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Dad 'beat his sons, aged 14 and 17, with a guitar and only stopped when it snapped because they wouldn't get out of bed for church'

A Utah man has been arrested for allegedly beating his two sons with a guitar until it broke because they would not get out of bed for Sunday church.  

Lamatia Tapumanaia Sa of Kearns was arrested on Thursday on child abuse charges for assaulting his two sons, aged 14 and 17, on June 30.

According to KSL, the 14-year-old victim was asleep when Sa tried to wake the boy up for church. 

A probable cause statement filed in Salt Lake County's 3rd District Court said: '(The boy) decided to go back to bed and not get ready for church.'

Sa became upset with the boy and 'picked up a guitar and tried to strike him in the head,' Gephardt Daily reports.   

The boy was reportedly able to deflect the hit, 'which he blocked with his hand. He then sat up and Sa hit him with the guitar four more times times … causing a broken arm,' Geophardt Daily says. 

Sa's 17-year-old son was woken in a similar manner that morning, with Sa hitting his leg and hip. 

The teenager said Sa only stopped hitting him when the guitar snapped. 

Sa admitted to beating his teenage boys after authorities read him his Miranda rights, Geophardt Daily reports. 

The father has been charged with a felony and misdemeamor for child abuse.

His bail is set at $25,000. has contacted the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake for further comment.

stella Posted on August 27, 2019 14:49

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Venice couple charged after 2-month-old infant found to have severe injuries

VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) – A Venice couple has been charged with child neglect after deputies say a two-month-old baby they were caring for suffered severe injuries.

Detectives say they began investigating earlier this week after the baby was brought to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg with a broken leg, bruised arm and brain trauma.

According to deputies, 24-year-old Carly Bryan and 26-year-old Eric Miller said the infant was taken to the hospital after the bruising was discovered during a routine medical check-up. Doctors, however, determined the injuries were likely the result of physical abuse.

An arrest report says the child suffered a “textbook high-force grasp injury to her arm. A pediatric physician specializing in child abuse noted that “additional medical evidence of abusive head trauma indicative of shaken baby syndrome was discovered.”

Detectives who interviewed Bryan and Miller say the couple could not explain how the injuries occurred. Both were charged with child neglect and are in custody at the Sarasota County Jail on $25,000 bond.

The child was removed from the home while the investigation into what happened continues.

stella Posted on August 27, 2019 14:34

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Boy, 16, stabbed to death for daring to confront bullies who stole his bike

Daniel Jamieson, 16, was regularly kicked and punched by a group of boys who had previously stolen his brand new bike and attempted to set his hair alight. They then continued to goad him on Instagram, causing him to ‘snap’ and organise a fight with the ringleader. During the scuffle another boy armed with a seven-inch knife stabbed Daniel in the thigh, severing his femoral artery and causing him to lose a lot of blood. The teenager was rushed to Aintree University Hospital on July 3 2018, but died before his parents and siblings arrived. His mother Mandy Jamieson, 49, has now spoken of her grief at losing her only son to the bullies who made his life hell. The mum-of-three had been gardening at home in Liverpool when a neighbour frantically knocked on her door to tell her Daniel had stabbed in a fight.

She said: ‘The moment my son died is now, yesterday, tomorrow and forever. It is the past, the present and the future. It was not just one finite, horrific moment in time. ‘People may tell me he died last year or, in time, that he died five years ago. But that’s not the case and it never will be. My son dies all over again every morning that I wake up. ‘Daniel dies again every moment that he is not here with us. I miss him so much, I loved him so much.’

Ms Jamieson said the bullying first began when shortly after Daniel’s 12th birthday, with a group of boys stealing his brand new bike as he took to the street to test it out for the first time. She said: ‘When he told me what had happened I marched outside and asked around. I knew somebody would know who they were. ‘Somebody knew one of the boy’s mums and pointed out their house. I hammered on their door and demanded they cough up £300 for a replacement. ‘They needed to understand that their child couldn’t just take what wasn’t theirs from my son. I had managed to raise mine to know better, they should have done the same.

‘We managed to sort a replacement and I hoped that would teach the kids a lesson – that Daniel wouldn’t be pushed around and that actions have consequences.’ But one week later, Daniel and his twin sister Annie returned from the shops looking ‘fearful’ after the same boys attempted to set his hair on fire by using a spray can and a lighter. Ms Jamieson continued: ‘I was absolutely horrified. Daniel would have never hurt or upset anybody, and it broke my heart to see him going through such an ordeal.’

She added: ‘They continued to torment him, kicking his legs out from under him as he walked home from school. ‘In time he stopped going out altogether, and even packed in his favourite hobby, boxing. I was devastated and knew at that point it must be really impacting him. He had absolutely no confidence or self-esteem left.’ Ms Jamieson decided to send Daniel to live on the other side of Liverpool with his father, and in time she described seeing him begin to ‘thrive’ away from the bullies. The gang still gave him grief at school, but the teenager had resumed his boxing training giving ‘a focus, a distraction from the torment’


But last July, she was stunned to receive the news Daniel had been stabbed and immediately followed her neighbour in her car to where he son lay bleeding heavily in the road. His friends were using their own clothing to try and stem the bleeding, while Ms Jamieson described seeing her son’s face ‘turn grey’. As they waited for the ambulance, she managed to ask Daniel who had stabbed him, to which he answered: ‘It was them, it was Owen’ in reference to teenager Owen cousins.

Ms Jamieson stated that in their haste to get her son to hospital she was left behind and by the time she raced there with his sister, he had already died. Cousins, 17, was arrested and in February this year pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter, claiming he had acted in self-defence as Daniel had a knife. During the trial, he had told the jury that he personally had ‘no beef’ with Daniel, and denied bullying him. But five witnesses told Liverpool Crown Court Daniel didn’t have any weapons and Cousins was found guilty of manslaughter at the end of the 10-day trial. He was sentenced to 11 years in detention and told he would serve at least half before he was considered for parole. None of the other members of the gang have been charged in relation to Daniel’s death. Ms Jamieson has since opened a club called Danny’s Place to spread the message that carrying a knife is a sign of weakness, not a sign of strength. She said: ‘I hope his story will be a warning to other young lads who even contemplate picking up a knife. ‘Carrying a knife as an accessory does not make you brave, nor does it make you a man. It tears families apart and wastes precious lives.’

Ms Jamieson stated that in their haste to get her son to hospital she was left behind and by the time she raced there with his sister, he had already died. Cousins, 17, was arrested and in February this year pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter, claiming he had acted in self-defence as Daniel had a knife. During the trial, he had told the jury that he personally had ‘no beef’ with Daniel, and denied bullying him. But five witnesses told Liverpool Crown Court Daniel didn’t have any weapons and Cousins was found guilty of manslaughter at the end of the 10-day trial. He was sentenced to 11 years in detention and told he would serve at least half before he was considered for parole. None of the other members of the gang have been charged in relation to Daniel’s death. Ms Jamieson has since opened a club called Danny’s Place to spread the message that carrying a knife is a sign of weakness, not a sign of strength. She said: ‘I hope his story will be a warning to other young lads who even contemplate picking up a knife. ‘Carrying a knife as an accessory does not make you brave, nor does it make you a man. It tears families apart and wastes precious lives .

stella Posted on August 27, 2019 09:16

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Mum smothered five week old baby to death after ignoring warnings about co-sleeping

Genna Aaronson, 33, admitted culpable negligence in the death of her five-week-old baby Clarke Aaronson who died in January last year, as part of a plea deal.

Aaronson, from West Palm Beach in Florida, had originally been charged with negligent manslaughter but did 300 hours of community service, attended mental health counselling and parenting classes.

Adjudication has now been withheld, meaning Aaronson was not formally convicted.

Authorities in Florida say Clarke died while sharing a bed with his mother at their Wellington home.
Genna's husband had fallen asleep watching TV with their older child and found the toddler unresponsive when he went to check on his wife and the baby.

He died less than a week after medical professionals had warned her to stop putting the baby in an adult bed.

On the night of his death Aaronson laid the youngster on a pillow on her bed, putting a blanket on top of him and then started to watch a film on her phone but fell asleep.

She was woken up by her husband six hours later who was screaming and discovered her new son was blue and not breathing.

The toddler died within an hour of being rushed to hospital.

A coroner determined his death had been caused by "positional asphyxia".

After she had been arrested she told the cops she and her husband had been sleeping with him since he was born and took turns sharing their bed with him.

They even continued the practice after Clarke had rolled out of his dad's arms one night and fell on a hard-tiled floor.

A report by the Florida Department of Children and Families said: "Both parents were responsible for allowing him to sleep in an unsafe situation which ultimately caused his death."

Cops described the toddler's suffocation as a case of "poor parenting with tragic consequences," according to the Palm Beach Post.
Marijuana paraphernalia was found nearby, but neither parent faced drug-related charges.


stella Posted on August 27, 2019 09:06

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Man tells pregnant wife not to wear this shirt - when another mom sees it, she cries

The sense of loss and grief that couples, especially mothers, go through when they lose a baby to miscarriage is simply shattering. Imagine what happens when Autumn Safley, an occupational therapist from Jacksonville, Arkansas, decides to “wear” her child loss in public despite her husband’s initial misgivings!

While shopping at a local Hobby Lobby store, expecting mom Autumn Safley was surprised when quite a few heads turned around to see the “special” T-shirt she was wearing. The T-shirt was printed with a rainbow heart that read: “You’re looking at a rainbow.” And her beloved husband was not really excited about her “strange” dress!

The dress and the text on it was something very close to Safley’s heart; it referred to “rainbow babies”—babies conceived after a miscarriage, and just like a rainbow after a storm, these babies are like a beacon of hope for their parents.

Some couples are often scared and overly cautious about pregnancies after a miscarriage, thinking that something unfortunate might happen again. But Safley, after losing two babies to miscarriages in late 2015 and early 2016, took it as a call for celebrating that new life growing within her.

A fellow shopper, Courtney Mixon, in Hobby Lobby that same day was so deeply touched on seeing Safley’s T-shirt that she started tearing up.

“I know what your shirt means … my husband and I lost our baby last year, and we’ve been trying to conceive,’” Mixon of Little Rock, Arkansas, told Safley, according to Today.

Safley approached her and asked if she could hug her. Through a conversation, she learned that Mixon was over the moon upon discovering she was pregnant the day following her 5th wedding anniversary in August 2015. Sadly, she lost her baby after a miscarriage later that month.

“I told her to not give up, never lose hope, and that God had a perfect plan for her and her little family,” Safley said in an interview with Babble.

This fortuitous meeting instantly created a bond between the two women. Mixon, who could relate to the painful experience of losing a baby, was so encouraged by Safley’s positive attitude that she clicked a photo of her and shared it on Facebook. It has, since then, gone viral.

“I’m still in awe! I never thought [the Facebook post] would go this far!” Mixon said. “We are trying to conceive,” she continued, adding that the enormous response she received had helped her “realize that we are not alone.”

Months later, Safley and her husband were blessed with little Jas, their beautiful rainbow baby, on Dec. 7, 2016.

“Honestly I felt like I have been given a gift some women never get to experience,” Safley said. She admitted there were nights when she cried and felt hopeless, however, she “had faith and knew that God was going to provide us with a baby someday.”

For women experiencing grief after the loss of a baby, Safley, who’s currently expecting her second bundle of joy, wanted them to “never, ever give up or lose hope.” “I encourage others to keep open hearts and open minds and to trust fully that God’s ultimate plan and will for their lives far supersedes their own,” she advised.

A simple act of wearing a T-shirt actually represented the courage and hope of a would-be mom; no doubt it touched the hearts of many.

stella Posted on August 27, 2019 08:42

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Driver who killed dad Paul Collinson and left young mum in wheelchair for life is jailed

A danger driver who killed a much loved dad-of-three and left a young mum in a wheelchair for life has been locked up for eight years as his devastated victims accused him of “showing no remorse”.

Unlicensed and uninsured Kyle Hutchinson was high on cocaine when he ploughed into the County Hotel pub shortly after midnight on September 24 last year.

A court heard the horrific crash "ruined so many lives in so many different ways" after causing the death of pedestrian Paul Collinson, serious injuries to three other people and leaving one witness traumatised.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Hutchinson had been out drinking on September 23 last year when he offered acquaintances Luke Robinson and Shauna Kime a lift from the Crockets pub in Walker to a house party.

But when a police car tried to pull him over, he "panicked" and drove off.

The then 19-year-old led police on a high speed chase of up to 82mph through residential streets – swerving into the centre of the road, going straight across a roundabout and narrowly missing a head-on crash with a taxi.

But the court heard that after swerving to get back onto the correct side of Walker Road, he lost control of the Volkswagen Passat he was driving and crashed straight into the front of the County Hotel pub.

Prosecutor Mark Giuliani said that standing outside the pub at the time were friends Paul Collinson, 54, and Christopher McShane, 59.

Mr McShane described grabbing his friend and saying “what the f***” as he realised the speeding car was heading straight for them.

The court heard the vehicle then hit Mr McShane on the leg and sent him flying through the closed doors of the County Hotel, while Mr Collinson was crushed between the car and the pub's wall.

Mr Collinson suffered fatal injuries and was later pronounced dead at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Hutchinson's front seat passenger Mr Robinson, 26, had numerous broken bones while Ms Kime suffered serious spinal injuries and has been told she will never walk again.

While Hutchinson was in hospital with a fractured left hip and knee wound, blood samples were taken which found cocaine in his system at a concentration of 14 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of blood.

The legal limit is 10 microgrammes.

A police investigation found that the tyres of the car, which Hutchinson had borrowed from a friend, were “dangerously under-inflated”, which had been a “contributory element of the collision”.

But it concluded that the primary cause was “excessive speed”.

The full impact of the horrific crash was revealed in devastating victim personal statements in court.

Speaking directly to Hutchinson, Mr Collinson's daughter Donna said: “You have robbed us of an amazing man. My dad was a much loved and respected gentleman.

“He had a tough exterior but was soft inside, especially with his grandkids. He was not well educated but was a professor of life."

She told the court her mum "has had to sit back and watch as her three children's lives fell apart” in the aftermath of the crash.

Donna told Hutchinson: “You have just led a normal life, parading your injuries on Snapchat, acting like you have done nothing wrong.

“The day we laid the headstone you were partying on holiday.”

Ms Kime, 26, who has been left seriously disabled due to her injuries, said: “I have a four-year-old son, I feel really badly for him, I feel like I went out one night and didn't come home.

"I feel like I went out one night and didn’t come back. I feel like my son is missing out on having a mummy.

“I simply went out for a night with my boyfriend but by the end of the night my life had completely been ripped apart, all because I accepted a lift from someone I thought was a friend.

“I want an apology from Kyle because at the moment it seems like he just doesn’t care.”

Mr Robinson said his injuries had affected both wrists and he is still being treated for a fracture to his chest.

His statement read: “Kyle needs to face the consequences of his actions. Since it has happened he has shown no remorse.”

Mr McShane's statement said his serious leg and pelvic injuries had left him needing help with “simple daily tasks”, and he still suffered “flashbacks of that terrible night”.

The crash was also witnessed by a friend of Mr Collinson, Tracey Ditchburn, who was looking out of her window at the time but only later found out who the victim was.

She said: “I haven’t been able to sleep since. To think I saw it happen and didn’t realise it was Paul is hard to comprehend.”

Mark Harrison, defending, said Hutchinson “well understands the damage he has caused to a great number of people”.

In a statement Hutchinson said: “I panicked when the police began chasing me and lost control of the vehicle.

“I will never forgive myself, I never intended to hurt anyone.”

Hutchinson, now 20, of Praetorian Drive in Wallsend , pleaded guilty to one count of causing death by dangerous driving, three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and one count of causing death by driving while uninsured.

Recorder of Newcastle Judge Paul Sloan QC sentenced him to eight years in a young offenders' institution.

He was also banned from driving for four years and must take the extended test before he can drive again.

stella Posted on August 27, 2019 08:35

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'Gang riot' caught on video: The shocking moment an SUV rams a BMW and leaves the woman inside screaming for help after yobs with baseball bats invaded Yorkshire suburb

This is the spine-chilling moment a 4x4 driver rams into a BMW - leaving a woman apparently trapped against a tree during a street fracas. 

The terrifying attack happened on Fir Parade in the Ravensthorpe area of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, at about 2am today. 

An eyewitness said it was like a 'riot' with cars rammed, houses smashed and people carrying bats.

Three people were taken to hospital following the incident. Video footage captures the moment the grey Jeep smashes into the BMW.

A woman's blood-curdling screams can be heard as the Jeep rams the car and a tree is seen to move backwards. 

A red car swerves around the Jeep as it speeds away. A witness, who did not want to be named, said: 'At about 2am we heard a big noise like somebody was smashing windows.

'It's summer time so all the windows were open so everyone heard. There was a big gang - I'd say about 20 people - carrying bats and they were smashing the white BMW and two or three other cars.' 

The witness's son added: 'It wasn't specific, more like a riot. But they smashed the windows of a house. 

'We woke up and there was a grey Jeep ramming the white BMW. 

'There were people inside the BMW and a woman was trapped between the BMW and a tree. 

'She was screaming and somebody was shouting ''keep ramming!'' 

'It looked like she had her foot trapped under the car. 

'After that they just left and people in the street came out. The police came but just asked a few questions and left.' 

A section of the street has been sealed off and damaged cars are still parked within the cordon. 

A relative of the three injured people said: 'At 2.50am I received a phone call from one of my sisters-in-law in Fir Parade who was very distressed. 

'These men had smashed all her windows up and the front door too. My 17-year-old daughter, my sister-in-law, and another relative all needed hospital treatment. 

'We went over there and came back to my home. Unfortunately we left the electric gate open when we left and they smashed windows at our home.' 

He said he had 'no idea' why his sister-in-law had been targeted.

West Yorkshire Police has been contacted for comment.


stella Posted on August 27, 2019 08:28

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Man and daughter homeless after violent ex burnt down their home

Charlene Clarke, 33, says her life has been ruined by her ex Zak Rodda, 32, who started the fire in her bedroom, before spreading to four neighbouring terraced homes on May 14, this year.

He then sent his former partner of 15 years a series of disturbing messages saying: ‘Look see the light, I warned you’ and ‘there she goes, goodbye’.

The blaze then began tearing through the homes in Illogan, Cornwall, and causing £100,000 worth of damage.

