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Mum fatally supplied friend with painkillers

Yvette McCartney, 35, of Oldham, acquired the prescription-only diamorphine She planned to give tabl..



  • Yvette McCartney, 35, of Oldham, acquired the prescription-only diamorphine
  • She planned to give tablets to her terminally ill sister, who had stomach cancer
  • But when sister died before she could give her tablets, she gave them to friend
  • Father-of-three Bernard Mills, 53, who had back injury, died after taking the pills
  • McCartney, a mother-of-four, pleaded guilty to supplying class A drugs but avoided prison and was given a six-month suspended prison sentence

By Keiligh Baker for MailOnline

Published: 03:33 EST, 14 November 2017 | Updated: 03:38 EST, 14 November 2017

Yvette McCartney, 35, of Oldham, acquired the prescription-only diamorphine tablets with the intention to supply them to her terminally sister Collette who had cancer

Yvette McCartney, 35, of Oldham, acquired the prescription-only diamorphine tablets with the intention to supply them to her terminally sister Collette who had cancer

A single mother-of-four has avoided prison after fatally supplying a family friend with black market painkillers for his bad back.

Yvette McCartney, 35, of Oldham, Greater Manchester, acquired the prescription-only diamorphine tablets with the intention to supply them to her terminally sister, Collette, who had stomach cancer.

But when barmaid Collette passed away without taking them, McCartney instead offered them to father of three Bernard Mills, 53, who had been in agony with a rib injury after a fall at home.

Mr Mills took the tablets willingly but collapsed at home and was found dead in his living room by his 14-year-old son with tests showing he died from morphine toxicity.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, McCartney, of Chadderton, near Oldham pleaded guilty to one charge of supplying class A drugs but escaped with six months jail suspended for a year.

She wept as Judge Angela Nield told her: 'I believe it is in the public interest to know the importance of not sharing your medication. It is prescribed to one person, and is not to be shared.

Bernard Mills, 53, was in agony with a rib injury after a fall at home. He was given the pills

'These were not your tablets, so you couldn't give Mr Mills any information of how to take them – yet you supplied a number of them intended as pain killers to Mr Mills and that led to his tragic death.

'It goes without saying that the primary tragedy is and remains to his family and to his friends, but most importantly to his three children. He cannot be replaced.

'I understand you were helping a friend in need, but this is something that will impact on your future in your own life and in any future employment. That itself must be part of this punishment.

'I know you had a sister, who sadly died of a stomach tumour, who had also been in a great deal of pain.

'You had intended to give her the same medicine but before you reached her, she had passed away.

'Then instead of getting rid of this medication, you decided to give this to Mr Mills and he accepted them from you.

'He took them and felt some relief, but a short time later was found unresponsive by his son and that is something he has expressed will have long standing consequences into his future.

'I understand you were friends with him and both you, his family and indeed your own family have suffered because of this.

'But sadly the consequences for the victim cannot be undone and unfortunately this was a perfect storm of circumstances.

'This was not your medication, but I do believe your intentions were that of compassion for your friend, and you wanted to help him.

'The darker side of this case is that prescription medication does have a street value, that on the same level as heroin.'

McCartney's sister was just 34 when she was diagnosed with stomach cancer in January 2015 and endured 12 months of treatment including chemotherapy and the partial removal of her stomach.

She was given the all-clear in February 2016, but the following April her condition rapidly deteriorated and doctors were unable to save her.

At the time McCartney told her local paper: 'She rang me on Saturday crying, having a panic attack saying that she had a feeling she was going to die. We took her out in the car and when she got back to the hospital she just lay down and passed away.'

McCartney, a mother-of-four, pleaded guilty to supplying class A drugs but avoided prison and was given a six-month suspended prison sentence

The court heard McCartney who was not prescribed the diamorphine tablets had originally intended to give them to Collette to help ease the pain of her illness. But she failed to destroy them after Collette passed away.

Prosecutor Daniel Calder said: 'On 4th June last year, Mr Mills was self-medicating after a fall in his home left him suffering with pain in his ribs.

'He asked the defendant if she had any pain killers and she supplied him with the diamorphine tablets. Mr Mills took these pain killers out of his own accord. He was not forced to take them – she was trying to help him.

'On June 9 at 11am his 14-year-old son woke to find him sat unresponsive on the couch in the living room. Sadly he was pronounced dead at the scene.

'Tablets packets were found and 16 tablets were left. It is unknown at this stage how many were taken. There is no indication of who supplied Miss McCartney with the drugs.'

An inquest coroner later ruled a conclusion of drug related death.

