WA coroner examines hospital death

Lynn Desmond Ernest Church had a history of psychiatric illness and had tried to take his own life twice before being placed in an open ward at a mental health facility.

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Despite being observed by nurses every 15 minutes, the 65-year-old managed to make them think he was sleeping soundly in his bed by rolling up towels, blankets and a beanie.

Meanwhile, he entered his ensuite bathroom where he was later found dead from asphyxia.

The West Australian coroner is now investigating the quality of the supervision, treatment and care provided to Mr Church, who was an involuntary patient at the Joondalup Health Campus mental health unit in July 2010.

The coroner will examine the cause and effect of Mr Church’s illness, whether it was appropriate to transfer him to an open ward, and what precautions were taken to remove potentially dangerous items from the open ward given that he was at high risk of suicide.

In her opening address on Monday, counsel assisting the coroner Ilona Burra-Robinson said Mr Church suffered from severe migraines and was in almost constant pain.

He was intermittently referred to psychiatric care and was prescribed various medications, including antidepressants, but would often self-medicate for pain, she said.

Mr Church’s daughter Karen Frances Sibbrett testified her father took medication every day and would “mix and match and alter the doses”, so she recommended he keep a book to record what he was taking.

She said her father did not believe he was depressed – but that he had a pathology issue with his brain – although he did talk about suicide with anyone who would listen.

He had pre-paid his funeral, Ms Sibbrett said.

“He was ready to exit and he’d talk that way for a very long time.”

Ms Sibbrett said her father was experiencing hallucinations and acting more aggressively towards the end of his life.

“I think he was losing his grip on reality a little bit,” she said.

Ms Sibbrett was critical of the level of care her father received and said there had been a “string of poor duty of care” that led to his suicide.

“I felt that I wasn’t being listened to,” she said.

The inquest continues.

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Huegill’s race day drug court case

Swimming’s comeback king Geoff Huegill has hit troubled waters after he and his wife were allegedly caught with cocaine at Sydney’s Randwick racecourse.

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NSW police were patrolling Saturday’s Autumn Carnival race meeting when they were directed to a suite in the grandstand by security.

Officers reportedly approached Huegill, 35, and his 30-year-old wife Sara Hills, after viewing CCTV footage of the two entering a disabled toilet.

Police allegedly gained entry into the toilet after finding the door was locked with the couple inside.

Officers claim to have found a small quantity of white powder, believed to be cocaine, and charged the two with possessing a prohibited drug.

They are due to appear in Waverley Local Court on May 14.

Huegill, a former world record butterfly swimmer who won silver in the 4×100 metre medley relay and bronze in the 100 metre butterfly at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, overcame battles with weight and depression to win two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Lawyer Paul Hunt confirmed the couple were issued with a court notice.

“As the matter is not yet resolved, my clients do not intend to make any further comment at this point in time,” he said in a statement.

On the day he was charged, the popular Huegill posted a photo of him and his wife on Instagram “enjoying the day … in the Moet suites at Randwick”.

He posted a picture of a white bottle of luxury French champagne Moet.

The Olympic medallist is the latest high-profile Australian swimmer to find himself in the spotlight.

Olympic greats Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett have both spent time in rehab this year for depression and sleeping pill addiction respectively.

Scott Miller, butterfly silver medallist at the 1996 Olympics, admitted he was addicted to the drug ice earlier this year after avoiding jail time for drug possession.

Huegill battled weight problems after retiring from swimming following the 2004 Athens Olympics and admitted to taking drugs and suffering depression.

He turned his life around by losing 45kg and returning to the pool, capturing double gold in Delhi before missing the team for the 2012 London Olympics.

In 2011, he revealed he drank heavily, became hooked on fatty food and had suicidal thoughts during his time out of the sport.

“My life from about 2005 to 2007, I experimented with many different things. I guess that’s a story that’s in my past,” he told the Nine Network.

Huegill credited his wife, whom he met in 2007, with turning his life around.

The couple live in the inner Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst and have two young daughters.

Since hanging up his goggles, Huegill has set up his own company working as an athlete-entrepreneur, along with public speaking and Club Skip, his weight-loss program.

Lambert accepts fan criticism but calls for Villa unity

A 4-1 defeat at Swansea City on Saturday left the former European champions in 16th on 35 points, three ahead of Lambert’s old club Norwich City, who are 18th and occupy the final relegation place but have played a game more.

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“Criticism is not nice but I’ve had it as a player and as manager. I’ll take it,” Lambert was quoted as saying by British media on Monday.

“I’ve never shied away from it. I’m the manager and it’s my job to protect the players. They are the ones who play the game.