A court was told how, after lighting the fire, Rodda went to the pub and told other customers: ‘I’ve done something bad, I’ve set fire to a mattress and it got out of control. I tried to put it out.’

Several people, including Charlene, are still living in emergency accommodationafter watching their homes burn to the ground, leaving nothing more than empty ‘shells’.

Charlene, a care-home manager, claimed her insurance company refused payout because Rodda is the policy holder – leaving her and their young daughter, Larenza, nine, homeless.

Rodda was sentenced to six years in prison after admitting to arson and being reckless to whether life is endangered, at Truro Crown Court on July 19.

Charlene said: ‘He’s ruined my life. We have no home, my little girl is terrified and I’ve had to move back in with my mum.

‘I’ve been off work with anxiety, I just can’t quite believe that he would do this to us. Even the judge said he wished he could give him life.

‘I’ve got such bad guilt, for my neighbours, family, and daughter. We’re so lucky no one was seriously hurt in the fire.

‘We’d been together for 15 years – it just shows you never really do know someone.’

Charlene says in March 2019 Rodda packed up and left her for another woman leaving her ‘heartbroken.’

When he came back to her just weeks later she stood her ground, refusing to rekindle their volatile relationship but claims Rodda refused to leave the family home.

On the night of the fire Rodda and Charlene had been at another house for a family memorial for his aunt.

Drunk Rodda wanted her to leave with him but when she said no he left in anger and went back to their house and started the fire.

She said: ‘I feel so guilty for all our poor neighbours. A few of them didn’t have home insurance so they have lost everything. It’s literally unbelievable what he’s done.’

‘I’m so grateful for all the support from my neighbours which I feel I don’t deserve, and to my family for all the help I’ve received since the fire,’ she added.

‘I can never forgive him for what he’s done’.

Prosecuting Deni Matthews told the court how the fire devastated homes between number 47 and 53 at Bridge Road in Illogan.

Mr Matthews said: ‘The property is in a terrace and the fire took hold quite quickly. It was a very windy day and the fire spread, all four houses were left inhabitable and severely damaged.

‘They were effectively turned to shells and damage is in excess of £100,000.’

Sentencing Rodda, Judge Simon Carr said: ‘You were in a relationship that had its difficulties and you yourself accept you were a controlling influence.

‘The relationship came to an end and you were at the time living in one of the homes that was eventually destroyed.

‘You destroyed four homes and when you set the fire people were in them. They would have been aware and terrified.

They all got out but one elderly, disabled woman wouldn’t have if her carer wasn’t there. They all stood and stared as their houses burned in front of them.

‘All of the people had to be rehomed and it’s not sure if the houses will be able to be rebuilt. You did all of that to show you were in control.’



stella Posted on August 27, 2019 08:21

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Jeffrey Epstein's ex-cop 'quadruple murderer' cellmate tells how he 'saved the billionaire pedophile's life when he found him unconscious following prison suicide attempt'

Jeffrey Epstein's cellmate says he saved the billionaire pedophile's life during his recent suicide attempt inside Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. 

Nicholas Tartaglione - a former NYPD officer accused of killing four men over a drug deal gone wrong - claims he found Epstein unconscious on Tuesday night. 

Epstein, 66, tried to hang himself before Tartaglione, 49, quickly called for help,


Investigators were initially trying to determine whether Tartaglione had assaulted Epstein or whether the billionaire financier had attempted to end his own life when he was found in his cell.

Epstein was rushed to hospital with neck injuries, while Tartaglione was questioned about Epstein's behavior and mental state in the hours before he was found on the floor. 

However, Tartaglione's attorney Bruce Barket told on Friday that the pair had struck up a close friendship following Epstein's arrest on July 6. 

The twosome are in the same Special Housing Unit which is home to 99 inmates who pose a security risk or have violated disciplinary rules.  

Muscle-bound Tartaglione is accused of murdering four men following a botched cocaine deal in December 2016. 

Attorney General William Barr declared back in March that prosecutors would be seeking the death penalty over the callous crime. 

Tartaglione is alleged to have lured his four victims to a bar in upstate New York, before he held them their against their will and killed them.

He reportedly shot three of the men in the backs of their heads.

Police say he was aided by another former New York City officer - Joseph Biggs, 57.

The pair allegedly drove the bodies to Tartaglione's farm about 30 minutes away and buried them in a wooded area.

Meanwhile, Tartaglione's attorney told that his client had bonded with Epstein over the horrible conditions inside Metropolitan Correctional Center. 

Barket said that the MCC was an 'inherently bad place' because the lights are on all the time and the frosted glass means no direct sun gets in.

The only time inmates can spend outside is the rare occasions they are allowed on the exercise yard on the roof - but that has a cage on the top. 

He said: 'At times prisoners are kept for days in their cells because the guards are too lazy to let them out.

'The place is infested with insects and rodents and there is black mold in the shower. Most of the cells have leaks so there is standing water in many of them.

'The guards refuse to wash the bed linen so inmates have the same sheets for far too long. The food is barely edible and the vents are covered in dust.

'The medical care is virtually nonexistent. It's a small thing but even the clocks in the attorney visiting room don't have batteries because they don't replace them'

Barket said that the prison was a 'violent place' and that Tartaglione had recently been assaulted by another inmate who put his locker lock inside a sock and hit his head with it'.

The rodent infestation extends to the prison commissary where inmates can buy food and snacks - and the cells themselves


Barket said: 'A week ago Nick woke up and realized he'd accidentally smothered a rat in his sleep. It's disgusting'.  

Epstein is imprisoned at MCC after being charged with molesting girls at his homes in New York and West Palm Beach between 2002 and 2005.

He has pleaded not guilty to two charges of sex trafficking and is next due in court on Wednesday.

stella Posted on August 27, 2019 07:37

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Mom Kills Her 2 Adult Kids & Commits Suicide, A Day After Praising Them On Instagram

A Georgia woman is believed to have murdered her two adult kids just some few hours after she praised them on Instagram.

According to sources, she is believed to have shot her grown son and daughter. Before the incident, she had bragged about her children on social media not long before the bodies were discovered.

The woman identified as Marsha Edwards wrote on Instagram that she “could not ask for better children,” just hours before she was found dead, Wednesday, at her townhouse in an upscale neighborhood outside Atlanta.

Erin Edwards, 20; and Christopher Edwards Jr., 24, were reported to have died from gunshot wounds, and Marsha died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The trio were members of the National Association of Black Journalists


stella Posted on August 27, 2019 07:25

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Obese woman who became a heroin addict after being bullied for her 379lb frame has lost half her body weight and had 10lbs of excess skin removed to become a fitness coach

A formerly obese woman who claims being bullied for her 379lb (27 stone) frame drove her to become a binge eater and heroin addict reveals how she overcame her demons and halved her body weight.

Lifestyle coach Michelle Bakal, 26, from New York, now tips the scales at 189lbs (13st 5lb), having had 10 pounds of excess skin removed, and has discovered a new love of fitness after previously struggling to walk short distances.

Michelle knew she was larger than those around her from a young age. She often felt as though she didn't fit in at school, with bullies calling her 'fat' and even shouting 'watch out' as she walked through the corridors.

'I've been overweight since I was a child and I remember seeing the doctor at a young age and hearing that I was heavier than I should be,' Michelle admitted.

'I didn't think it was a problem until school started and I felt like I didn't fit into how everyone else looked. I became aware that not only was I heavier, but substantially taller than all the other girls. I felt like my body wasn't normal.

'In school, people would call me names and say fat jokes. I would walk down the hall and boys would yell "watch out!" as I was minding my own business.

'At my largest I did absolutely no exercise. The most I could do was to walk a short distance, but even that was difficult.' 

The cruel jibes made Michelle feel as though she wasn't normal and at 16 she started experimenting with alcohol and Class A drugs.  

'I started using drugs at 16, starting with marijuana,' she said. 

'That progressed to whatever was offered to me. How I got onto heroin was a prescription to opiates by my doctor. Feeling as amazing as it did, heroin was just the next step - especially when I would run out of my prescription. 

'Once that line was crossed, there was no turning back.'

During this difficult phase, Michelle gorged on food and her weight increased to 379lbs (27st 1lb), becoming a size 4XL on top and a UK size 32 in trousers.   

When she was 21, Michelle decided to try to get clean as she knew she wanted to turn her life around. 

'I got sober in 2014 off heroin and all mood-altering substances,' she said.

'It was about a year into my sobriety when I realised that I had been using food my entire life to fill an emotional void. So, if I could get clean off drugs and alcohol then I could lose the weight too. That was the turning point.'

Michelle was diagnosed with a binge eating disorder in 2015, which highlighted that she had been turning to food as an emotional support.

She had grown accustomed to eating two pounds worth of spaghetti for a meal, or an entire pie to herself. 

'My first step was going to an eating disorder clinic,' she recalled. 'I realised that I could not eat for long periods of time and then binge on food to the point of feeling physically ill.

'When I found this out, I wanted to lose the weight for myself – it wasn't for anyone else, which I think was important.

'As I started to notice the weight falling off, it felt surreal and I wasn't expecting it. But at the same time, I felt like this time would be different because I wasn't trying to lose weight to impress someone else. It was for me and me alone.'

To kickstart her dramatic weight loss, Michelle had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy in October 2017.

Now Michelle goes to the gym five times a week to do weight training and body building, and hikes up mountains with her husband Zachary, 23. 

'These are things that I could never do when I weighed 379lbs (27 stone) because my mobility was next to nothing,' she said. 

Michelle's weight has plummeted to 189lbs (13st 5lb) and she wears a size medium. 

After hitting her goal weight and maintaining it for eight months, Michelle was able to have surgery to remove the excess skin she was left with. 

In July 2019, surgeons removed 10 pounds of skin, adding to Michelle's impressive transformation. 

She had a belt lipectomy, reverse tummy tuck, breast lift and extended arm lift to remove excess skin from her stomach, breasts and arms. 

'My bariatric surgeon recommended that I wait until I hit my goal weight and maintain that weight for a minimum of eight months before considering skin removal surgery. So that's exactly what I did,' she said.

'The only difficult decision about it was wanting to get it done before having any kids. I had to tell myself that carrying and delivering a child would not leave me with the same amount of excess skin I had from losing 196lbs (14 stone).

'They ended up removing 10 pounds of skin which had all been hanging off me since I shed the weight!

'I am still recovering from surgery, so I don't really recognise myself physically quite yet. Emotionally, I feel like I have a better handle at life and how to deal with things now because before I would just bury my emotions with drugs and food.

'It'll be a 12-week recovery period which is going well so far. I'm focusing on taking it easy because that's exactly what the doctor said to do. It's hard when I've been independent for so long and now, I have to rely on others to shower and dress myself.' 

Although she is still recovering from surgery, Michelle is looking forward to seeing the results.

After discovering a love for fitness since halving her body weight, Michelle enjoys motivating others to turn their lives around through posting about her transformation on her Instagram page.

'Now, I weigh everything I eat – which sounds more annoying than it is but it's quite simple once you get the hang of it,' she added. 

'I have a greater understanding of what kind of proteins, fats and carbohydrates I need to put into my body based on my energy expenditure.

'For breakfast I eat two protein bars every day. Since I'm a vegetarian, I get my protein from plain yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs and protein powder. 

'Lunch is usually a cranberry walnut salad, and dinner would be vegan meatballs with some fresh veggies on the side.

'Late night snacks are a must still, so I'll make a protein mug cake using flap jacked protein pancake mix, along with peanut butter powder and sugar-free syrup.  

'If I can do it, anyone can. Five years ago, I was a 379lb (27-stone) heroin user but then I got sober, lost weight and learned to love myself again.'


stella Posted on August 26, 2019 21:52

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'Too young': Woman's frustration after being diagnosed with stroke in her 20s

An inspiring model and actress who suffered a stroke in her early 20s said her symptoms were initially brushed off as anxiety.

Doctors thought Drewy NovaClara Curious was “too young” to have a stroke – resulting in her missing the treatment window and ending up in a wheelchair.

In June 2018, the 23-year-old model, actress and disability advocate – who is from Toronto, Canada – was in the car with her husband when she began experiencing stroke symptoms of numbness and weakness of the arms, and slurred speech.

She panicked at the thought of having to go to the hospital, as she hated it there, so she tried to figure out what was happening to her.

The severity of her condition forced her to go to the hospital where the doctors diagnosed her condition as anxiety and insisted she was too young to have a stroke, so she was discharged, to her frustration.

Drewy and her husband immediately went to another hospital where they explained what had happened and doctors there felt heart broken and diagnosed her with an ischaemic stroke, where a blood clot stops the blood supply in the brain.

But, as the first hospital kept her in for hours before discharging her, the effect of the stroke had escalated.

This resulted in the doctors treating her with medicine to prevent and dissolve blood clots, reduce blood pressure and reduce the cholesterol level.

Drewy was then left in a wheelchair unable to walk and had to re-learn how to talk.

The experience proved difficult for her as she has always been an independent person, however, she has learned to accept her new life.

After receiving stares from strangers, she decided to give people something to look at by “dressing up” her wheelchair with light-up wheels and sporting a bold aesthetic.

She has named her wheelchair Opal, her crutches Bonnie and Clyde, and her walker Amethyst.

She now wants to help raise awareness and encourage others they are not defined by their disabilities.

“When I had my stroke, my husband and I had spent the day at a science museum and we were in the car on the way home,” Drewy said.

“I hate hospitals. So, on the way to the hospital, my thoughts were about not wanting to go, and I was trying to figure out what was happening to me.

“I have studied a fair amount of medical information.

“While I was being rushed to the hospital, I wasn’t afraid. I automatically think purely logically when I’m in danger.

“I was just going through the knowledge I had to figure out what was happening to my body.

“I already knew I was having a stroke, so I didn’t need to be informed of it. The first doctors I saw diagnosed it as anxiety and did no treatment whatsoever.


stella Posted on August 26, 2019 21:16

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Boy Who Cannot Be Exposed To Sunlight Plays Outside For The First Time On 4th Birthday

Julia Rubin of Griswold, Connecticut, is a single mom to four children. Her 4-year-old son, Brody, has spent nearly half his life going in and out of the hospital.

Brody was born premature at 26 weeks, weighing just over 2 pounds. As he grew older, he kept getting sicker to the point he wouldn’t eat.

There were countless surgeries and doctor’s appointments — but little clarity.

Finally, Brody was diagnosed with Chiari malformation III, which causes defects in the part of the brain that controls balance. These days, Brody has trouble walking and lives with severe chronic pain. He only began talking one year ago after undergoing surgery to remove some of the pressure in his brain.

Because of his extreme sensitivity to sun exposure, Brody never gets to play outside like a regular kid. Considering that this little boy loves the beach and ocean so much, having to be so confined for so long has been one of the most unbearable parts of his medical condition.

Brody burns so easily that the simple drive from his house to his hospital can cause sun blisters on his face. In addition, he must be fed through the electric backpack attached to him 24/7 — a piece of equipment that is lifesaving but also prevents him from fun activities like swimming.

In 2017, the Make-A-Wish Foundation contacted Julia with a very important question: If Brody could have one thing in the world, what would be?

Two years later, on a bright summer day, it was time for Brody’s wish to come true …


stella Posted on August 26, 2019 21:01

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Irish boy, 13, drives through iron gates and knocks over school wall while behind the wheel of Audi A4 his father rented in Marbella

A 13-year-old boy from Ireland smashed through an iron gate and plunged his family's rental car into the wall of a school while on holiday in Marbella.

Locals in the Spanish resort said it was lucky that nobody was killed as he crashed the powerful Audi A4 through two sets of iron gates and across a busy road.

The car, which cost upwards of £28,335, is believed to have been written off following the accident on Wednesday evening.

It's understood the family were on holiday when the father left the teenager alone in the car. 

Reports surfaced that the family were making their way to Malaga airport to fly home when they drove out from the Padel and Tennis Club in Nueva Alcantara, but video footage shows the teen in swimwear, suggesting they may have been going to the beach.

The teen claims to have climbed into the driver's seat and accidentally knocked the motor of the automatic car into gear, according to the Irish Sun.  

In a panic, he reportedly hit the accelerator instead of the brake and burst through the gates.

Both the boy and the father were left unharmed, but left a severe trail of destruction in their midst.

After the crash, the father could be seen comforting the boy, and walking around with his head in his hands. 

One local told the Irish Sun: 'The car shot out of the underground car park. It's a ­miracle he wasn't killed.

'It's also a miracle there were no kids inside the college at the time because there's a summer camp on.

'It's lucky there was no traffic on the road or pedestrians crossing it at the time either or we could be looking at a far more serious situation.'      

Spanish police said: 'A man had the engine of his car running, but stationary. He got out for a moment and his son, 13, sat in the driver's seat, put it in gear and stepped on the accelerator.

'The door of the garage was knocked down, the car crossed the road and hit the wall of the school, knocking it down and entering the yard. There were no injuries.'

It comes after a spokesman for Marbella council said the tourist city was seeing more anti-social behaviour in common with other European cities.

They said: 'We are trying to present a democratic and balanced response to these new situations and circumstances, based, on the one hand, on the recognition of the right of everyone to behave freely in public spaces and to be respected in their freedom.

'But, on the other hand, the need for all of us to assume certain duties of coexistence and of respect for freedom, dignity and the rights of others.'



stella Posted on August 26, 2019 20:41

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Simon Cowell continues to show off his 20lbs weight loss as he goes cycling with son Eric, five, and his leggy girlfriend Lauren Silverman

He's been proudly showed off the results of his 20lbs weight loss.

And Simon Cowell once again showed how he's embraced his new healthy lifestyle, as he went cycling in Malibu on Sunday.

The music mogul, 59, cut a relaxed figure as he enjoyed an outing in the sunshine with his girlfriend Lauren Silverman, 42, and their son Eric, five.

Displaying his recent weight loss, Simon was the picture of health as he embarked on the bike ride, sported a low-key black t-shirt and white shorts.

The X Factor judge lead the way while Lauren followed close behind, sporting a simple black top and printed shorts.

With Eric riding along on a bike of his own, the family enjoyed lunch at the Malibu Seafood restaurant before having dessert at Malibu Yoghurt.

Simon's appearance comes after he spoke candidly about changing his lifestyle and diet following his hospitalisation in October 2017 after fainting as a result of low blood pressure.