In mitigation, McCartney's lawyer, Michael Brady said: 'She has been incredibly cooperative throughout the police investigation into Mr Mills death. She was honest and admitted that she did give him the tablets out of compassion and she is petrified.

'This is an extremely tragic case – not just for Mr Mills and his family, but for the defendant and her family too. She has four children who she is bringing up on her own.

'She was going to ask a friend of hers to help out if she does get a custodial sentence. There was no financial intention behind this.

'She didn't realise the significance or facts of supplying drugs. She didn't encourage Mr Mills to take those tablets and she doesn't know how many he took.

'She just knows this was an unwise decision and she accepts these are class A drugs. Whilst she didn't force him to take those drugs, they did cause his death.

'There was no motivation behind supplying him with them, she just wanted to help with the pain he was in.

'It wasn't her medication and it was not to be shared. She has lived a law-abiding life.

'She will have to carry part of the responsibility for the death of a friend, and that is punishment enough in itself. Unfortunately no sentence will bring back the loss of life.'

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Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative



In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.

The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.

But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.

So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?

‘Just paperwork’

Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.

Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.

The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.

Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.

Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.

Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.

Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.

It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.

“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”

But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.

Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.

But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.

It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.

Critics push for investigation

Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.

But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.

And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.

Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.

Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.

“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.

“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”

The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.

And she says the same transparency is needed here.

The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them

The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.

“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.

“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”

PM defends governor-general

Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.

“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”

Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.

“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.

“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”

A role fit for purpose?

Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.

She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.

“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”

Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.

“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.

“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”

But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.

“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”


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Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania



A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.

Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.

The other driver involved was not hurt.

Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.

The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.

“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.

“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”

Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.

Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.

Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.

Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.

In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.

Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.

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Sydney airport warns delays could last weeks on third day of travel chaos



Long queues at Sydney airport’s domestic terminals have continued for a third day, with some passengers missing international connections, as the airport warns delays resulting from a surge in travellers and a shortfall in security staff could continue for weeks.

Chaotic scenes were reported in the departure halls as early as 4.30am on Saturday, with some frustrated travellers, many of whom heeded the pleas of airport chiefs to arrive at least two hours before their domestic flight was due to take off, claiming only one security line was operating.

While the queues that formed early on Saturday are understood to have cleared later in the morning, the airport apologised to affected travellers.

“Traffic numbers are picking up and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport. We appreciate your patience,” Sydney airport said on its Twitter account.

A wave of families travelling as the term two school holidays begin this weekend, combined with close contact rules that are understood to be taking out about 20% of security shifts in any given day, are driving the problem.

Certis, the company that Sydney airport contracts for its security operations, is desperately trying to recruit personnel, while the airport has reallocated back office, IT and retail workers to the departure hall to comb queues so they can prioritise passengers at risk of missing their flight.

“We are working around the clock to resolve these issues and have teams in the terminals bringing passengers forward in order of priority,” a Sydney airport spokesperson said.

He added that the airport is “anticipating it will [be] busy right through the school holiday period and peak over the Easter and Anzac Day weekends, in some cases at 90% of pre-Covid passenger levels”.

“We’re deeply grateful to passengers for their ongoing patience and we’re sorry to everyone who has been inconvenienced,” the spokesperson said. “We would also like to thank passengers for getting to the airport early and treating staff and each other with kindness and respect.”

The Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was forced to clarify comments he made on Friday that passengers were “not match fit” and that those forgetting to remove laptops and aerosols from their bags at the security check contributing to the delays.

“Just to be clear, I’m not ‘blaming’ passengers,” Joyce said. “Of course it’s not their fault,” he said.

Qantas shed thousands of staff during the pandemic, and outsourced ground crews in a decision that was challenged in court.

On Saturday, Qantas also apologised to a Melbourne family left stranded in Sydney, after domestic flight delays caused them to miss an international trip.

Javiera Martinez, her partner Daniel Capurro and their three children were supposed to be flying to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen in three years.

But after their 8am Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and airport transfer delays in Sydney meant they couldn’t make their 11.30am LATAM Airlines flight to Santiago.

Martinez said the airline’s procedures at the airport were chaotic.

“We think Qantas didn’t behave appropriately. I got berated by the person at the counter – they never apologised, they never assumed any responsibility at all,” she said. “It was a rude conversation. We have been mistreated badly I would say.”

The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to take them again as they wait for seats on the next flight to Santiago from Sunday.

The airline has apologised and paid for a night’s accommodation in Sydney.

“We sincerely apologise that the family missed their connecting flight on another airline due to delays moving through Sydney airport on Friday,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

The family is among many affected by hold ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.


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