Home // 2019 // September

Wickham comes to terms with killing of‘lovely man’

WELL-LIKED: Robbie Parry, right, was known for his generosity and community spirit; at left, the police investigate his shooting in Wickham. Man dies after Wickham shooting
江苏夜网

ROBBIE Parry’s murder in his Wickham home has left his friends distressed, wondering who would have wanted to harm the hearing-impaired man they described as a quiet, gentle and generous battler.

Mr Parry, 41, and his elderly father Al were at their single-storey Dickson Street home about 3am on Saturday when police say at least one male intruder entered the property and shot Mr Parry in the abdomen.

Newcastle City police crime manager Detective Inspector Peter Mahon said police and ambulance paramedics administered first aid to Mr Parry, but he was unable to be revived and died at the scene.

Licensee and manager of the Croatian Wickham Sports Club Pavo Sudaric said Mr Parry had been his ‘‘right hand’’ as a club member for the past 10 years and a board member for five.

‘‘He was a lovely, lovely man – he would give you his blood,’’ Mr Sudaric said. ‘‘I thought it was a joke when I heard the news, I still think he’s going to come back.

‘‘In my heart he’s not dead – I will miss him dearly.’’

Mr Sudaric said the ‘‘highly respected’’ and ‘‘protective’’ Mr Parry had visited the club on Friday afternoon, as he did most days, sometimes with his father.

He was understood to be on disability and carer’s pensions but he was known to have a talent for fixing cars and would often help out at the club by picking up glasses, running errands, cooking barbecues and helping tidy up.

Mr Parry’s friend Nikki Dures said ‘‘hundreds’’ of people had gathered at the club on Saturday afternoon to remember their friend.

‘‘He was very popular for his loving, caring and giving soul,’’ she said. ‘‘He’d give you his shoes, he’d give you his last dollar, if you were broken down he’d be the first one to give you a ride.’’

Ms Dures said those who shot her friend must have ‘‘gone to the wrong place’’.

‘‘If you needed something and he had it, you’d have it,’’ she said. ‘‘There’s not anybody that would not like Robbie Parry.’’

The Bottle-O Wickham fine wine manager Michael Salem said Mr Parry visited his shop every other night, but that nothing seemed amiss on Friday evening just before close.

‘‘The guy kept to himself but he wouldn’t hurt a fly,’’ Mr Salem said.

‘‘He was very gentle and would give you the shirt off his back – and sometimes he’d come in without a shirt so I’d have to tell him to go back home and put one on.

‘‘I’d abuse him and he’d abuse me, we’d joke around.

‘‘When he walked out on Friday he just said, ‘See you tomorrow’, as he always does – and then he was gone.’’

When he was told of the shooting early on Saturday morning, Mr Salem said Mr Parry was ‘‘the last person I’d expect’’ to be the victim.

‘‘He never said a bad word about anyone and I never heard him swear,’’ he said.

‘‘I can’t imagine he would have offended anyone.’’

Mr Salem said he understood Mr Parry had been a courier driver for Klosters, collected scrap metal and at the time of his death was a full-time carer for his father.

‘‘He was a battler.’’

Police found a small amount of cannabis plant and leaf at the home, but Detective Inspector Mahon said there was ‘‘nothing at all’’ to suggest it was a known drug house.

Mr Sudaric said he understood Mr Parry made an oil for his father to drink that relieved him of having to take other medications.

Residents of Dickson Street and nearby Grey Street said they had not heard the gunshot or any sirens, but said the tight-knit community was ‘‘very distressed’’ about the death of the ‘‘lovely’’ Mr Parry, who they regularly saw walking the suburb’s.

Neighbour Lyn Kilby said Mr Parry was one of the ‘‘treasures of Wickham’’ and ‘‘an integral part’’ of the community group Great Lifestyle of Wickham.

‘‘The blessings he brought to other people showed that he had a sense of humility,’’ Mrs Kilby said.

‘‘It has shaken up this suburb so much because he touched a lot of people.

‘‘Whoever has done this has taken something away from us,’’ Mrs Kilby said.

‘Britain’s white jihadi’ actually a gifted Aussie school dropout called Jake now fighting for Islamic State

The young Australian alongside two other IS members. Photo: TwitterNew UK laws would ban airlines from taking Britons to join Islamic State
江苏夜网

The Islamic State recruit the British media decried as “Britain’s White Jihadi” in December, proclaiming he was a “major coup for the terrorist group”, is actually a skinny, baby-faced boy from Craigieburn in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, and his non-Muslim family is worried sick about him.

Fairfax Media can reveal that the young westerner pictured last December sitting between bearded men and holding an assault rifle in front of the black flag of IS is actually an 18-year-old Australian called Jake. We will not reveal his full name at the request of a family member.

The revelations come as Australian customs officials confirmed that two teenage brothers, believed to have been attempting to travel to conflict zones in the Middle East, were stopped at Sydney Airport.

The youths, aged 16 and 17, were detained by Customs on Friday, after they aroused the suspicions of two Customs and Border Protection officers, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said.