Speaking to Extra TV in June Simon said: 'I went to see this guy who's very well-known. And he said to me, after doing some blood work, 'You can't have red meat, dairy, sugar, bread or gluten'.'  

The X Factor boss admitted that his first thought following the advice was '"What about alcohol? Maybe not quite as much as you had before". And I did it and I stuck to it and it's easy.'

The award-winning music executive has also joked that he and his little boy Eric, five, follow the same vegan diet.   

'Apart from ice-cream, he actually likes water, eats all his raw vegetable. I'm on the Eric Cowell diet,' the father-of-one pointed out.


Simon is having a busy summer jetting back and forth between the US and UK for work. 

While he wraps up the current series of AGT, he's also presiding over Britain's Got Talent: The Champions which will see former winners and finalists compete against each other.

The show will air in the autumn, with Simon and his team busy filming the auditions in recent weeks.     

stella Posted on August 26, 2019 19:13

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Instagram comedian urges Londoners to 'put down their knives' as he shows five weapons he's 'confiscated from the street' including a SWORD

An Instagram comedian who's known for posting funny and quirky clips online has posted a message urging young people to put down knives as London's bloody epidemic took its 90th murder victim last night.

Ty Logan, from Harrow, north west London, shared the video with his 46,000 followers showing knives he claims to have picked up on the street.

Wearing a navy zip-up hoody, he starts off speaking directly to camera stating: 'Cuz, I see what my man's doing cleaning up the streets of London, so I thought I'd do my bit'.

He then picks up a huge kitchen knife, describing it as a 'mini machete', before picking up a second smaller knife, saying he picked it up from an 'little eight year old, who should be watching Ben 10'. 

Ty then shows two larger butcher's knives, before picking up a sword.

'You see this one here, different' he tells the camera, as he squats down to show of the mammoth size of the blade.

Ty, who's the grandson of legendary reggae singer Dennis Brown, jokes that you can't even run with it or 'put it in your pocket'.

The comical video quickly turns serious when Ty adds: 'Enough is enough. All jokes aside, put down a knife, and save a life'. 

Reiterating the statement in the video caption, he added: 'All jokes aside, it’s time we do better. As a knife victim I know how it feels to almost lose your life, but not many have had the privilege of surviving. So put down ur knife, and save a life. Big up @faronalexpaul for all his hard work!

In the caption, he thanks Faron Paul, a community organise from Tottenham who's been stabbed 18 times and started an amnesty to get people to turn in their knives.

Faron offers young people knives in exchange for vouchers, and then hands them into the police.

It comes as London claimed its 90th murder victim last night. 

Grandfather Allan Isichei, 69,  a father-of-three and husband for 44 years to wife Sandra, was stabbed twice as he walked home from the Plough Inn pub in Southall, north-west London, where he regularly performs yesterday evening.

He collapsed on his neighbours doorstep just three doors away from his £750,000 home at around 6.30pm.

A suspect in his 30s has been arrested and is in hospital with minor injuries. He is also under police guard.

stella Posted on August 26, 2019 11:32

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Twins Who Got Married To The Same Man Tell Of Horror Time In The Marriage They Jumped Into Due To Poverty

Owami and Olwethu Mzazi believe they are “two bodies with one soul”. They say from birth they have been sharing everything – and they now share a husband.

The two say they have a bond that is “too deep” to explain, and didn’t have a hard time marrying the same man. They married TV director Mzukiseni Mzazi in 2011 in a traditional ceremony.

The twins say they were raised by their grandmother and were very poor. They say they were so poor that they even had to ask for money from people and couldn’t even afford sanitary towels.

After matric, they wanted to pursue a career in acting. In pursuit of their dream, they met their husband Mzukiseni, who was then working as a director on television drama ‘Muvhango’.

Instead of giving them a break based on their skill and talent, Owami claims Mzukiseni made moves on them.

“Because he was our mentor before [becoming] our husband, we said to him ‘we are young, passionate young girls who want to be actresses, but we need someone who can mentor us to be on TV’. He said ‘okay’, and later on we got an SMS saying ‘I can’t help you if you can’t be my wives’,” Owami says.

“We sat down and said maybe this is God. We said let’s take a chance. We said ‘we don’t love you, we don’t see you as a lover, but we will take a chance and we will learn how to love you’,” says Olwethu. 

The twins say he told them he was okay with them learning to love him.

“We were in a marriage whereby we didn’t enter because we were in love with our husband. We got married because we were escaping the poverty that we were in,” says Owami.

The girls married the man within a few weeks of meeting him. At that time, they were only 21, and their husband was in his late 40’s.

The two aspiring actors say their husband took advantage of their poverty, and from the beginning of the marriage, the twins claim it was never easy.

“After three months of marriage, we found out that he has many kids and he wasn’t divorced. All those things he had hidden from us and the marriage started to be rocky, with lots of fighting. Since then we are living in a marriage where there is abuse emotionally,” the twins said.“We are tired now because there is a lot that we have experienced.”

The 29-year-old twins are currently in the process of divorcing their husband. 

However, the twins say there is a lot they can’t talk about until the divorce is finalised.

We are still holding things that happened, but after the divorce, we will reveal everything that was happening in our marriage.” 

Olwethu says she has been wanting to divorce for years but had “fear of the unknown because I have a child and I am a freelancer.” But she says this year she told herself “even if I stay in a shack, I don’t care, enough is enough.”

The twins say they don’t believe their husband ever loved them, but he married them because they were virgins, and he was doing it to brag about being married to twins.

“I don’t think he was loving us. I think he was taking chances because he was impressed by the fact that he is starting to see virgins in Gauteng,” says Olwethu.

“For me, Owami, I would say there was no love. You know sometimes in marriage, it’s hard to leave, but for me from the few weeks into the marriage when I was reflecting on the marriage and writing what was right versus what is wrong, I could only write one positive thing, and the rest were bad things.”

“I always tell him ‘you never loved us’. You took advantage of our innocence,” she adds.

The two say they regret entering into marriage for the wrong reasons.

“The mistake we made was not allowing the process to know the kind of person he is. We rushed to get married as virgins because of the church. We knew him for two weeks, and in the third week, he sent a letter to our family to request our hand in marriage. The process took a month,” says the twins.

The two say they are in the process of starting their own business and writing a book about their life.

“We have to start afresh,” they say. 

They say their marriage taught them valuable lessons. 

“There are no shortcuts in life. Sometimes you do shortcuts, and life will take you back. Sometimes you try to run away from poverty, meanwhile, you are running to pain. Sometimes appreciate what you have and hold on there, because you don’t know what will happen the next day. Pray. There is nothing that beats prayer,” says Owami.

“I would speak to a young black child and say do not run away from poverty. Stay in your lane and wait for the process, wait for God’s blessings,” says Olwethu.

Another lesson the two say they have learned is the importance of self-love.

“Start by loving yourself. It starts there. Love yourself first before anyone else,” says Olwethu.

They say they hope to marry again and plan to marry the same husband because they are “two bodies with one soul”.

“This thing will continue. It’s too deep,” say the twins.

However, they say for the next relationship, they will “learn a person and how he will handle us as two” before tying the knot.

stella Posted on August 26, 2019 11:18

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Nurse cared for burned baby in 1977. Years later, she tracks her down via Facebook

When Amanda Scarpinati, of Athens, New York, suffered severe burns as a baby, she was being cared for by a kind, young nurse while staying in a hospital in Albany, N.Y. After 38 years, Amanda finally found that nurse and thanked her for her kindness in person.

In 1977, after falling off a couch onto a hot steam humidifier, the then-3-month-old Scarpinati was taken to Albany Medical Center to be treated for third-degree burns on her head and hand. During her stay at the hospital, a compassionate nurse with long wavy hair tended to young Scarpinati, holding and comforting her.

A few of those moments were captured by photographer Carl Howard, and they were eventually published in the Medical Center’s 1977 annual report. A picture of the nurse cradling the young Scarpinati, whose head was wrapped in gauze, was even featured on the front cover of the annual report.

Scarpinati kept these heartwarming black-and-white photographs, and it was the photos that would lead her to seek out her former caregiver many years later.

“It gives me chills every time I look at it,” Scarpinati told CBC/Radio-Canada’s show As it Happens.

Having to deal with scars and undergoing reconstructive surgeries for years, Scarpinati, now an adult, shared that those black-and-white photos had consoled her during this rather gloomy period in her childhood.

“As a child, things were very difficult for me. The children weren’t always the nicest … I would be called a witch because of my scars from the burns,” she shared. “I would look at that picture and I would always think, ‘Here is someone who cared for me with love and compassion.’ It didn’t matter what kind of scars or burns I had. It was just genuine. It was comforting.”

Scarpinati explained how she had always wanted to find that nurse and thank her for her act of kindness.

For 20 years, Scarpinati had tried in vain to find the nurse.

“I didn’t have a name. I just had her beautiful face,” she said.

Scarpinati later decided to try her luck on social media by posting the images on Facebook, and within a day, she received an affirmative response from a nurse who used to work at Albany Medical Center, Angela Leary.

She discovered that the nurse’s name was Susan Berger and that she was only 21 years old at the time when the photos were taken. When she was a baby, Scarpinati had been one of Berger’s very first patients on the job.

Finally, on Sept. 29, 2015, the now fully grown Scarpinati met nurse Berger—38 years after their first encounter—at Albany Medical Center.

“I hugged her and I said ‘Oh my God, you are real,'” Scarpinati said. “I was very much overwhelmed with emotion.”

It was a dream come true for Scarpinati. “I’m over the moon I never thought this day would come,” she told the Associated Press.

Looking back, Berger recalled her memory of Scarpinati many years ago, according to Today: “She was very peaceful. Usually, when babies come out of surgery they’re sleeping or crying. She was just so calm and trusting. It was amazing.”

Berger did not expect such a warm gesture from a patient after so many years. “I don’t know how many nurses would be lucky enough to have something like this happen, to have someone remember you all that time,” she said.

Speaking to  Berger, who had saved the photos herself, said: “It’s just that reminder that you can make a difference. You just have to remember to have that compassion every day.”


stella Posted on August 26, 2019 11:01

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Baby's Leg Came Off In Mum's Hand As Throat Infection Became Sepsis

A brave mum has shared the harrowing detail of her son's battle with sepsis after he lost all four limbs and doctor's told her he wouldn't pull through.

Abigail Wardle, 23, had to endure the horror of son Oliver Aisthorpe's leg self-amputating in her hand as she held him in his hospital bed.

She had been warned that the 11-month-old might lose his fight with the disease that began with a simple undiagnosed throat infection.

But the brave tot has made a miraculous recovery and medics hope they may even have his first prosthetic legs fitted in a few months.

Abigail, from Cleethorpes, Lincs, has chosen to speak out in a bid to help other parents learn how to spot the signs of the killer bug.

The jewellery designer said: "Some people might feel sorry for us but I feel like the luckiest mum in the world - I still have Oliver with us - he might not have any hands or feet but he is still my smiley, brave little boy.

"What we went through was horrendous and I had never been so scared in my life.

"But Oliver was so brave that I knew I had to be brave too. I am his mum and it's my job to fight for him and make him feel safe.

"He went from laughing and giggling to death's door within 48 hours and nobody knew what was wrong with him.

"I don't want any other family to go through what we went through, and so I want everyone to be more aware of sepsis - families but also GPs, who sometimes don't have the specialist paediatric training available to spot it.

"I want some good to come out of what happened to Oliver."

Abigail first took her son to an out-of-hours GP on March 16, when she noticed his soft spot appeared to be sunken.

But she says she was sent home and told her to give him fluids and Calpol.

But by the next day, he had deteriorated - and Abigail again took Oliver to see a doctor.

When he arrived at the hospital, a nurse took one look at him and rushed him to resus, where a team of doctors began battling to save his life.

Abigail said: "Oliver had seemed a bit under the weather .

"But that night, he got more ill and seemed lifeless. When I moved him, it was as though his bones were aching.

“He quickly became very pale and lethargic and just wasn’t his usual self.

“I would cuddle him and he was groaning as though his bones were aching.

“He eventually stopped crying and was just whimpering, as though he didn't have the energy to cry.

“I had just started him on solid food but he wouldn’t eat anything. He only wanted milk but barely drank anything.

“I knew he was not well and he needed to see a doctor but I didn’t have a clue that he could have had sepsis.

"My gut said he wasn't right so I took him back to the out of hours GP and within minutes, a nurse had whisked him off and he was being put under anaesthetic.

"Everything was a blur. I still had no idea what was wrong with Oliver, I was just trying to hold it together as they were putting him to sleep.

"I could hear a doctor on the phone to another hospital asking how to treat Oliver.

"His hand and feet had started to go purple, and I just remember thinking he must be cold and telling them to put some socks on him.

"A doctor sat us down and said: 'Your son is very poorly', I just thought, I know that, he's in a coma and hooked up to a load of machines, but I had no idea how ill he was.

"It was only when a nurse came over to speak to us and burst into tears that I realised how serious is was.

"She told us: 'We don't know which way it's going to go but it doesn't look good.'"

Doctors discovered that the sepsis had developed from an undiagnosed throat infection - which Oliver had never shown any symptoms of.

They managed to stabilise Oliver but warned Abigail that if he deteriorated they would not be able to save him.

She and Oliver's dad were told twice that he was not going to survive, and they asked the hospital chaplain to baptise Oliver.

Incredibly, though, the little boy pulled through - and survived with no damage to his brain, but the sepsis has caused both hands and his legs to turn black and effectively die off.

Medics battled to save length in Oliver's leg, but mum Abigail begged them to speed the operation along because she could see the leg self-amputating.

She said: "Oliver was out of the woods but they kept delaying a date for his amputations to try to save more of his leg - but I could see his body was trying to get rid of it.

"The limbs were heavy and uncomfortable - Oliver was miserable, I know it sounds like an odd thing for a mother to say but I was desperate for them to take them off.

"One day, a nurse was helping me lift Oliver from his bouncy chair back into the bed, and his leg just came away.

"The doctors came running in and asked me if I wanted to leave the room because it was quite distressing.

"I told them: 'My son's leg has just fallen off and is hanging on by a thread, I am not going to leave him here.'

"Once he had his limbs removed, he was like a different child - so happy and full of life, it seemed like a relief for him."

Last month, Oliver was discharged from hospital and is now getting used to life without his limbs.

Abigail added: "I am just so proud of Oliver.

"He has taken everything in his stride and is just so incredibly resilient. He makes me smile every day.

"Already, he is trying to work out how to roll over and play with his toys with his stumps.

"I could have come out of the other end of this with no son, so that's what I focus on.

"We have our bad days, but I know that there will be better days to come.

"I have to be positive because Oliver will copy me - it is my job to teach Oliver how to handle whatever life throws at him.

"It has happened and we just have to get on with it, but seeing his beaming face every day is enough to keep me going.

"I want his story to be used to help spread awareness and teach other parents and GPs who maybe don't have specialist paediatric training, about the signs of sepsis.

"I had no idea how ill Oliver was but if he hadn't gone into hospital when he did, he wouldn't be here."

Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust’s CEO, said: "Oliver’s case reminds us that sepsis can strike at any age, with often devastating consequences. Sepsis is a notoriously difficult condition to spot, and to do so relies upon health professionals being alert to the possibility of sepsis in any patient who is deteriorating without a clear cause.

"Outcomes like Oliver’s can be prevented through better awareness of sepsis and by empowering our public to ‘Just ask: could it be sepsis?’.

"Survival rates for patients with sepsis have improved hugely over the last several years, with more than 80% of people developing the condition surviving.

"For some, like Oliver, who are thankfully in the minority, amputation of limbs can become necessary.

"Most commonly, and as we saw in Jack Webster’s story in Coronation Street last summer, this is undertaken by surgeons in the operating theatre in a bid to control a secondary infection or to stop toxins released by the dying tissue further poisoning the body.

"In Oliver’s case, one of his limbs underwent auto-amputation. This is where the blood supply to a limb is so low that the tissues die, but without developing a secondary infection and without the release of toxins into the body.

"Health professionals then typically watch and wait to see how much of the limb will remain healthy, with the result that that part in which the tissue has died will ultimately fall off. It is unusual for this to be an entire limb, but is not uncommon in people losing fingers or toes."

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 14:01

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Sick Boy Lives In Isolation For 6 Months When Strangers Start Showing Up Outside His Window

When Officer Tara Waters’ son turned 3 years old, she and her husband were so happy to celebrate the day with their fun-loving son.

The following day, in stark contrast to the joy they felt just hours earlier, was a complete upheaval.

According to Quinn’s Facebook page:

“Quinnie ‘The Mighty Quinn’ was celebrating his 3rd birthday one Sunday in February and was in Children’s Hospital the next, leading to a diagnosis of a brain tumor on his brain stem, more commonly known as Medulloblastoma. … Medulloblastoma is the most common central nervous system (CNS) embryonal tumour and the most common high grade childhood tumour, accounting for 15-20% of all childhood brain tumours. They are commonly found in children between ages of three and eight, with a higher occurrence in males.”

Tara told that both she and her husband had to stop working so they could be there for Quinn during his cancer treatment treatment, placing a heavy financial burden on the already stress-ridden family.

Thankfully, doctors were able to remove 95% of the tumor at the base of Quinn’s skull. He has spent the past six months in and out of the hospital undergoing grueling treatments and chemotherapy.

After his final round of chemotherapy, Quinn had to stay isolated inside his home in Weymouth, Massachusetts, so as to protect his fragile immune system from infection.

While other toddlers are outside exploring the world and living lives full of whimsy and wonder, Quinn remained housebound on a strict diet.

As word spread about the little boy’s life of isolation, people in the community — from all walks of life — started showing up on the Waters’ front yard.

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 13:54

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Mom and daughter get in before-bedtime fight–then toddler says 3 words that teaches mom a lesson

Parents face many challenges on a day-to-day basis and often forget what used to come naturally to them when they were children. One mother found that sometimes you need to have a toddler around to remind you to forgive and let go of your anger.

Mary Katherine Backstrom is a mother of two and a popular blogger who specializes in parenting advice. In a recent Facebook post, she described an interaction she had with her 3-year-old child, Holland, which left her amazed.

According to Mary, on that particular evening, she had had a more difficult time than usual with getting her child ready for sleep. After about an hour’s struggle, Holland was finally in bed. Annoyed, Mary told her that she loved her and that she was tired of arguing about stuffed toys. Then she sternly asked her daughter to go to sleep.

