Drive-by shooting in Condor Crescent Metford

SHOT: A car parked in the driveway of a Conder Crescent home peppered with bullet holes. Pictures: Fairfax MediaPolice are investigating links between a drive-by shooting in Maitland overnight and an outlaw motorcycle gang.
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About 1.15am on Mondaypolice were called to a home on Conder Crescent, Metford, following reports of shots fired.

Officers from Central Hunter Local Area Commandwere told a car haddriven past the location and shots had been fired at a home.

No one was injured during the incident.

Fairfax Media understands the shots struck the back of a car that was parked in the driveway.

NSW Police said initial investigations indicated the incident was related to an outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG).

Detective Superintendent Craig Jackson, Commander of Central Hunter, saidpolice wouldcontinue to target those involved in criminal activity, including outlaw motorcycle gangs.

“Outlaw motorcycle gangs are groups that have no respect for the law, the communities they live in or society in general and our command, with the ongoing support from specialist units will continue to detect and disrupt any of their activities,” he said.

“If you have any information concerning the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs, please contact police via crime stoppers.

“You can provide information anonymously and will be treated in the strictest confidence.”

A Conder Crescent resident, who asked not to be named, said the sound of the gunshot woke her in the early hours of Monday morning.

But she said she dismissed the thought that it could have been the sound of a gun firing and she went back to sleep.

“I looked at my phone, check out the window and couldn’t see anything,” she said.

“I’m hoping it’s a one-off. It doesn’t comfort you, knowing something like that can come by.”

The resident said Conder Crescent was usually quiet and safe –there were often children riding their bikes around the neighborhood.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page:https://nsw.crimestoppers苏州夜总会招聘.au/

Pasha Bulker returns to Newcastle as MV Drake 10 years onPhotos

Pasha Bulker returns | photos The MV Drake, formerly the Pasha Bulker, in Newcastle on Monday. Picture: Matt Murray
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Cargo Ship Pasha Bulker grounded at Nobbys Beach Newcastle Friday 8th June 2007 Credit: STEFAN MOORE

Cargo ship Pasha Bulker washed onto a reef at Nobbys Beach this morning during a fierce storm, Image shows waves smash the ship, 8th June 2007 Credit: Darren Pateman

The Bulk carrier Pasha Bulker aground at Nobbys Beach Newcastle Salvage crews going onboard Sat 9th June 2007 Credit: STEFAN MOORE

At first light pic of Pasha Bulker aground at Nobbys Beach after severe storms in Newcastle. Credit: SIMONE DE PEAK.

The 40,000 tonne coal ship Pasha Bulker sits about 100 metres (330 feet) off Nobbys Beach after running aground on Friday near the coal port of Newcastle on ‘s east coast June 9, 2007. Huge seas beached the Pasha Bulker in on Friday, sparking a major rescue operation that saw all 22 crew members airlifted off the stricken vessel in gale force winds. Credit: REUTERS/ Tim Wimborne

40,000 tonne bulk carrier Pasha Bulker aground at Nobbys Beach Newcasle onlookers flock in the tens of thousands even into the night just to get a glimpse of the ship 11th June 2007 Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Spectators brave the elements to have a look at the beached Pasha Bulker on Nobbys Beach on Saturday Morning 9th June 2007 Credit: PETER STOOP

The Pasha Bulker sits off Nobby’s Beach, Newcastle, Monday, June 11, 2007. The Pasha Bulker ran aground on Friday after a massive storm lashed the coast causing major flooding on the Central Coast, Hunter Valley and Newcastle regions. Credit: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

A ship leaves Newcastle Port and heads out to sea as the Pasha Bulker sits stranded on Nobbys Beach after wild storms hit Newcastle last weekend. June 13th 2007 NCH NEWS, Credit: KITTY HILL

The Pasha Bulker a ground at Nobbys Beach Newcastle 14th June 2007 credit by PETER STOOP

The Bulk carrier Pasha Bulker aground at Nobbys Beach Newcastle Credit: STEFAN MOORE

The Pasha Bulker is slammed by large waves this afternoon as salvage crew work on board the ship. 22nd JUNE 2007. Credit: SIMONE DE PEAK.

