Perth teen accused of murdering Kiwi mother and two siblings ‘rejected’ from mental health services, says father

The New Zealand father of a 19-year-old Perth man accused the murdering his mother and two siblings says his son never received appropriate treatment despite a history of mental health issues.

Teancum Vernon Peterson-Crofts had been admitted to mental health facilities on numerous occasions, his father Awatea Crofts told the ABC.

Mr Crofts said his son had been hospitalised in Christchurch early in 2015. 

"It was very difficult for him and the mental health staff," Mr Crofts said.

"He just spiralled and spiralled and continued to spiral down, it was a perpetual, continual episode after episode."

Peterson-Crofts appeared in court on Monday charged with the murder of his 48-year-old mother Michelle Petersen, and her two children Rua, 8 and Bella, 15, at their home in the Perth suburb of Ellenbrook.

Petersen and Rua were found dead inside the home while Bella died on the way to hospital.

Mr Crofts said Peterson-Croft’s mother had done everything she could to help her son.

The Ellenbrook Murders
The Ellenbrook Murders. Source: 1 NEWS

"His mother did everything she could and just in the last days, her last six months, she was still doing everything she could but his condition had blown right out," he told ABC.

"From what I've heard, from other family members, he was rejected for whatever reasons from mental health [services] and Michelle his mum often had the police around."

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Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

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If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

A police officer has called it the most horrific scene he’s been too. Source: 1 NEWS

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Pope Francis to canonise two controversial figures of Catholic Church

Pope Francis will canonise two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today.

Sunday's ceremony is likely to be emotional for Francis, since he was greatly influenced by both men and privately told confidantes he wanted them made saints during his papacy. The two represent the epitome of the outward-looking church that Francis has championed, one that is close to the poor and fights injustice.

Paul VI and Romero also endured strong opposition from within the church in life and after death — a fate Francis is experiencing now amid the church's burgeoning sex abuse and cover-up scandal.

These two towering figures will be canonised along with five others in a ceremony designed to show that holiness can be attained in all walks of life.

Paul VI

When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio delivered the 2013 stump speech to cardinals that got him elected Pope Francis, he made only one citation in the text: Pope Paul VI.

When later that year Francis issued the mission statement of his papacy, he based it largely on a 1975 text by Paul on evangelization, which Francis once called "the greatest pastoral document" of the modern church.

"One of the first things he told me when he was elected was that he hoped, he prayed to be able to canonize Paul VI," said Francis' former chief of staff, Cardinal Angelo Becciu.

Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, said Bergoglio matured as a priest, a Jesuit and a Christian while Paul VI was pope from 1963-1978.

"It's understood that Paul VI is his pope," Vian said.

Paul is perhaps best known for having presided over the final sessions of Vatican II, the tumultuous 1962-65 church meetings that modernized the Catholic Church and opened it up to the world, allowing liturgy to be celebrated in the vernacular rather than in Latin and calling for greater roles for the laity and improved relations with people of other faiths.

During his 15-year papacy, Paul VI ushered in other reforms as well, including that of the travelling papacy.

Paul stepped foot on each of the five continents, but two of his trips stand out most: In 1964, he travelled to the Holy Land and met with the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, a first since the schism that divided Christianity 1,000 years earlier.

A year later, Paul travelled to the United Nations, where he delivered the now-famous plea for peace as the U.S. military involvement in Vietnam escalated: "Never again war! Never again war!"

But it was Paul's 1968 encyclical "Humanae Vitae" that marked his papacy, reaffirming the church's opposition to artificial contraception.

Issued in an era of the contraceptive pill, the 1960s' sexual revolution and alarm about overpopulation, the stark prohibition empowered conservatives but drove progressives away.

Even today, the document remains one of the most contested and ignored of papal encyclicals, with studies showing that most Catholics disregard it and use artificial contraception.

"It's a text that isn't rooted in reality, where life is absent and above all women are absent," Monique Baujard, former head of family services at the French bishops' conference, wrote last month in a Vatican's women's magazine.

Archbishop Oscar Romero

Francis also longed to declare Archbishop Oscar Romero a saint, convinced that he was a true martyr who willingly gave up his life to stand with El Salvador's poor and denounce the violence of the military dictatorship.

Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, was gunned down by right-wing death squads as he celebrated Mass on March 24, 1980, in a hospital chapel. The military had vehemently opposed his preaching against the army's repression at the start of the country's 1980-1992 civil war.

Almost immediately after his death, Romero became an icon of the South American left, with his image frequently appearing alongside the likes of Che Guevara and Salvadore Allende.

But that politicized fame cost Romero dearly as his saint-making cause wound its way through the Vatican. Conservative Latin American prelates, led by the late Colombian Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, feared Romero's perceived association with liberation theology would embolden the movement which holds that Jesus' teachings require followers to fight for social and economic justice.