That’s when Holland, still sobbing, got up and placed her hands on her hips calling out to her mommy. An already frustrated Mary could see how messy her daughter’s hair was and how she was using her hands to wipe tears from her eyes. The 3-year-old stated she had one more thing to say.

At this point, Mary felt almost fed up and describes the words coming out of Holland’s mouth as “venom.” But what her daughter said next totally changed the atmosphere in the room:

Hearing that from her toddler rendered Mary speechless for a few seconds. While her daughter got back into bed and continued sobbing, Mary stood at the door, unsure of how to react.

According to her, the way Holland said “I forgive you” almost sounded like a cussword.

Finally, she decided to walk closer to her child’s bed, lean over her, and ask whether she knew what forgiveness meant. Holland was still sobbing and hiding her face into her Little Mermaid pillow. But the answer she gave managed to leave her mother dumbfounded for the second time that evening:

“It means you were wrong, and I’m tired of being mad, and now I’m going to sleep, and my heart won’t have a tummy ache.”

Mary couldn’t believe that a 3-year-old had just reminded her to never go to sleep still angry. She recognizes in her Facebook post that at that point, she felt her heart having a “tummy ache.”

Whatever pent-up frustration the mother felt before was now gone. Instead, she looked at her child and then climbed into bed with her and gave her a big cuddle.

At the end of the Facebook post, Mary concludes that her daughter was correct. And that as a 35-year-old woman, she knew she needed a reminder in forgiveness. She received that in the most unexpected of ways.

This story can serve as a lesson to everyone. Sometimes we let stress and frustrations take over. Perhaps we all need to learn to let go and never go to sleep angry. That may be the way to avoid our hearts getting a tummy ache.

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 13:50

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Baby Jessica’s birth mum comes forward 14 years after she was forced to leave her at hospital

Baby Jessica, who made national headlines after she was left at Liverpool Hospital when she was barely eight hours old, has found her birth mother in a twist the now 14-year-old girl calls a "miracle".

Jessica made a public appeal on A Current Affairback in April for her birth mum to come forward.

"It's not her fault — whether it was any external reasons, or any other reasons — it's not her fault," Jessica told the program at the time.

"I want to give her a big hug. I want her to know not to feel terrible or feel guilty in any way."

Jessica told her birth mother she was "doing really well now" but still wants the woman who left her at the hospital to be part of her life.

"I love you, even though I've never met you. Just be brave and come forward," she said.

Despite years of police investigation, it was Jessica's own appeal that brought her birth mother forward.

The mother, who did not wish to be named, sobbed on camera as she told A Current Affair she feels "guilty every single day".

"It's very hard for 14 years. Every year pass… and I just want to go to someone and tell them the story," she said. "But I still can't do it. I want to meet my child."

Jessica's birth mum told the program it was her teenage daughter's mature words that encouraged her to speak up.

"I heard the word (sic) that she said — no matter who I am, she forgive me, she love me … and that's what made me stand up 'OK, you're my baby'," she said.

Jessica was less than eight hours old when she was caught on CCTV at a hospital in Sydney's west, wrapped in a towel in her mother's arms just after 1.30am back in 2005.

The mother had taken Jessica to Liverpool Hospital, in Sydney's southwest, for a check-up and given doctors a fake name, asking for a Thai interpreter.

For the next six hours, Jessica's birth mum sat in the waiting room holding her daughter, occasionally comforting the newborn girl when she cried.

Then, still wearing the pyjamas she turned up to Liverpool Hospital in, the woman left, caught on CCTV wandering out of the hospital with her arms behind her back and with Jessica still sitting in the waiting room.

Jessica's mother had only just moved to Australia when she discovered she was pregnant, she told A Current Affair.

At the age of 18 and without a husband, the mum said she was "scared" and didn't know what to do.

In January 2005, Jessica's mum went into labour while out shopping with her grandma.

She managed to make it home where, all alone in her bedroom, gave birth to Jessica without making a sound.

She sat in her room with Jessica for hours, terrified and needing medical help and realised her daughter also needed help.

"I just wait, wait, but she moving, she is still not crying," she said.

Once her family went to sleep, she snuck outside with her newborn daughter and tried to get help at Hinchinbrook Police Station — but no one was there.

Instead, she waved down a car and asked to be taken to Liverpool Hospital.

For five months in 2005, police, medical professionals and the media launched numerous appeals to try and find Jessica's mother and encouraged her to come forward, but she never did.

Jessica's adoptive parents, who have since adopted three more children, were also hopeful the teenager's birth mother will come forward.

"I would really, really love to meet you," Jessica said.

"Sit down with you, have a conversation. You are my birth mother and I would really like to have that opportunity."

Police confirmed using DNA testing that the woman is Jessica's birth mother, closing their 14-year cold case.

Jessica also offered advice to other adopted kids trying to find their birth parents.

You have to be brave," she said.

"Just be brave — that we found her, like, it's just a miracle that's just crazy to me. Just believe in yourself, You've just got to have courage."

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 13:44

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Mother-of-four, 39, left her baby alone inside hot car at an Arizona Target parking

Arizona police have detained a mother-of-four after she admitted to getting overwhelmed and leaving her baby in a blazing hot car while she shopped at Target. 

Chandler police were called to a Target at 3777 S. Arizona Ave at approximately 4.22pm and learned that a baby was crying and sweating inside of a parked car. 

The vehicle was not running, according to court documents obtained by AZ Central

One of the people who called police, broke the window and took the baby out of the vehicle with help from the 911 dispatcher. 

The caller then handed the baby over to Chandler firefighters once they arrived on the scene. 

Personnel were then able to determine that the baby just had high blood pressure. 

While the baby was being checked out, the infant's mother - Holli Platt - rushed outside and left her other three children inside the store. 

She had rushed outside after hearing her name announced over the store's intercom, court documents reveal.  

Platt reportedly told police that she forgot the baby inside the car because her other three children who were excited to buy things had distracted her. 

Reviewing store surveillance footage, police determined that the baby was inside the car for approximately 18 minutes. 

Temperatures were at a staggering 112 degrees and police believe that the temperature inside the car could have gone up 25 degrees while the baby was inside. 

Platt's children were released to her husband as she was arrested. 

The woman was booked at the Maricopa County jail on one charge of child abuse.


stella Posted on August 15, 2019 13:38

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Gunman Who Shot Six Cops And Held Two Officers Hostage In Philadelphia Home Surrenders

PHILADELPHIA — A suspect surrendered just after midnight after shooting six police officers in a north Philadelphia neighborhood on Wednesday evening, igniting a standoff that dragged on for hours in what authorities called a hostage situation.

The suspect is Maurice Hill, a 36-year-old Philadelphia resident with a history of gun convictions, his former lawyer, Shaka Johnson, told The Washington Post. Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp confirmed on Twitterearly Thursday that the suspect is in custody.

Johnson did not know Hill’s motive for the alleged shooting and standoff, he told CBS Philly. He credited police for ending the situation, adding that the suspect would likely face several charges from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said he was surprised that the suspect surrendered, telling reporters at a news conference Thursday morning that Hill “was indicating to some that he was not going to do that.” Ross said that the tear gas shot into the home ultimately resulted in the suspect ending the standoff.

“This was a very dynamic situation, one that I hope we never see again,” he said, adding that he was thankful no civilians or police officers were seriously injured.

The suspect walked out of the house with his arms raised in the air as local TV crews filmed the scene. Police could be heard saying, “Hands up! Hands up! Get down! Get down!”

Hill was not cooperating with police as of early Thursday, Ross told reporters. He said Johnson, Hill’s lawyer, came to the house toward the end of the standoff and talked with his client.

“Using him was unorthodox,” Ross said of the lawyer’s involvement in ending the standoff. “But again, it was a very unusual circumstance.”

Gunfire first broke out around 4:30 p.m., Ross said, after officers attempted to serve a narcotics warrant “that went awry almost immediately.” Once they were inside the home, a barrage of bullets forced officers to return fire and retreat through windows and doors.

More than three hours after the first shots rang out, police were still locked in a dangerous standoff with at least one gunman barricaded inside the home, trading shots with officers outside. Residents, forced to dive behind cars and hide in their homes, described the scene like a war zone: Bullets flew through the streets and wafts of gunpowder filled the air.

As the sun set, Ross said at a news conference he was concerned about two officers in the house with the gunman. They were there for hours until a SWAT team evacuated them, but, he said, the gunman remained inside with no intention of surrendering.

Alisha Bogan, who lives around the corner from where the standoff took place, said she was on her way home to her daughter and mother when she heard gunshots.

“There were a whole lot of people running,” Bogan told The Washington Post. As the gunfire continued, she took cover under a car. Then, she tried to get to her house and her family, but couldn’t get past the police caution tape. Dozens of frustrated residents faced the same dilemma, unable to get to their homes. They gathered on the sidewalks and streets late Wednesday night as storms passed through the region.

After the two officers made it out of the house, Ross told reporters, “We’ve gone from a hostage situation to a barricade.” He said police were still trying to talk the shooter into surrendering. Late Wednesday night, the suspect was still inside.

Dramatic live footage from media helicopters showed scores of officers swarming the house in the residential Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood. They crouched behind cars and exchanged fire with someone inside the house.

On the ground, television reporters’ microphones picked up sounds of gunshots. Multiple officers were seen being carried into police vehicles and transported away from the scene.

A bullet grazed an officer’s heads, Ross told reporters. Others were shot in the arm and elsewhere, he said.

“Nothing short of astounding that in such of a confined space we didn’t have more of a tragedy than we did,” Ross said.

They were released from hospitals later that night, but another officer was still being treated for injuries sustained in a car crash related to the incident.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) said the wounded officers were “all in good spirits.”

We’re thankful — a little angry about someone having all that weaponry and all that firepower — but we’ll get to that another day,” he said at the news conference. “It’s about the officers and their families right now.”

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 13:34

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Man Is Taking Grandmother Who Had Never Seen Ocean or Mountains to All 61 U.S. National Parks

Brad Ryan and his 89-year-old grandmother Joy Ryan are on a mission to visit all 61 U.S. National Parks.

The idea started after Brad left his small town for college, where he took his first big trip hiking the Appalachian Trail.

When he told Joy — who is from the same small town — about the trip, “She told me at that time that she really, really regretted that she didn’t get to do more of that type of thing and have more experiences in life,” he told CBS News.

“She was 85 years old, sitting in this tiny house, widowed for 20 years,” he said. “Two of her three sons died in their 40s. She worked a minimum wage job until she was in her early 80s to make ends meet. So, there was definitely no surplus of money for her to go and do these things.”

Years later, when Brad was finishing up veterinary school, one of his classmates died by suicide.

“I needed an escape from campus,” he told Good Morning AmericaHe and Joy then took an impromptu trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“During that trip, that’s when I started to realize how unconventional it is for somebody in their 30s, a grandson, to be traveling around with their grandmother,” he told CBS News. “We definitely stood out like sore thumbs everywhere we went.”

Following that 2015 trip, Brad wanted to continue taking Joy on adventures. He started a GoFundMe page, where they raised enough money to visit 21 U.S. National Parks in 28 days.

Since that trip, they’ve visited even more, almost halfway to their goal of all 61.

“That puts us at 29 U.S. National Parks out of 61 that we hope to complete,” Brad explained to CBS News. “And we’ve done 25,000 miles on the road in the last three and a half years, and we’ve gone through 38 states.”

Today, the duo’s travels are captured on their joint Instagram account, called “Grandma Joy’s Road Trip.”

One of his favorite moments of their travels? “Watching my grandmother tap into her inner child as she rolled down a sand dune at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve at age 87,” he told GMA.


“We’ve seen grizzly bears, we’ve been charged by a moose … it was harrowing,” Brad added to CBS News. “We’ve had all these dramatic experiences and seen all this wildlife that she’s never set eyes on in Ohio.”

“At her age, she’s very cognizant that at every moment, she’s probably seeing something for the first and last time, and that has dramatically changed the way I live my life as well,” he continued.

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 13:25

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The real miracle behind the woman who rescued her husband from a volcano

These newlyweds had their marriage vows tested right from the start.

You may have seen the recent story of the wife who managed to pull her husband out of a dormant volcano while they were honeymooning on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.


The Chastains had married on July 18 in their hometown of Crawfordsville, Indiana. Just a few days later, while out hiking, husband Clay wanted to get a closer look at the greenery inside the volcano of Mt Liamuiga. Losing his footing, he fell down 50-70 feet into the volcano, fracturing his skull. His wife Acaimie, who is scared of heights and so had remained outside the volcano, rushed down to rescue her new husband.

With no cellphone signal available and at just 5′ 2″ and weighing a mere 105 lbs, Acaimie was able to pull her husband out of the volcano and support him along the 2-mile trek back to the mountain base where they could seek help. He vomited and struggled to stand along the journey but thankfully made it to their destination. “Her being able to carry me all the way down a volcano when I can barely stand up is amazing and it’s definitely nothing short of a miracle,” 

A miracle indeed. In fact Clay later explained in a Facebook post that “it’s honestly amazing thanks to God’s help that my injuries were not worse.”

While God was surely watching over Clay, the wonderful message from this story is how the sheer love we have for someone can lead us to achieve the unthinkable. Not only did Acaimie have to overcome her fear of heights, her love for her new husband gave her the strength to pull him from danger and lead him on a long trek back to safety. Now that is the miracle called love.

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 13:20

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Florida man arrested after concealing phone in restroom toilet, says he hoped to catch girlfriend having an affair

Florida man with a criminal record spanning five states has been arrested for voyeurism after setting up a camera in an Arkansas convenience store restroom, police say.

Crawford Lee Croxton, 36, was arrested and taken into custody on Tuesday by deputies from the Baxter County Sheriff's Office after allegedly hiding a phone with the camera activated "beneath and behind" the toilet around August 2, according to a release posted online this week.

Investigators said they were alerted to the covert device after it was found by a store employee. Footage on the phone showed the suspect positioning the camera several times and moving items around the restroom in an attempt to conceal the camera. The suspect was seen leaving the room while the camera was still recording. It captured one man using the restroom.

Upon his arrest, Croxton admitted to deputies that he put the phone in the room "in the hopes of catching his girlfriend cheating on him with another man," the Baxter County Sheriff, John F. Montgomery, said in the media release, which also contained the suspect's mugshot.

The man was captured following an appeal posted online by the sheriff's office. A wanted posterhad contained blurry images of the suspect and asked for information about his location.

On Tuesday, the request paid off when a citizen reported that Croxton had been spotted close to a McDonald's in the area of Highway 62 East driving a 2016 GMC Terrain with a Louisiana license plate. The car turned into the McDonald's parking lot and the driver fled into the restaurant.

The driver—at this stage identified as Croxton—was seen exiting the building and running across the nearby highway. Several deputies converged on the area and Croxton was apprehended. He was found to have a criminal past in five states, qualifying him as a habitual offender. The State of Florida decided not to extradite him for an outstanding probation violation, police said.

Croxton has been charged in Baxter County with felony video voyeurism, felony breaking or entering, misdemeanor fleeing and a penalty enhancement for being classified as a habitual offender. He was held in lieu of a $25,000 bond and is currently scheduled to appear in court later this month, on August 22.

Video voyeurism is the "act of secretly recording someone in an intimate state," Musca Law, a criminal defense firm in Florida, says online. Under state law, anyone previously convicted of a crime will face more severe penalties. Upon conviction, the legal experts said penalties could include up to 15 years of probation, up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 13:16

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Another ten years in prison for 'Scotland's most dangerous teenager' - Darren Cornelius

Darren Cornelius, 29, struck Marcello Pacitti, 38, with a Stanley blade at Saughton jail on September 14 last year.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Cornelius pounced on Pacitti as the pair were enjoying leisure time.

Cornelius is serving a life sentence for leaving a stranger scarred for life after carrying out a random and frenzied attack upon him.

Pacitti, of Sandyhills, Glasgow, was ordered to serve at least 15 years in custody for murdering 20-year-old George Walker in the city’s Castlemilk area in August 2006.

Cornelius struck Pacitti in what was described by judge Lord Burns as an “unprovoked attack”.

A jury had earlier heard how Pacitti was rushed to St John’s Hospital in Livingston and required 43 stitches across his face and ear.

Moments after hearing the revelation, Cornelius stopped proceedings against him by pleading guilty to a charge of causing severe injury and permanent disfigurement to Pacitti.

Lord Burns told Cornelius that he had no other option but to impose a further jail sentence on him.

He added: “This was a serious and unprovoked attack and I can tell from the way you continue to shake your head as I speak that you refuse to acknowledge its seriousness.”

Cornelius, who was standing in a dock between two security guards, replied to him: “Excuse me sir, it wasn’t unprovoked.”

The brute achieved notoriety in May 2008 when he became one of the first people in Scotland to be given an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) - effectively meaning he may never be released again.

Judge Lord Bracadale ordered him to serve a minimum of five years after he pleaded guilty to punching a man called Daniel Sweeney and repeatedly stabbing him with a knife.

On that occasion, the judge heard how Cornelius punched Mr Sweeney and repeatedly stabbed him with a knife in Edinburgh’s Leamington Terrace.

He had claimed that he was stabbing an invisible man only he could see.

In a previous horrific crime, in 2000, when Cornelius was aged 11, he carried out a frenzied knife attack on a nine-year-old girl.

He abducted the girl from her grandmother’s house, stabbed her eight times - narrowing missing the artery in her throat - and then left her for dead near the Fountain Park leisure complex in the Capital.

Cornelius was detained in a secure unit for that attack and his victim later told a newspaper that she’d throw a party if he died.

His victim on the most recent occasion was convicted in August 2007 at the High Court in Glasgow of murdering George Walker, who had a role in the Ken Loach directed movie Sweet Sixteen.

Pacitti shot Mr Walker as he sat in his home in August 2006.. He was with his father, also called George, who was believed to have been the intended target of the killing.

During the latest high court proceedings, a jury heard how Cornelius was part of a group of 10 prisoners taking part in a hobbies workshop where inmates work on jigsaws, picture framing and making models from matchsticks.

After the assault Cornelius was told he being put a report in the jail and said: "What have I done?"

Pacitti said he was working on a jigsaw when he was attacked from behind and a felt stinging sensation and pressure at the side of his face. He said: "It was a strange feeling. I knew my face wasn't right."