The Pasha Bulker still aground at Nobbys with the salavage ship Pacific Responder in the background as local surfers catch a wave Sat 23rd June 2007 Credit: STEFAN MOORE

The Pasha Bulker still a ground at Nobbys at sunrise Sat 23rd June 2007 Credit: STEFAN MOORE

Greenpeace activists project slogans on the bow of the Pasha Bulker at Nobbys beach, They used lazer lights projecting the image from a four wheel drive. Police told them to move along at 7pm. 27th June 2007 Credit: Darren Pateman

Media watch and record the salvage mission of the Pasha Bulker of Nobbys Beach. Credit: SIMONE DE PEAK 28th JUNE 2007.

Sunrise over the still stranded Pasha Bulker after the first and unsuccessful attempt to free the ship last night, 29th June 2007 Credit: Darren Pateman

Picture shows an anchor cable off the Pasha Bulker on the morning after its 1st salvage attempt snapping through the water in foreground between 7 30am and 8am this morning. 29th JUNE 2007. Credit: SIMONE DE PEAK.

The Pasha Bulker moves slowly out to sea after a salvage attempt at Nobbys Beach. Credit: KITTY HILL

Pasha Bulka is turned around on Newcastle harbour so work can be carried out on a different side of the ship 23rd July 2007 Credit: RYAN OSLAND

The Pasha Bulker leaving Newcastle Harbour heading for repairs in Asia Thurs 26th July 2007 Credit: STEFAN MOORE

The Pasha Bulker leaving Newcastle Harbour heading for repairs in Asia Thurs 26th July 2007. Credit: STEFAN MOORE

Pasha Bulker beached on Nobbys beach. 8th July 2007 pic Darren Pateman

Pasha Bulker beached on Nobbys beach. 8th July 2007 pic Darren Pateman

These are Newcastle Port Corporation pictures which will be shown on the weekend during the National Maritime Festival. They were taken by Chris Patterson of Intervision Photography.

The cargo ship Pasha Bulker, which has near Nobbys Beach, a popular inner-city beach in Newcastle, 160 kilometres north of Sydney. Rescue workers were forced to winch 21 Filipino and Korean crew members from the ship as huge seas buffeted the eastern coast of New South Wales, with fears the ship could break up and cause a fuel spill. Maritime authorities reported several other container ships were also under threat of running aground at the busy coal port.

Pasha Bulker picture used for the museum post card. Credit: Chris Patterson

40,000 tonne bulk carrier Pasha Bulker aground at Nobbys Beach Newcasle onlookers flock in the tens of thousands even into the night just to get a glimpse of the ship 11th June 2007 Credit: DEAN OSLAND

TweetFacebookIt’s back – but this time, it’s in the right place.

The MV Drake, formerly known as the Pasha Bulker, made a fairly low-key entrance into Newcastle Harbour on Sunday night.

It’s a far cry from its most famous visit to the region, when huge seas almost left it stranded in the sand of Nobbys beach.

The ship is scheduled to depart Newcastle on Monday afternoon.

Chinan combat planes ‘not involved’ in Mosul strike

n combat aircraft were not involved in an airstrike against Islamic State militants that allegedly killed at least dozens of civilians in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Defence Minister Marise Payne has said.
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Senator Payne told Parliament on Monday afternoon that while such operations were complex, the best information the government had was that n Hornet or Superhornet planes did not take part in the strike.

According to international reports, at least two houses were destroyed around the time coalition forces struck Islamic State targets.

“Based on the information that is currently available to us, I’m advised that n strike aircraft were not involved in the airstrike in question,” Senator Payne said. “As you will appreciate, it takes time to fully determine the details of a complex incident like this involving multiple aircraft from multiple nations.

“The ADF takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously.”

Any matter was investigated if allegations were raised, she said.

Defence had previously told Fairfax Media in that “while there are no specific allegations against n aircraft, will fully support the coalition-led ??? investigation into these allegations”.

US Central Command – also known as Centcom – which is in charge of coalition operations in Iraq, said that an initial review indicated that coalition forces had carried out a strike at that location on March 17 at the request of Iraqi troops on the ground.

“Our goal has always been for zero civilian casualties, but the coalition will not abandon our commitment to our Iraqi partners because of ISIS’s inhuman tactics terrorising civilians, using human shields, and fighting from protected sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites and civilian neighbourhoods,” Centcom said in a statement.

Centcom commander General Joseph Votel said the coalition was investigating the incident.

