. “From the message inside, he likely abandoned that idea and just left the boat on a dock for homeless people,” Hurst told ABC News.

“It probably broke off and somehow made its way across the ocean to here.”

But it still remains a mystery how the boat managed to cross such an enormous distance without a crew and arrive on the Irish shore intact. The vessel had been weatherproofed with tar, and according to one local, was “well made.”

Hurst did reveal plans to repair and turn the contraption into a tourist attraction if its creator never claims it. “If it pans out this way, and if Rick Small doesn’t actually require the vessel back, they may use it locally as a tourist attraction and restore it to the best of their ability,”

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 10:01

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Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, 73, wants an IVF baby with his 27-year-old cheerleader penpal even though she lives in the US and the two of them have never actually met

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe is hoping to have a baby with his American penpal despite the pair having never met.

The murderer, 73, has suggested that he and cheerleader Krystal Smith, who is 46 years younger than him, receive IVF treatment.

Krystal, 27, began writing to Sutcliffe last year from her home in North Carolina and it is understood that the pair have told each other that they love one another.

Sutcliffe, who was jailed in 1981 for the murder of 13 people, has even contacted his former wife Sonia to ask for permission to marry again.

According to The Sun, the killer told a friend: 'She's a lovely looking girl. She has been mentioning for a while that she'd like to be the next Mrs Sutcliffe.

'So I said "Yes". Her parents have told her they support the wedding.' 

The serial killer is reportedly taking a whole range of drugs to cope as he struggles with breathing difficulties, high blood pressure, diabetes and has almost gone blind. 

The former Bradford lorry driver's health has been deteriorating for years, beginning in 1997 when he lost vision in his left eye after an inmate attacked him.

An attempt to improve vision in his right eye this year left him without vision in either.

He murdered women, who mostly worked as prostitutes, between 1976 and 1981 using knives, hammers and screwdrivers.

In 2017, police suggested that he may have murdered more than 13 women, and began questioning him about 17 unsolved cases.

He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia but was moved to Frankland Prison in Durham from Broadmoor psychiatric hospital last year.


stella Posted on September 03, 2019 09:55

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Crying baby found crawling next to bodies of five relatives at bottom of cliff

A crying one-year-old girl was found crawling alone in just her nappy close to five dead family members. Two children were among those found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Fiji. Kelera Toloi, 25, alerted authorities after discovering the little girl cold and hungry in the Nausori Highlands on Monday morning. Five dead bodies were then stumbled across nearby by a man on horseback at the sightseeing area of Celekuta, with the group all said to have ingested an unknown substance.

The family members, who had no visable injuries, have been identified as husband and wife Nirmal Kumar, 63 and Usha Devi, 54, their daughter Nileshni Kajal, 34, and Ms Kajal’s daughters Sana, 11, and Samara, 8. The toddler, who is believed to be the niece of Mr Kumar and Mrs Devi, was identified as one-year-old Samaira Kuma and taken to hospital. Police have spent the past 48 hours questioning a New Zealand man, who is believed to be a witch doctor, over the mysterious deaths, according to local media. His wife was also questioned but was released.

Ms Toloi, the woman who found the young child crawling across the bottom of the cliff, said things could have ended in further tragedy for the toddler. The young mother, who changed the baby’s soggy nappy and fed her two bottles, said: ‘Fortunately she couldn’t walk yet or she would’ve fallen off the cliff. As a mother, it’s a really sad scenario.’ The child’s mother was in Australia and was reported to arrive in Fiji last Tuesday. Neighbours of the family, who lived nearby in Legalega in the city of Nadi, said they left home on Saturday and never returned. All of their phones were left at home and Mr Kumar’s car was found parked in a supermarket car park shortly after his body was discovered. CCTV footage of the area could be of use to police in their investigation, with local media reporting that the car was dropped off shortly before another car arrived. The person or people in the first car then got in the second car and drove away.

Mr Kumar’s brother, Rajesh, was in India when he heard the news. He told local media: ‘When I heard the news I called my sister and brother in Sydney just to confirm that it was the right news. ‘It was also very hard to get a flight back to Fiji but on Wednesday I finally got one so I left at 4pm and arrived on Thursday at 7am.’ Fijian law states the man can only be held for questioning for 48 hours without any official charges. Police lodged an application to have this period extended, citing a need to question him further, but the request was denied.

The have been no charges and the Christchurch couple have not been named. However, a stop departure order was issued for the couple, meaning they cannot return home to New Zealand while the investigation remains open. Further tests will now be carried out by the Chemistry Scientific Lab in Nasova, Suva to obtain more information about the substance that was ingested by five victims.

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 09:12

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Family surprised by flight passengers' reaction when son with autism started to struggle

Braysen is a 4-year-old boy with autism who usually loves to fly. But he had a meltdown on a United Airlines flight from San Diego to Houston.

That was when the aircraft's crew and passengers came together to help him.

The boy's mother, Lori Gabriel, of Cypress, Texas, told CNN that Braysen removed his seat belt just before takeoff, saying he wanted to sit on the floor.

"It was impossible to restrain him. He was fighting both me and his father. It took the both of us to try to get him back to his chair and get his seat belt back on. He started kicking, screaming and hitting," said Gabriel. "That's when a flight attendant came over and told us the flight couldn't take off until he's seated."

"I told her the boy has autism. We're trying, give us a minute."

The flight attendant walked away while Gabriel was still trying to keep the boy on his seat. She came back with two other flight attendants who asked the mother how they could be of help.

"Then they sprang into action," Gabriel added. First, they let Braysen sit on her lap for takeoff while his father was holding him. Then, after the seat belt sign was turned off, his mother let the boy down because he was screaming and fighting her.

So the crew let him sit on the floor, next to them. "When he's overstimulated, the vibration makes him feel better," Gabriel said.

At one point, the boy inadvertently kicked a passenger sitting across from them, a United Airlines' flight attendant who was not working during the flight.

"She was just being nice and said it was OK if he kicks her feet," Gabriel said.

The boy then went to first class and started kicking a man's seat, messing with it. "Braysen seemed happy there, so we didn't want to move him," the woman said. "So I told the man, 'I'm sorry,' but he said he didn't mind, he introduced himself to Braysen and gave him high fives. He said, 'He can kick my chair, I don't care.'"

"Everybody in first class was kind to him, asking his name, showing him pictures on their phones, letting him sit whenever he wanted," Gabriel said. "The flight attendants kept asking if we needed anything, making sure everybody was taken care of."

Just before leaving, the off duty flight attendant who was sitting across from them gave Gabriel a hug and a handwritten note in which she commended her for her strength. "You and your family are loved and supported," reads the note.

"Do not ever let anyone make you feel as though you are an inconvenience or a burden. He is a blessing," the note continued. "God bless your patience, your love, your support and your strength. Continue to be a super woman."

Gabriel posted a picture of the note on Facebook along with pictures of Braysen on the flight and a shout-out to United.

United Airlines tweeted in response: "It sure sounds like Braysen and your family had a great flight. We are happy that our crew was able to make it an enjoyable experience. We are overjoyed to see that we have such loving and supportive passengers on board as well! We look forward to seeing Braysen again soon!"

Gabriel said her son usually loves to fly, but the flight earlier this month was his first long flight. The family was traveling back home from San Diego, where they've been on holiday.

"I'm just overwhelmed from all this kindness; it makes me want to cry," she said.

"For the first time, people have been very understanding and helpful about Braysen's autism. It's very promising, we don't have to care about what other people think because there are people who are caring, who understand. It gives me a lot of hope for the future."

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 08:58

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Angry bird scatters food that a man went for at a wedding ceremony

The photographer deserves a noble prize award, he was able to capture the moment when an angry bird scattered the food of a man at a wedding ceremony.

So this unknown man probably went for two plates of food and was gorgeously walking to his table.

A bird from nowhere who was obviously hungry flew down and scattered the food from the man’s hand.

Social media users are making fun of the photos.

One commented that this is what happens when you go to people’s wedding just to eat their food.


stella Posted on September 03, 2019 08:45

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Teen held hostage in brutal attack by boyfriend who wanted to kill unborn baby

Harief Pearson recruited a relative and a teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to kill his unborn child in a brutal attack that lasted hours, a court has heard.

Pearson along with his cousin Kydie McKenna, 22, and a 16-year-old girl, held the pregnant teenager hostage at his home in Harlesden, North West London, on December 12 last year.

The dangerous trio have been jailed for a total of 21 years with all three admitting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

Harrow Crown Court heard McKenna and the then 15-year-old kicked, punched and stamped on the pregnant girl, causing blood to splatter all over the walls.

Prosecutor James Thacker said McKenna told the victim "dunno why you thought you could have his baby" as she tackled her to the ground with the help of the teenager.

During the violent attack, McKenna and the 15-year-old kicked, punched and stamped on the pregnant girl, causing blood to splatter over the walls.

Mr Thacker, said: “In December 2019 the complainant discovered she was pregnant and telephoned the father to break the news to him, however he told her ‘you know what to do, I am not ready to have a kid.’

“She told him she wanted to keep the baby and wanted him to be part of their lives.

“Mr Pearson told her he would get someone to kidnap her.

“He later said he would give £10,000 to anyone who put out a hit on the complainant if she went to the police.”

In a calculated move, Pearson searched “how to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy at one month” and “what time is easiest to lose a baby", before enlisting the help of his cousin and the 15-year-old.

