Attempted murder case before the court

A TAMWORTH woman is likely to stand trial accused of the attempted murder of a teenage girl earlier this year.
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Chloe Galbraith did not appear in Tamworth Local Court yesterday due to a technical difficulty with the video link, but was supported in court by family.

The court heard a pre-committal report had been sent by the DPP solicitor to the DPP director’s chambers and further time was needed before the case could proceed.

Galbraith’s solicitor, Rae Parker, asked for a brief two week adjournment to move the case along, telling the court it would head to trial.

“Well I was ready to commit for a trial today,” she said.

But the short adjournment was opposed by the DPP, who said it would not be ready in time.

“Your honour, we’re not in a position to do that,” DPP solicitor Fiona Irwin told the court.

“We do need a bit more time.”

Galbraith, 19, remains in Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre, after her bid for Supreme Court bail was adjourned last week in Sydney.

She is charged with the attempted murder of a 17-year-old girl in a late-night fight at a Queen St block of units in Tamworth on March 30.

Galbraith allegedly stabbed the teenage girl in the abdomen with a 30cm knife and police will allege she told the victim, if she was going away, “[she] was going away for murder”.

She is also charged with the malicious damage in relation to a broken window at the units but is yet to enter any formal pleas.

An extensive brief of evidence including crime scene statements, footage from a mobile phone and medical reports have already been served on Galbraith’s legal team.

Galbraith has been in custody since she was arrested on the night of the alleged incident but a Supreme Court bail application will be heard in October.

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Farm crime is a big concern

THERE has been much to examine and analyse in this week’s report released by the University of New England (UNE) about rural crime.
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More specifically, the study conducted by UNE was about crime on farms and looked at the trends evident since a similar 2001 study.

Of major concern will be the finding that while crime might have fallen in most other places, it hasn’t on our farms.

In fact, more than seven of every 10 of those farmers caught in the survey – and there were some 3160 of them – had experienced some type of crime on their place in the past 12 years.

There have been more incidents of trespass and illegal hunting and theft of fuel and stock.

Alarmingly, and overall, only about half of all farm thefts or crime are actually reported to police.

And that, according to New England local area commander Superintendent Fred Trench, poses more of a problem for police.

He’s encouraged farmers and those on the land to shed any form of reluctance about reporting suspicious behaviour or their theories of suspect crime.

It is only through being armed with that intelligence that the force can in fact put into place local strategies that can target the crime, he says.

Farm crime invariably pops up with regularity – not just a few jumbucks from the top paddock, but also fuel, firearms, household items, prize breeding stock, machinery and farm vehicles.

They disappear, and often their reports come eons after they might have occurred, because they’re isolated or not missed for ages, or simply overlooked until there’s a roundup or reckoning for sale.

UNE Associate Professor Elaine Barclay’s survey found that in the main farmers failed to report crimes because they were too difficult to prove, or they were not considered serious.

She also discovered that sometimes there was uncertainty over whether a crime had actually occurred and many farmers thought it was a waste of time reporting crimes because there was little the police could or would do.

And while many of us might just think farm crime is purely a financial cost and pressure, it isn’t. It has wider impacts, psychologically and socially.

Neighbourhood thefts cause rifts in the community and can isolate victims of crime.

Some large thefts are committed by organised crime networks.

Some create more suspicion in their communities, of a local nature, of individual suspects.

The results are food for thought for many. And a basis for strategic action for some.

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Antiques fair hailed as one of the best

BARGAIN HUNT: Collectors from across the region descend on the Tamworth Town Hall in search of curios to add to their collections. Photos: Geoff O’Neill 020815GOC06EXHIBITORS hailed the Tamworth Antique and Collectables Fair the finest in regional Australia, after yet another successful event.
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Everyone from the merely curious to the serious collector was catered for during the annual fair’s 30th edition earlier this month.

Jewellery, vases, guns, furniture, coins, telephones, paintings, silver, clocks and taxidermied animals were just some of the items on display.

The fair, which is a major fundraiser for Oxley High School, attracts some of the best antique dealers from NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.

Robert Neilsen, of Toowoomba’s Roundabout Antiques, said it was his fifth year exhibiting at the fair and it was always a delight to be back.