While there were initial reports based on comments from locals and Iraqi military officials that up to 200 civilians were killed in an airstrike on March 17 in the Jadideh neighbourhood, the Iraqi military have since cast doubt on those reports.

One version of the events has the coalition hitting an Islamic State truck that was packed with explosives and the resulting blast destroying two nearby houses.

But the BBC reported on Sunday night that the Iraqi military had stated on its Facebook page that in fact the blast appeared to have come from a booby-trapped vehicle near one of the houses and that 61 bodies had been pulled from the rubble.

Either way, the Iraqi military said, the IS fighters had been using civilians as human shields at the site.

The Defence statement said that all n Defence Force personnel followed strict rules of engagement that included minimising the risk of civilian casualties and ensuring compliance with international law.

While RAAF planes and personnel are given tasks by the US-led operations centre, the Defence statement said n personnel made their own “sovereign” decisions.

The ADF also reviewed every n strike after aircraft returned to their base, it said. n personnel were obliged to report any evidence of possible civilian casualties, which would then be investigated.

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‘Not seeing the value’: decision time on health insurance

After 10 years of enduring health insurance premium price hikes, the Hannah family of Elermore Vale in Newcastle is on the verge of dumping their policy.
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Alisha and Patrick Hannah, who have had three daughters in that time, are struggling to live within their budget, despite downgrading to a “basic” level of hospital cover and cancelling their extras cover.

The upcoming, government-approved premium hike of 4.9 per cent makes them feel “nervous and sick”.

“The cost keeps going up and we can’t afford it because our budget can only stretch by so much and we’re not seeing the value,” says Ms Hannah, who works part-time in administration.

“We’ve cut spending in other areas, like on ourselves and holidays, to accommodate it, but we’re questioning whether we should put the money towards paying off our mortgage.”

Amid price increases, questions about value, and confusion over coverage, fewer ns have been joining health funds.

The industry’s growth rate has dropped from 3.7 per cent (209,094 new members) in 2011-12 to 1.35 per cent (86,939 new members) in 2015-16, according to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman.

This has coincided with a rise in the number of complaints.

And the percentage of ns with hospital cover has started to decline – from a peak of 47.4 per cent in September 2015 to 46.8 per cent a year later, according to data from the n Prudential Regulation Authority.

It’s currently the busiest time of the year for health insurers as customers reassess their policies ahead of the average 4.84 per cent premium price hike on April 1.

Just over 20 per cent of health fund members say they’re planning to pay their premium before April 1 to avoid the hike, according to a new survey by comparison website Finder.

It found 15 per cent plan to pay 12 months upfront, while 5.4 per cent plan to pay six months in advance in order to avoid paying hundreds of dollars more each year.

A Galaxy survey commissioned by comparison website iSelect found that 50 per cent of policyholders planned to compare or switch health funds to make sure they’re getting the best deal, while 24 per cent planned to downgrade or cancel their policy.

iSelect says that on April 1, the yearly premium of an average family policy will jump by nearly $200 to $4277. It predicts younger ns will pay $100 more each year and older couples will fork out $185 more.

The industry’s peak body, Private Healthcare , said premium increases were necessary to ensure health funds stayed ahead of rising health costs.

Ms Hannah says her biggest problem was that wages weren’t keeping pace with premium rises, placing pressure on families to stretch their budgets.

The average weekly wage has grown by 1.6 per cent in the past year, according to the n Bureau of Statistics, while the average premium rise for the past eight years is 5.6 per cent.

“We’re pretty disillusioned about it, to the point we think it’s not worth it for our family,” says Ms Hannah. “The security and peace of mind do tempt me to keep it, but it’s about whether we can afford it.”

Certified financial planner Adele Martin, who provided advice to the Hannah family, said in the past six months there has been a sharp increase in clients asking whether they were getting value for money with their private health insurance.

“Something they have to take into account is the Medicare Levy Surcharge and the Lifetime Health Cover loading, because they don’t want to suffer those financial penalties,” she said.

Ongoing affordability concerns are also prompting older customers, who usually stay loyal to the big, for-profit funds, to review their policies and consider switching providers.

iSelect says its data shows that since January 1 this year, when the pension changes came into effect, there has been a 45 per cent increase in the proportion of customers aged over 65 purchasing private health insurance, compared with the same time last year.