The day before the attack, the victim visited Pearson at his home and stayed overnight but upon discovering he was in a relationship with the 15-year-old she tried to leave.

Mr Thacker said: "Mr Pearson told her she could not leave. He snatched her phone from her hand.

"Approximately five minutes later Miss McKenna arrived at the house.

"She entered wearing a balaclava and placed the complainant in a chokehold, trying to pull her to the floor."

From that moment on the victim was subjected to a violent attack with the 15-year-old ripping off one of the victim’s nails “without hesitation.”

At one point, the pregnant teen asked for water but instead, liquid laundry detergent was poured down her throat.

McKenna also poured alcohol over the bloodied teens face.

Mr Thacker said: “The prosecution say she deliberately put on her trainers before stamping on the victim's belly, back and chest.

“Some violence was gratuitous, such as the ripping off the thumbnail.

“We say it was good fortune that the foetus survived.

“This was nothing other than a sustained and vicious assault.

“Their intent was to cause an abortion.”

Fortunately, the unborn child survived the attack and the victim is expected to give birth in the next month.

Addressing Pearson at Harrow Crown Court, Lady Justice Simler said: “You planned it and involved the other two to do your dirty work.

“That make you all the more dangerous.

“You manipulated others to achieve your own criminal end.

“This was a particularly serious assault on a young woman with an intent to procure a miscarriage.

“You demonstrate a concerning detachment and a complete lack of empathy or remorse for a victim who was vulnerable.

“You are a dangerous young man"

Pearson was sentenced to 11 years in jail and McKenna to 10 years, with the teen who has since turned 16, serving a detention period of 4 years.

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 08:31

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Wife learns she's pregnant after husband dies, then she sees unbelievable ultrasound

Stephanie met Navy man Brian during a snowstorm in Illinois. There, sitting at a bar in Gurnee, began a romance that led to a beautiful wedding and the birth of their wonderful daughter, Reagan, a few years later. This couple had everything in the future to look forward to—including a big surprise still in store—that is, until tragedy struck and Brian was taken from his family.

Brian had been in the Navy for 20 years, but when his father fell ill, he decided to retire to spend more time with his family. Everything seemed to fall in line as he left a decorated military career and a life of dangers behind.

He soon found a job in Oklahoma, and the couple decided that it was time to grow their family

One morning, just before leaving for work, he waited as Stephanie took a pregnancy test. It came out negative, but the couple remained hopeful. They had years ahead of them … or so they thought. In fact, they didn’t. Later that day, as Brian headed back home, his truck went off the road.

Brian’s parents had braced themselves for the worst throughout his time in the Navy, but they had never imagined that they would lose their son to a freak accident just a few miles from home.

Grappling with grief, Stephanie began preparing for her husband’s funeral. The world seemed unbearably bleak to her.

But just then, something unexpected happened; Stephanie took another pregnancy test, and this time, it came out positive

Thus, gloom and heartbreak had their silver lining, and Stephanie held her husband’s hand on his wake and told him that he was going to be a father again.

A month later, when Stephanie was constantly struggling with abdominal pains, she visited the doctor, fearing the worst.


There, she got the most shocking news of all; the ultrasound showed that she was expecting triplets—two boys and a girl!

Natural triplets are a rare phenomenon, and it seemed like a curious joke that Brian’s dream of a large family was about to come true, even though he would not be there to enjoy it. But then, Stephanie thought of three more smiles that would remind her of her husband, and her heart filled with gratitude.

Sadly, the family had a few more blows left to weather. Stephanie’s father-in-law passed away soon after his son.

Then, six months into her pregnancy, Stephanie visited the doctor and was told that one of the boys—the one she had hoped to name Brady—no longer had a heartbeat

As with each of these heartbreaks that year, each was followed by at least one good thing; when Miles and Harper came into the world, they didn’t need to stay in the hospital for months as triplets often do. The two went home with their mother the very next day.

Life had been hard for Stephanie since Brian died, but with the help of her family and the unexpected support of netizens, who wanted to give her young family the best start, she got back on her feet

Now, when people meet her younger children and ask if they are twins, Stephanie proudly tells them that they are “surviving triplets.” They are the legacy of their father and the strongest reminders of his love.

stella Posted on September 03, 2019 08:03

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Chilling Diary Entry Of Teenager Who Beheaded His Schoolmate

A teenager in Massachusetts convicted of beheading a classmate has been sentenced to life in prison - with chilling diary entries from his journal used in court as evidence.

Mathew Borges, 18, was found guilty of first degree murder for the 2016 killing of then 16-year-old Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino.

Borges, who was 15 at the time of the murder, would apparently get jealous when his ex-girlfriend Leilany Dejesus talked to other boys - including Viloria-Paulino, who Borges became so angry about, he had to get escorted out of the school cafeteria by a teacher.

The family of Viloria-Paulino grew concerned on 18 November 2016 when he went missing. It turned out he had gone out with Mathew that night, and looked like the two had made up.

Viloria-Paulino's corpse was found two weeks later with no head and no hands. As well as being decapitated, he had been stabbed 76 times.

While the defence said there was no physical evidence linking Mathew to the crime, with no murder weapon, no DNA, no blood and no fingerprints to prove that Borges was behind the killing.

However, prosecution argued there was still a 'mountain of evidence' elsewhere.

They referred to text messages he'd sent, along with journal entries he made that outlined the night of the murder.

Reading like a twisted plan, one said: "Go chill with him in his crib alone... bring duffel bag, wear bags on shoes, wear clothes you don't care about."

Another ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Stephanie Soriano, also read text messages she said he sent her before the murder, saying he often spoke of his 'demons'.

Soriano said he sent her one message that read: "I think of killing someone and I smirk.

"It's all I think about every day but I control myself... I like the sound of it - the idea of causing pain in someone getting in my way or causing me pain.

"I see people I don't like [and] that comes to mind. I'm going insane."

Borges was found guilty of first-degree murder in May this year, when it was determined he'd committed the act with 'deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity and cruelty'.

He was then sentenced in July, where defence tried to point out that he was a child at the time of a murder, and had potential to be rehabilitated.

But the victim's heartbroken mother Katiuska Paulino said in a statement to the court that he should 'never have the opportunity to kill again'.

Paulino said: "From the moment the news became public all we have heard is an outpouring of sentiments echoing the facts that we knew to be true."

She continued: "[Lee] was a sincere, loving, responsible, charismatic, and altruistic young man on the verge of seizing life and many, many goals.

"Every day we struggle with the fact his life was cut too short.

"We drove ourselves crazy trying to make sense of what had been done.

"With him gone we feel like we can't breathe... Lee Manuel... was our oxygen."

The judge sentenced Borges to two life sentences and ordered that he would serve a minimum of 30 years to life in prison before the chance of parole.

Paulino added: "There is no sentence I can impose that will bring back Lee Paulino, or that will answer the questions we all have about how this happened, and how a 15-year-old boy could kill a friend in this manner."

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 13:18

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Four kids sob on airport floor after missing holiday because of National Express delay

A National Express coach delay caused a family-of-six to miss their flight leaving the kids falling on the floor sobbing.

Abdul Choudhury, his wife and their four children, from Etruria in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, had booked a one-week holiday to Milan to visit relatives they hadn't seen for 10 years.

But they were forced to scrap their trip after a National Express coach got them to Manchester Airport almost two hours late.

They desperately sprinted to their boarding gate but by the time they got there were told their plane had already left.

Now Abdul, who has been left £274.56 out of pocket, wants the company to refund the cost of his flight, .

Recalling the nightmare ordeal, he said: "It was a very stressful day, my wife was really upset and so were the children. They were falling on the floor crying because they were really excited.

"We were meeting with relatives who we hadn't seen for 10 years and we had to let them down as well. The kids are going back to school now so that was our last chance to visit them."

The coach had been scheduled to leave Hanley bus station at 3.15pm and arrive at the airport at 4.30pm - two-and-a-half hours before the family's flight at 7pm.

However, it didn't leave until 4.50pm. The family were dropped off at Terminal 1 at 6.25pm - a 30-minute walk away from Terminal 3.

The family made it through security but as they ran to their gate they were told the Ryanair flight had left without them.

Abdul was offered alternative flights at a cost of £600, but this was not an option so the family got the train home and missed their one-week break.

National Express has offered to refund their coach and rail travel on the day - but 54-year-old Abdul believes they should also refund the £274.56 cost of his flights.

Abdul said: "We got to the bus station at 2pm for the 3.15pm coach. It got to about 3.25pm and then the time on the board changed to 4.26pm. 

"I went to the counter to ask what had happened and they said it was delayed in Birmingham. I told them that I had a flight at 7pm but they just said they didn't know what was happening because they weren't from National Express. 

"So we decided to wait because if the coach got there for 4.26pm we would still get to the airport at 5.25pm, but it didn't arrive until 4.50pm.

"I explained to the driver that we'd got a flight at 7pm and he told us not to worry and started driving. But it was rush-hour and it took us 30 minutes to pass Basford roundabout.

"When we got to Terminal 1 we had to run for 20 minutes like we were in a marathon with four children and our bags. When we got to our gate they said our flight had gone.

"We then had to get the train home to Stoke-on-Trent and we didn't get back until 11.15pm."

Abdul added: "National Express says it is willing to refund the coach and train travel, but not the money for our fights. But we missed the flight because of them and it needs to be responsible for it.

"National Express had my email address and phone number so could have easily text me to let us know the coach was running late so we could arrange alternative transport but when the time had changed to 4.26pm it was already too late.