“It’s an exceptionally well-run fair. It draws people from a large area and I would go as far to say it’s the best-quality regional antique fair in Australia,” he said.

Silk Art proprietors Ross and Helen Pye showcased their stunning collection of intricate Chinese hand-made silk embroideries for the first time in Tamworth.

Mr Pye said the artworks, which are made using techniques developed over more than 3000 years, had proved a hit with the locals.

“It’s been brilliant,” he said. “They all want to learn about it because it’s so new to most people … and we’ll definitely be back next year.”

Fair organiser Euan Coutts said numbers were up on last year and people seemed more willing to part with their hard-earned dollars on items that took their fancy.

“We’ve had a really good mix of exhibitors this year and quite a few people have travelled considerable distances to be here,” he said.

Tamworth antique aficionado Vivienne Halstead, who tragically lost her entire collection in a house fire several years ago, made a few small purchases on Sunday.

“I just love to see all the old things that we used to use as little ones – like the telephones,” she said.

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Teenagers dig in to deal with a day of disaster

TUNNEL TRAINING: Danielle Hunt from Careers Network, centre, with Oxley High School students Lahkeisha Cook, Kate Cook, Harry Ellison and Josh Trewern doing a tunnel rescue. Photo: Barry Smith 110815BSC02SEVERAL teenagers were involved in the rescue of a body from a series of tunnels in Tamworth yesterday – but they were SES cadets, the tunnels were temporary and the body was a mannequin.
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About 40 high school students took part in an activity day at the Jewry St sporting fields, the culmination of a five-week cadetprogram.

They practised skills such as rescue roping and haulage techniques, saving someone trapped under a trailer, land searches and navigating through a tunnel.

Namoi region deputy controller Heath Stimson said all the teens seemed to have enjoyed the day.

“Participation has been really high today – that’s how you know it’s going well with young people, I suppose,” he said.

The students were from Oxley, Tamworth and Gunnedah high schools.

Another 30 from Wee Waa and Narrabri are working through the program and will have their activity day in a few weeks.

Mr Stimson said the cadet program was in its sixth year in this region.

He said it had several benefits: it informed young people about the role and scope of the SES; taught them leadership, teamwork and communication skills; showed them the dos and don’ts before, during and after an emergency, and gave them a taste of life as an SES volunteer.

He said some teens joined soon after completing the program, but most went “back to their school, sporting and social lives” and came back a few years later to the idea of joining.

“We do see it as a successful thing,” he said.

“Above all else, it’s about making the community aware of what we do and how we do it.

“In an emergency or disaster, these guys will champion the SES.”

For more information on volunteering, call 1800 201 000.

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Busy weekend a record for Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service

THE Westpac Rescue Helicopter has had its busiest weekend on record, after several emergency missions.
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And the Tamworth-based chopper hasn’t stopped, with further airlifts since a record-breaking 24 hours on Saturday.

Since Saturday, the chopper has flown three patients to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital, including a young man involved in a crash near Armidale, an elderly Inverell woman with a cardiac complication and a Wee Waa teenager injured in a polocrosse match.

The helicopter was also tasked to a secondary mission at Tingha, while on Sunday, an elderly woman was flown to Tamworth hospital after her car rolled at Bellata.

She has since been airlifted to Gold Coast Hospital for further treatment.

Service general manager Richard Jones says the region’s rescue helicopter’s missions have significantly increased since a doctor-paramedic team joined the crew in early March.

“Now that the Tamworth base is manned 24/7, our flight team has doubled to four pilots and four air crew in order to respond to the growing demand,” Mr Jones said.

“The past weekend’s missions required 13 engine hours within a day, which is outstanding for the local service in such a short period of time.”

The rescue service has been based in Tamworth for 15 years and has seen 25,000 people flown for urgent medical treatment.

The Westpac service earlier won a new 10-year contract to provide aero-medical services to northern NSW, but Mr Jones said ongoing support from the community was needed to ensure future operations continued.

“Our budget is about $15 million, but the government provides 45 per cent and we have to raise the rest through the generosity of the community. That is why support from businesses, workplaces and a little bit from a lot of people really adds up and allows us to continue this vital service,” Mr Jones said.

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