He told prosecution Peter Ferguson, QC, prosecuting: "At that time I didn't look all the way round. I was more interested in getting away from the incident."

Cornelius then changed his plea.

After admitting the attack, jurors were told that Cornelius was serving an OLR with a minimum jail term of five years which began in 2007. He has committed further violent crimes in prison.

Defence counsel Euan Dow said Cornelius has made progress in the prison system in recent years but began taking drugs again after learning his mother was seriously ill.

Mr Dow added: “There is little I can say in the way of mitigation given the evidence my lord has heard. I would invite you to restrict the prison sentence as much as you can.”

Cornelius was then taken to the cells.

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 13:03

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Mother of baby boy whose head is smaller because of the same rare condition that can be caused by the Zika virus

The mother of baby boy born with a tiny brain and head due to a rare condition has revealed the incredible bond between him and his sister.

Grayson Taylor was born on March 18 and was later diagnosed with microcephaly, a rare condition that can be caused by the Zika virus.

Parents Rachel, 37, and Josh Taylor, 36, claim they were reassured there was nothing to be concerned about when Grayson was born.

Doctors initially believed his squashed head was due to labour, but scans a few weeks later revealed the abnormality was for life.

The condition, of which the cause is still unknown, puts Grayson at risk of developing epilepsy, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and hearing loss and vision problems.

Mr and Mrs Taylor, who struggled with fertility for eight years before their first child, Cordelia, four, said the whirlwind of emotions has made bonding difficult.

However, they have been touched by Cordelia's unconditional care and love her brother, and hope people see past his disability and treat him the same way.

Although only four, Cordelia sees past Grayson's imperfections and has been very loving and caring towards him.

Mrs Taylor, from Provo, said: 'Cordelia was a little concerned about Grayson at first, but to her he's just her baby brother. She's gentle with him and loves him very much. She's also very proud and loves to show him off to her friends by saying "isn't he so cute?"

'She comes to check on him every morning and give him a cuddle. She feeds him his bottle when he cries, she helps by getting his bottle or diapers, and insists she's taking him to Disneyland very soon.' 

Mrs Taylor, a stay-at-home mother, added: 'I encourage everyone to try and see others the way my four-year-old sees them. She sees past the way people look.

'She doesn't notice the disability or that they are different from her. She just sees how they are similar. She sees a new friend, someone to love.

'Everyone is special and amazing in their own way, and they deserve to be treated with love and respect.

'She understands how to love unconditionally. She has certainly taught me a thing or two and I truly want to be more like her in that respect.'

Mrs Taylor and her husband, financial analyst Mr Taylor, were married in May 2006 and were really looking forward to starting their own family.

The couple were struggling to conceive, and it took them eight years to finally become pregnant with Cordelia, during which time they tried many holistic therapies.

Mrs Taylor said: 'For the first few years, each new month would make me frustrated. I cried a lot. 

'I was elated when I found out I was pregnant with Cordelia and then really surprised when I became pregnant again with Grayson.'

When Mrs Taylor gave birth to Grayson, there were complications.

The medical team noticed that he wasn't breathing properly, and they used a vacuum pump to deliver him as quickly as possible via a C-section.

Grayson's face was bruised and swollen and there was a lump on his noticeably smaller head.

However, the doctors checked for any internal bleeding and had no further concerns about his overall health, Mrs Taylor claims. 

She said: 'Just before Grayson was born the doctors noticed he wasn't breathing well, and they needed to get him out ASAP.

'They decided to try a vacuum pump before resorting to a c-section and that was enough. I was only in labour for 90 minutes.'

'That hour and a half had given my little boy a really hard time and the poor little fella looked really beaten up, his face was bruised and swollen, and he had a lump on his head. 

'The doctors monitored him but didn't seem too concerned. This helped me feel a bit better about the swelling and bruising.

'I knew that the vacuum and even just the birthing process could make the baby's head misshapen for a little while.' 

A baby's head is squashed during childbirth during the second stage of labour, when the baby leaves the uterus and is pushed through the birth canal, or when it is delivered via C-section. 

A baby's head is soft and malleable before the head bones meet and fuse, and sometimes a baby's head is moulded unevenly. 

At Grayson's two-week check-up, Mrs Taylor pointed out her worries about the shape of his head because it wasn't improving.  

The doctor agreed his head was measuring small, and so a CT scan was performed to see if his skull was prematurely fusing, a condition called craniosynostosis, which it wasn't.

An MRI scan showed that his brain was smaller than normal, and he was diagnosed with microcephaly.

There are many potential causes of microcephaly, including infections during pregnancy, exposure to toxins in the womb, and genetic abnormalities. But often the cause remains unknown.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of brain abnormalities, including microcephaly, the CDC states, after investigations of an increased number of cases of microcephaly in places of a Zika virus outbreak. 

Microcephaly is estimated to affect two to 12 babies per 10,000 live births in the US, according to the CDC, and can be spotted during pregnancy or at birth. But sometimes it is diagnosed in the first few years of life. 

Grayson had two auditory tests which showed moderate to severe hearing loss in his left ear, which was then normal a month later.

Ear, nose and throat specialists looked into some feeding issues, and found Grayson had silent reflux and micro aspirations that were making him cough and choke on his food.

He then started having seizures and he had a chest x-ray and an ECG to check his lungs and heart - the results came back normal.

Mrs Taylor said: 'We are currently awaiting the results of genetic testing to come back to help us determine what caused the microcephaly.'

As a loving mother, Mrs Taylor has found it difficult watching her child go through so many tests at such a young age. She hates not having any answers about the cause yet.

She said: 'It's been incredibly difficult watching my little baby go through so much testing. The MRI was the worst as he was sedated and struggled to come out of sedation. 

'Being so young he doesn't understand what's going on around him. During tests we can't always be with him but can hear him crying from outside and it's just heart wrenching.'

Mrs Taylor admits that bonding with her baby son has been difficult, and keeps her guard up incase she is given the news that Grayson will be suddenly taken away from them. 

She said: 'I'm living in a whirlwind of emotions. The hardest part has been not knowing what's wrong with him. It's making bonding with my baby incredibly difficult. Much more so than with our Cordelia.

'Obviously, we have had to grieve for the life we thought we would have. We are having to find a new normal, but I keep my guard up because I'm always worried that I'll be given news that we will lose our son.'


stella Posted on August 15, 2019 12:57

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Monica Lewinsky reveals Bill Clinton urged her to lie under oath

Monica Lewinsky has opened up for the first time about how Bill Clinton convinced her "to break the law" and lie under oath.

In the final part of the A&E docuseries "The Clinton Affair," Lewinsky revealed that Clinton convinced her to deny the affair if she was called to testify in the Paula Jones case. The 45-year-old recalled the former president telling her that she could avoid being deposed if she denied the affair in an affidavit.

Lewinsky said that Clinton had called her at 2:30 in the morning to let her know that she was on the witness list for the Paula Jones case.

"I was petrified. I was frantic about my family and this becoming public," Lewinsky tearfully recalled. "Thankfully, Bill helped me lock myself back from that and he said I could probably sign an affidavit to get out of it, and he didn't even know if a 100 percent I would be subpoenaed."

She was subpoenaed a few days later.

And though she clarified that Clinton never said the words "you're going to have to lie here," Lewinsky pointed out that he also never said "we're going to have to tell the truth."

After being subpoenaed, the former White House staffer decided to talk to attorney Vernon Jordan, a close friend of Clinton. In the documentary, Lewinsky claims that she managed to secure a meeting with Jordan on her own and from that meeting, she was introduced to lawyer Frank Carter.

"Frank Carter explained to me if I'd signed an affidavit denying having had an intimate relationship with the president it might mean I wouldn't have to be deposed in the Paula Jones case," she recounted. "I did feel uncomfortable about it but I felt it was the right thing to do, ironically, right? So, the right thing to do, to break the law."

Following her decision to sign the affidavit, Clinton called Lewinsky to the White House for a somewhat private Christmas celebration.

"This is the first time I met Buddy, the dog, and we kind of all played around with Buddy in the office and then we went into the back study and we had a Christmas kiss," the Vanity Fair writer revealed.

She continued: "Over the summer he had gone to Martha's Vineyard and he brought back a bunch of different things. He had this big canvas bag from the Black Dog. This marble bear, sunglasses. It was the most presents he'd given me at one time. He knew the subpoena was gonna ask to produce certain items and yet he was giving me more gifts. He clearly still trusted me."

Lewinsky added that at the time, she gave the president's gifts to his secretary for safekeeping and to avoid possible seizure.

While things seemed to be getting back to normal, it wasn't long before everything went downhill for the former White House intern.

Once it was discovered that Lewinsky was having an affair with Clinton, the FBI forced the young staffer to be part of the bureau investigation into the president.

Scared and unsure what to do, the activist recalled how the FBI threatened to prosecute her mother and said that both women could face up to 27 years in prison for lying about the affair.

A then-24-year-old Lewinsky demanded to call her mother while she was being held inside a Ritz Carlton hotel room for what was a 12-hour interrogation.

"You're 24, you don't need to call your mommy, you need to make a decision about what to do," Lewinsky recalled one agent told her.

Unwilling to immediately cooperate with the FBI, the young staffer finally told them that she demanded to speak to either her mother or her lawyer before making the decision to wear a wire and have her personal life monitored and tapped.

But once the word of the affair was out in the open, Lewinsky admitted that the scandal was almost too much for her to handle and revealed that she contemplated committing suicide.

"There was a point for me somewhere within these first several hours where I would be hysterically crying and then I would just shut down," she admitted. "And in the shutdown period, I just remember looking out the window and thinking the only way to fix this is to kill myself."

An FBI agent who was involved in the case corroborated her emotions at the time and said she was "alternating between being hysterical, being angry, being abusive."

"I just felt terrible ... and I was scared ... and I was mortified,' she said while trying to regain her composure," Lewinsky sobbed in her documentary confessional.

She also confessed that the taxing events of the scandal are what led her to confide in Linda Tripp, who eventually drew the prosecution to the fact that Clinton was indeed having an affair.

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 12:47

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Knifeman's family feared he'd kill himself after a vicious clash with his sister days before the Sydney rampage

Mert Ney's family feared he was going to kill himself just days before he allegedly murdered a woman and went on a stabbing rampage, but police were unable to find him because of a monumental administrative blunder.

The accused attacker, 20, stormed through the CBD on Tuesday afternoon brandishing a large kitchen knife and soaked in blood.

Michaela Dunn, 24, was then found dead inside a Clarence Street apartment at 3.15pm, just over an hour after Ney allegedly stabbed Linda Bo, 41, in the back.

Those close to Ney say his 'steep descent into insanity' became so clear in the seven days leading up to the attack that police were trying to track him down.

But as police searched for him, they were unaware that Ney was living in government emergency housing and could easily have been located - potentially saving Miss Dunn's life.

It all began in the early hours of August 7, when Ney arrived at the Blacktown Hospital emergency department after suffering a prescription drug overdose. 

Melinda Ettery, a patient in the emergency room, told the Seven Network it was clear he was agitated.

'He was loud and boisterous, being rude to nurses and doctors,' she said. 

Hours later, he left the hospital and returned to his family home at Marayong in Sydney's west, where he allegedly launched a violent attack on one of his sisters. 

The 20-year-old allegedly punched her in the face and choked her before she and her mother contacted police.

Ney fled before officers arrived, leading them on an failed week-long hunt to find him, The Australian reported.

Two days later after the incident at the family home, Ney went to a local GP and said he was having suicidal thoughts. 

The doctor contacted police - but he again evaded them.  

A friend of Ney's sent him a message at the time, telling him: 'You are going to get locked up or killed very soon,' according to Seven. 

Ney replied: 'Yah, I wanna die. Tried to kill myself­ in two days. Didn't work.' 

In the three days before the rampage, Ney had been living in government emergency housing in Blacktown - but no one told the cops who were hunting him.  

'Police were searching for him and we had concerns, but it's still a mystery to us why we didn't get a call,' a police source told The Australian.  

Ney flew under the radar until Tuesday - a week after police began their search. 

That day, he travelled into the city with the intention to 'kill and be killed by a cop's gun', detectives believe.

It is believed he made an appointment with Ms Dunn for 1.30pm, but Ney only spent 20 minutes in her Clarence Street apartment.

Ney was seen on CCTV footage leaving the building at 1.50pm, and police allege he killed her before fleeing the block in a blood-soaked jumper and causing chaos through the streets of Sydney.

Investigators believe Ney and Ms Dunn had no prior contact before Tuesday but are looking through their phone records to determine the nature of their relationship.

'From our early investigations it appears the accused never had any intention of paying the victim for services that he had made arrangements for,' an investigator told 

'Likewise it seems clear that he wanted to be killed by police.'

Teenage homeless couple Courtney Ridgeway, 19, and Nathan Tgiy, 16, described Ney as 'agitated' and 'scary' when they stayed in a room next-door to his at the emergency accommodation.

They heard the 20-year-old discussing terrorism on his phone information he had on USB stick.

'He was talking about terrorism and Allahu Akbar – he loved that word, he was saying it a lot,' Ms Ridgeway told 9News

'I think he had it planned what he was going to do the next day.

'He just said he had a USB and was researching, studying what was on it.' 

Ney was taken down by heroic bystanders after he stabbed 41-year-old Linda Bo in the back in broad daylight. 

Shortly after, Ms Dunn was found in dead in the apartment.

Pictures shared to social media showed Ms Dunn travelled through Sri Lanka and the US in the past year, as well as previously holidaying in Europe.

Her mother told Nine News Ms Dunn was a 'beautiful, loving woman who had studied at university and travelled widely'. She also said the young woman was 'very much loved'.

'While her family appreciate the support offered by the community, they have requested their privacy at this difficult time,' a statement from police read.

'The investigation into the circumstances surrounding Michaela's murder is being led by detectives from the Homicide Squad under Strike Force Lalchere.'

Ney's sister, who declined to be named, apologised to the family of his alleged victim, saying: 'Sorry a million times.. I'm just really sorry to the victim'.

Ms Ney said her brother had a 'steep descent into insanity' and she wanted him to 'suffer' and be punished severely by the law for what he had allegedly done.

'I want him to suffer. I want them to just put him in like the worst mental health institution where it's like jail,' she said.

The woman said she felt 'shocked, angry, disgusted - I hate my last name' in remarkably candid comments near the family home in western Sydney.

'Mostly I just want to say sorry to (the victims),' the tearful sister said. 'She (the slain 24-year-old found dead in a unit) was like, younger than me.

'She could've been like going out in a few hours to go shopping with her mum, eat dinner with her boyfriend, her girlfriends and s***. She can't do that now, can she?'

'All the words I could say isn't ever going to bring her back ... I'm really sorry, she was like, defenceless and everything.'

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 12:39

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British mother of three 'murdered in Barbados after being doused and set on fire as she lay in bed'

Natalie Crichlow, 44, was said to be visiting friends and family on the island when she was viciously attacked on July 28. 

She was taken to hospital with severe burns, where she died from her injuries on August 6. 

Ms Crichlow, a mother of three, was well known in the LGBT community. 

She had previously survived two strokes and two bouts of cancer.

Barbados media outlet Stabroek News reported that police were on the hunt for a man who "barged into a house, choked a woman, doused her with a flammable substance and then set the house on fire". 

They said the 44-year-old was lying in bed on the afternoon of August 6 at her brother's home in Sargeant's Village, Christ Church, when an intruder allegedly entered her bedroom and began choking her. 

The intruder then allegedly threw a flammable liquid on her, lit the house on fire and fled the scene. 

Police pulled Ms Crichlow from the burning house. 

She was transported to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with burns to more than 75 per cent of her body. 

Public relations officer Acting Inspector Rodney Inniss said police were informed of the incident at around 1:55 pm and the woman was taken to hospital. 

A GoFundMe has now been set up to raise money to bring the body of Ms Crichlow, otherwise known as Karma, back to the UK. 

On the page, her niece Ashley Best said: “Many people may be aware that we lost a beautiful soul Natalie Crichlow aka Karma, on 06/08/19. At present, an investigation into her murder is being held in Barbados. ?? ???? ??

“Natalie left behind her eldest daughter and two sons who desperately want to bring her home to say goodbye and lay her to rest peacefully. The outgoing, bubbly and kind Natalie was greatly loved and well thought of throughout many communities, all of which this loss has come as a massive shock to.

"Please help us donate towards costs which will cover repatriation to the UK as her body is still in Barbados with only a few family members and friends around her. Any donation large or small will help in bringing peace to the family and our beloved Natalie who we all miss dearly.”??? 

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "Our staff are supporting the family of a British woman following her death in Barbados, and are in contact with the Barbados police force."

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 12:29

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Australian women warn others are at risk after they fell in love with an African lothario who tricked them into becoming mules for an international drug ring

An Australian mother has issued a desperate warning to other women after travelling to Cambodia on the promise of love, before unwittingly being used as a drug mule.

Yoshe Taylor, a 47-year-old single mother and school teacher, met South African businessman 'Precious' through the dating app Tagged.

He was caring and sweet, with a buff gym body and a broad smile.

Battling depression and struggling to keep up with mortgage repayments, when her internet boyfriend offered Ms Taylor the opportunity to fly to Cambodia to meet him she saw it as the perfect escape.

Instead she ended up spending six years in one of Cambodia's worst prisons, having falling victim to her fraudster boyfriend - a member of a huge international drug syndicate.

'I had been all by myself for a long time, four years, just me and the kids,' she told the ABC's Australian Story.

'I was talking to him for a long time; I thought I got to know him and he seemed very nice.'

Ms Taylor would often stay up late at night exchanging messages with Precious.

He would tell her that when it came to love it was 'her or nothing', while also saying he worried about whether she was sleeping or eating well.

You have a busy day in the morning,' Ms Taylor's lover told her. 

But Precious was not a 43-year-old businessman from South Africa like he claimed.

In reality he was a 24-year-old Nigerian whose name was Precious Chineme Nwoko.

By the time Ms Taylor worked this out it was Christmas 2013 and the 41-year-old was locked up inside the notorious Prey Sar Prison.

Each cell inside the women's prison had 99 inmates and not enough beds, meaning many had to sleep side-by-side on the floor.

She was found guilty of drug smuggling and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

But Ms Taylor wasn't the only Australian woman being targeted by Precious, who also had a Melbourne woman in his sights.