"Romero found himself caught in a substantively political conflict between those who saw him as a revolutionary — which he absolutely wasn't, since he was very gentle — and those who saw him equally as a revolutionary but in a negative sense," said Romero biographer Roberto Morozzo della Rocca.

After the cause was held up for three decades, Pope Benedict XVI finally unblocked it in 2012 and Francis, history's first Latin American pope, pushed it through to its final phases.

A few months after Romero was beatified in 2015, Francis denounced how Romero had suffered as a martyr twice — once when he was gunned down, and again when his own brother bishops "defamed, slandered and had dirt thrown on his name."

Even earlier, though, Francis made clear he wanted to see Romero honored.

Romero's former secretary, the Rev. Jesus Delgado Acevedo, revealed a private conversation he had with Francis — then Cardinal Bergoglio — in 2007 on the sidelines of a Latin American bishops' conference in Brazil.

He recalled asking Bergoglio, then the archbishop of Buenos Aires, "Eminence, one day will Oscar Romero be canonized? Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo told me it will never happen."

Delgado quoted Bergoglio as saying "Listen, if I become pope, the first thing I'll do is send Lopez Trujillo to San Salvador" to make Romero a saint.

The remark was a clear dig at Lopez Trujillo, an arch-conservative affiliated with Latin American right-wingers, who has been publicly identified as the man who used his considerable power at the Vatican to scuttle Romero's saint-making cause for years.

Pope Francis, flanked by Master of Ceremonies Bishop Guido Marini, waves to faithful during the Urbi et Orbi (Latin for ' to the city and to the world' ) Christmas' day blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis, flanked by Master of Ceremonies Bishop Guido Marini, waves to faithful during the Urbi et Orbi. Source: Associated Press


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Turkish newspaper claims to have audio of missing journalist's alleged murder from his smart watch

Turkish officials have an audio recording of the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Apple Watch he wore when he walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul over a week ago, a pro-government Turkish newspaper reported Saturday.

The new claim published by the Sabah newspaper, through which Turkish security officials have leaked much information about the case, puts more pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi.

Also Saturday, Turkey's top diplomat reiterated a call to Saudi Arabia to open up its consulate, from where Khashoggi disappeared, for Turkish authorities to search.

The writer, who has written critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after he walked into the consulate on October 2 The kingdom has maintained the allegations against it are "baseless," though an official early on Saturday — on Khashoggi's 60th birthday — acknowledged for the first time that some believe the writer was killed by the kingdom.

Authorities recovered the audio from Khashoggi's iPhone and his iCloud account, the newspaper said. The journalist had given his phones to his fiancée before entering the consulate.

The newspaper also alleged Saudi officials tried to delete the recordings first by incorrectly guessing Khashoggi's PIN on the watch, then later using the journalist's finger. However, Apple Watches do not have a fingerprint ID unlock function like iPhones. The newspaper did not address that in its report.

An Apple Watch can record audio and can sync that later with an iPhone over a Bluetooth connection if it is close by. The newspaper's account did not elaborate on how the Apple Watch synced that information to both the phone and Khashoggi's iCloud account.

Turkish officials have not answered queries from The Associated Press about Khashoggi's Apple Watch.

Turkish officials say they believe a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" killed Khashoggi at the consulate. They've also alleged that they have video of the slaying, but not explained how they have it.

Turkey may be trying to protect its intelligence sources through leaking this way, analysts say.

Jamal Khashoggi hasn't been seen since entering the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. Source: BBC

"Under normal circumstances, intelligence services would want to protect their sources, whether human or technical," Carrie Cordero, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, wrote recently. She formerly worked on intelligence matters for the US government.

She added: "The Turkish government may need to reveal sources it does not want to reveal if the Saudi Arabian government continues to deny involvement despite evidence Turkey has in its possession."

Saudi Arabia has said it had nothing to do with Khashoggi's disappearance, without explaining or offering evidence of how the writer left the consulate and disappeared into Istanbul with his fiancée waiting outside.

A Saudi-owned satellite news channel has begun referring to the 15-man team as "tourists," without providing evidence to support the claim. It echoes how Russia has described the men who allegedly carried out the Novichok nerve agent poisonings in Salisbury, England, in March.

Early on Saturday, the state-run Saudi Press Agency published a statement from Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud again denying the kingdom's involvement. This time, however, it acknowledged for the first time that Saudi Arabia was accused of killing Khashoggi.

"What has been circulating about orders to kill (Khashoggi) are lies and baseless allegations against the government of the kingdom, which is committed to its principles, rules and traditions and is in compliance with international laws and conventions," Prince Abdulaziz said.

Omer Celik, a spokesman for Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, said that Khashoggi's disappearance will be "investigated strongly." A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Turkey on Friday as part of a joint investigation into the writer's disappearance.