“They are becoming more price sensitive and now 60+ is our fastest growing customer segment,” says its spokeswoman Laura Crowden.

“We believe the recent pension asset changes may have even further accelerated this trend. On January 1, 2017, more than 300,000 part-pensioners either lost their pension altogether or had it reduced.”

Consumer advocacy group Choice has urged consumers to use the final week before the price hike hits to assess their insurance needs, compare policies and take advantage of the savings.

Choice has a new online tool, DoINeedHealthInsurance苏州夜总会招聘.au, to help customers decide if they need private hospital cover.

“Whether taking out cover or reconsidering an existing policy, we want all consumers to take advantage of the tips, tools and services available to help navigate this complex market,” said its spokesman, Tom Godfrey. Choice’s savings tipsIf you can afford to, pay your annual premium as a lump sum in March to avoid the April 1 price rise.Check to see if you can join a restricted membership health fund through you or your family’s employment.Look for funds that offer discounts for paying annually or by direct debit.

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Newcastle Supercars polling finds support for East End track

Supercars chief executive James Warburton with Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes at Fort Scratchley last week. PICTURE: Marina NeilLESS than 20 per cent of Novocastrians want the Supercars race in November to run down Shortland Esplanade, polling by the city council has found.
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In a result that will serve as another blow to the council’s already doomed push for the race to avoid the city’s East End, polling found most residents do not support the idea of changing the track.

Instead, a poll of 697 residents in the Newcastle local government area found 60 per cent of those polled supported the current track, while 22 per cent don’t mind either idea.

Only 17 per cent supported the alternative track.

The polling was conducted byReachTELon behalf of Newcastle City Councilas part of its last-minute push to force the governmentto consider changing theroute.

Residents were asked: would you prefer the track to stay in its current location, change to the alternative route along Shortland Esplanade or do you think either track is fine?

The council, through the Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, has become increasingly frustrated with the direction of the race and the perceived lack of on the ground consultation being carried out by the state’s tourism body Destination NSW.

As opposition to the race from East End residents has increasedthe council had pushed for Destination NSW and Supercars to considertakingthe more visually spectacular–but alsosignificantlymoreexpensive–route past Newcastle Baths.

Cr Nelmes said she was “pleased the consultation that should have taken place has now taken place”.

“When Destination NSW made the [Supercars] announcement last year part of that was they would talk to thecommunity and that had not happened and that’s why we were in that position,” she said.

“At the end of the day a lot of thecommunity’sconcerns weren’t being addressed.”

The polling was part of its push the government into action. But the proposal to change the race was quickly ruled out by Supercars chief executive James Warburton who said it was too lateto consider alternative options.

The poll results will be noted at Tuesday’s Newcastle City Council meeting.

Adamstown out to shake bad reputation after poor start to NPL season

ADAMSTOWN coach Peter McGuinness believes the club’spoor record withdiscipline in 2016 has hurt them this year and they need to turn it around, starting against Hamilton Olympic on Tuesday night.
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RETURN: Adamstown’s Robbie Turnbull is back from suspension. Picture: Marina Neil

Rosebud take on Hamilton at Adamstown Oval in a round two NNSW National Premier League catch-up game from 7pm, three days after copping a 6-0 belting at the hands of Edgeworth at Jack McLaughlan Oval.

At 0-0 in that match, Rosebud right-back Daniel Yaxley was given a straight red card in the 20th minute for pulling the shirt of a runaway Adam Cawley in the penalty area.In round one, captain Robbie Turnbull was given yellow cards for fouls in the 62ndand 75thminutes of a 4-4 draw with the Jets Youth.

McGuinness, a premiership-winning coach at Broadmeadow and Lake Macquarie, took over at Adamstown after theirhorror 2016, in which they finished second-last and regularly played with 10 men. He has made discipline a high priority at Rosebud but believes they are still paying the price for last year’s sins.

“Unfortunately, I’ve inherited a club who have a terrible reputation in regards to discipline and it’s continued over,” McGuinness said. “I’m not saying anything should not have been a send off, but everyone expects,if you are playing Adamstown, niggle them or say whatever, and there will be a send off today.”

Hamilton, who started the year with a 3-2 loss to Lambton Jaffas,had the bye on the weekend.