Kay Smith had also met the African scam artist over a dating app and immediately showed off his softer side, telling her about the orphanage where he volunteered.

'The kids here are asking when I will bring my wife too. Almost cried,' he told her.

Eventually, having gained Ms Smith's trust, he also asked him to travel to Cambodia to visit him.

Precious paid for her flights, passport and accommodation, but said the trip had to be limited to only four days as he had business to attend to overseas.

'I was petrified the whole journey,' Ms Smith said of her trip but that anxiety subsided when he turned up at the airport to collect her as promised.

That night they went out for dinner and asked her to marry him. She said yes.

On the final night of her whirlwind trip Precious asked Ms Smith to take two laptop bags back to Australia with her.

Having gone through the bags and checked the contents, the first moment Ms Smith discovered what was in them was at customs at Melbourne Airport.

Shocking CCTV footage from August 29, 2013 shows Ms Smith falling to the floor as customs officers told her two kilograms of heroin was hidden in the lining of the bag.

'In the space of four days, this guy destroyed my entire life, my existence,' she said.

Ms Smith spent six months in a maximum security women's prison in Melbourne and then 18 months on bail before police dropped the charges against her.

Ms Taylor's Cambodian jail hell came to an end earlier this year when she was found to be an innocent victim of the drug smuggling scam.

She returned home to Queensland and was reunited with her two children.

The law finally caught up with Precious during a raid on the drug den where he and other members of his syndicate lived. He was sentenced to 27 years jail.

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 12:19

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Double amputee bride wears a dress for the FIRST time at her wedding

A double amputee had the confidence to wear a dress for the first time on her wedding day - due to her new state-of-the-art legs. 

Katarina Floridia, 27, from Ashland, Massachusetts, had always been embarrassed about her legs, covering them even on sweltering hot beach days.

But thanks to her new legs - from A Step Ahead Prosthetics, which match her skin color and accommodate heels, Katarina was able to make her dream come true by walking down the aisle in confidence with her father on her arm and marrying fiance Andrew Pfeffer. 

Katarina said: 'It made the beautiful bride that I have always hoped and dreamt of being - I was a princess bride that could finally see her toes. 

'Walking down the aisle was the most emotionally moment of my life. I felt that my self-esteem and self-confidence returned after it had being damaged my whole life - I never felt so beautiful, confident or strong.'

Katarina, a congenital bilateral amputee, has had to wear prosthetics her whole life, having been adopted from Moscow, Russia, when she was 18 months old, and moving to the United States. 

When she was born, bands formed in her amniotic fluid, restricting the growth of her legs. Over the years, Katarina said, she has had a difficult relationship with prosthetics - from having the confidence to wear previous models out in public, to experiencing the cost of healthcare related to her condition. 

She decided that was going to change on her wedding day - and through the support of her husband, Andrew Pfeffer, 28, and the team at A Step Ahead Prosthetics, she was able to achieve that, selecting everything from skin tone to the kind of veining she would like on her feet. 

In an emotional moment ahead of her wedding in June this year - and in which Katarina shared on her wedding day to help tell her story - the double amputee tried on A Step Ahead's prosthetics for the very first time. 

She was brought to tears as she tried on the specially designed prosthetics, revealing they immediately gave her the confidence to show off her legs and walk down the aisle in front of those dearest to her. 

Many people - even friends and family - had not known what Katarina had experienced emotionally while wearing prosthetics her whole life, and so when she gathered the confidence to explain her situation before her wedding day, she was greeted with hugs, kisses and many tears.

Talking about the wedding she said: 'My father was discharged from hospital the day before my wedding, and I just remember looking over to him as we waited for our cue to walk and said, 'we made it - I love you.' 

'There was not a dry eye when walking down the aisle because everyone could see how happy I was and that I finally believed in the person that I really am.' 

The prosthetics feature ProSystem SkinTones Systems' silicone covers, which had been custom made to match her skin tone and anatomy.

Lauren Piccolino, facility director at A Step Ahead Prosthetics in Burlington, Massachusetts, said: 'Watching Katarina's reaction when she saw herself in the mirror for the first time was one of my most beloved and proudest moments working for A Step Ahead Prosthetics.  

'In that moment, she didn't see herself any longer as an amputee who was worried about what society thought of her. 

'She was confident and elegant - I saw for the first time since meeting Katarina as a strong, confident women who was so incredibly proud of who she was and no longer had to hide her limb difference. 

'Her genuine excitement, gratitude, and disbelief that her skin covers could look so real made this experience at our facility incredibly exceptional. It makes our jobs even more special than they already are.'  

Going forward, Katarina hopes that her story will help to inspire others who may be in a similar situation. 

She added: 'I hope anyone else in the world that may be trying to hide something that may make them different, whether it is having prosthesis or something else, to know that you are not alone. 

'The world can be cruel and what I want people to take away from my story is that it is important to be happy, proud of whom they are and accept themselves. 

'The important part is to believe in yourself, I spent 27 years being scared if society would accept me, but when I finally accepted myself, the day of my wedding and walked down the aisle, I was proud of who I am and was humbled to know that those around me, loved me for who I am.'

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 12:05

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Expectant mother reveals how she embarrassed a stranger who told her not to drink coffee

A pregnant woman has revealed her trick for putting off people who offer unsolicited advice to expectant mothers, after being advised by a stranger not to order coffee.  

The mother-to-be from New York, who goes by the name of Jax on Twitter, explained how a bystander told her she should be drinking decaffeinated coffee after hearing her order at her local Starbucks. 

However, she swiftly got her own back and left the stranger speechless, by replying: 'I'm not pregnant'. 

Her tweet racked up almost 78,000 shared and and more than 698,300 likes, as other users shared their experiences of strangers thinking they have 'ownership' of pregnant women's bodies.  

Recounting the experience, Jax said the stranger had told her, after overhearing her coffee order: 'You know you should be drinking decaf when you're pregnant.'

When she said she was not pregnant, the mortified bystander replied: 'I am so, so sorry.'

'And that's what you get for giving unsolicited advice,' the tweet concluded. 

Other women chimed in to say they had had similar conversations with well-meaning but intrusive strangers. 

One woman wrote: 'A male coworker once said to me as I was eating a McDonald's cheeseburger and fries, "you should eat something healthy, like a salad." 

'I was vegetarian up until my sixth month. I literally hadn't had McDs in 15+ years. I looked at him as I shoved it in my mouth and said "shut up Eric".'

Another added: 'I had a woman next to me in live for a movie ask me about my birth plan. I politely told her she was not part of my plan.' 

And other parents revealed the advice didn't stop after the baby was born either. 

'I was breastfeeding and an old woman came up to say I ought to go to the washroom. I just said "I'm so sorry about your neck." 

'She said there's nothing wrong with her neck. So I replied "then turn your damn head and look away or there soon will be." She was so flustered, she left,' recalled another. 

'My favorite reply has always been: "Thank you, but we've chosen to raise her poorly"' one father wrote. 

'As a new father carrying my crying child in public, invariably I'd get people coming up to me and telling me what was wrong: hungry, tired, etc. I'd respond that she was fine, just upset about [current news item]. Worth it just for the blank stares,' another one shared. 

Other women said their doctors actually advised them to drink coffee during their pregnancies, while other added their own children ended up fine after they drank the hot beverage while they were pregnant.  

'I remember when I was pregnant I stopped drinking anything with caffeine and I ended up with migraines my ob/gyn doctor told me to get a cup of coffee,' one mother said. 

'I had one Diet Coke a day during my entire pregnancy. She was born healthy and continues to be healthy and happy and smart 15 years later. 

'I drank regular coffee through all three pregnancies. My kids are practically perfect. F*** ppls advice! You do you,' one wrote. 

'Isn't it amazing how you become everyone's property when you are preggers,' asked another. 

'Next person that says something like that, really blow their hair back by telling them you need the coffee to get rid of the hangover you have. Grown folks need to mind their business,' another said.

Some women also revealed strangers had rubbed their belly out of the blue during their pregnancies.  

'Once a woman just came up and started rubbing my belly, so I just grabbed her boob. She was so shocked and offended for some odd reason,' one wrote.   

What's the medical opinion?  

It is recommended that pregnant drink no more than 200mg of coffee a day during their pregnancy. This represents two cups of instant coffee or one cup of filter coffee 

Consuming more than that amount can lead to higher health risks for the fetus, such as a low birth weight.

A low birth rate can lead to health issues when the baby gets older.

'I had several odd encounters when I was approached by strangers asking how far along I was while pregnant with twins. The most immediate response was to reach out and touch my belly and it felt totally invasive.'

Some women explained it made them feel as if their bodies were not their own, and called the behavior intrusive and inappropriate.   #

'When you're pregnant it's strange enough to lose so much of you body autonomy to the baby, but then everyone else confirms it's no longer your body as well. It's the worst part about about being pregnant,' Jax agreed. 

Ans whilst some Twitter users came to defense of the Starbucks strangers, the pregnant woman made sur to point out she had sought out advice from qualified professionals :  

'You're right, I don't have any concern for my baby. I should follow the advice of random people at Starbucks instead of my doctors, midwives and the actual research,' Jax sarcastically wrote to one Twitter user who said she should be grateful for the advice the stranger gave her.

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 11:21

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Woman Murders Son-In-Law, Cuts Off His Testicles And Throws Them Out The Window

The daughter called police when her mother phoned to tell her what she had done. Dmitry Bogdanov, 32, died after being stabbed 27 times. Police said the suspect, 49, cut off his testicles after he collapsed at her home in Novgorod, Russia, and threw them out of her open flat window.

The woman and her partner had been sharing a drink with the son-in-law when they began to row. Russian police said the woman accused Bogdanov of failing to pay money and give help to her daughter – his ex-wife – and her grandson, the victim’s son.

She then stabbed him several times with a knife and when Bogdanov collapsed, her boyfriend grabbed the knife and continued the attack, police claimed.

After mutilating the victim, the mother phoned her daughter who immediately called the police. The couple initially denied murdering Bogdanov but later confessed, police said. The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a murder case.

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 10:31

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Mother who gave birth during the Yemen war reveals she lived in fear of being killed

A mother who was pregnant and gave birth during the raging war in Yemen has revealed she lived in constant fear she and her baby would be killed and slept under her bed wearing headphones to block out the sound of bombing.

Sukaina Sharafuddin, 29, who currently lives in the country's largest city, Sana'a, with her husband and son Elias, now three-and-a-half, told how she struggled with high blood pressure due to the worry and anxiety.

She found it near-impossible to sleep, worrying an air strike would hit her home and kill her and her loved ones.

On the night she gave birth, Sukaina travelled to three different hospitals but none of them were able to accept her due to a lack of facilities.

She was eventually admitted and gave birth by C-section, requesting a general anaesthetic so she didn't hear the sound of warplanes.

Now Sukaina, who works as a communications coordinator for charity Save the Children, says Elias is a happy and healthy toddler, but it breaks her heart that all he's ever known is his country at war.

'As a mother you want to make sure your child is safe, happy, and that he sleeps well,' she told FEMAIL.

'I have taken him to 10 or 11 different nurseries because I keep hearing they targeted a house or a neighbourhood nearby, so I move him, and this goes on and on and on.

'In the end nowhere is safe; almost every area has been targeted, and it breaks my heart that he doesn't know the country how I knew it before the war.'

Sukaina found out she was expecting a week before the conflict, which has seen Saudi Arabia and Iran support opposing sides in a four-year civil war, broke out. 

'I had that joy of being pregnant and threw a small party, the way modern mothers do, I was too excited,' she recalled.

'Little did I know the war would happen one week later. That's when all hell broke loose.

'The first night I think there was more than 100 air strikes in Sana'a alone. I remember my doctors during my pregnancy were telling me to put headphones on with loud music to try to sleep.

'I wasn't able to sleep; most nights I slept under staircases or under my bed. Although it sounds silly, I lived in fear that an air strike could fall on top of our roof and kill many people, like they had all around me.

'That happens less often than it used to in the capital, but we still hear it almost weekly.'

Sukaina said she was terrified she would lose her baby and would pray every night for her and her son to stay alive.

'When you see a lot of destruction happen to people you know, I have seen what an air strike does a single home, a family, the injuries, most of them are dead, so I was always worried,' she said.

'Every night I would call my mother and we would cry over the phone saying our last goodbyes.

Sukaina said her number one pregnancy craving was to sleep 'for five or six hours' without being woken by the harrowing sound of warplanes.

During the final month she suffered from high blood pressure, which doctors put down to the constant fear she felt. 

'Obviously during pregnancy you're told to relax, not to worry, but this wasn't possible for us,' she said. 

After giving birth via caesarean, Sukaina was unable to see her son for the first few days as she was recovering. 

'I remember making everyone who came to visit me during the first few days swear that my son was alive, because I hadn't heard that happy cry that makes all the pain go away,' she recalled.

Now Elias loves airplanes; he sees them on TV and has lots of toy planes, but he knows the moment we hear an airplane in Sana'a, it means that we have to run away from windows, escape to the holes, sleep under the staircases, because they only mean one thing - an air strike. 

'Our airport is not functioning, so that's the only time you hear an airplane, when they're about to drop bombs.'

Sukaina admitted she does 'regret' bringing Elias into the world during the conflict, but said she's lucky to have him as if she didn't, she would have 'lost her mind'.

'I get scared very easily,' she said. 'I'm shocked at how strong and resilient I've become, but I'm doing all of this for him and trying to pretend that I'm happy rather than showing the worry and crying.

'We have a place in our house that we call the safety zone, although I live on the ninth floor so it's not really safe, and the building has lots of broken windows, but I have no other place to go so I have to adapt everything and move on.'

Sukaina said she feels 'trapped' in Yemen, as they can't travel anywhere without a visa.

She added that working for Save the Children is a 'relief' because she does get to see 'the bright side'.

'We help children overcome trauma and get back to school. We provide medical aid. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have this job, I'd be depressed I guess,' she said.

'I remember when we were working in an office two years ago and the worst air strike ever targeted Aden (a port city and the temporary capital). 

'Our Save the Children office was in the area where this missile dropped. It killed around 500 people and injured so many, it was the worst ever recorded in Yemen.

'I remember that day seeing colleagues with injuries, buildings destroyed. It will take us many years to overcome what we have seen and heard.'

Sukaina considers herself lucky to have an income, as many Yemenis - including her husband - have lost theirs due to the collapsing economy.

'Everyone is in need, they are drowning in debt, everybody I know is, because there is no income, so they find people to lend them money, and then it goes on and on,' she explained.

'Public service workers haven't been paid, nurses, doctors, teachers, it's horrible.'

Sukaina lost her 17-year-old cousin as a result of the war as her diabetes medication became unavailable.

'The airport was not open for us to transfer her, so she went into a coma and died. It was very sad for us,' she said.

'People are dying from diarrhoea in Yemen. Anywhere else in the world you'd get medication and get better, but here half of the hospitals have either shut down or are partially working. Medication is hard to get into the country, it takes months, and then once it's available it's ridiculously expensive so many families can't buy it.'

Despite the bleak situation Sukaina, like many Yemenis, hopes that the conflict will be resolved.

'We believe with excessive pressure, governments can do something about Yemen,' she told FEMAIL.

'They need to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia, they need to put pressure on this war to end.

'I visit many children in different offices and ask if they have hope, and their message is always, "Look at us in the eyes of mercy". We are innocent people and what's happening here is in the hands of the world.'


stella Posted on August 15, 2019 10:26

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Identical twins who BOTH transitioned from female to male within two years

Identical twins who both transitioned from female to male within two years of each other, are hoping to use the unbreakable bond that has been formed between them to encourage others to have frank conversations about gender issues.  

Kasey and Shea Opilla, 20, from San Jose, California, who grew up up as tomboys with the feeling that they 'did not belong', were around 11-years-old when they began dreading the prospect of going through puberty.

Although they didn't openly discuss their feelings, their almost telepathic relationship meant they knew that they were battling similar demons.

A sex education class at school on growing breasts and starting their periods, confirmed how unhappy they felt in their female bodies.

The twins who were confused, partly because gender issues were less openly discussed at the time, didn't initially realise that they were transgender. 

Kasey and Shea came out as lesbians in 2013, a decision supported by their family with Kasey being the first, followed by Shea a few months later.

Kasey who currently works in a restaurant, but will be going to college in the autumn to study psychology spoke about the years leading up to their transition.

He said: 'Something in me, in the way I felt about who I was, was off.

'Socially, things were difficult. I didn't feel like I quite belonged with the other girls, so I would gravitate towards boys, but didn't fit in there either.

'Back then, I didn't know about the concept of being transgender, or even the word, but I knew I was different.'

After coming out as lesbians, the pair continued to live in emotional turmoil.

In search of support they had one-on-one therapy to discuss their gender issues, however neither knew at the time that the other twin was having it.  

Eventually, after having counselling, as well as watching YouTube videos and TV documentaries about people going through transitions, both twins concluded they were transgender. Kasey and Shea confided in each other before telling anyone else. 

Again, Kasey was the first to come out in 2015.

He said: 'Deep down, I knew who I was, but had no idea how to get there. I knew I was trans, but had no idea how to say it out loud. Plus, where the differences between the two genders amplify with age, I was struggling more and more, socially.

'I needed to talk to somebody that wasn't in my direct circle about what I was going through, and so I decided to have counselling - a fact I kept to myself.

'In the end, I came out in 2015. Shea was the first person I told, and I had an idea that he would one day come out as trans too, but wasn't ready then.'

Shea's support was integral to every step of Kasey's transition.

He said: 'Throughout our journey, we have made sure we're both there for all those big moments, like coming out to the rest of the family.

'That's when you need comfort the most, and to have your whole self with you.

'As a twin, you're never alone throughout your entire life – and we certainly weren't going to let each other take on the hardest times alone.'

A year after coming out, Kasey who has not changed his name, began his physical transition from female to male. He started with taking hormones, then continued by having top surgery to remove his breasts.

He continued: 'That was a real adjustment. Everybody is different, so you are never too sure how the hormones will affect you.

'You desperately want to see changes, and want to see them tomorrow - but know they will take time, so there were times when it all seemed too far away for me to be happy.

'When I first started taking hormones, I was still getting misgendered a lot and referred to as a female, which was very frustrating. At the time, as Shea wasn't out, I didn't know anybody else who was trans, so I did feel like I was going through it alone.