"It was a traumatic experience for us. I'll never use National Express again for the airport."

A National Express spokesman said the delays were "out of our control" because of an earlier crash on the M6.

He added: "This was due to queuing traffic caused by a major accident involving a three-vehicle collision, lane closures and emergency barrier repairs between junctions eight and nine on the northbound M6 earlier in the day.  

"Our recommendation to customers when booking travel to the airport is to plan to arrive no later than three hours before the departure time of their flight to allow for any reasonable traffic and ensure they can clear check-in and security.

"While we do factor likely traffic and congestion into our timetables, this kind of delay is out of our control and in these instances we will endeavour to update affected customers and provide appropriate support. 

"Unfortunately, we did not speak directly with Mr Choudhury on the day to provide any assistance but have since offered a full refund of both his coach and rail travel on the day.

"We have also advised him that it should be possible to claim compensation for his flights through his travel insurance provider."

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 12:56

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Kevin Hart Suffers Major Injuries In Car Crash

American stand-up comedian, actor and producer Kevin Darnell Hart who is better known as Kevin Hart has sustained serious injuries after he got involved in a serious car crash early Sunday morning in the Malibu Hills.

According to a report by a local report, the renowned comedian and two other people drifted into a ditch in Malibu Hills just before 1 a.m Sunday morning,1st September 2019.

Reports indicate that although Kevin Hart was not the one driving, he and the driver sustained major back injuries.

The third person in the vehicle is a woman who did not require hospital treatment.

Crash scene video shows Kevin Hart’s Plymouth Barracuda deep in a gully about 10 feet off the road.

It was learnt that Hart was able to exit the wreckage himself and was picked up by his personal security team.

The other two passengers of the car have not been identified and the police reportedly said the driver of the car was not drunk at the time of the incident.

The Hollywood star had bought the vintage muscle car as a 40th birthday present to himself back in July.


stella Posted on September 02, 2019 12:49

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Parents of man murdered by wife offer her £40,000 for custody of grandson

The mum and dad of a British businessman who was brutally murdered by his estranged wife in China have offered his killer £40,000 so their grandchildren can grow up in the UK together. Next executive Michael Simpson, 34, was with his new partner when Wei Wei Fu stormed into his Shanghai flat and stabbed him in the neck while his children slept. His parents Ian and Linda have been battling for custody of their grandchildren Jack and Alice ever since the murder in March 2017. Days after the killing, Wei Wei’s parents took the children 600 miles from Shanghai to the city of Nanzhang and forbade them from speaking to Ian and Linda for a year. After agreeing to pay them more than £9,000 they won custody of Alice on Christmas Day, along with a promise she could speak to Jack via video link every week and meet up once a year.

While the weekly calls have been honoured bicycle repairman Fu Shi Bao, 61, and Hu Dei Xiu, 55, have not been holding up all of the court agreement. They refused to let him leave their home in northwest China to see Alice over the summer, prompting Ian and Linda to offer a final sum to reunite the siblings. The pair from Suffolk made the difficult decision to offer 350,000 yuan (£40,200) into an account to support Wei Wei after she is released from her life prison term in exchange for Jack being allowed to leave China. Michael had been left to raise his and Wei Wei’s children two years before he was killed. His girlfriend at the time was also left with lifelong injuries when Wei Wei attacked her.

Ian and Linda’s legal battle has already cost them £100,000. The Fu family at one stage demanded more than £60,000 for custody of both children before agreeing to release Alice. They had previously rejected an offer of £10,000 and a declaration of forgiveness – which could have halved Wei Wei’s minimum 20-year sentence under Chinese law – in exchange for both children. Ian, 70, told the Mail on Sunday he wrote to the Fu family making the £40,000 offer after being advised legal action to force them to comply with the court agreement could cost more than £25,000. Even then, there is no guarantee they would stick to the deal.

He added: ‘The reason the Fu family want to keep Jack is so he can look after his mother – that is the [traditional] Chinese approach. ‘The earliest Wei Wei will get out is 2036 and Jack will be 27 by that time. We’ve said we will put money in Wei Wei’s bank account and it will be worth double by the time she gets out, and that is the alternative to them hanging on to Jack.’ While offering so much money to the woman who murdered his son has been extremely difficult, he says the welfare of Jack is at the forefront of his mind. He said: ‘If money is what it takes to bring Jack to Britain and reunite him with Alice, that is what we have to do.’

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 12:44

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9-year-old girl in Alabama commits suicide after being bullied at school

Bullying can sometimes have tragic consequences for those on the receiving end. Such was the case when 9-year-old McKenzie Adams, from Demopolis, Alabama, did the unthinkable and took her own life.

According to her mother, Jasmine Adams, the child made that irreversible decision due to being subjected to cruel taunts while at school. Her aunt, Eddwina Harris, wants to raise awareness on the impact bullying can have.

Little McKenzie was a fourth-grade student at the US Jones Elementary School. According to her mother in an interview with CBS This Morning, she was a “happy” and “joyful” child. But unfortunately, as her mother said, she was a constant target for bullies at school.

“There were children picking on her, I think a lot of it stemmed from, she rode to and from school with a little white boy. It was like her best friend,” Jasmine explains.

In an interview with WIAT-TV, Jasmine stated that a lot of the bullying was racial. “And a lot of it was race, some of the student bullies would say to her why you riding with white people your [sic] black, your [sic] ugly. You should just die.”

Jones Elementary was McKenzie’s second school, as she had to move due to bullying. Unfortunately, it didn’t help, and the cruelty continued. Nothing could have prepared her grandmother for what she found on Dec. 3, 2018.

As Harris, the girl’s aunt, explained to PEOPLE, “Something happened that day from one of these bullies that pushed my niece over to the edge.

“She went to the bathroom, and the door was locked. [Her grandmother] said, ‘Unlock the door. What are you doing?’” Harris continues. Her grandmother then opened the door with a butter knife and called 911.

While medics tried to revive her, the child was pronounced dead upon arrival at Bryan W Whitfield Memorial Hospital, Harris says.

In a heart-wrenching interview with CBS, Jasmine addressed the school administration directly and said, “You have my child 8 hours a day. So that means that we have to trust you to do the right thing when it comes to the safety of my child. And they didn’t do that. They didn’t do it. And it hurts.”

While the incident was investigated by Demopolis and Linden Police Department in cooperation with the school district, in a press release, the Demopolis City School System claimed that “There has been no findings of any reports of bullying by either the student or family.”

Jasmine found that disappointing. “I don’t know why they would say they knew nothing about it, but they did,” she said, as per CBS This Morning.

In an interview with Tuscaloosa News, McKenzie’s aunt Harris, who is a TV host in Atlanta, spoke about the importance of using her media influence to speak out against bullying.

“God has blessed me to help others with my platform, and now it’s time to help. There are so many voiceless kids; God is opening great doors for justice for my niece,” she explains. Harris said she is hopeful that her raising awareness on such important issues will help other children who feel hopeless.

Within days of the little girl’s tragic death, a friend of the family posted on Facebook that they were selling buttons with McKenzie’s photo on them. They intended the proceeds to go to the Kenzie Foundation.

Stories like this are heartbreaking to learn but also serve as important reminders of how impactful bullying can be, especially when it’s directed at young minds—and how it can affect even the life of someone as promising as McKenzie was.

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 12:38

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Woman discovers hidden room beneath her basement. What's under it is a long-kept secret

Children often love playing hide and seek—especially in houses with many rooms. A beautiful white, Colonial-style family homestead in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, had a basement with a secret. No one knew about it until many years later when a hole in the floor was opened up for repairs, revealing what would become a national treasure.

Alexandra Poulos grew up in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, where she had a normal and happy childhood growing up in her parents’ home. “It’s my childhood home. My parents bought it in 1974,” she told ABC News.

At 43, she came to learn something curious about her house—it was so incredible it seemed like something out of an old-fashioned movie.

Alexandra said that when she was a young girl, she had dreams about rooms in her house that did not exist.

“When I was a child I would have random dreams about there being other rooms in the house. I’d look it up on dream meanings sites and people always thought I just had a crazy imagination,” she said.

She always had the uncanny feeling that her house was unique.

When her mother passed away, Alexandra felt she needed to return to the home she grew up in. Although she loved her childhood home and cherished all the happy memories she had growing up, she could not bring herself to stay there. Neither did she wish to sell the property, so she decided to rent it out to a family, visiting occasionally to take care of general maintenance and repairs.

One day in 2016, tenant Jerry Sanders noticed some cracks in the walls of the basement. The basement of the house was badly in need of repairs, so Alexandra contracted Baldwin Masonry to fix the problem.

The workers put up columns to hold up the ceiling and tore a hole in the basement floor.

Recalling what the neighbor told her dad in the past, “I think there’s a basement under your basement,” Alexandra had a feeling that there was more to the basement than met the eye.

Speaking to WPVI, she said: “Something was definitely down there.”

Curious, she asked the workers to dig a little deeper into the foundation.

After days of digging, workers broke through to what appeared to be a deep tunnel. The more they dug, the more curious it became. Eventually, it was apparent to everyone’s utter amazement that Alexandra’s house used to be part of an underground railroad!

“A little bit in shock that we lived here for so many years and never knew that this existed,” Alexandra said.

The tenants also expressed they felt the house had a “spiritual presence.”