Olympic coach Michael Bolch said Kyle Hodges, Rhys Cooper and Andrew Swan remained sidelined with injury, while Grant Brown and Matt Swan were unavailable.

McGuinness said it was a case of “getting back on the horse and playing again” against Olympic, and repeating their opening efforts against the Eagles.

“We started the game fantastically, we had a lot of the ball the first 20 minutes,” he said.

“But effectively that’s three out of the last four games that we’ve played with 10, and it doesn’t matter who you are, you can’t do that.”

NSW Health allays fears over ‘outbreak’ claim

Ten people are being monitored for tuberculosis after a Sydney man with TB was misdiagnosed with asthma and lung cancer for several months before he received appropriate treatment.
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But health authorities have moved to allay fears over the reported TB scare, declaring it is not an “outbreak”.

After several visits to a GP over three months a 23-year-old man was referred to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in October, where tests identified slightly drug-resistant TB, News Corp reported on Monday.

NSW Health director of communicable diseases Dr Vicky Sheppeard was adamant: “There was not an outbreak of Tuberculosis (TB) in October in Sydney”.

Ten people who were in close contact with the recent University of Sydney graduate were subsequently tested and found to have signs of TB infection, but not full-blown tuberculosis, NSW Health said.

Once the TB case was confirmed over five months ago, his close contacts (family, friends and work colleagues) were tested for the disease, in line with usual practice in such cases, Dr Sheppeard said in a statement.

“A public health alert is rarely necessary when cases of active TB disease occur as it is spread via close and prolonged contact, such as to others in the same household or close friends, not by brief, casual exposures,” she said.

People who have contracted the bacterium have a roughly 10 per cent chance of it progressing to TB at some stage in their lifetime, usually the first two years.

The patient said he likely contracted the infection while backpacking in Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali and Thailand.

NSW has one of the lowest rates of tuberculosis in the world. Most confirmed cases were in people who grew up, or spent a considerable amount of time, in countries where TB was more prevalent.

There were 533 cases of TB in NSW in 2016, and 1300 new cases nationally. There were 99 reported cases of TB in NSW for far this year.

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard strongly rejected claims of an outbreak or that the case was a threat to public health.

“It was one GP presented with a diagnosis that was masked by other issues, including I understand asthma,” Mr Hazzard said. “This is not a disaster for the GP, the patient, or the health system.”

TB was a relatively small issue compared to influenza, which caused 3000 deaths in NSW between 2011 and 2012, Mr Hazzard said. TB was responsible for five deaths over the same period, he said.

Mr Hazzard said TB was a case of “be alert but not alarmed”. Call to educate GPs on TB diagnosis

It was not unusual for GPs to miss TB cases because they would so rarely see a presentation. NSW Health said it was not aware of any complaints concerning the treatment of patients with recently diagnosed TB.

NSW Opposition health spokesperson Walt Secord said the state government must review whether GPs and other health professionals needed further education to ensure they could identify TB.

Mr Secord pointed to government data showing almost half of TB cases in the state were in western Sydney. In 2016, Blacktown-Mount Druitt hospital has reported some of the highest notifications in the State.

“The NSW Government needs to ensure that they are properly educating GPs on how to identify TB symptoms.”

A University of Sydney spokesperson said the university was notified of the case soon after it was confirmed and worked closely with NSW Health on to appropriately notify and screen for TB, including telling staff and students who were most likely to be at risk of exposure.

“All such individuals were directed to the specialist TB health screening clinics for follow-up, and treatment where required,” the spokesperson said.

The patient – who has not been identified – was treated in an isolation unit at RPA for three weeks and spent another eight weeks in isolation at home, News Corp reported.

Symptoms include a cough that lasts more than three weeks, fever, unexplained weight loss, night sweats and tiredness.

It is usually treated with at least four antibiotics over at least six months.

The 10 people who tested positive for signs of TB have been offered follow up testing and treatment, as if appropriate for each individual, including chest x-rays as part of the state’s TB Program and network of free chest clinics.

Victim’s family ‘pleasantly surprised’ at nine-year sentence

FACING COURT: Ty Ranger will be sentenced over the stabbing of a five-year-old girl later this month by Justice Roy Punshon.The family of a five-year-old girl who was stabbed 25 times have expressed their “pleasant surprise” at the nine-year jail sentence handed down to the girl’s disabled attacker.
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Judge Roy Punshonon Mondaymorning sentenced Ty Ranger to a minimum six years and three months behind bars for the stabbing of the young girl with a pocket knife on November 22, 2015.