'My one regret is not reaching out to more people in the community then, as that would've helped – to talk to people who understood.'

As the hormones took effect, Kasey's voice deepened and his body changed to a more masculine shape.

This stopped him from being misgendered and often meant that, when he met new people, he no longer needed to explain his past – which helped boost his confidence.

Meanwhile, Shea who is studying kinesiology (the science of movement) at university, was also moving towards coming out as transgender.

Recalling the day when Kasey confided his desire to transition, Shea who now goes by his middle name, but does not want to reveal his name as a female said: 'He'd been so depressed for so long, I was really happy he was finally out and able to be himself. 

'I thought he was incredibly brave and wanted to support him, but knew I also had some thinking to do about how I was going to come out.'

Over the next two years, as Shea watched Kasey begin to change physically, he also acclimatized, not least the fact they were non-identical for the first time.  

He continued: 'Because we'd always identified as "the twins", in the two years that Kasey was out as transgender and I wasn't, it felt almost strange that we weren't identical anymore.

'When he came out, I remember thinking how incredibly brave he was – but there was also that hint of jealousy that he could be his true self, whereas I wasn't quite ready.'

Looking back to the moment in the fifth grade, the US equivalent of Year 6, during sex education when he and Kasey both knew they felt trapped in the wrong bodies, Shea recalled his intense discomfort.

He said: 'They separated the class into boys and girls, so we could each learn about our own bodies. Sitting there, hearing it all, didn't feel right.

'I realized I didn't want all the changes that come with puberty, like periods and breasts. It felt like it shouldn't be happening to me.'

Although it took him slightly longer than Kasey, in 2017, Shea was ready to come out as transgender, too - happy in the knowledge he would be embarking on the journey with his twin.

He said: 'The first person I told was Kasey. We were driving along and I just came out with it, then told him I was going to tell our parents.

'There are no words to describe how amazing it has been to go through this with the person closest to me in the world.

'He made sure I picked a day where he'd be there too, for support. We are a really tight-knit family, and everybody was supportive, but they did naturally have questions and fears.

'Aside from Kasey, I have two other brothers, so back then, I felt like the last remaining daughter. I think parents can have these pre-conceived ideas of what their child's life will be like depending on their gender – dads want to walk their daughters down the aisle, mothers want to see them pregnant.

'I was scared I was taking that away from them, but had been told by my therapist to expect them to go through a period of grieving. After all, they were losing a daughter – but gaining a son.'

Like his brother, Shea soon began taking hormones, before also having top surgery 18 months ago.

In comparison with Kasey's rather solitary experience, he had a number of friends who were also transitioning and was surrounded by others who knew exactly what he was going through.

He added: 'Kasey had gone through a real unknown, whereas I knew what was coming. I always feel bad that he went ahead and paved the way.

'There must have been times when he felt really alone, while having him made my own transition smoother.

'Of course, I was there for him, but as I wasn't out myself then - I didn't know how he felt. When I went through it though, I had a number of trans friends that I could talk to and even make jokes with about how much puberty sucks the second time around.

'In the period where Kasey was transitioning and I wasn't, it had been strange to not be identical anymore. For the first time, we looked and sounded different.

'But as my hormones began to take effect, we would joke all the time about how we were going to be the same again.'

The brothers who say their bond has been massively strengthened by going through their transition together, are speaking out to help normalize conversations about being transgender.

Feeling mentally stronger than they have for years, Kasey and Shea are filled with pride when they look back at the courage it took to come out.  

The twins hope by sharing their story, they will encourage others in their situation to find a network of trans people they can safely speak to, and for families of those transitioning to educate themselves and not to shy away from asking questions.

Kasey said: 'There are so many misconceptions about gender issues that are making the community feel unsafe and misunderstood.

'It's a combination of a lack of conversation and a lack of effort to understand, but if we talk more, we can normalise it and help people to open up.

'This has been a real journey for my mental health. There were times when the isolation I felt reminded me of being that little kid who didn't belong all over again, but since Shea came out I couldn't be happier.

'I never imagined this life for myself, and if I knew how it would all turn out I would go back and tell my younger self that it will all be okay.'

Shea, who has been with his girlfriend Savannah for a year, also stressed how important having his family on board had been during his transition.

He said: 'A really essential part of healing for me was making sure my family understood exactly how I'd been feeling. Talking openly and honestly really lifted a burden.

'So, if anybody out there is struggling with a family who don't understand, I would say to be patient and try to lead by example and answer questions. They can be frustrating, but they can also really help somebody understand what you have been going through.

'With transitioning, there always seems to be some hoop to jump through, so this has taught me so much about patience and resilience.

'But now, with a future I really want for myself ahead of me, I can look back at the hardship and anxiety of the past and safely say it has all been worth it.'

Praising Savannah for her support, he continued: 'She is truly amazing and understanding, especially on days where dysphoria creeps back and I feel uncomfortable in my body.

'She is always willing to help me through those times, and I think getting to that level of support and unconditional love has strengthened our relationship over this past year.

'For anyone out there who may be transgender and questioning whether it is possible to get that unconditional love from friends and family, and also for themselves, I want to say that it absolutely is.'

The twins' mother Shannon, 49, added: 'As their mother, I am extremely proud of both Kasey and Shea for being true to themselves. They are amazing people. Both are smart, fun to be with, and most importantly, they are kind and caring.'

stella Posted on August 15, 2019 10:15

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Pair born at same hospital, on same day, get married 23 years later

couple who was born at the same hospital just hours apart have gotten married — 23 years later.

James Barsby came into the world with his twin brother, Christian, just feet away from future wife Amy, also a twin, who was born five-and-a-half hours later with her brother William.

The couple's parents had even met at a prenatal class before the pair were born at Blackburn's Queen's Park Hospital in Lancashire, England, in 1995.

Despite growing up just a few miles apart in Clitheroe, Lancashire, the lovebirds, now 23, only knew of each other at school. It was not until in a science class freshman year they discovered they had real chemistry and began dating.

The pair married at St Peter's Church in Salesbury, Lancashire, just days before James's graduation from Manchester Medical School and Amy's graduation from Lancaster University.

The couple was the third generation of Amy's family to marry there — Amy's parents got married at the church in 1990 and her grandparents wed there in 1965.

Christian was a joint-best man at the wedding with James' other brother Oliver, while Amy's twin William played a vital role in the big day as an usher.

The pair, who spent a "lovely romantic" honeymoon in Slovenia after the wedding, are now set to embark upon a career as junior doctors at the same NHS Trust in the North West.

Amy said the fact the couple was born on the same day made their relationship "extra special."

"It makes it more like it was just meant to be. I wouldn't have it any other way, even if it means I can't have my own birthday," she said. "Growing up, we've always shared our birthday with our twin brothers, now we share it with each other."

James proposed two years ago while the couple was on vacation in Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, after secretly arranging with the hotel to find a romantic spot on the beach for dinner.

"It was really cute," Amy said. "He did well. He got down on one knee and asked me. There was no way I was going to say no.

"I kind of guessed something was happening when he was leading me to a romantic, secluded spot, but I was very happy."

Amy said her mother, who helped a lot with the wedding, "is really happy for us," and "remembers talking to [James'] family at the [pre]natal class."

The lovestruck teenagers officially began dating in 2011 and did not let moving away to university affect their relationship.

"I was in Lancaster and James was in Manchester. It's only an hour on the train, it was nothing really. Not a weekend went by that we didn't spend together," Amy said. "We both applied for medicine degrees, we both got into [university] and we both passed. Now we are both starting as junior doctors at the same NHS Trust."

James, like everyone around him, thought, "What are the chances of that?"

"On the first day of school, our parents said to us both, 'The other sets of twins will be starting today,'" he said. "Whenever I saw Amy around school, I thought, 'There's that other twin.'"


stella Posted on August 14, 2019 21:28

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Company allegedly makes employees eat live fish, drink chicken blood for failing to meet goals

A sales company in Guizhou, China, has come under fire for forcing employees to eat live mudfish and drink chicken blood for failing to meet their set goals.

News of the extreme punishment employees of a Guizhou construction material store was recently subjected to broke out after a video of the ordeal was leaked online. It showed a man handing out live mudfish from a plastic bucket to about two dozen employees and instructing them to “bite it until it breaks”.

The video also shows the poor people drinking a strange liquid reported to be chicken blood, and then grimacing and retching in discussed. Faced with video evidence, a spokesperson for the company admitted that the event took place, but claimed that employees volunteered to take part…

A representative of the construction material super-store told Chinese newspaper Beijing News that the incident did indeed take place on August 4 and involved about 20 employees who had failed to meet their sales quotas. However, he emphasized that employees volunteered to eat live fish and drink chicken blood, as a form of motivation to do better in the future.

The South China Morning Post backed up that statement in a video, claiming that most of the participants in the event were shop owners who decided to punish themselves by eating raw fish and drinking animal blood, but social media users were not convinced.

After the shocking video went viral online, the local labour department told reporters that they had started an investigation into the incident. However, if past such events are any indication, the owner of the company and his managers won’t have to deal with too harsh of a punishment.

Such rituals to shame employees into performing better are quite common in China, despite the country’s labour laws preventing employers from shaming employees and enforcing corporal punishments. In recent years, we’ve seen ruthless bosses force their workers to crawl on all fours in public and eat live worms or cockroaches for failing to meet sales targets.

As always, Chinese social media users have condemned the actions of the employer, but unless the state steps in, public outrage isn’t going to stop such things from happening again.

“This ‘punishment’ is common among companies selling building materials. I really don’t know how these bosses think of these things… ‘Voluntarily’? More like afraid to lose their job. These evil bosses are perverted,” one Weibo user wrote.

“They are just showing up for work and their dignity is gone,” another outraged person commented.

stella Posted on August 14, 2019 21:18

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Bride carries premature baby down the aisle as she weds groom in the hospital

Though Amanda, 27, was heavily pregnant, she had ten weeks until the birth of their son so they didn’t expect her to have any troubles. But the North Carolina family were shocked when Amanda went into labour at 30 weeks pregnant. Throwing their beachfront plans off the track, little Oliver was born at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh where he is still staying. Thankfully the newborn didn’t ruin the wedding as Amanda and Edwin postponed it, celebrating the big day in hospital. And a dapper Oliver even walked down the aisle with his mum. On the big day, he weighed a normal 7lb, a healthier number than the 3lb he was born weighing.

When she went into labour, Amanda lamented missing their meticulously planned wedding. So when she told the hospital’s Family Navigator, Mallory Magelli McKeown, that she and Edwin would instead get married in a local courthouse, Mallory had other ideas. She encouraged the couple to make the day more special by getting married at the hospital chapel and inviting wee Oliver to attend.

He was the star of the show, wearing a tiny suit as he walked down the aisle with his mum in lieu of a bouquet. ‘Could not have asked for a more special or memorable wedding, surrounded by family and the wonderful people taking care of my baby,’ Amanda wrote on her Facebook page. ‘Thank you WakeMed Children’s for letting Oliver be a part of our day and everything else you do.’

A hospital spokesperson told Southern Living: ‘There was not a dry eye in the chapel, and the room was filled with love and celebration for Amanda, Edwin and Oliver.’ Let’s hope Oliver has a speedy recovery so his parents can enjoy their honeymoon.

stella Posted on August 14, 2019 21:11

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Terminally ill father-of-seven 'whose wife and best friend plotted to murder him'

A terminally ill father of seven whose wife and best friend allegedly plotted to murder him today told how he was set alight in a swimming pool heater explosion.

Raymond Weatherall, who was diagnosed with several brain tumours in 2015, said he was immediately ablaze after igniting the solid fuel boiler at his family home in June last year.

A court heard the 53-year-old had to jump into the pool to extinguish the flames, which caused second degree burns to his shoulders, arms, hands and legs.

It is alleged the explosion was the first of a number of 'planned, aborted or failed' attempts on his life by his 32-year-old wife Hayley, her 49-year-old lover Glenn Pollard, and his daughter, Heather Pollard.

Giving evidence today, Mr Weatherall said it was the first time he had fired up the heater that year when it exploded.

He had used it the previous year without problem.

Speaking of the moment it burst into flames he told the court: 'I was stood about four, five feet away from the boiler as I call it when there was this almighty bang, the door on it blew open and covered me with all the kindling and the remains of the lit fuel.

'I was ablaze in as many seconds as you could ever imagine. I rolled and rolled and rolled but no way was it going out. So I struggled towards the pool.

'My jacket was alight, my shoulders. I knew where I was going and knew where I had to go. My son Sam came screaming over and pushed me into the pool which is what put me out.'

Mr Weatherall was taken to hospital and spent several days at the special burns unit in East Grinstead, Sussex.

Mr Weatherall had been with Hayley for nine years, marrying in December 2015. They have three children aged between four and eight, and he also father to four others, all in their 20s.

He has known Glenn Pollard for more than 20 years and regarded him as 'more or less like a brother', Maidstone Crown Court in Kent heard.

Hayley Weatherall, of Ash near Canterbury, Kent, Glenn Pollard and Heather Pollard, now 20, and both of West Stourmouth, Canterbury, all deny conspiracy to murder between June 1 2017 and March 31 this year.

At the start of their trial, it was said that despite dying from cancer, they embarked 'on a mission' to get him 'out of the way'.

As well as the heater explosion, they are accused of being responsible for shooting him in the face while he was felling trees at Sandwich Marina in Kent on November 29 last year.

However, when that failed to kill him, other ways were allegedly discussed about how they could kill Mr Weatherall, who was given 18 months to live in early 2016.

These included poisoning him with cyanide, injecting him with a fatal dose of insulin, and pushing him overboard on a fishing trip.

Internet searches were also allegedly carried out by Heather, then aged 19, which referred to 'techniques on silent killing', 'creative ways to kill someone' and '16 steps to kill someone and not get caught'.

The court heard the heater explosion was initially thought at the time to be a 'mere accident'.

It was only after the affair was discovered in January this year that police investigating the marina shooting looked at previous incidents. 

The court heard the explosion happened about 10 days before Mr Weatherall attended his brother's funeral.

It is alleged it was at this funeral that the affair between his wife and best friend began. 

They became infatuated, the court heard, engaging in intimate phone conversations and exchanging explicit photos of each other on WhatsApp. 

Later the court heard how Mr Weatherall was working at the marina with his tree surgeon son Sam and daughter Jade, when he was shot at about 2pm on November 29 last year.

He told the court Mr Pollard knew of their whereabouts but he thought there was 'nothing untoward at that point'.

He said he was fired at as he was squatting down on the riverbank, having a smoke and a drink break.

'Next thing I know there was this almighty crack and I thought something had fallen out the tree and hit me on the head. But it became very evident within seconds it was not that,' Mr Weatherall told the jury.

'Blood was starting to pour out of my nose, out of one of my ears. I couldn't breathe with the amount of blood that was in my throat and nose.

'It took me a couple of minutes to sort of semi regain my senses, when I blew all the blood out my nose to get rid of it so I could actually breathe.

'Then I proceeded to calm my son down. He was absolutely hysterical, running around the yard screaming, shouting, crying. I had to get hold of him.

'It might well sound very strange but I said 'Sam, look at me'. He said 'Dad, Dad, is it your head?' I said 'It is my head boy, but it ain't my tumours'.

'I was aware of an ambulance being called. But I was well on top of it all by then. I got to grips with what happened. I knew I had been shot. It became so evident.

'I had a hole here (pointing to right cheek) and a hole there and there was blood but I knew I was alright.'

Mr Weatherall was taken to hospital, where he was visited by both his wife and Pollard.

The court heard that while there, Mrs Weatherall sent a text to her lover saying 'Whoever it was you paid to shoot Ray, they do a good job, did they?' to which Pollard replied 'I'm not paying him the full amount.'

Despite his injuries, Mr Weatherall was allowed home that day. He required what was called a major facial split but it could not be done due to his tumours.

He told the jury fragments of the bullet still remain in his face.

He said: 'I had a job to open my mouth and get my tongue out. They reckon it damaged all the nerves in my jaw. I struggled for a few days but pushed on.... I am now 99.9% sorted.'

The bullet entered one cheek, passed through his throat and out the other cheek. A pathologist later concluded that a minor deviation of the missile's tract could have proved fatal.

It is alleged he was fired at from grassland 30 to 40 metres away on the opposite bank of the River Stour.

The court heard once the affair was known by police, they discovered Heather Pollard's Citroen car had been found 'parked awkwardly' and seemingly abandoned in the area on the day of the shooting.

Police later calculated it took four minutes to walk the distance between her car and from where the shooter may have taken aim.

The vehicle was also fitted with a tracker by her insurance company, and it revealed the car had arrived near the marina just after 8am and was driven away at 2.07pm, just five minutes after Mr Weatherall's daughter had dialled 999.

Heather Pollard later claimed that she had met a stranger on a dog walk and, despite having a girlfriend and no sexual experience with men, she had sex with him.

She also told her boss she had not shown up for her farm job that morning as her grandmother had got stuck on a stairlift.

The jury was told both she and her father had access to guns and ammunition stored unsecurely at their home. Glenn Pollard was a registered gun owner and considered to be 'a fine shot', while his daughter accompanied him on shoots.

A .22 rimfire rifle fitted with telescopic sight and sound moderator together with noise-suppressing ammunition was found at their property, as well as camouflage clothing and netting.

A ballistic expert concluded it was possible that the gun had been used in the shooting.

But although evidence showed Glenn Pollard not to be in the vicinity of the marina when his best friend was shot, he was 'orchestrating the murder attempt from afar', said prosecutor Simon Taylor.

Pollard and Hayley Weatherall shared, added Mr Taylor, an 'intense and passionate' relationship which was the 'driving motivation' behind each attempt to kill her husband.  

The court heard Mr Weatherall, who also suffers from Type 2 diabetes, found his wife in her dressing gown at 4pm on Saturday, March 10 this year.

She had a pocket full of tablets and several 'suicide' letters in the other, and was 'a broken down wreck', said Mr Weatherall.

He also knew she had by that time given a statement to police. 'She was crying, sobbing and gasping for breath, and that's when she told me the rest of what had been going on,' he said.

'I put my arms around her and told her to calm down. It was a case of calming her down before she spoke.

'She started going on about the statement that she gave. It was all admittance. She spilt the beans about what had been going on, how long it had been going on.'