So the stories were true after all, and her childhood instincts were not unfounded. Alexandra’s family were told about their home, how it used to be a platform of an underground railroad, which was used to secretly lead slaves to freedom, yet no one really believed it was true until that moment. What a surprise that, after all the years, a beautiful secret was revealed, which is now a testament to history.

Alexandra said she planned to install a door where the hole had been for safety purposes. She explained that their house was on Garrett Road, which was named after Thomas Garrett, who was instrumental in helping Harriet Tubman free 2,700 slaves from a neighboring area. She said: “It’s two minutes away from the house, I hope to one day give tours of the site in honor of all they accomplished.”

An essential part of American History was hidden right under Alexandra’s house and now remains a symbol of hope and freedom! According to historians, unbeknownst to most homeowners, there are many stops or stations like this in the area.

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 12:30

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16-Yr-Old Mexican 'Hitman' Has His Head Blown Off In Bloody Gun Battle With Police Officers

A 16-year-old alleged hitman had his head blown off in a gruesome shoot-out when he was dispatched with fellow gangsters to kill police in Mexico.

Juanito Pistola, also known as Commander Little, was inside a van with members of Hell's Troop on Tuesday when they were ordered to ambush police in the town of Nuevo Laredo, a smuggling gateway.

At around noon, Pistola and six others, armed with rifles and dressed in military fatigues, travelled in the van with Texas license plates and engaged the police in a gun battle close to the airport.

High calibre rounds tore through their bodies and pictures of the aftermath showed Pistola's head taken clean off and the blood-soaked corpses of his comrades.

Another four members of Hell's Troop, a wing of the notorious Northeast Cartel (CDN), were killed in clashes with police in the town, Vanguardia reported.

Local media said that the vehicle Pistola died in had been used in an attack on the police several days before in a different part of the city. 

Social media videos and narco-rap songs refer to Pistola as being a hitman in the ranks of the CDN since he was just 13.

According to Mexico's official news agency, Notimex, Pistola had been arrested by police in 2015.

According to reports, cartels often recruit minors to mainly work as drug smugglers. 

Nuevo Laredo is of great strategic importance for the cartels because of numerous international bridges and its proximity to the US.

The town has seen a spate of assaults by CDN gangsters on the state and army police in recent weeks.

A video from last week appears to show trucks marked with CDN insignia speeding down the highway as gunshots ring out.

The CDN, formerly Los Zetas, have controlled the town since 2004 when they took it from the Sinola cartel in a bloody turf war which claimed at least 2,000 lives, Telemundo reported.

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 12:18

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Harry Potter actress' brother and friend found dead on tracks after night out

The brother of a Harry Potter actress and his friend were found dead next to railway tracks after a drunken night out, an inquest has heard. Benjamin Haddon-Cave, 27, and Patrick Bolster, 26, were discovered on the tracks between Hackney Wick and Stratford in east London on March 21, a hearing was today told. Music producer and actor Benjamin, whose sister Jessie Cave played Lavender Brown in the Harry Potter films, and his friend were found by officers who had been called to reports of a fire on March 21. Poplar Coroner’s Court heard how Benjamin, of Clerkenwell, central London, died of electrocution, while Patrick, from County Cork in Ireland, died from brain haemorrhage, electrocution, and thermal trauma.

But both families were unhappy with the court’s findings on their sons, with Benjamin’s parents saying he had been portrayed as ‘reckless’. A statement from Benjamin’s family, read to the court, said: ‘We believe that he had been portrayed as some reckless train surfer but that could not be further from the truth.

The inquest was told the two friends were both intoxicated following a comedy night at the Howling Hops Brewery, near Hampton Wick railway station. It was heard that they had levels of alcohol in them which would cause ‘extreme drunkenness’. Patrick’s family disputed a report of an examination on the student at Aberystwyth University in Wales. Representing the family, Ellen Robertson said: ‘The pathology report is clearly based on an error and that cause of death can’t be relied upon.’ Ben’s girlfriend of around seven years, Sylvia Gregorzko, said the two friends arrived at about 8:45pm to a comedy evening she hosted. She said at around 12.45am the pair decided to leave, and were planning on going back to Ben’s for a few more drinks.

‘As far as I’m aware Ben had never be involved in anything like this before,’ she said. The two bodies were discovered after a train driver was called by a signalman telling him his train was one fire but when he stopped to look he didn’t see any flames. A driver, Steven Large, said: ‘I got a call from the signalman saying that there was a train on fire someone and he would be putting me out of the way… ‘Just before I was coming to a stand I could see there was a tank wagon and it looked like there was a black tarpaulin on top. ‘When I got close to it I could see legs and boots. I could see it was a body.’ The hearing was told that, Patrick’s girlfriend, Sunita Edirisooriya, received a message from him which said: ‘You are my life, all is right with the world. Maybe we should just get a flat and be happy.

A loving statement from her, read to the court, she said it scared her ‘how much I loved him’ and that he made her ‘happier than I ever thought I could be. She said: ‘His spirit brightened up the room, he was always making people laugh… ‘He was gentle and sweet. He always put the needs of others before his own’. Another statement from Benjamin’s family said: ‘As a family we have been blindsided by Ben’s death. ‘It was completely uncharacteristic of him to make a reckless decision. It’s just not something he did, putting himself into the arena of danger. ‘He was phenomenally talented and prolifically creative.’ The inquest continues.

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 12:08

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Mum who was heavily criticised by friends for placing her toddler son, two, in a rear-facing car seat hits back after her decision saved his life in a horror crash

A traumatised mum who was heavily criticised by friends for placing her toddler son in a rear-facing car seat has told how it saved his life during a head-on car crash.

Mum-of-one Tathra Di Liberto was faced with every parent's worst nightmare last week when she received a chilling call that her toddler son Axton, 23 months, had been involved in a severe car crash.

The 35-year-old from Lowood, Queensland, had taken her son to stay with her mother Bronwyn the day before so Axton could spend time with his grandparents, who live an hour away, over the weekend.

But the next afternoon, Tathra and her husband Anton, 34, discovered their son, along with Tathra's mum and brother Bailey, 21, had been involved in a severe head-on collision with an 'out of control' car.

'My parents love to have Axton stay with them over the weekend every so often, so they can spend some time together with their grandson,' she said.

 'I'd dropped him off at their house on the Friday afternoon. Mum and I were actually discussing the rear-facing seat, as they were going to put it in their car.

'Mum suggested to just turn him to the front, but I said not to, and helped her adjust it. And thank god we did. I got a phone call from my brother after 5pm the next day who told me that they'd all been in a car accident. I felt sick to my stomach.

'They'd not even got two miles from the house when it happened. They were just going to grab some dinner together. He said everyone was okay, but that him and mum were hurt. But luckily, Axton didn't have a scratch on him.'

Tathra's mum and brother were both injured, with Bailey suffering severe whiplash and seatbelt bruising, while Bronwyn had a tendon completely torn off the bone in her knee. 

'Thankfully, Axton is fine, and Mum told me that the paramedics, police and firefighters all told her the rear-facing car seat saved his life,' Tathra said.

'Without it, he could have suffered internal decapitation, neck injuries or a broken spine. He could have been killed or paralysed for life.'

Despite facing backlash from friends and family who insisted Axton was 'too big' to be placed in a rear-facing car seat, Tathra said she always felt it was far safer - despite Australian guidelines stating children can be placed front-facing from six months old. 

Australian law differs notably from UK law which states children need to be at least 15 months old before they can use a front-facing car seat – while US guidelines suggest the child remain in a rear-facing car seat until they are two years old.

Tathra is now calling for Australian laws to be changed so that children would need to stay in rear-facing car seats for longer - preferably until age two - which she believes could save countless lives.

'I'm just so grateful. I keep thinking about the 'what if?' scenarios, and it makes me feel sick,' she said.

'I think poor Axton is a bit traumatised from it though, because he cries every time as soon as I put him into the car seat now. He never did that before.

'There is a bit of debate about when kids should be turned front-facing, and I really would urge parents to keep them rear-facing for as long as possible.'

Tathra claims it is 'so much safer' and that although the guidelines allow babies to be turned after six months, she doesn't think this is long enough.  

'I used to get criticised by loads of people who told me he was too old for it, or that he would get bored. But at the end of the day, it can save your child's life. I'd never want to risk it,' she said.

'Now I just want to help spread the message and raise awareness about rear-facing car seats

'When I think about how easily we could have lost him, I get teary. My husband and I are quite traumatised by it all. I'm just so thankful that he is still with us. This could have have a far more tragic outcome.'

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 11:56

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'Miracle' baby girl born with rare 'mirror heart' defies doctors

A baby girl born with a rare “mirror heart” has continued to defy doctors after her parents were told she would die in the womb.

Riziah Moazzeny was born with a rare condition called Heterotaxy Syndrome - which causes internal organs to be abnormally arranged inside the body.

In Riziah’s case the condition caused her heart to mirror image itself which resulted in her having two left sides of her heart.

And at their 12 week scan parents Naomi and Farzam were told their unborn baby would not survive.

The 34-year-old year old mum said: “When I went for my 12 week scan I was told our babies life would end while I was pregnant.

“And I was offered a termination.

“But we told doctors that this had been our baby since we saw that blue line and there was not a chance we were terminating this pregnancy.

“So we asked all our friends and family to pray and we believed that our baby would get through this.”

Doctors had identified that Riziah had a fluid-filled sack called a Cystic Hygroma - which is usually found in the neck or head.