Judge Punshon said while he gave weight to Ranger’s cerebral palsy, he also took into account the seriousness of the offending.

“The protection of the community remains relevant,” he said.

During sentencing, Judge Punshon told Ranger without any explanation of the motives of the attack, he could not be satisfied the cause of the offending had been addressed.

Ranger, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally causing serious injury and one count of child pornography.

Ranger was jailed for nine years on charge one, with an additional month to be served concurrently for the child pornography possession.

He was also placed on the sex offender register for eight years.

Outside of court in Ballarat, members of the victim’s family told The Courier they were not expecting such a lengthy sentence.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” the girl’s aunt said.

MARCH 7, 2017: A disabled man who stabbed a five-year-old girl 25 times will be sentenced later this month.

However, the County Court sitting in Ballarat on Tuesday heard there was still no explanation for the offending.

Ty Ranger, 24, has pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally causing serious injury and one count of possessing child pornography.

Office of Public Prosecutions prosecutor PatBurke said Ranger, who has cerebral palsy, asked the girl into his unitandrepeatedly stabbed herwith a pocket knife on November 22, 2015, before taking off her t-shirt, touching her chest and trying to remove her shorts.

Mr Burke said the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, bit Ranger on the lip before escaping.

She was taken to Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries.

“She has recovered from her physical injuries but the scars remain,” Mr Burke said.

On November 25, 2015, police also found two images of females aged between five and 12 on Ranger’s phone in naked or sexually suggestive poses.

When interviewed the next day, Ranger told police the girl had walked into his unit and he had told her to go.

He said she picked up his pocket knife from the coffee table and, while he was trying to get it back, a scuffle ensued, resulting in her stab wounds.

In her victim impact statement, the girl’s auntsaid she would “never forget those initial few days and the devastation of seeing her come back after the operation”.

“I never let her out of my sight. I always fear in the back of my mind that something is going to happen,” the statement read..

“It’s had a massive impact on my life, (the victim’s) life and my partner’s life.”

She said the girl was scared for her personal security, had to make sure windows and doors were locked and had nightmares.

In her statement, the girl’s mother said the incident had “changed my whole life”.

“I feel judged by the community since the incident, feel people are judging my parenting. It’s had an impact on my life and my family’s life forever.”

In her plea, defence counsel Ellen Murphy said it was an opportunistic crime, rather than pre-meditated.

“Mr Ranger accepts responsibility for his offending and he does demonstrate an insight into the impact on the victim and her family,” Ms Murphy said.

“He denies any sexual motivation to the offending or any sexual interest in children.”

However, she said the lack of an explanation was“the most troubling aspect of this plea”

“We may never know why this occurred.”

Ms Murphy said Ranger had a serious issue with alcohol at the time of the incident, drinking an average of 12 stubbies of beer a day.

She said there was also a deterioration in his mental state leading up to the offending, missing multiple days from his Federation University building design course, expressing anxiety and cancelling his carers’ shifts, which caused them to have concerns for his well-being.

Ms Murphy said there were two images of children on his phone, compared to 154 of adult females, and his child pornography offences were at the “lower end of seriousness”.

In a character reference, close friend Tess Pearce described Ranger as “an amazing young guy with a beautiful spirit and awesome humour”.

Daryl Ramsay, who has been dealing with Ranger while he is in custody, also described him as a “friendly and gentle man”.

Ms Murphy said jail had been “more burdensome” for Ranger because of his cerebral palsy, his mental health – having recently been diagnosed with depression –and his isolation due to being in maximum security with other prisoners with intellectual disabilities and only Ms Pearce visiting him due to his family living interstate.

“His disability places him in a vulnerable position in the prison system,” Ms Murphy said.

“His prospects of rehabilitation are positive, there is a lack of prior convictions and he has previously been of good character.

“This is seemingly out of character. There are factors which make it serious, because it is clearly alarming offending, but there are factors which make it less serious in that there has been no lasting physical damage.”

However, Mr Burke said there was “quite clearly” a sexual element to the offending and described it as a “random, vicious assault on a five-year-old girl”.

Judge Roy Punshon said: “at the end of the day, there are no real answers”.