They went into their bedroom out to be out of earshot of the children. It was then that she was said to have confessed to him about the plan to give him a fatal overdose.

'Hayley told me that Glenn had given her £500 in an envelope and then proceeded to present her with a handful of sleeping tablets, asking her to crush it up and put it in my food or whatever,' said Mr Weatherall.

'She assured me that she didn't do that and I wouldn't have no reason not to believe her because the morning after the night she should have crushed them up and put them in my dinner, I was in the kitchen and threw something in the bin.

'I can distinctly remember seeing tablets in the bin. I didn't think nothing of it other than Hayley may have been having a clear out of old tablets.

'She said she had to crush them up and put them into my food by any which way. Once I was asleep she was told to inject me with a full insulin 'pen', the whole thing.'

Mr Weatherall said Hayley also confessed to him about her text to Pollard after the shooting. 

'She told me what she said to Glenn. She told him 'Whoever it was you paid to shoot him wasn't a very good shot were they, ha ha ha' or something along those lines.'

But he told the jury his wife did not say whether she had known about the shooting before it happened.

Asked by Mr Taylor what she told him as to her knowledge of the shooting, Mr Weatherall added: 'Only that Glenn said to her 'I'll take care of him. I'll get someone to shoot him. If not, I'll do it myself'.

'Hence the text message from Hayley to Glenn when I was at the hospital.'

He told the court he found out that the affair was instigated by Hayley at the funeral of his brother, Kevin, on June 12 last year.

She sent Pollard a text complimenting him on how smart he looked in his suit, to which he replied that she looked 'not too bad herself'. 

After his wife's alleged confession to him, Mr Weatherall reported it to police, taking the letters and the envelope of cash which Hayley had taken to her mum's house.

He then took her to Folkestone police station where she was interviewed for a second time.

'I waited for her, they let her out. Two days later there was a bang on the door and police were there to take her away,' he added.

He later discovered that her suicide letter to him read: 'Ever so sorry for everything that has happened. I think this is the easiest way for me just to take the coward's way out.'


stella Posted on August 14, 2019 21:04

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Man goes for haircut and has stroke 2 days later, doctors say they're connected

It’s something we all do on a regular basis. The time where your hair is just too messy, too long, generally out of control, or you’re just in need of a new look. You’re starting to look and feel a bit like a person who has gone to seed and it’s time to visit the salon to get your hair taken care of by someone who knows what they’re doing.

So when Dave Tyler, a father of two and successful sound engineer, went to Headmasters Salon in Brighton, England, he had no idea that his health and his life were about to go off the rails. All because of a haircut.

As Tyler was attended to by the technicians, they bent his head backward in order to give him a full shampoo and wash. His neck was fully extended back for many minutes, pressed up against the porcelain sink. At the end of the appointment, Tyler didn’t feel any different, except for the new look.

But two days later during a business meeting, he suddenly collapsed.

As he told the Daily Mail, “I felt the whole side of my body go numb and while waiting for the ambulance my eyes went ping and started rolling. This made me nauseous so I was sick.” Even worse, when he tried to drink some water to help calm himself, he couldn’t swallow and vomited. “Because I wasn’t able to swallow, I ingested some of the vomit into my lungs and developed pneumonia.”

Tyler was rushed to the hospital, where doctors realized that he was suffering from a stroke. Once he had been stabilized, a neurologist asked him the very unusual question: “Have you had your hair cut recently?” as Tyler shared with the Mail. Then a bell rang for the confused man. He told the doctors about his recent visit to Headmasters.

According to the Mail, “doctors told Mr. Tyler that he had suffered an initial blood clot in the salon which had given him the headaches. The clot burst two days later, sending lots of smaller clots into his brain – blocking the blood supply and causing a stroke, known as a lateral medullary syndrome.”

But how could leaning back for a head wash lead to a deadly blood clot? Medical experts believe that when a person leans back into the sink, they can hyperextend the main artery that runs from the spine to the brain. The artery can be blocked or even torn by this movement, leading to blood clots that cut off the blood supply to the brain.

From being a prominent sound engineer who could pride himself on having worked with British music industry giants including Simply Red, Blur, and Radiohead, Tyler was left with a series of debilitating health problems.

As he told the Mail, “I will never drive again because I have permanently wobbly double vision.” After spending a substantial period in a wheelchair, he now has to use a cane in order to steady himself as he walks.

Given the disastrous consequences of his blood clot, Tyler sued Headmasters and was awarded a 90,000 pound (US$140,000) settlement, given that the salon employees hadn’t used enough padding underneath his neck to prevent pinching and extension of the artery.

What can you do to make sure the same fate doesn’t befall you at the salon?

  1. Ask your hairstylist to put something underneath your neck that provides significant padding to make sure your artery doesn’t get overextended.
  2. You can also ask to forgo a 90-degree angle, having them tilt your head at a diagonal angle so your neck isn’t too stretched out.
  3. You can even ask for a wash with your head bent over forward. While this might result in some water getting in your face, it’s much better than risking a stroke.

As Tyler looks back on all the activities he used to enjoy with his daughters and in his career, he simply feels a sense of resignation. As he told the Mail, “those days are over.” Don’t let this happen to you!


stella Posted on August 14, 2019 20:07

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Ex-king of Malaysia is set to marry 'a more suitable wife selected by his family' after dumping the Russian beauty queen he gave up his crown for

The former king of Malaysia, Sultan Muhammad V, is all set to marry "a more suitable wife" chosen by his family after being forced to break up with his wife, Oksana Voevodina.

Although the 27-year-old Russian beauty queen has continued to deny any marital split from her husband, a diplomatic source in Moscow has claimed that they have "already chosen" a new bride for the monarch.

Voevodina had converted to Islam and married the Sultan last year when he abdicated the throne for her last November. The couple's whirlwind romance had left his people and family stunned at the time. 

According to the friends of Voevodina, the Russian beauty queen has not received any sort of divorce paperwork or documents stating that the marriage is over, the Daily Mail reports.

She also doesn't understand why Sultan Muhammad V suddenly went cold on her, the report adds.

According to a report by a pro-Kremlin newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, it was due to the disapproval of the monarch's family which led him to abdicate the Malaysian throne earlier this year.

Although the reason behind the Sultan's decision is not clear yet, the paper stated that the former king was forced to give up his crown as well as his wife by his family.

The move was initiated by his 70-year-old mother and other Malaysian sultans. 

A source shared, "According to my information, the king's family is hostile to the Russian wife. The family of the king was against Oksana from the very beginning. It is traditional to marry women from their own society. Oksana was the wrong choice in all meanings of the word."

The source further added that the couple needed to keep their marriage a secret for a couple of months which led to an unsuitable situation. 

According to the source, the former king did not voluntarily abdicate the throne but was forced to by the sultans who run the country.

"They pushed Muhammad towards the decision that if he went against his family when he married the Russian woman, so he had to abdicate. He said – 'Right, I will abdicate'. The members of his family clan put a lot of pressure on him and he stepped backward. He agreed to a sharia divorce."

MEAWW had previously reported that the pair got married last year on June 7, when the Sultan was still the king, and then had a second ceremony in November.

The couple also has a baby together but Voevodina is now challenging Sultan Muhammad V after he reportedly claimed that he is not the baby's biological father.

stella Posted on August 14, 2019 19:46

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Schoolgirl, 10, like a 60-year-old with cruel kids yelling 'grandma' at her

A little girl who was born with was born with wrinkled and sagging skin has always looked liked on old woman.

Bo Rakching is just 10 years old and still has physique of a child.

She stands at the same height as her brother, Chea, 11, and other youngsters her age.

But she has the appearance of premature ageing, likely to be caused by  lipodystrophy or cutis laxa - a rare degenerative condition.

Bo has never received treatment and is taunted by the other children in her remote village on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Relatives and local monks have lead Bo to believe that her appearance is because of bad karma she is carrying from a past life - one of the fundamental teachings of Buddhism.

Bo said that when she rides her bike the other kids yell "old folk" at her, while even her siblings call her "grandma" instead of sister.

The youngster now dreams of having plastic surgery to "make her pretty".

Footage shows Bo speaking to a local monk who agrees with her that she has "still not cleared the bad path from her life".

Asked if she feels shy and embarrassed, she says "yes" but admits she has never asked her mother for treatment.

She said: "I want the pretty face. I want to have surgery. The other children call me 'old folk'.

"Among all my brothers and sisters, I am the only one with an old face. They all have young faces. They do not call me sister, they call me grandma."

Bo said that she has asked them to stop calling her names but they continue to taunt her.

The monk, who confirmed she is 10 years old and studies at the local school in Grade 1, encourages her to stand up to the bullies.

But the devout Buddhist, named Voeun, told her that her appearance is down to a "bad path" from a previous life which is still haunting her to this day.

In the video, Bo appears to agree and says that she "was shot in a previous life" and has "not cleared the bad path yet".

stella Posted on August 14, 2019 19:40

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Dad died holding eight-month-old baby son in his arms after cocaine binge

A dad died falling asleep cuddling his baby son after a 12-hour drink and drug binge, an inquest heard.

Michael Hollingworth, 42, was found "lying lifeless" in Cleethorpes, near Grimsby, by his ex-girlfriend after a night out that started at 6pm.

Michael, a top local DJ, had gone back to his ex's house after spending a night with her partner, Robert Robinson, and a friend.

He dozed off cuddling his eight-month-old baby Sonnie before he was found unresponsive an hour later, 

He was telling me how he loved me, how he loved his kids. He started dozing off to sleep," his grief-stricken girlfriend Hollie Bridgewater told the hearing.

"I heard him snoring , but he snored anyway. I tried to wake him up but he wouldn't.

"He was a deep sleeper and I just assumed he was in a deep sleep."

An hour later she found him unresponsive and shouted for help from Michael's ex Lashana Nottingham, who was sleeping in the next door bedroom with Robert.

"Mike was just laid there lifeless," Robert told the court. "Hollie was in shock. I couldn't believe what was happening."

The two couples had spent the night at Lashana's house in a bid to be "civil" after a series of disagreements. But it sadly ended in tragedy.

The court heard Michael had taken cocaine throughout the night, drank a litre of straight vodka and took diazepam tablets as the night was drawing to an end.

Robert said he had come and gone to the house three times throughout the night and "seemed in a good mood".

He said: "He didn't seem overly intoxicated. He seemed his usual self."

Michael was obsessed with music, performing on the decks in local clubs as DJ Giddy and living a "party lifestyle" fuelled by drugs and his favourite drink, vodka.

Hollie, who struck up a relationship after Michael broke his leg in a club, said he drank "all the time, every night" and ignored her warnings to stop.

Her boyfriend's behaviour, she said, had become erratic and Michael had tried to take his own life in the months before his death.

A post mortem found lethal levels of cocaine in Michael's system, alongside "low concentrations" of morphine, codeine, fentanyl and diazapem.

Prolonged cocaine use had already taken its toll on his body, causing damage to his heart, the hearing was told.

Humberside Police  found a used fentanyl patch by the side of his bed and and packets of diazepam in his pocket, but "nothing to show deliberate act"

Acting senior coroner Mark Kendall concluded: "There's nothing in the evidence to suggest to me that he had a suicidal intent and therefore I conclude that the cocaine level was unintended.

"My conclusion is that his death was drug related as the unintended result of taking cocaine."

A well-known face of Cleethorpes' and Grimsby's night life,  Mike's sudden death prompted an outpouring of sorrow , with Hollie receiving more than 700 messages of condolences.

Speaking to Grimsby Live in October she said: ""It breaks my heart more than anything because Sonnie is so tiny.

"He's going to miss Sonnie's first birthday, his first Christmas. That's heartbreaking more than anything.

"But he will always be remembered. We will never forget him."


stella Posted on August 14, 2019 19:11

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Cheerleader in tears when military dad is absent, then teen jumps fence and saves the day

A military deployment can be difficult, especially if you are a parent with young kids. While being away from your family, you will miss important milestones in your child’s life.

Addie Rodriguez’s father couldn’t attend her special cheerleading performance on “Parents’ Day” back in 2016, in which all the dads were supposed to hoist their girls up on their shoulders, as he was serving in the military, 1,700 miles away.

While Addie, then 9, was performing with her team of cheerleaders during a football game at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, Texas, she was left out of routine at one point. When all the cheerleaders on her squad were joined by their fathers, who hoisted them onto their shoulders, Addie had no one by her side.

Addie, a fourth-grader at St. John Bosco Elementary School, was left alone and lonesome at that moment, because her father, senior airman Abel Rodriguez, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training on the other side of the country at Travis Air Force Base in California. How sad it was!

Feeling left out standing solo next to all the father-and-daughter duos, Addie’s tears began to flow. It seemed that nothing could save the girl from her sadness, who was apparently missing her dad.

“It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he’s away,” Addie’s mom, Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, told News 4 San Antonio. “It’s not just an absentee parent. He’s serving our country.”

Fortunately, a high school senior, Matthew Garcia, saved the day. Matthew was watching his younger brother play in the game when he saw Addie crying. Doing what he felt was right, he leapt into action.

“I ran down from the bleachers right here and I just hopped the fence, and I went over, and I knelt down, I talked to her and I said, ‘Are you OK?’” Matthew said.

“I asked, ‘Do you mind if I pick you up?’ She said, ‘Yes,’” the teen said, in an interview with ABC News.

In the next moment, Matthew lifted Addie up so she would not be the odd girl out, and she was over the moon! “I turned and saw the crowd clapping,” he recalled.

Alexis, who attended the event to support her daughter, saw what the young man did for her daughter, and her heart just melted. “It was just the most beautiful thing,” she said. Matthew’s action moved the mom to tears to the point where she was unable to even speak.

Needless to day, Addie was grateful for Matthew’s act of kindness. “I just felt like somebody saved my life,” she said. “I thought that’s so nice, especially since my dad’s serving for us.”

Speaking of his action, Matthew, whose parents divorced when he was a child, explained he helped Addie out of empathy.

“I understood what it was like to not have a dad there, so when I saw her crying like that, it just struck a chord with me. It was instinct, I guess. I just couldn’t see her like that,” he told Today.

After the game, Addie came up to Matthew to say thank you. The girl gave him a hug and beamed the biggest smile on her face as the two took a photo together.

“Seeing her smile after the way she was crying, that probably made my day even more than hers, to be honest with you,” said Matthew. “When Addie thanked me after the game, it was just really moving to me.”

Kudos to Matthew for your act of kindness! And thank you all military personnel and their families for their service and sacrifice.


stella Posted on August 14, 2019 19:05

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Son Exchanged Blows With His 60-years-old Father Over A Slay Queen

An Angry Son Exchanged Blows With His 60-Year-Old Father Over His Plans To Marry A Third Wife On Monday At Matieko In Mosocho, Kisii County In Kenya. Michael Okioma Accused His Father Vincent Okioma For Planning To Marry A Third Wife Yet He Already Has Two. “I Was Angered After My Father Forced My Mother, A Second Wife To Vacate The House To Give Room For His New ‘Catch’ So I Roughed Him Up And Kicked Him Out Of The House,” Michael Said. According To Michael, His Father Is Too Old To Marry A 3rd Wife And He Could Not Fathom Why He Wanted A Third Wife.

However, Mr Vincent Said His Decision To Marry A 3rd Wife Came After The Other Two Abandoned Him. “My Two Wives Have Denied Me Conjugal Rights So I Deserve A Young Woman Who Will Cook For Me And Satisfy Me In Bed,” He Said. He Vowed To Go On With His Plans To Marry A Third Wife Amid Fracas With Son.

stella Posted on August 14, 2019 18:59

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Russian Pensioner 'Eaten Alive' By Brown Bear After Joking About Being Mauled By One

A pensioner has been eaten alive by a bear just hours after joking about being attacked and killed by one.

Alexander Korneyev was out picking wild mushrooms when a brown bear savagely mauled him in eastern Russia, just outside the village of Suluk, about 5,300 miles east of Moscow.

The 66-year-old had only a penknife to try and defend himself against the powerful animal, but was unable to do so and was 'eaten alive'.

When the retired railway construction worker was found, it's said that not a single spot was left untouched.

According to reports, the lacerated remains of the elderly man were found on a dirt road close to the village.

After discovering Mr Korneyev's corpse, locals hunted the bear down and shot it dead. It's said the animal still had the man's remains inside its stomach.

Residents were horrified at the brutality of the attack and were especially shocked as it is an area where bears 'have never attacked humans' in living memory. 

Speaking about the attack, the head of the village council Sergey Ryabov said: "There was blood everywhere. His penknife was broken in half, and there were signs of a fight.

"His body was lying face down, there was no single untouched spot."

According to a local report: "The bear ate the man."

Mr Korneyev's death was made even more tragic as he had called his wife before the attack and reportedly joked about being killed by a bear.

He is said to have told her: "I'm going to pick mushrooms. If I don't call you again by 10am, it means I've been eaten by a bear."

Mr Ryabov said: "It was a joke, but he evoked evil with his words."

He added: "Alexander loved picking mushrooms. He had a favourite spot just a short distance from the village."

A video taken by the residents who tracked down the bear, showed the animal's remains in the undergrowth.

According to reports, there has been an influx of bears close to towns and villages across Siberia and the Far East of Russia in recent weeks.

It's believed this has been caused by raging wildfires through the vast region, and a shortage of bears' natural food in some districts. Residents say several bears have been spotted prowling near the village.

Signs have been posted urging people not to go to the forest or pick mushrooms.

Police are investigating Mr Korneyev's death.

stella Posted on August 14, 2019 18:53

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Arrested! Jealous Thai man stabbed mistress 30 times and stayed with her corpse for two days

"A", aged 41, was found with thirty stab wounds at a rented room in Soi Saladaeng in the Phlu Ta Luang police jurisdiction on August 8th. 

She had been deceased about two days.

Inquiries led police to Ban Chang in Rayong where Chaiyawat "X" Ketphaeng, 35, was living in rented accommodation with his wife. 

He was arrested on a warrant for murder issued by the Pattaya court. 

On Saturday he was taken on a reenactment of the crime that was attended by a crowd of 30 relatives and friends of the victim who noisily berated the suspect. 

X has admitted the crime saying that he was upset that his mistress was chatting on Line with other men. 

In a rage on August 6th he stabbed her in the chest and other parts of her body. 

He then felt sorry and stayed with the corpse for 2 days before going back to his wife.

stella Posted on August 14, 2019 18:47

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