“I totally understand the supporters’ feelings. This is a huge football club and expectation levels are so high because of what has been achieved in the past. The club should never be in this position, that’s the bottom line.

“I’ll take the criticism, but if there was ever a game where the supporters need to get behind the team it’s next Saturday.”

Barring an unlikely run of results from the teams at the bottom of the table, Hull secured their Premier League status for another season after coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at 19th placed Fulham on Saturday.

Hull are in 13th with 37 points and Steve Bruce’s side have an F.A. Cup final against Arsenal to look forward to and Lambert will be hoping to take advantage of the chance to claim the three points with daunting trips to Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur to finish.

However, Villa have managed only five wins at home this campaign, only two goals in their last four league outings and will again be without long term injury concerns Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak for the run in.

Still, Lambert, who survived a relegation battle last season in his first campaign with the club, remained optimistic they will be playing in the Premier League next year.

“We’d be more worried if our fate wasn’t in our own hands,” the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder said.

“We’ve got three games left, others have got two. One win will do to keep us up and next week’s game is now a cup final.”

(Writing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

NZ shares join global sell-off

New Zealand shares have joined a global sell-off, on concern about heightening tensions between western powers and Russia over Ukraine.

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The benchmark NZX 50 Index fell 38 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 5,116 on Monday.

Within the index, 32 stocks fell, 11 rose and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $200 million.

The European Union is moving to impose further sanctions against Russia amid concerns the nation is adding to its annexation of Crimea with further incursions into Ukraine.

A2 Milk, which gained 15 per cent over the past year, fell 7.1 per cent to 78 cents, its lowest this year.

Xero fell 5.2 per cent to $30.25, and has declined 24 per cent in the past month after rising more than 200 per cent in 2013.

Pacific Edge, which has gained 90 per cent over the past nine months, declined 1.9 per cent to $1.04.

“There are one or two concerns out there with Russia, and I think investors are being pretty cautious and keeping a close eye on developments there,” said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

“With events offshore, whereas a month or two ago everybody was looking at the growth side of the market, now investors are certainly taking a more cautious approach.

“There is still quite a bit of profit-taking in the high growth sector of the market.”

Chorus, the telecommunications network provider, fell 2.8 per cent to $1.74. Auckland International Airport dropped 1.5 per cent to $3.91. Infratil, the infrastructure investor, slipped 1.3 per cent to $2.24 and construction firm Fletcher Building was unchanged at $9.76.

Telecom went against the trend, climbing 1.9 per cent to $2.665.

Goodman Fielder jumped 20 per cent to a two-month high of 69 cents on the NZX after the world’s biggest palm oil processor, Wilmar International, teamed up with Hong Kong-listed investor First Pacific Co to make an $A1.27 billion ($NZ1.37b) offer for the Australasian food ingredients maker.

Explainer: How to protect yourself from ATM card scams

ATM scammers seize more than $100,000: NSW PoliceWhat is card skimming?

Card skimming is when someone illegally copies the information from the magnetic strip on your bank or credit card.

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This can be done via an ATM or an EFTPOS machine.

Once these details are taken, a “cloned” or fake card can be created. Fraudsters can then use the fake card to make purchases using your money. They’re also able to take out loans in your name and can even steal your identity.

How do skimming devices work?

At an ATM, a card-reading device is attached on top of the normal card slot which captures data from your card’s magnetic strip. A hidden camera or a fake keypad is also attached to record your personal identification number (PIN).

A skimming device in an EFTPOS machine is hard to detect, as the modified machine looks just like a normal machine. The device captures information from the magnetic strip on the card.

Warning signs to look out for

According to ScamWatch, here are some warning signs to look out for:

Does the ATM look normal? Can you notice any unusual modifications? (e.g. glue residue, exposed wires, double-sided tape).The retail assistant takes your card out of sight in order to process the transaction.The assistant swipes the card from a machine that looks unusual or different to what you normally see.Your card is swiped more than once.How to protect yourself from card skimmingBe as discreet as possible when withdrawing money from an ATMAlways cover your hand when you enter in your PIN.If a shopkeeper tries to take your card out of your sight, ask for it back. Try to pay with cash or don’t make the purchase at all.Keep your card in sight at all times when you’re paying for something.Don’t share your PIN with anyone.Don’t keep a written copy of your PIN with your bank card.Don’t email your PIN or any personal information to someone claiming to be from your bank.Check your bank statements regularly. You can access this information immediately via online banking or your bank’s smartphone app.What to do if you suspect somethingIf you suspect your card has been skimmed, call your bank immediately.Change your PIN immediately so the fraudsters can’t access your account.Report the incident to CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000Report the scam to ScamWatch so they can investigate the matter.