"Such an act is an attack on all the values of the democratic world. It's an act that will never be forgiven or covered up," he said. "This is not an act that Turkey would ever consider legitimate. If there are people who committed this, it will have heavy consequences."

However, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabia had not yet cooperated with Turkey on the search for Khashoggi. He said Turkish "prosecutors and technical friends must enter" the consulate "and Saudi Arabia must cooperate with us on this."

Earlier in the week, Saudi Arabia had said it would open the consulate for a search but that is yet to happen. Cavusoglu said Turkey would share information with Saudi Arabia in the "joint working group" but stressed the Turkish investigation would continue separately.

Khashoggi's disappearance has put pressure on President Donald Trump, who has enjoyed close relations with the Saudis since entering office. Trump has promised to personally call Saudi Arabia's King Salman soon about "the terrible situation in Turkey."

Speaking to CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview to be aired today, Trump said of the Saudis: "They deny it. They deny it every way you can imagine."

However, Trump also said: "Could it be them? Yes."

Separately, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who accompanied him to the Saudi consulate, the State Department said Friday. No details of the conversation were released.

In an interview Friday with the AP, Cengiz said Khashoggi was not nervous when he entered the consulate to obtain paperwork required for their marriage.

"He said, 'See you later my darling,' and went in," she told the AP.

In written responses to questions by the AP, Cengiz said Turkish authorities had not told her about any recordings and Khashoggi was officially "still missing."

She said investigators were examining his cellphones, which he had left with her.

Global business leaders also are reassessing their ties with Saudi Arabia, stoking pressure on the Gulf kingdom to explain what happened to Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, who was considered close to the Saudi royal family, had become a critic of the current government and Prince Mohammed, the 33-year-old heir apparent who has shown little tolerance for criticism.

As a contributor to the Post, Khashoggi has written extensively about Saudi Arabia, including criticism of its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.

Those policies are all seen as initiatives of the crown prince, who has also presided over a roundup of activists and businessmen.

Turkish officials have released footage of a squad of Saudi men arriving in Istanbul the day Jamal Khashoggi vanished. Source: BBC


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Five climbers, four guides go missing in Nepal during storm

Five South Korean climbers and four Nepalese guides were missing on Gurja Himal mountain after a strong storm swept through their base camp, officials and expedition organizers said.

A storm today destroyed their camp and rescue helicopter sent today were unable to land because of bad weather conditions on the mountain, police official Bir Bahadur Budamagar said.

It was unlikely the weather would clear today and the base camp is at least one-day trek from the nearest village.

A police team was also heading toward the base camp on foot and would likely reach there overnight.

The climbers were attempting to scale the 7,193-metre peak during the Autumn climbing season.

Climbing
Climbing Source: istock.com


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Melania Trump opens up on marriage to the US President in exclusive TV interview

Melania Trump has spoken about her marriage to US President Donald Trump and rumours of his affairs.

The first lady gave a rare TV interview during a recent trip to Africa, with no questions off-limits.

Through it all, she's held her tongue. Ms Trump was silent when porn star Stormy Daniels stepped forward. She said nothing when the White House denied the affair, and she remained tight-lipped when the president later admitted to paying hush money to keep Ms Daniels silent.

Now, a much-hyped tell-all interview with the first lady has addressed allegations of her husband's infidelity.

"It is not concern and focus of mine. I'm a mother and first lady and I have much more important things to think about and to do," Ms Trump said.

"I know people like to speculate and media like to speculate about our marriage and circulate the gossip but I understand the gossip sells newspapers, magazines, and unfortunately, we live in this kind of world today."

She said it's "not always pleasant, of course, but I know what is right and what is wrong and what is true and not true".

Ms Trump insists she is not focused on the scandal, but it is clear she cannot ignore it.

She said she was not happy when her husband's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, appeared to put words in her mouth.

"She believes in her husband - she knows it's not true. I don't think there's even a slight suspicion that it's true," Mr Guiliani had said at the time.

Ms Trump said, "I never talk to Mr Giuliani".

"Why do you think he came out and said that? I don't know. You need to ask him."

A former model, the first lady moved to New York in 1996 shortly before meeting Donald Trump.

"He came with a date and he was known as kind of a lady's man."

During the interview, Ms Trump said she knew for 20 years that he had dreamed of being president, and she had pictured herself being a "very traditional" first lady by his side, saying, "I will support him. I will stand by my man".

While the first lady has continued to stand by her husband, their relationship has been widely scrutinized.

The first lady is adamant she still has a good marriage, despite many images appearing to show the contrary.

"Yes we are fine. Yes," she said of their relationship.

"It's what media speculate and it's gossip. It's not always correct stuff."

The first lady gave a rare TV interview while touring Africa. Source: 1 NEWS