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The hammer fell for a reprehensible individual, the poojogger became a thing, and unspeakable horror visited Sydney. Oh dear.
Hello and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had justice in South Africa, destruction in Guatemala, unspeakable tragedy in Sydney and a different kind of superhero story in London.
A 23-year-old South African man, Henri van Breda, was handed three life sentences this week for the murder of his parents and his brother. In addition, he was handed a further 15 year sentence for the attempted murder of his sister and a further 12 months for obstruction of justice.
Judge Siraj Desai, presiding over the case, described the January 2015 attack as “savage and vicious” with “an almost unprecedented degree of disregard for one’s family.” He continued, “each murderous attack on a family member is a severe crime and warrants the severest punishment. They were attacks involving a high degree of uncontrolled violence. The victims were unarmed (and) they faced an axe-wielding son or brother, probably not expecting the worst.”
Van Breda has maintained his innocence since the horrific rampage, claiming that a late-night intruder had entered the family residence on the night of the murders. According to Van Breda, the alleged intruder was wearing gloves, dark clothes and a balaclava. He called emergency services more than two hours after the attack occurred, blaming the delay on the fact that he lost consciousness in the attack.
The judge was having none of it, saying “there was no security breach the night of the murders” and that nobody in the luxury estate had “complained about strangers or any undue occurrence.” The judge also ruled that Van Breda had staged the scene of the crime and intentionally inflicted injuries on himself “in order to mislead police as to the true identity of the perpetrator.”
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The death toll from the powerful eruption of Guatemala’s “Volcan de Fuego” has reached 100 and could still rise. Rescuers have been forced to suspend search and recovery efforts in nearby villages due to dangerous conditions. The national disaster agency, Conred, has indicated that climatic conditions as well as still-hot volcanic materials in the area are currently making it too dangerous for rescuers to continue to search for survivors.
Conred have also pointed to the fact that 72 hours have passed since the explosive eruption, making it all but impossible that any more survivors exist amid the incredible destruction. The eruption, which occurred last Sunday, was it’s most devastating in more than 40 years. As the Central American nation struggled to deal with the disaster, another eruption followed on Tuesday, multiplying the damage and risking the lives of rescue workers.
It has been reported that more than 1.7 million people have been affected by the eruption with more than 12,000 being evacuated from the area. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies immediately released over $300,000 from their global emergency fund to help support the most vulnerable survivors in the aftermath. The Mexican Government have also offered support, sending a team of medical professionals and offering to transfer victims to Mexican hospitals if required.
The US have jumped into action as well, sending emergency aid to help meet food, water and sanitation needs. A US Air Force plane also carried six badly burned children for treatment in Texas.
The search suspension may be lifted when conditions improve, however, the risk of further eruptions still exists as well as ongoing seismic activity.
The week ended with horrific news out of Sydney where a 5-year-old boy was allegedly stabbed to death by his father during a domestic incident.
According to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, the young boy passed away approximately 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital which stab wounds believed to have been inflicted by a knife. Police have praised the boy’s grandmother who heroically fled the scene with the boy and quickly called emergency services.
Local Area Commander at The Hills Police Area Command, Robert Critchlow, told reporters: “At this stage we believe that charges may follow. What’s very, very clear is that it’s been a horrible and brutal crime against a very young, defenceless boy, which requires a complete investigation, and the matter will go before the courts in due course… The level of violence is horrendous. It goes without saying that the fact that a young boy has died from being injured in his home, it’s probably as bad as it gets really.”
The boy’s 36-year-old father was arrested by police and has been charged with murder. The boy’s Grandmother was physically uninjured but was treated by paramedics on the scene for shock. The boy’s mother wasn’t present at the house during the incident however is now in Westmead hospital being treated for shock.
A man and a woman who are believed to have known the family arrived at the scene and spoke to police. The man, yet to be identified, told the waiting media that he would be the spokesman on what happened and would return later to speak to the media.
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Residents of an apartment block in the southeastern Brisbane suburb of Greenslopes have been dealing with an unusual and disgusting problem for the last year or so. Residents have reported that a mysterious man had been running past the apartment block three times a week before stopping each time on their private path to defecate on it.
Residents put their heads together, determined to stop the man now dubbed as the “Poo Jogger” in his tracks. They placed a special night vision camera at the block, aimed at scene of the ongoing crime and before too long, managed to snap a picture of the perpetrator.
The snaps provided gave a valuable timeline for the incidents. One of the residents, “Steve”, then focused on identifying the mystery man. “Through a process of elimination, we figured out the route where he was running and we narrowed it down to where he lived,” he said.
Steve wanted a slam dunk and proceeded to get his fellow residents to hold off on calling the police until he had a “clear photo”. Before too long, the “Poo Jogger” struck again, and this time Steve was waiting and was able to capture a high quality shot of the man. The “Poo Jogger” didn’t seem too perturbed, saying “hello” to Steve after the camera flash alerted him to the photo.
The Internet took care of the rest, identifying the man as Andrew Douglas Macintosh, a senior manager at national retirement village company, Aveo. Macintosh was charged with public nuisance which was soon after dropped after he elected to pay a $378 fine that carries no conviction.
Whilst he may have avoided a stiff penalty from the law, he quickly resigned from his role at Aveo. The company told the media, “Until yesterday, Aveo Group was not aware of the charges laid against Mr Macintosh. Aveo Group is distressed and disappointed at the alleged incidents concerning Mr Macintosh. He has tendered his resignation to the company today and is no longer an employee of Aveo Group. Aveo will continue to extend its support to Mr Macintosh for help that he may require.”
Macintosh may have a little trouble finding a new position as both his photo and the story have gone viral around the world. It’s safe to assume he’s also looking for a new jogging route.
Wacky and wonderful
If our box office records are anything to go by, we love our superheroes. If the world was to come under attack from a mysterious alien force, most of us would feel a lot better if Tony Stark and the Avengers popped up to save our Terran lives.
Separating fact from fiction, most of us wouldn’t turn to the actors that play our beloved heroes if we were in fear for our lives. That may have changed this week.
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who’s famously known for playing Sherlock Holmes as well as Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, proved that he doesn’t need the mystic arts to save the day. Cumberbatch was travelling in an Uber with his wife in London when he spotted four muggers trying to rob a Deliveroo driver.
Cumberbatch shouted for the men to “leave him alone” before diving in and dragging all four muggers off the victim. The muggers allegedly turned on Cumberbatch and attempted to punch him which he ably deflected. Once they realised Dr Strange was kicking their ass, they hightailed out of there.
The Deliveroo driver, Manuel Dias, described Cumberbatch as “courageous, brave and selfless”. He said, “They tried to hit him but he defended himself and pushed them away.” Once the pesky muggers were dispatched, Cumberbatch asked how he was and proceeded to hug him once he said he was ok.
Not all heroes wear capes, and even those that do don’t always need them to save the day.
That’s it from me, TBSers, have a cracking week!