Dog Fetches Giant Stick

Here boy - fetch! No way...surely not. Read on - then watch the video.

I was walking around the foreshores of Sydney harbour when I saw a man throwing a stick for his dog.

But borrowing a line from Paul ‘Crocodile Dundee’ Hogan, who once said ‘That’s not a knife – that’s a knife!’, the same could be applied to Alastair and his amazing pooch Rhubarb.
For that was no stick – that was a dirty great big plank of waterlogged wood . And that was what Rhubarb was insisting she wanted to ‘fetch’. It was three metres long, as wide as a wrestler’s fist and so heavy that Alastair could hardly lift it – let alone throw it.
But toss it he did, telling Rhubarb to ‘fetch’. Of course, I and others who were watching the incident thought it was an impossible task. After all, Rhubarb’s legs were as thin as a stick of, well, rhubarb.
Alastair, meanwhile, could have qualified as a champion ‘tossing the caber’ Scotsman for he managed to hurl that enormous plank a good 20m. Into the water plunged Rhubarb and out she swam. She grabbed the plank between her teeth and hauled it all the way back to the shore.
That is some amazing dog.
And if you want to see the full astonishing video, you can see it on YouTube here:
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Michael Hutchence's mother, Patricia Glassop

Michael Hutchence's mother, Patricia. Picture: Rex Features

Just a few months after the mother of former pop star Michael Hutchence pleaded with Sir Bob Geldof to let her see her granddaughter, Tiger Lily, she has died at her Queensland home.

In an exclusive interview with me at her high-rise apartment which was decorated with photographs of the late leader of INXS, 84-year-old Mrs Patricia Glassop claimed at the time that Sir Bob had treated her cruelly.
‘I’ve begged him and pleaded with him to let me see Tiger Lily again, but he’s turned a deaf ear to me,’ said Mrs Glassop. ‘He’s treated me shabbily.’
The last time Patricia Glassop saw Tiger Lily was in April 2006 when Sir Bob came to Australia and allowed Tiger to see her grandmother for a few days.
Tiger Lily wrote a note to Mrs Glassop at the time thanking her ‘granny’ for a wonderful holiday and promising to visit again soon.
During that holiday, Tiger spent five days with her grandmother, accompanied by Tiger’s nanny.
Mrs Glassop told a magazine later: ‘I played her some of Michael’s old music videos and she asked me who it was.
‘I told her “It’s your daddy”. She smiled and followed all the moves, dancing along with Michael.’
Tiger Lily is the only child of Michael Hutchence – who a coroner found had hanged himself in a Sydney hotel in 1997 – and Paula Yates, who was found dead of a drug overdose in her London flat in September 2000.
Friends of Hutchence claimed that he hanged himself because he was fed up with battling with Sir Bob and Sir Bob’s former wife Miss Yates over where Tiger Lily should live – and who with.
Although Mrs Glassop had seen her granddaughter a few times following her birth in July 1996, she always maintained it was not enough.
A British judge, Mrs Justice Bracewell, decided following Miss Yates’ death that Tiger Lily should spend the rest of her childhood with Sir Bob and his daughters Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches and Pixie.
‘I’ve had to beg and plead with Sir Bob to be allowed what, in terms of her childhood, are just glimpses of Tiger,’ Mrs Glassop told me.
‘I wonder if I’ll ever see her again.’
It was not to be. Michael Hutchence’s brother, Rhett Hutchence revealed her death in an internet post, commenting:  ‘She looked beautiful and I was happy to have been there for her.
‘Thank you for all your kind words and wishes.’
In an earlier interview, Mrs Glassop told the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘It’s just not fair.
‘I have tried to call Bob Geldof many, many times to speak with Tiger Lily but I can never get through…or I am not allowed through. I think it’s a disgrace.’
Mrs Glassop’s death comes as a new battle looms over the rights to the image and songs of Michael Hutchence – a legal fight that will pit the five surviving INXS band members with a trust company called Chardonnay Investments.
The company has not revealed who is behind its formation but reports suggest that Tiger Lily is the beneficiary.
Chardonnay is suing the band members, their manager, a US lawyer as well as a number of INXS-related companies.
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Desmond Campbell, wife killer

Des Campbell, who murdered his wife for her money. Supplied file pic.

As a former British policeman and an ambulance officer in Australia, he should have been both protector and saviour. But today Des Campbell was sentenced to 33 years in jail for murdering his wife by pushing her over a cliff to get his hands on her money.