At 17 weeks the mum and dad were told the sack had disappeared, but their baby had a condition known as complete heart block and further down the line, at 28 weeks, they were given the devastating news she had Heterotaxy Syndrome, which had caused a mirrored heart.

The mum said: “Her heartbeat was half of what it should have been.

“She needed to be over 2kg when born to be able to have heart surgery.”

Amazingly Riziah was born at 37 weeks weighing 5lb 13oz and was immediately taken to ICU and at four days old transferred to Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Her parents decided upon her name, after the word resilient due to everything she had already overcome.

And at nine days old she had life saving heart surgery.

Mum Naomi, from Preston, said: “We had our faith all along that she would survive.

"When I was pregnant, we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl as we wanted it to be a surprise. But we would call my bump 'baby Rizzi' after the word resilient and decided to make up a name to reflect that.

"So if it was a girl it was to be Riziah and if it was a boy it would have been Rizian."

Naomi said when Riziah was born, she continued to fight and amaze her parents and doctors.

She added: “Even when she was born her heart did something quite miraculous.

“When babies are born there is a hole in their heart called a PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) which should close.

“However in Riziahs case it stayed open, which in fact saved her life as it caused her heart and lungs to work harder.

“At nine days old she had heart surgery to repair the complete heart block.

“Her heart was beating at 52 beats per minute, which is when doctors usually start resuscitation.

“After surgery she was put on a ventilator and she actually came off it and breathed on her own on the day she was due to be born.”

Riziah, now aged three, will need open heart surgery in the future however her mum said despite everything she has gone through she "is always smiling”.

The mum-of-two, who also has a son Daniel, said: “She is the most happy and sweet little girl you will ever meet.

“When people meet her and they find out all she has been through and all that’s going on inside her they are gobsmacked.

“She doesn’t let anything stop her.

“She is such a sassy, feisty and strong little girl.”

The condition Riziah has also affects her other organs such as her liver,bowel and spleen and she is on daily medication.

However she has recently just started going to nursery and her mum said she is thriving.

She added: “She will always have complications but we are hoping she can live a normal life.

“She blows my mind.

“When I am having a rubbish day I will look at how much she has to go through.

“She will have an incredible story to tell when she is older.

“I can see her being a nurse or something in the medical profession because she is so caring and I would be surprised if she didn’t go into something where she could give back to people.”

Naomi added: “We cannot thank every single nurse, play therapist, doctor and surgeon enough for all that they do for our daughter.

“When I go to Alder Hey when we walk through those doors I take a breath and I feel like we are at home.

“They are a specialist hospital and I just know she is going to be looked after.

“She is our little miracle.”

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 11:20

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Cyrus has a life threatening heart condition, so his family are moving from England to Wales to escape toxic levels of pollution

Little Cyrus Wardle has aortic stenosis, a serious valve disease, which means he will need heart surgery to survive into adulthood.

A schoolboy with a heart condition that leaves him gasping for breath is moving from England to Wales to escape toxic air pollution.

Little Cyrus Wardle has aortic stenosis, a serious valve disease, which means he will need heart surgery to survive into adulthood.

His mum and dad now say they have no choice but to move eight-year-old Cyrus away from the polluted city to the coast.

Steph, 47, and Richard, 55, are concerned about the effects of Bristol's dangerously high nitrogen dioxide levels might have on Cyrus.

So they’re moving to Porthcawl, 70 miles down the M4, in mid-September.

The debate around what we are doing to address climate change was thrust into the limelight this weekend,

Cyrus also suffers with asthma and Steph - who has lived in Bristol for 20 years - says she must act now.

She says: “I do feel as though the dirty air has contributed to his breathing problems.

“We want to give him the best chance we can whilst he's still young.

“The pollution is only going to get worse and it's quite possible it has already contributed to the deterioration of his health.

“We don't feel like we can stay in Bristol. It's not best for our son.

“Wales has some of the cleanest air you can find so we thought let's go for it and have a fresh start.

“Wherever we go in Bristol we are exposed to filthy air. It's reasonable to worry his health may be connected to it.”

Steph is one of more than 400 people to sign an open letter to Bristol mayor Marvin Rees demanding drastic action to tackle the city’s illegal levels of air pollution.

The council says it is committed to improving air quality as quickly as possible and intends to implement a clean air zone (CAZ) by March 2021.

It sent out two proposals to public consultation earlier this summer, which received more than 5,000 responses.

One would see diesel cars banned from the city centre for eight hours a day and the other option would introduce a range of traffic-calming measures.

Steph plans to move from her St Paul's home to the coast in Wales next month.

She fears long-term exposure to main roads like the nearby M32, have contributed to Cyrus' breathing problems,

“We are moving to Porthcawl in South Wales for my son’s health to give him a chance to breathe clean, fresh air,” she says.

“Whenever we go on holiday, like when we went to Devon recently, he stops coughing.

"But when we are in Bristol he seems to struggle more."

Cyrus was diagnosed with his heart condition aged two and will need heart surgery to extend his life.

Steph said: “At the moment he can function fine, as long as he does not exert himself, but it is going to put too much pressure on his heart, so he won’t survive into adulthood without an operation.

“A little balloon needs to be inserted in the aorta but they want to wait until he has physically grown as much as possible because it will not grow along with him and his heart.”

Steph has been so desperate to leave Bristol that she is moving to Wales before she finds herself a new job.

Whilst the family are looking forward to their fresh start, Steph says they will leave Bristol with a “heavy heart”.

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 11:04

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Girl's heart bulges out of her chest, defies the odds despite delicate circumstances

This little girl seems just like any other—full of life, dancing, and running around. However, when you glance at her stomach area, you can see she has a condition. In fact, any hard knock could kill her.

Fourth-grade student Virsaviya Borun-Goncharova, 10, was born with a condition known as Pentalogy of Cantrell.

Pentalogy of Cantrell is a rare syndrome, affecting only five in a million people, that causes defects involving the diaphragm, abdominal wall, pericardium, heart, and lower sternum.

As a result of the condition, Virsaviya’s heart grows outside her rib cage, and has only a thin layer of skin covering the vital organ. Moreover, she is missing part of her chest bones, a diaphragm, and abdominal muscles.

“This is my heart. I’m the only one that has this. When I’m getting dressed, I put soft clothes on to not hurt my heart. And I just walk around, I jump, I fly, I run,” said the little girl, whose heart bulges out of her chest and can visibly be seen beating under the thin layer of skin.

Virsaviya was born in Russia. Russian doctors told her mother, Dari Borun, that her daughter had almost no hope of survival. Dari said: “Doctors told me Virsaviya had a really rare condition. But they said she won’t survive.”

According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), babies born with the condition often do not survive very long —64 percent died within days after birth.

However, Virsaviya has defied the odds.

“When I saw the first time how her heart was beating, of course to me it was something special. Virsaviya is alive and she can breathe and she can live. I was really upset about that because they kept telling me she will die soon,” Dari said.

Virsaviya survived birth. However, living with her heart exposed poses risks.

“It’s not easy for Virsaviya to live with her heart on the outside because it’s really fragile,” Dari added. “She has to be careful as of course she can fall and it can be really dangerous—she can die from that.”

In most cases, Pentalogy of Cantrell is fatal without surgery to repair the defects, as per NORD. To seek treatment, Dari took Virsaviya to live in Florida, the United States.

Initially, a doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital agreed to perform surgery on Virsaviya, after many others had refused. However, taking the little girl’s high blood pressure in her pulmonary artery into consideration, the doctor decided not to go ahead with the dangerous surgery.

Fortunately, the brave Virsaviya is alive and well despite not being able to undergo an operation to repair her defects.

The girl is thriving even though she was rushed to the hospital after her heart got hit accidentally by one boy in school in December 2017.

“So she was vomiting since that time, she was complaining that she feel pain in her heart, belly and head and that she feel cold. We are in the emergency room for so long , hungry and tired,” Dari recalled the incident on Instagram.

Dari told NHLBI: “I like to call her my miracle and my warrior.”

The vibrant Virsaviya still lives in the United States, and she just began her first school day as a 4th-grader.

Virsaviya said in a video posted in November 2017: “I never want to do a surgery because I want to keep my heart and be a miracle for the rest of my life.”

And the inspiring young girl knows exactly why she has a heart outside. “Because Jesus wants [sic] to show he can make special things like me,” she said to MailOnline.

Virsaviya has an 8-month-old brother now. Watch her baby brother touching her heart:


stella Posted on September 02, 2019 10:55

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Wife told to let husband go after stroke, but she gives him a kiss and a miracle happens

Imagine watching the love of your life and parent of your children disappearing before your eyes, believing that you have lost them forever. That’s what happened to Danielle Hawkins, whose husband, Scott, nearly died several years ago.

Danielle was away that day, and Scott was at home taking care of the kids. “He called me and he was slurring his words,” Danielle told Health Beat. “He said he had an intense headache and that something was wrong.”

They both called 911 and got an ambulance to come get Scott, but by the time the ambulance got there, he had fluid in his lungs and was starving for oxygen. “It was just very, very bad,” Danielle remembers. It became clear that Scott had suffered from a stroke.

As the day went on, doctors diagnosed Scott with AVM (arteriovenous malformation), a birth defect that can go unnoticed for decades until it manifests itself through terrible migraines and even aneurysms. Scott’s AVM had ruptured and led to bleeding in the brain. Surgeons attempted to stop the bleeding, but during the procedure, Scott suffered from a heart attack. “They lost him for a few minutes,” Danielle told Health Beat.