“But this is about as serious offending as you can get with a very significant set of injuries inflicted on a very young child,” Judge Punshon said.

“It is an unusual situation, no doubt about it.”

The Courier, Ballarat

Rugby league: Nathan Brown says Knights have long way to go to match competition heavyweights

IN DOUBT: Mitch Barnett nurses his right shoulder after receiving a knock in the Knights 40-0 loss to Penrith. Picture: Getty Images
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COACH Nathan Brown has hinted at making changes and warned the Knights have “a long way to go” to consistently compete with the leading sides in the NRL.

Stinging from a 40-0 thumping to Penrith, the Knights face adaunting trip to Cronulla to take on the defending premiers on Saturday.

“The first three weeks we did really well,” Brown said. “On the weekend, we got it wrong for whatever reason and got our just rewards.If you are not on your game physicallyand you play a side like Penrith, who have a lot of good footy players and are a very good attacking side, then you will get into trouble.”

After three encouraging performances, highlighted by a drought-breaking 34-26 triumph over the Titans, the Knights had no answers to the power and pace of the Panthers.

Nathan Brown calls for @NRLKnights to get physical. @newcastleheraldpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/cV7mdTbQJQ

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) March 27, 2017Mitch Barnett, Brock Lamb, Jacob Saifiti and Danny Levi picked up knocks against the Panthers and are in doubt for Saturday,

“We have a few bumps and bruises so there is going to be one or two guys who are doubtful this week,” Brown said. “When you get beat up, youusually have a few concerns. Jacob Saifiti will have to pass the concussion protocols and Danny Levi has to pass concussion protocols as well.”

On the plus side, fullback Brendan Elliot has recovered from ahead knock and Brown said there could be other changes.

“There are certainly some guys who have probably been a little below par for a couple of weeks in a row now,” he said.“Tupes (Anthony Tupou) is almost ready for a game.There were a couple of performances in reserve grade that were good on the weekend.There are a number of things we have to look at.”

Meanwhile, the Knights will on Tuesday lodge their submission to have a $100,000 fine for failing to adhere to concussion protocols withdrawn.

The Knights received a breach notice after fullback Elliot was not taken from the field for a head injury assessment when hit high in a tackle during the first half of the 24-18 loss to the Rabbitohs a fortnight ago.

A-League: Jets boss Lawrie McKinna vows to strengthen squad after horror capitulation in Wellington

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Winger Andrew Nabbout shows his disappointment after the finals-crushing 5-0 loss to Wellington. Picture: Getty Images.
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CHIEF executive Lawrie McKinna has vowed to strengthen the Newcastle Jets roster next season and has put players on notice to perform or risk being shown the door.

– Lawrie McKinnaThe recruitment process has already began. The Jets are favourites to sign Central Coast Mariners striker Roy O’Donovan and are in talks with Melbourne Victory defender Daniel Georgievski and former Socceroo Michael Thwaite.

Of the current squad, there are 11 players off contract headed by imports Morten Nordstrand, Mateo Poljak and Ma Leilei.

“Some boys have three weeksto secure their future,” McKinna said.“That is not a threat. That is just football.”

Coach Mark Jones described the Wellington performance –the fourth loss in five games –as “unacceptable” and has demanded a positive response in the final three rounds, starting with the home clash against Western Sydney on Saturday.

“They have to step up and show that they want to be a part of the club going forward,” he said. “It is clearly not something the community is going to accept, the club is going to accept or we are going to accept. We have to do better. The players who stand up and show they want to be here will be rewarded. The ones who don’t, we need to replace with quality.We need to be actively out in the transfer market to make sure we strengthen the squad.”

It is the seventh straight season the Jets will not feature in the play-offs.

Fans vented their disapproval on the Newcastle Herald website and social media, with many declaring the capitulation in Wellington the final straw.

“I can understand the fans’ frustration,” McKinna said. “I am a fan myself. It was hard watching it.”

Supporters were not the only ones disappointed.

“I spoke on the phone with [owner] Martin Lee and he wasnot happy with the result,” McKinna said. “None of us are happy with the result.”

Asked if Jones had lost the dressing room, McKinna said: “No”.

“I will sit down with Mark when he gets back tomorrow,” the CEOsaid. “As coaches, did they prepare properly, was every detail done … we need to put a finger on what went wrong.”