Weekly News Roundup

August 16, 2019

Sydney stabbing accused Mert Ney 'saw Michaela Dunn, other sex workers before alleged attacks'
Image: The Sun

FRIDAY August 16

Sydney stabbing accused Mert Ney had at least one appointment with his alleged victim Michaela Dunn before the rampage that shut parts of the CBD on Tuesday, a sex worker industry advocate says. 

The revelation comes as police search for a reason behind the attacks.

NSW Police Commissioner, Michael Fuller said establishing a motive was priority and that Mr Ney’s “potential link to terrorism” was concerning. 

Mr Ney is still being held in Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital after surgery on his lower leg with police still yet to interview him. 

Mr Ney, 20, is accused of killing Ms Dunn with a kitchen knife before fleeing onto the street and stabbing Linda Bo, 41 as she was walking towards Darling Harbour.

Ms Bo was taken to hospital in a stable condition and has since been released. 

Police confirmed Mr Ney had visited Ms Dunn for sexual services on the day of the alleged attack. 

Scarlet Alliance Australian Sex Workers Association chief executive Jules Kim said she understood Mr Ney had seen sex workers, including Ms Dunn on multiple occasions in the past. 

“And there hasn’t been incidents, certainly not with Michaela in the past as well,” she said. 

“It’s not something that was at all expected or planned, from what I understand.” 

Ms Kim said the sex-work community was “deeply shocked” by Ms Dunn’s death. 

“We are mourning the loss of somebody who was really loved, who was somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister and a great friend to many people,” she said.

Ms Kim said media reports suggesting that Ms Dunn was inherently at risk because of her job were misleading. 

Police have so far resisted drawing any concrete connection between Mr Ney’s alleged actions and terrorist activity. 

However, Commissioner Fuller said the “potential link” to terrorism was an issue “we are all concerned about”. 

Police found a USB stick linked to Mr Ney suggesting he had “some ideologies” in relation to terrorism and information about mass casualties. 

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Police are investigating after an officer accidentally fired a handgun at the Royal Queensland Show in Brisbane on Saturday. 

The bullet was unintentionally fired from a Glock inside the police station at the RNA Showgrounds at Bowen Hills while a shift change was taking place. 

A Queensland Police Service (QPS) spokesperson said the bullet went through the floor, through a wall and into an unoccupied storage area at the end of the building. 

“Police took immediate actions to ensure no-one in the area had been injured,” Police said in a statement.

“The QPS has arrangements in place to mitigate risk to any members of the public during the handling of weapons by officers at the RNA Showgrounds.

“This matter is subject to review including whether correct QPS protocols and procedures were followed.” 

The QPS said officers receive ongoing firearms training and safely handle their weapons thousands of times each year.

“The Glocks used by the QPS are very safe for operational firearms, which differ markedly from sporting weapons. 

“They have safety features built into their design to help prevent unintentional discharges occurring.” 

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An autopsy has revealed that wealthy financier, Jeffrey Epstein, had broken bones in his neck, raising further questions about the accused child sex trafficker’s death last weekend while he was held in a Manhattan jail.

Epstein’s demise on Saturday in the federal lockup was originally suspected of being the result of suicide by hanging.

It remains under investigation by the FBI and the Office of the Inspector General of the Justice Department. The New York City medical examiner’s office has yet to rule on the cause and the manner of the death of the former friend of President Donald Trump and Bill Clinton after performing the autopsy. 

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Epstein’s hyoid bone was broken in his neck, according to two people familiar with the autopsy. 

NBC News medical expert Dr. John Torres said that a broken hyoid “can happen in both strangulation and hanging, but occurs more often in strangulations.” 

New York City’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Sampson, said in a statement to CNBC that “in all forensic investigations, all information must be synthesised to determine the cause and manner of death.” 

“Everything must be consistent; no single finding can be evaluated in a vacuum,”  said Sampson. 

Epstein was being held without bail in the Metropolitan Correctional Centre, near the federal courthouse where he was charged with child sex trafficking. 

Prosecutors say that he sexually abused dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005 at his residences in Manhattan and Florida. 

He pleaded not guilty in the case, where he faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted. 

Epstein’s death came less than two weeks after he was found semiconscious with marks on his neck in his cell in the special unit in the MCC that is used to house prisoners who are at risk of assault from other inmates. 

He had been placed on suicide watch after the first incident, but was reportedly taken off of it less than a week later at the request of his lawyers. 

His death caused outrage from members of Congress, lawyers for his accusers, former prison officials and others who questioned how such a high-profile inmate who was suspected of trying to kill himself already could have been able to die while in federal jail. 

The Manhattan U.S attorney’s office has said the investigation into his alleged crimes, which were allegedly facilitated by a number of co-conspirators will continue.

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