The teenagers were referred to the Customs Counter Terrorism Unit, which determined that they were intending to travel without the knowledge of their parents. The brothers were allowed to leave the airport with their parents and were issued Court Attendance Notices.

On Sunday Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the interception showed the government’s tough new foreign fighters laws were working.

Meanwhile, Fairfax’s investigation can reveal Jake was a high-flying student, a maths whiz, who attended Craigieburn Secondary College’s CEAP Excel accelerated learning program. However, he dropped out of high school mid-last year after converting to Islam and bought a one-way ticket to Istanbul, on the way to Iraq and Syria to fight for the so-called caliphate.

In December, Jake’s photograph hit Twitter, where a user, Abu Dawud, identified the young man as Briton “Jonathan Edwards”. The tweet said he had “applied for Ucas   (Britain’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) to [sic] late and wasn’t accepted in any university, so he joined the Islamic state”.

After Britain’s Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph newspapers picked up the story and ran it, Abu Dawud laughed that he had “trolled” and “humiliated” the British media, saying the story was fake, leading to speculation that the picture was doctored.

But Fairfax Media has now had the photograph positively identified by friends and also by members of two different north suburban Melbourne mosques as that of a quiet, young Muslim convert who worshipped with them for about a year before disappearing.

“He used to come here when we had a big lecture,” said to Abu Zaid, a committee member of the Hume Islamic Youth Centre in Coolaroo, near Meadow Heights.

Abu Zaid said Jake didn’t have a car, so he used to ask the other brothers for lifts to and from the centre, which features a prayer hall for more than 1000 people, lecture rooms, a cafe and a gym.

“He was a very quiet guy, he stuck to himself,” Abu Zaid said. “We weren’t close to him. I didn’t see any of the people [getting] close to him.”

Worshippers at another mosque, the Australian Islamic Social Association in Meadow Heights, also remember young Jake coming there to pray.

It’s understood that Jake, who now goes by the Islamic names Abdur Raheem or Abu Abdullah, was 16 when he began feeling unhappy and started searching for spiritual answers. A school friend introduced him to Islam and he recited the Islamic testimony of faith. At the Meadow Heights mosque, people who remembered Jake said his family was negative towards his new religion.

A former school friend, who asked to remain anonymous, but said he had known Jake since they were children, said Jake had “made his own choice and he believes its the right choice.

“He was notNOT pushed into IS [Islamic State] and was not pushed into Islam. People can make their own decisions and this was one of his …he felt that it was right for him … He had done sufficient research to believe it was the right step in life,” the friend said.

“He was obviously a believer in Islam and wanted to fulfil what he believed was his duties to the religion.”

Other friends described Jake as extremely shy and quiet, but saidhat he was “really bright”. School friend Kutlu Karapinar said he was “quite politically aware for his age”. Another, Josh Green-Mercier, said he was interested in different cultures, but “he never seemed very happy”.

“I’m not sure why. He usually just listened to us and sometimes talked but rarely. He would just talk about math, etc,” Mr Green-Mercier said.

A Fairfax Media investigation has revealed that, during his final year of high school in 2014, Jake began communicating via online forums and emails with a supposed American journalist from the BBC. He began telling his family he was going to Istanbul to work with the journalist, even though he had previously expressed little interest in the profession and had no qualifications. It now appears the “journalist” was an Islamic State recruiter.

By that stage he had moved to a school in Essendon and was finding the travel difficult from Craigieburn. According to one friend, Jake believed he would fail high school, so he dropped out.

A source close to the family says that in August that year, Jake closed down most of his online and social media accounts and disappeared. A subsequent search revealed he bought a one-way ticket to Istanbul.

Two months after his disappearance, Jake contacted his family to let them know that he was in Iraq training for a “martyrdom mission” with a suicide vest. Later that month, however, he called again to say he was “too scared to do it and he prefers being a soldier”. He proposed to travel to Syria.

Fairfax Media has confirmed with sources in Turkey that at around that time, Jake, using his full Islamic name and his family’s surname, was documented crossing into Syria via the Jarabulus or Tal Abyad crossings. The sources also identified him by photographs.

Neither the Attorney-General’s department nor the Australian Federal Police would comment on the case, but the government says at least 140 Australians have travelled overseas to fight in Iraq and Syria, of which whom at least 20 are known to have died.

Jake left little online activity behind, but one is on video-sharing site Livestream, where he followed one user only: the national Muslim organisation Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa Association of Australia (ASWJ).

ASWJ is based in Auburn, Sydney, and is associated with the Hume Islamic Youth Centre in Melbourne. It streams lectures via the social media site.

Jake’s profile picture includes a quote from the 13th-century Islamic theologian Ibn Taymiyyah: “What can my enemies do to me? My paradise is in my heart, it is with me wherever I go. To imprison me is to provide me with seclusion. To send me into exile is to send me away in the Path of Allah. And to kill me is to make me a martyr”.

Funds to help public transport access

VITAL WORK: Steve Thomson wants to see the bus service improved. THE Hunter has secured more than $478,000 from the state government to improve public transport access in the region.
江苏夜网

The money will pay for upgrades to bus and taxi shelters, bus stop signage, interchanges, lighting and security across Maitland, Singleton, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie.