It looked as though her high school sweetheart was gone. “They told me to let him go.” But there was something in Danielle that knew Scott wasn’t gone just yet. What really made her believe he could come back was the simplest expression of their love. “Every time I kissed him, he kissed me back,” Danielle explained in a YouTube video.

Even after being stabilized, Scott’s stroke left him in terrible condition. “He couldn’t sit up, he couldn’t swallow, he couldn’t speak, of course, he couldn’t eat,” Danielle remembers. What could she do to try to bring back her husband? The doctors couldn’t offer any hope.

The couple were originally brought together by music, and so it was natural that Danielle sought relief in their shared passion. “We were in band together in high school and he was a rowdy redhead,” she jokes in the video. Bringing a thumb guitar in, she had Scott touch the strings and play some notes. When doctors claimed it was just an automatic reflex, she asked Scott to change notes, which he was able to do.

After this, the Hawkins’s found Spectrum Health, a holistic rehab center where Scott could get the attention to recovery that had been lacking in the hospital. Once again, music was the key. Music therapist Alika Seu told Health Beat that she understood this crucial element after talking with Danielle. “Scott was a very talented musician prior to his injury so during his recovery he was very motivated to get back to doing what he loved.”

Seu and the other therapists devised an amazing recovery program around music. “When he was finally strong enough to try to start walking again, we used live rhythmic music to help provide a steady pulse to assist with cadence, stride length, gait quality and endurance.”

After several months, Scott was finally able to go home with a walker and start playing more music. Though he still struggles with many ordinary tasks and suffers paralysis in his left ankle, his recovery has been extraordinary. As Danielle told Health Beat, “he’s playing guitar again. He plays the drums. It used to be he couldn’t swallow. He had a feeding tube for nine months, but now he can eat anything he wants.”

Danielle and Scott continue to work on maintaining and regaining Scott’s functionalities. It’s a big work in progress, but Danielle feels good about the fact that she never gave up on her husband no matter what the doctors said. “I never believed he would die […] he is still the smartest man I know and has the same personality and humor he has always had.”

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 10:48

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Girl Ignores Mom’s Warning to Avoid Poor Man, Her Selfless Act Is a Life Lesson for All

Words of Wisdom aims to highlight important morals, which we feel our readers will benefit from reading. We hope you enjoy this fable.

This short story validates the virtue of accepting and respecting others as they are. By not letting our negative notions override our true and kind thoughts, we can eventually rectify our hearts and become even better people.

A mother and her 5-year-old daughter were taking a journey by train. No sooner had they sat down, a scraggy-looking vendor, dressed in cheap clothes, approached them to sell his snacks.

“Madam, would you like to buy a pack?” the vendor asked.

Her daughter wished to eat the snack and begged her to buy one, but the mother would have none of it and glared at the vendor in total disgust. “Just go away!” the mother said.

The little girl, however, kindly smiled at the poor man. The vendor greeted the child with a warm smile before disappearing into the crowd.

With her daughter sulking and the temperatures soaring, the exhausted mother was feeling very hot and bothered now. All she wanted to do was to get home safely soon.

When the train reached the station, the mother carefully took her daughter’s hand and proceeded to the exit. But as they were waiting to disembark, they saw the very same vendor sitting by the door selling his snacks.

The child pleaded with her mom again, “Mom, let’s give him some money? He looks hungry.”

On the contrary, the worried mother had the safety of her daughter in mind. She said, “Ignore him, otherwise, he will take you away in his bag. He is not a good person.”

As they crossed the road, to the mother’s consternation, she then saw the vendor running right behind them. The mother thought the man was for sure a stalker. She flagged down a taxi, jumped into the back seat with her daughter, and told the driver to step on the ignition.

However, the vendor managed to reach the taxi just before they sped away. The poor man tapped on the window with something belonging to her daughter in his hand. The mother recognized her daughter’s golden bracelet and rolled down the window.

M’am your daughter gave it to me just before you got off the train,” the vendor said. “I know I can’t keep it.”

Almost embarrassed of her prejudice, the mother quietly took the bracelet from the poor man. And just before leaving, the vendor handed the mother a pack of snacks and said, “It’s for your child.”

The taxi took off before the mother had time to thank this unknown stranger.

The mother knew she was wrong to judge the vendor in the first place. When she looked at her daughter, who was relishing her pack of gifted snacks, she felt proud of her. As young as she was, the girl still did not let appearances fool her.

We hope this inspiring fable will serve as a humble reminder to all of us that a good heart is worth more than gold, and it must be cherished and honored, irrespective of caste, creed, or status.

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 10:39

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Mum-of-three hasn't left house for two years because of 'botched' nose operation

A mum-of-three says she hasn't left the house for two years after a 'botched' nose operation left her confidence in tatters.

Helen Jones underwent a corrective procedure in October 2017 but was devastated with the results.

The 34-year-old claims she repeatedly asked the surgeon whether the appearance of her nose would change ahead of the surgery.

And after allegedly being reassured it would not, she agreed to have it carried out, reports Wales Online.

But Helen said the shape of her nose was significantly altered and, as a consequence, has had a disastrous impact on her mental health.

"I have three children but I can't take them anywhere. I can't even take my three-year-old son to play school," said Helen, from Llanfairfechan in Conwy, Wales.


"I have missed two really important family funerals as I haven't been able to face going out.

"I don't feel like I have a life any more. I feel like a prisoner in my own home."

Helen, who was having trouble breathing while exercising, was found to have a deviated nasal septum by ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists.

She was referred for a septoplasty – a procedure to correct the deviated septum – at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor which was set to be carried out on June 27, 2017.

However, the operation was cancelled at the last minute and rescheduled for October 5, 2017.

"When I went into the hospital in October I didn't sign any consent forms," she said.

"I said I wouldn't go through with the operation if there was a chance my nose would change, but the consultant reassured me it would be fine.

"I have now been left with a flat, bumpy and wide nose. It has really knocked my self-esteem and I now suffer with terrible headaches ."

Following the procedure, Helen complained to the Public Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, who carried out an investigation.

He found that the operation had been carried out to an appropriate standard and that an initial discussion about the potential risks, in March 2017, was also appropriate.

But he found there was no record of any discussion about possible complications on the day of the operation and her consent was not confirmed on any form.

A report into Helen's case, which refers to Helen as Ms K, said: "Irrespective of whether there were any failings on the part of the health board, this has clearly been a deeply upsetting experience for Ms K which has significantly affected her daily life and her confidence in her appearance.

"The records suggest that the operation was carried out to an appropriate standard, and the complication Ms K suffered, while highly unfortunate, is a known risk of this procedure.

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 10:33

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Mum 'murdered daughter, 3, after losing bitter custody battle'

A mother is accused of murdering her three-year-old daughter after losing custody to her ex-partner. Isla Gurney was found dead in her bed at a property in the town of Orange in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Her mother Tamara, 40, was in another room at the house and slipping in an out of consciousness after a reported drug overdose. Police are investigating the possibility Isla’s death was connected to the custody battle decision. It is reported Tamara was ‘inconsolable’ after finding out Isla would soon leave to live with her biological father Nathan Katterns, who obtained full custody.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by friends of Mr Katterns, a teacher, to support him after the tragic loss. The page claimed that he had been involved in an 18-month legal battle after his daughter was moved 620 miles away. In a heartbreaking tribute, Mr Katterns wrote: ‘You will always be daddy’s little girl “moo” and loved to the moon, stars, heaven and back forever. ‘You will be remembered and in the hearts of everyone who met you. ‘Every time we look out across the ocean or up to the sky, we will always think of you as our angel girl.’

According to local media reports, there were ‘no signs of injuries on Isla’s body’. NSW police are waiting on autopsy results to establish the cause of death. Officers were called to the home after a neighbour asked them to check on the welfare of the mother and daughter. Isla’s grandmother Margaret Gurney told Nine News: ‘She was the most gorgeous little girl you’ve ever seen.

‘I talked to her Wednesday night, she said: “I love you, grandma, you’re the best grandma”.’ Margaret said she became concerned when her daughter sent a strange text shortly before Isla was found dead. She said: ‘Tamara sent a text saying what a wonderful mother I was and she used past tense, so that’s when I knew. ‘Then she said: “I’ll say goodbye now, mum, I won’t be here tomorrow”.’

stella Posted on August 29, 2019 17:26

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Baby’s Arm Had to Be Amputated, So Dad Quit Job and Did an Unbelievable Thing

A young dad, distraught after learning that his 10-day-old son had to get his left hand amputated, ended up resigning from his job as a psychology lecturer. He then focused all his attention on developing a prosthetic arm for his son—an innovation that some health professionals are calling “potentially revolutionary.”

Learning that his wife would be giving birth to a baby boy, Ben Ryan was ecstatic. But when the baby was born in March 2015 at the maternity ward in Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, the joy soon gave way to concern. The infant suffered from blood clots in his left arm.

“I remember just thinking ‘I must be dreaming—this is a nightmare,'” Ryan told BBC. “The consultant in Alder Hey was telling me that almost certainly Sol was going to have to lose his left hand.”

And much to the heartbreak of Ben Ryan and Katie Smith, they had to consent to amputate the hand of their newly born child, whom they named Sol, after the solar eclipse that occurred on the day that he was born.

Sol had his left arm amputated just below the elbow at 10 days old.

“It was a very, very black period of time. I couldn’t quite believe what was happening,” said Ryan. “I just went into emergency mode—I think everyone does. You just deal with it because you have to.”