Justice Megan Latham said in in a Sydney court that that his crime had ‘deception, duplicity and manipulation’ at its heart.
Campbell, 52, who served in the Cranley, Surrey, police force in the mid to late 1990s, sat stoney-faced as the judge told him he would serve a minimum of 24 years without parole, meaning he would be an old man when he was released.
Referring to the time in 2005 when Campbell took his wife of six months on a camping holiday and pushed her from the 170ft cliff south of Sydney, the judge said: ‘Janet’s death must have been truly awful.
‘The position of her shoe print and the broken tree branch…suggests that she was conscious and aware of her fate for some short period of time before she fell.’
The court had heard previously that Campbell, who emigrated from the UK to Australia with his parents as a child but returned as an adult to join the police force, had murdered his wife in a calculated and greed-fuelled crime to get hold of her money.
Describing Campbell’s culpability for the crime as ‘extreme’, the judge said: ‘The circumstances under which Janet Campbell met her death demonstrates the offender’s sustained callousness toward her for nothing more than monetary gain.’
During his trial, the court had heard from one of Campbell’s former lovers, 59-year-old former Surrey traffic warden June Ingham, who claimed he had kept money she had invested in a house with him in Australia – and that he had broken off their relationship in a text message.
Later while working as an ambulance officer in Australia he married Janet Fisicaro, from a farming community in the New South Wales outback town of Deniliquin. Janet, 49, had been left well off when her first husband died – and it was her money that Campbell had targeted, the court heard.
Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, QC, compared Janet’s murder to a contract killing and asked the jury to reject Campbell’s claims that she fell to her death accidentally after leaving their cliff-edge tent in the hours of darkness to go the toilet. The jury returned their guilty verdict of murder in May this year.
During his relationship with Janet, the court heard, Campbell had carried on affairs with other women – and after her death he did not even attend her funeral.
A week after the murder, he booked a holiday with one of his girlfriends and a few months later he travelled to the Philippines where he met the woman who was to become his fourth wife.
Justice Latham, whose decision was shown live on tv, sentenced Campbell to the 24-years non-parole period ‘in recognition of the deliberate taking of a life’.
Outside the Sydney Supreme Court, Janet Campbell’s brother Kevin Neander said his sister would not hurt a fly.
‘I just hope that on that day up there, on that hill, that she didn’t suffer as long as this bloke is going to suffer for the next 24 years of his mongrel life.’
Turning to a tv camera, Mr Neander added: ‘I hope Des is watching this – I just reckon you are as low as a snake’s guts.
‘I hope you suffer and look over the top of your shoulder for the next 24 years, mate.’
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The face of serial killer Ivan Milat

The face of serial killer Ivan Milat - from the cover of my book Highway to Nowhere

On one of the many times I visited the Belanglo State Forest, south of Sydney, Australia, a priest stood in a shaft of sunlight in September 1992 and told a small group of people, including the parents of two British women whose bodies had been found there, that they had gathered to cleanse away evil.

Something wicked  had happened there, but evil, said the priest, did not have the last word. No-one knew that not far away the bodies of five other young backpackers lay undiscovered – until they were found a year later. But that, police were convinced, was all. Road worker Ivan Milat was arrested, convicted and sentenced to seven life sentences.
But evil has persisted. Another body has been found. The skeleton of a woman. The forest is refusing to allow us to forget Milat’s deeds, although we do not know yet whether this still-unidentified person is another of  his victims.
From his jail cell Milat, now 65, is taunting police by refusing to reveal whether he has a hand in the death of the woman, whose body was found just outside a vast area that police had searched in the early 90s after the last of his seven victims had been found.
The priest’s ceremony among the trees all those years ago had been conducted for the memory of Milat’s latest captives, British women Joanne Walters and Caroline Clarke, both 22. Lying undiscovered for another year were the bodies of James Gibson and Deborah Everist from Melbourne; Gabor Neugebauer and Anja Habschied from Germany; and Simone Schmidl, also from Germany.
Milat was eventually arrested after British backpacker Paul Onions managed to escape from his vehicle and give police details of his attacker – although it was several months before they moved in on Milat’s house and took him into custody.
Police always suspected Milat had killed more people who have been
reported missing, but no other bodies were found in the Belanglo
forest – until the dramatic discovery last Sunday of yet another skeleton by a group of trail-bike riders.
Local detectives have formed Strike Force Hixson to investigate the
discovery and are being assisted by the New South Wales Homicide
‘The investigation is still in its infancy and it’s early days and
far too soon for us to know exactly what’s happened,’ said
Superintendent Quarmby.
‘Obviously there is a lot of speculation surrounding this discovery
but we definitely will not be jumping to conclusions. There are many
lines of investigation to explore.’
And so we wait. We wait for the autopsy, we wait for an identification, we think of the family and friends who will eventually learn that the woman in the forest is one of theirs. And we wonder, too, if the forest will offer up even more of its dead…