Thirteen bus stops in the Maitland Local Government Area will receive concrete pads to raise passengers to the same level as the floor of the bus.

Liberal candidate for Maitland Steve Thomson, who made the announcement, said the initiative would allow passengers with a disability and the elderly to ‘‘easily use the bus service’’.

He said people with disabilities struggled to catch the bus at some places in the city, and the improvements were ‘‘vital’’.

Edgeworth, Glendale, Cardiff and Argenton will share in $108,000 and receive a bus shelter, concrete pad and seating.

Port Stephens will receive $122,500 for projects at Tanilba Bay, One Mile and Boat Harbour.

In Singleton, more than $127,000 will be spent to refurbish 11 bus shelters and install three new bus stops.

The projects are funded through the regional country passenger transport infrastructure grants scheme, and the money is available immediately.

It is not dependent upon which party wins the state election.

Mai-Wel Group chief executive Pennie Kearney, who works with people with a disability, said it was a ‘‘fantastic outcome for people with a disability and the ageing population’’.

She said people with a disability found it difficult to use public transport when the bus stop was not at the same level as the bus, and often became stuck in transit to their destination.

She said that barrier often prevented them from keeping a job, and every public transport stop in the region needed to be disabled friendly.

‘‘Transport needs to be free-flowing and sometimes they will get part of the way through a trip and find a real barrier … We’ve got areas in the Hunter where there just aren’t any suitable bus stops,’’ she said.

‘‘That stops the opportunity they have to get out in the community.’’

Maitland City Council might force clean-up of derelict property

A DERELICT block in Maitland could become the centre of a court case as Maitland City Council tries to force the landowner to improve the property.
江苏夜网

The council has three house and land sites across the local government area that are overgrown and filled with waste.

It has issued orders and penalty notices under the Local Government Act, but received no response.

The landholders have also failed to pay their rates.

Maitland councillors will decide on Tuesday night whether to initiate legal action in a bid to force the landowner to clean up.

The venture could cost between $25,000 and $50,000, according to quotes from two legal firms, and the council would try to recoup the cost if the court ruled in its favour.

A council report has recommended that court action be taken against one landholder, and a report be put before the councillors after the court case has finished to look at the impact on the council’s budget and time.

If councillors support the move, legal action would not be taken against the two other cases until the report was considered.

Mayor of Maitland, Cr Peter Blackmore, said it was ‘‘disappointing’’ that the council had to consider legal action but he thought it was the only way to force the landowners to act.

‘‘If we turn around and say we’ll forget about it, what sort of example are we setting to our community?’’ he said.

‘‘There are a number of cases where no matter what you do some people try to avoid acting at all costs.’’

He urged anyone in financial hardship to talk to council staff about alternative arrangements to pay their rates.

About 150 to 200 people complain to the council about derelict properties each year, but most are resolved within 21 days. A council report said there was a minority of people who either refused to maintain their property, ignored the requests or were unable to act.

Councillor Henry Meskauskas said the council had taken two landholders to court in the past over similar situations, and had to do it again.

He has had a few complaints about derelict properties west of Maitland that ‘‘smell’’ and have ‘‘rats and snakes’’.

‘‘They don’t care about it and it causes a problem to everyone else around them,’’ he said.

‘‘The property is a safety issue and it’s a danger to the people in the house and the neighbours.’’

Rio Tinto sticks with open-cut operation for now

Plan to move Bulga village for mine considered
江苏夜网

RIO Tinto has rejected a push by Bulga residents to have mining go underground at the giant Mount Thorley Warkworth open-cut complex.

Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association vice-president John Krey said on Friday that while the organisation would prefer no mining on its members’ doorsteps, it would ‘‘fully support’’ any application by Rio Tinto to go underground at the mine.

A Warkworth environmental impact statement says the mine’s South Pit has been left open as a ‘‘potential future access point’’ for underground mining, but the only option it will consider at present is to remain with the open cut.

Mr Krey said the progress association proposed going underground in 2010, and the issue was raised at a Mount Thorley Warkworth Planning Assessment Commission meeting in November 2011.

Back then, Rio said less than 20per cent of the potential coal could be reached by underground mining because the seams were either too shallow, too thin, or too close to other seams.

On Sunday, a Rio spokesman said underground mining was ‘‘not a realistic option’’ to replace the existing open-cut operation and its workforce of 1300 people.

“Underground mining at Mount Thorley Warkworth would require extensive technical studies to determine whether it was feasible, followed by the uncertainty of gaining significant capital investment following a lengthy approval process,’’ the spokesperson said.

An environmental impact statement for the Warkworth mine says ‘‘potential underground mining is in its early stages of exploration drilling and resource definition with feasibility studies yet to be undertaken’’.

An underground mine would need ‘‘a design capable of being realised in the short term’’, which was not likely given ‘‘current market conditions and competition for capital investment in the mining sector’’.

‘‘Not withstanding this, the proposal recognises the future for underground mining at Mount Thorley Warkworth with South Pit left open as a potential future access point,’’ the environmental statement says.