Ryan approached many specialists to get a prosthetic arm for his son. But he faced rejection everywhere, with them saying that Sol was far too young for a prosthesis.

It was likely to be three years before he could be fitted for an electric device. I thought I could do better for my son. By encouraging him to use both arms during this period of early brain development, we believed Sol would become more likely to adopt prosthetics later on,” said Ryan, reports the Daily Post.

“Current prosthetic arm technology for infants dates back to the Victorian era in many cases. They are ugly and often rejected early on. Unfortunately, newer technologies are often unsuitable for children under three and there is evidence that the earlier function can be introduced the better,” he added.

So, Ryan took matters into his own hands even though he had no idea regarding product design, development, or other technical knowledge required to achieve his dream of building the prosthetic arm.

Incredibly, a few weeks later, Ryan had created the first version of the prosthetic arm; however, the hand kept breaking off. Moreover, it didn’t open or close like a real hand, and Sol had already outgrown that.

Ryan didn’t give up at this stage. Taking inspiration from how spiders use fluid pressure to move their legs, he quit his job as a psychology lecturer and started to research for ways to develop the prosthetic arm.

The doting father took a scan of Sol’s arm and taught himself product design and development with the help of Fusion 360 software. Eventually, he succeeded in manufacturing a bionic arm on a 3D printer.

The new bionic arm has tough rubber fingers and a movable thumb. Sol was able to grab and hold objects by controlling the thumb using his shoulder.

To develop advancement in prosthetic technology,” the self-taught design engineer set up a company called Ambionics in 2016.

Paul Sohi from Autodesk was impressed by Ryan’s achievement and eventually teamed up with him to work on developing new prosthetic technologies.

“It’s been inspiring to work on this innovative and ambitious project,” Sohi said. “It is amazing that, despite Ben having no background in product design, he’s taught himself enough to create something that will not only help his own son Sol, but potentially lots of others facing the same challenges too.”

Ryan is the perfect example of what a man can achieve when he dedicates himself to improving the lives of the people he loves.

“If you have an idea and you have the motivation to do it, you can do it,” he said, according to KTVB. “You can change the world.”

stella Posted on August 29, 2019 17:17

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Community steps in to help after teens lose their father and fire damages condo unit

It's been a tough year for two brothers from Oakville — Forest Saville, 18, and Trent Saville, 17 — who lost their father and were forced to leave their home after it was damaged by fire.

The teens' trouble started in late October 2018, after their father Chris Saville went to Florida on a golfing trip with a group of friends.

Shortly before Chris and his friends were due to fly back to Canada, they were together having pizza when Chris started choking on a piece of pizza. Chris' friends tried everything to dislodge the piece of pizza, including the Heimlich manoeuvre, but they could not get it out. Chris lost consciousness and was taken to hospital in a comatose state.

"I thought it was [just] another phone call but it was actually a doctor from America calling me to ask for my consent for a procedure on my father," Forest told CBC Toronto on Sunday.

Chris was airlifted to Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital on Nov. 3, 2018.

That same night, tragedy struck again, this time at the home the teenagers shared with their father for six years.

"There was an electrical fire inside the wall, and we're not exactly sure how it started," Forest explained.

He said they lost everything in the blaze. They also lost their father in April 2019, after months on life support.

A group of community organizers and good Samaritans stepped in after both tragedies, starting a GoFundMe page and helping the teenagers find a hotel.

The brothers have been staying at Sandman Hotel, which is paid for by Halton Region in conjunction with insurance money. They have also been receiving support from Matt Foxall of Kerr Street Mission's Neighbour Care Network, and Kevin Schilz of the Halton Region agency Bridging the Gap Halton.

"The hotel staff is always ... phenomenal," Trent said.

Another of the good Samaritans is Gareth Lewis, who was one of Chris Saville's closest friends, and was also in Florida with him on the golfing trip.

"I've become a lot closer to Trent and Forest in the last year. I knew them before as kids and watched them grow up," Lewis told CBC Toronto.

Teens want to go back to school, 'back into life'

Forest said Lewis and the community support have been phenomenal.

"He's been helping us with everything that we need from driving around, to money situations, meetings, just everything that I can imagine," Forest said of Lewis. "I'm more than grateful; words can't explain."

After months of living in a hotel, the brothers now have a tentative return date to their condo in fall.

But while they're looking forward to the next chapter of their lives, they're also hopeful they won't lose their home due to their inability to afford mortgage payments.

"We're both looking at schooling, and getting jobs, getting back into life, the swing of things," Forest said.

"It was our home, not just three guys in a house, and I'll hold on to whatever I can that reminds me of my father, and definitely living in that home. I hope I can do him right by taking care of it."

stella Posted on August 27, 2019 17:12

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Brave mum reveals how she fought off Moseley carjackers while her son, 3, was inside car

A brave mum who fought off three carjackers has said her only instinct was to protect her young son.

Her three-year-old boy and her friend were still inside the £55,000 car when a gang armed with a crowbar tried to steal it.

But the plucky mum, who did not want to be named, told BirminghamLive how she "did everything in her power" to stop them.

The drama happened in Oakland Road, Moseley , at around 6pm on Friday, July 26.  Watch the incredible video showing her bravery above.

The 24-year-old woman said she had just pulled up in the road and was unloading her Audi SQ5 with her son in the back and friend in the front passenger seat when the terrifying incident unfolded.

"They didn't come out of nowhere, I'd noticed them in their car in the road just minutes before but didn't think anything of it." she said.

"I don't know if they'd been following me, were waiting for me or if it was just random.

"But I was out of the car when three of them came rushing up to me with their faces covered.

"They had a crowbar and started shouting first at my friend to give them her handbag and to me screaming for the keys.

"My friend said she didn't have anything in her handbag so they turned to me screaming 'Give us the keys, give us the keys."

The woman, who is a full-time mum, said instinct then took over.

"Immediately my instinct was to protect the two people with me and I did everything in my power to do that," she said.

"They had a crowbar but weren't hitting me with it, and didn't have knives or guns so I thought, well if they were going to hit me they'd have done it by now.

"One of them had got into the car and was trying to start it and I shouted 'my son's in the car - leave him alone!

"The car wouldn't start and they were still screaming for the keys.

"I tried shutting the car door on the one who had got inside but he managed to move just before I could.

"So I moved away, put my handbag up against the wall and a plant pot and and sat on it so there was something between them and my keys.

"They had pushed my friend over and she was yelling at me to just give them the keys, but I said I can't because my baby's in the car.

"I kept thinking, if they were going to use that crowbar they would have by now so just sat there refusing to hand over the keys.

"I also knew that my friend had phoned the police and other people in the road had as well so I knew help wasn't very far away."

She said eventually the gang ran away and she rushed over to get her son out of the car.

"I figured they weren't professionals because they were only armed with a crowbar - if they'd meant business they'd have got knives or even a gun," she said.

The mum, who used to work in recruitment, said it was the second time in less than a year that thieves had targeted her and her partner's car.

In October 2018 both of their Audis had been stolen from the driveway of their home - and one of them had been later used in a ram raid and someone had been prosecuted over it.

"We've been told our Audis are very desirable by gangs and robbers because they're high speed and also very valuable for parts as well," she said.

"All our friends and family say to us, why don't you just check a cheaper car?

"My instinct is to do that, but then I think, why should we?  They're our cars, we love them and worked hard for them."

he mum, who lives in the Moseley area, said she and her son were unharmed in the incident, but that he had been left traumatised by the ordeal.

"He 's always asking me, mum, are the bad men coming back?  I tell him, no, they're in a cage and won't be coming back."

Police are still appealing for information about the attack to contact them on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

stella Posted on August 27, 2019 17:03

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Grieving daughter watched the moment her father was killed as he tried to help a friend who was being robbed

A grieving daughter watched in court the moment her hero father was stabbed to death as he tried to help a friend who was being robbed.

Keith Harris, 43, rushed to help pal Terrence Moore as he was being targeted by thief Michael Long.

When Keith intervened, cocaine-fuelled Long shouted 'die' as he lashed out at him with a knife three times.

Keith's heartbroken daughter April Harris-Parkes watched CCTV of the fatal attack when it was played in court.

Now as Long, 36, is jailed for life, Keith’s only daughter, April Harris-Parkes, has spoken for the first time.

She says: “I was in court to see the CCTV of the attack and I watched my dad die. It was horrific, so brutal and so evil.

“I am not in any way an aggressive person but I felt so much anger towards my dad’s killer. He sat in the dock and smirked and he showed no remorse at all.”   

April, 19, from Manchester, says: “My dad had a huge heart and he was kind and caring. It does not surprise me at all that he stepped in to save some else’s life.

“I had to watch my father die.

“He was standing in the shop queue, with two bottles of milkshake in his hand, when Long launched his attack. My dad just threw himself on him and dragged him away, still holding his milkshake.

“Long stabbed him and I watched my dad stagger round the shop, bleeding heavily, knowing he was dying.

“He had only popped into the shop to buy himself a milkshake – and that decision ended his life.

“He must have been so scared and it tears me apart to think of how he suffered. But it is some comfort to me that his last act was one of selfless bravery.

“He will be remembered as a true hero.”

April’s parents split after her first birthday. Despite this, she and her dad remained close.

April says: “Dad would take me to the park after school and we’d play football. We went on holiday every summer to Wales with my grandparents – his parents - and he would spend hours on the beach with me.

