- Police were called to a residential street in Bromgrove shortly before midnight
- A woman was found with a suspected knife injury and later died at the scene
- Neighbours say her sons returned home from party and were told of her death
- A 49-year-old man has been arrested and is being questioned by police
Published: 04:10 EST, 1 January 2018 | Updated: 16:01 EST, 1 January 2018
Loved ones of a mother-of-two stabbed to death on New Year's Eve have described her as the 'funniest person you could ever meet' in heartfelt tributes.
Melanie Clark, 44, has been named locally as the victim of a knife attack at her home in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire last night.
Police were called shortly before midnight and Ms Clark was declared dead at the scene at 12.12am.
Neighbours said her sons Sheldon, 22, and Slade, 19, came home around an hour later.
Melanie Clark, 44, has been named locally as the victim of a knife attack at her home in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire last night
Police were called to this street in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire shortly before midnight
Floral tributes have been laid at the scene where the woman was pronounced dead at 12:12am
Becky Richards, 26, first met Ms Clark when they started working at a care home together seven years ago, shortly after the mum moved to the UK from South Africa.
Ms Richards, a nurse from Worcester, also revealed that Melanie had a daughter called Caitlin.
She said: 'From day one we just hit it off.
'She was a lovely person, so bright and bubbly. She'd light up the room. I don't know if it's because she's South African, but she just had such a fun demeanour about her and was so energetic all the time.
'If ever you were having a bad day, she would just lift you up.
'At times it could be quite tense in that job, but she would always lift that tension by cracking a joke and making you laugh. She was great in that sense.
'I remember her saying that her mum died when she was very young, and her dad still lived in South Africa.
'She was quirky and bold. On my 21st, she bought me a very embarrassing present, and made me open it in front of my parents. It was absolutely hilarious, everyone was on the floor laughing. That's the sort of person she was.
Forensics officers took items from the house today after police launched a murder probe
'I'm not sure whether or not David is from South Africa, but he certainly lived there for a very long time, and they must have married there before moving to the UK.
'The boys were very friendly as well. They both got jobs at the first opportunity, and learnt to drive very quickly, because they both loved cars.
'You have to give massive respect to her, because every time that you went into the house it was always so well organised.
'Everyone had their own little jobs and knew that they were doing. Whenever I went over there for dinner, it was always lovely, but everyone was in control and took responsibility. It was very sweet.
'She had two cats who she absolutely adored, they were like her babies, seeing as the children had grown up.
A woman died at the scene from suspected knife injuries and a man has been arrested
'David would keep himself to himself a bit more, but was very friendly.
'He would often be wearing a suit, and I think he was some sort of businessman, but I wasn't as close to him.'
Local resident Gareth Cole, 67, said: 'I was in bed at the time, there were a load of fireworks going off, and suddenly the flashes of light turned blue and there were a load of police cars outside the house.
'I saw the two boys coming back in a taxi at around 1am, it looked like they had been to a party and didn't know what had happened.
'They were led up the street by a policeman, and were only there for about 20 minutes before they were taken away.
'I saw someone being arrested afterwards, he was in very colourful pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt.'
Locals left flowers at the house today as neighbours told of their shock at the death
Another resident said: 'I saw the lads coming back in a taxi… it looked like one of them was in tears.
'It sounds like their mum has died, they were the only people that lived there, so it must have been her. It's horrendous, what's happened.'
Ms Clark is understood to have lived at the address with her husband, David.
Police forensics experts are scouring the £200,000 semi-detached property today as murder detectives question a 49-year-old man.
An open gas canister could be seen outside the three-bedroom home as police searched the house today.
Another neighbour said he heard a 'loud bang' coming from the house shortly before midnight.
The suspected knife attack happened in this residential street in Worcestershire last night
The 60-year-old resident said: 'Then there was this almighty bang, it was incredibly loud. Obviously there was noise from fireworks, but this was even louder.
'There were five police cars that came along with the ambulance shortly after midnight, it must have been only minutes later.
'Later on, I saw there was a gas canister in the garage, which had been opened, and the police later took it on to the pavement.'
The resident added: 'Somebody said that they saw a body bag being taken from the house, but I didn't see that myself.
'Sometime later someone was led out by police, wearing pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt.
'It looked like he had been dragged out of bed – he was wearing what you'd expect all middle-aged men to wear as they go to bed.'
A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: 'A 49-year-old man from Bromsgrove has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman's body was discovered at a property on Cloverdale in Bromsgrove.
'Police were called to the property at 11.52pm on Sunday 31 December where they discovered a woman with what is believed to be a knife injury.
'The woman was declared dead at the scene at 12.12am by paramedics. The man was arrested at the scene.
'Next of kin has been informed and we are awaiting formal identification.'
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Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms
The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.
The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.
All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.
It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.
British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.
The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.
The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.
It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.
“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.
“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”
The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.
It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.
The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.
Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.
“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.
Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”
However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.
Australia’s tight restrictions
The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.
Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.
A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.
Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.
Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.
Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.
Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.
The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.
While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.
Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.
In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581
Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection
The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.
Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.
Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.
It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.
The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.
Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”
“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.
“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”
Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.
Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.
For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.
Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.
A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.
Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane
Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane
At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.
When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.
Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.
While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.
But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.
And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.
And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836
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