“I was his only child and he adored me. He was very family-orientated.

“There were times when he moved away but he kept in touch over the phone and sent cards and presents. I saw my grandparents every weekend too.”

In 2018, Keith moved back to Whitefield, Manchester, to help care for his dying brother.

April says: “That was typical of my dad, if someone needed help, he was there. He was always doing the garden or painting the house for someone. He liked to keep busy.”

Keith had been out of work for some time but in August 2018, he got a new job as a painter and decorator and was excited to start. On his way to his first day at work with a pal, Terry Moore, Keith decided to stop at a corner shop to buy himself two Yazoo milkshakes.

That decision would end his life.

As Keith queued in the shop, Long launched a vicious attack on Terry. And when Keith intervened to save him, Long stabbed him to death.

April has struggled to move on since her father’s death. She has been unable to return to work and suffers with anxiety.

She says: “I feel dreadful for my grandparents; they lost their son in horrific circumstances and they will never recover from this.  They had been due to celebrate their 54 wedding anniversary on the day of his death. Our entire family has been ripped to shreds – and for what?

“The killing was completely senseless.”

Long appeared at Manchester Crown Court last month.

Sentencing, Judge Patrick Field QC said: "Mr Harris didn't stand back and watch. Without a moment's thought for his own safety, he instinctively and courageously came to the rescue.

"This was without any doubt a selfless act of bravery on his part."

The court heard how Keith and Terry came into contact with Long, a stranger, who was said to have become angry when he was refused a cigarette by them.

He then approached Terry, who was walking behind Keith, who was already in the shop, after 7am on August 15 last year.

The judge said he was satisfied Long was trying to rob Terry.

Terry was able to back away and dodge Long's threats with the knife, until they both tumbled into the entrance of the Premier shop and a struggle ensued on the floor.

Keith, who still had his shopping in his hands, intervened to help his friend.

After stabbing Keith, Long changed his clothing and fled in a car which collided with several vehicles.   

A female driver suffered a fractured sternum after his car hit her on the driver's side.

Later at the police station, a drink drive test revealed he had 117 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath in his system, the legal limit being 35 micrograms.

In interview with officers, Long said he had no recollection of events that day, because he had drunk at least 12 cans of strong lager and taken two or three grams of cocaine beforehand.

Defending, Bernard Richmond QC said Long was now 'remorseful', and that he never denied being responsible for Keith's death.

But as he was being sent down to begin his life sentence, Long gave the thumbs up to his supporters in the public gallery.

Long was found guilty of murder, attempted wounding with intent, and pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and possessing cocaine.

He will serve the minimum term of 25 years before the Parole Board consider whether it is safe to release him.r


stella Posted on August 27, 2019 16:56

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Mother and daughter pilots for Delta go viral after photo of them flying together posted online

Every little girl should be raised to believe that she can do anything she puts her mind to. But for many, the lack of role models presented in the media and the world around them can make that difficult to truly believe.

That sentiment is what got so many people excited when they saw a smiling picture posted of Capt. Wendy and First Officer Kelly Rexon in March of 2019.

The two women pilots, who flew a Boeing 737 from Los Angeles to Atlanta together, are a rare enough sight already; according to an estimate by the International Society of Women Airline Pilots in 2018, the number of female pilots at the largest commercial airlines in the world only adds up to somewhere between 3 percent and 6 percent of the overall pilot staff.

What makes them even more inspirational, though, is that they weren’t just an all-female flight crew—they’re also a mother-daughter team.

“Just flew with this mother daughter crew on Delta from LAX to ATL,” shared John R. Watret, the Chancellor of the Embry-Riddle Worldwide Campus, who happened to be on that particular flight and decided to post about it on social media. Watret is also a pilot and a self-described “aviation geek.”

The photo went viral immediately, with over 18,000 people retweeting the photo and an additional 52,000 liking it. Over 600 people commented on the image, expressing their delight at seeing such an inspirational flight crew—something that Watret himself explained was his reason for posting it.

“There has to be more diversification in the industry,” Watret said, in an interview with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical News. “It’s crucial and one of the key factors we focus on. When there are more opportunities, everyone wins.”

Watret learned about the unique pair who were piloting his flight when a mother and daughter sitting near him asked if they could take a look around the cockpit. He was intrigued when the flight attendant granted them permission, explaining that they would be surprised by what they found—and when they returned to their seats, he heard them talking about who the pilots were upon popping in to say hello.

Watret then asked to go up and visit them himself, and he later shared the picture of when he got a chance to chat with them.

As chancellor of an aeronautical university with campuses across the globe, Watret knew that he had an opportunity to make a difference by sharing the story of the Rexons with the world. So even though he admitted that he’s not a frequent tweeter, he sent the picture off into the social media sphere in hopes that it would inspire more women to get involved in aviation.

Embry-Riddle has been doing its part as a university to make the concrete effort to get more women into aviation. Just before the photo of the Rexons was snapped, the university wrapped up its 30th annual International Women in Aviation Conference in Long Beach, California, and they hosted a “STEM event during Girls in Aviation Day” to give 300 girls between the ages of 7 and 17 a chance to learn more about aviation and how to get into a flight career themselves.

Delta was delighted that Watret shared the story, tweeting out that the pair are “flight crew goals!”

One person’s response summed it up perfectly, though.

“This gives new meaning to a ‘mother talking her daughter under her wings!’” they wrote.

stella Posted on August 27, 2019 16:50

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Housekeeper who watched a father-of-four get shot dead as he confronted police with a samurai sword after a siege says he was a 'kind and loving man' before his breakdown

A young housekeeper who watched her father-of-four employer be gunned down by police after a siege insists he was a kind man and 'not the villain'.

Duylinh 'Louie' Ho, 41, was shot dead outside his home in Doolandella, Brisbane, on July 22 while confronting officers with a samurai sword.

Police said Mr Ho held his wife Nikki, their four children aged under 10, and another woman hostage inside the home before later releasing them.

But his housekeeper Emily Ross, who was the other woman involved, claims Mr Ho was suffering a mental breakdown and was no threat to them.

'I want to clear his name and make sure that everyone knows he is not the villain in this story,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'We weren't hostages. The kids, his wife and I were never in any harm from Louie. He was struggling with mental health issues.

'We called the ambulance for medical assistance as he had an injury and was threatening self harm.'

The family called an ambulance about 5.30am as Mr Ho began behaving erratically, including threatening to throw a mirror down a flight of stairs.

Ms Ross said he refused treatment when paramedics arrived at the Cassowary Street house and police were called to assist in getting him to go to hospital.

'The events that followed after have left the family and I completely shocked and heartbroken as Louie was very much loved by those who have ever met him,' she said.

Police said in a statement that the family and Ms Ross were 'released' from the 'siege situation' after police negotiated with Mr Ho.

However, Ms Ross said they were never hostages and were just trying to get Mr Ho the medical help he needed.

'Louie was a loving father and a beautiful soul. He was nothing but kind to me and loved his wife dearly,' she said.

'Not a day goes by that the children don't ask for their dad. One of his children said it was the worst day of their life because they will never see their dad again.'

Ms Ross said Mr Ho's family was distressed by how he was portrayed by police in the aftermath of the shooting and that friends and family were confused by suggestions he would do such 'terrible things'.

A neighbour who claimed to have witnessed the series of events also insisted there was 'no f**king siege'.  

'I was there. The kids as they woke up he sent them down stairs to us,' he said, describing Mr Ho as a close friend.

'[At] 4am he was screaming for help... It was mental health not drugs, etc, and his four kids and wife I feel for.' 

Police said seconds after the family was released, Mr Ho charged at officers brandishing the sword was shot about 7.45am.

Paramedics tried to save his life but he died of his wounds half an hour later.

Inspector Tim Partridge said the veteran senior constable who fired the shots had no option but to use lethal force.

'He's understandably stressed, but he's comfortable in the fact that he didn't have any other option,' he said.

'It's traumatic for everybody involved. It is never the intention of police to resolve in this manner but, unfortunately, circumstances dictate you have no other option.'

Queensland Police ethical standards command will investigate the shooting with oversight by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

stella Posted on August 27, 2019 16:42

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Terrifying moment a driver nosedives out of his van window seconds before it erupts into flames at a petrol station in China

This is the dramatic moment a driver leaps out of his van's window as it suddenly bursts into flames at a petrol station.

The CCTV footage from a Shell garage in the Yubei District in Chongqing, China, shows silver van owner Mr Gong diving out of the window.

Seconds later his vehicle is engulfed with flames, the blaze sweeping up the vehicle due to a fuel leak.

Beginning at the bottom of the chassis the blaze spreads to the drivers' cabin within seconds during the August 20 incident.

As Mr Gong rubs his face on the ground and rolls around in a bid to snuff out any flames, a Shell staff member and her colleagues dash over to put out the fire using handheld extinguishers.

Filling station manager Sun Jianbiao said the van caught fire as the driver started the engine and was preparing to leave, and luckily one of the attendants turned off the petrol pump before anything else could happen.   

Sun said his staff spent about 40 seconds putting out the fire.

He added: 'The fire service and other officials investigated and found the van petrol tank had a leak.

'It was an old vehicle, and some of its cabling was exposed, so that sparked a fire when the driver started the engine.'

According to the fire service, Mr Gong later admitted he had noticed his van was leaking petrol earlier in the day but chose not to address it.

No one else was injured during the incident and it is still under investigation.


stella Posted on August 27, 2019 16:34

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