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Gloucester killer’s sentence halved

A MAN sentenced to 24 years’ jail for the murder of an elderly Gloucester man after a single punch has had his sentence reduced by more than half after successfully appealing the murder conviction and pleading guilty to manslaughter.
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Jason Mark Grogan, 46, killed Alan Henry, 72, after punching him in his Gloucester home on January 10, 2012. Mr Henry died on April 19 that year.

He was found guilty of murder in 2013 but successfully appealed in August, 2016 and a fresh trial was ordered on a manslaughter charge.

Mr Grogan will be eligible for parole in November, 2018, after NSW Supreme Court Justice Hidden found Grogan had “reasonable prospects of rehabilitation” if a three-year parole period was set, despite Grogan’slong history of serious drug-taking and crime.

In a sentence delivered on Thursday Justice Hidden said Mr Henry came in contact with Grogan, from Port Stephens, after Grogan’s partner, Natasha Slacke, became Mr Henry’s part time carer.

Mr Henry was punched after Grogan and Slacke were involved in a heated argument at a Gloucester service station that prompted people to call police.

Grogan left the service station and went to Mr Henry’s house where there was an altercation, Mr Henry was punched and fell, and Grogan ran from the scene. He was later picked up by police.

Mr Henry was treated for head injuries, and died at a Central Coast aged care facility several months later.

Grogan’s history of drug-taking and crime included matters in three Australian states. He was on bonds after convictions at the time of the assault on Mr Henry.

Slacke pleaded guilty to hindering the police investigation into Mr Henry’s death.

Justice Hidden said Mr Henry’s daughter’s statement to the court was “an eloquent expression of the impact upon her of her father’s death, including the significant period which he had survived before he passed away”.

“It expresses not only her grief but also her outrage at the senseless violence which led to his death, and the serious and enduring effects this crime has had upon her life. It was no easy task for her. She was visibly distressed, but completed the reading with courage and dignity,” Justice Hidden said.

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Arrested: Langi Kal Kal prison escapee caught

In custody: Barry Dettman
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UPDATE MONDAY 5.30pm:Langi Kal Kal prison escapee Barry Dettman, 51, has been arrested in Werribee by Victoria police.

The 51-year-old was arrested at about 5pm.

Police issued a statement thanking the public for theirassistance in catching Dettman.

He escaped from the prison at Trawalla, near Beaufort, on Sunday morning, before being sighted in Werribee.

Dettman was serving time for offences including indecent acts in the presence of a child and wilful and obscene exposure.

UPDATE MONDAY 10.30am:ALangi Kal Kal prison escapee who has been on the run for 24 hours has been sighted near Werribee.

Fugitive Taskforce members confirmed Barry Dettman, 51,who escaped from the prison in Trawalla near Beaufort, was sighted in Werribee about 5pm on Sunday.

Dettman is serving time for offences including indecent acts in the presence of a child and wilful and obscene exposure.

He is known to have connections with the Bendigo and Werribee areas.

Members of the public are urged not to approach him.

Dettman is described as 178cm tall with a thin build, cropped grey hair and blue eyes.

He has numerous tattoos on his upper arms and forearms, including an eagle on his right upper arm.

He was last seen wearing green tracksuit pants and a flannelette shirt.

UPDATE MONDAY 7am:Barry Dettman is still on the run from Victoria Police.

Police say he has connections to the Bendigo and Werribee areas.

SUNDAY: Police are currently searching for a man who escaped from the Langi Kal Kal prison in Trawalla this morning.

Barry Dettman, 51, was last detected walking east along the Western Highway, Trawalla about 10am.

A convicted pervert is on the run in Victoria. #9Newspic.twitter南京夜网/68VPWpE3wa

— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) April 16, 2017

Police have searched the immediate area but are yet to locate Dettman.

Dettman is serving time for offences including indecent acts in the presence of a child and wilful and obscene exposure.

Dettman is described as 178cm tall with a thin build, cropped grey hair and blue eyes.

He has numerous tattoos on his upper arms and forearms including an eagle on his right upper arm.

He was last seen wearing green tracksuit pants and a flannelette shirt.

Members of the public are urged not to approach Dettman.

Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is urged to call 000 immediately.

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The Store likely to be demolished

Details on rail corridor housingTHE NSW government will begin market testing to find a buyer to redevelop The Store building in Newcastle West, but the building’s heritage-listed facade is unlikely to survive.
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On Tuesday Transport Minister Andrew Constance announced plans for a new bus and coach interchange and “employment hub” on The Store site will be market tested from next month.

The government has kept quiet on its plans for the site since it purchased it for $11 million in 2015 but theNewcastle Heraldunderstands that with approvedheight limits of 90 metres any redevelopment of the site is likely to be close to 30 storeys of residential, commercial and retail.

But, Mr Constance said he envisioned the site, which backs onto the new Wickham Interchange,becoming a commercial precinct coupled with a bus and coach terminal.

“The Store site is obviously a pivotal part of us being able to broaden the transport opportunities for the people of the Hunter,” he said.

“This major interchange point at Wickham will provide not only the interchange people light rail and heavy rail but we’re also looking to develop a greater commercial precinct coupled with a bus and coach terminal at the site.”

However that will come at a cost to the heritage-listed Store building.

Mr Constance said the redevelopment of the site would include “destruction of the existing car park, and those old buildings, those dilapidated buildings”, which would “enable us to provide a great transport solution while we provide enormous uplift to the west end of Newcastle”.

The Store’s two-story rendered brick facade is heritage listed as an “important and dominant townscape element” that“represents a significant phenomena in the socio-economical development of the Hunter Valley, the Co-operative movement”.

But Mr Constance suggested it was unlikely the facade would survive.

“What we’ve discovered is there is challenges and unfortunately that facade is crumbling away, so that poses a risk for the community which is why you’ll see the coverings at street level,” he said.

“Ultimately yes it would be nice to do that [retain the facade] but there are things we can do into the future to better recognise that incredible heritage behind the Store site which we will look at through the market testing with the private sector.

“Ultimately my expectation is that there is a bus and coach interchange point with the existing Wickham interchange, and at the same time we something in keeping with a lot of the development happening in and around the precinct.”

With its 90-metre height limit and long Hunter Street frontage, The Store is among the largest and most strategic sites for redevelopment in the city, and seen as a key part of the commercial shift to Newcastle’s west end.

Mr Constance, who is in Newcastle on Tuesday, said there was “huge potential to create an employment hub and retail district alongside new, fully integrated transport solutions”.

“When the NSW Government bought The Store adjacent to the new transport interchange in 2015, we had a vision for a fully integrated transport destination. Somewhere you go to – not just move through,” he said.

“We see the site becoming an iconic development with potential to attract big employers and do Newcastle proud.”

Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts said the The Store would “underpin the shift of the CBD towards Newcastle’s west end”.

“The Store site has huge potential and we look forward to seeing how the market responds over coming months,” Mr Roberts said.

Revitalising Newcastle will manage the process to take the site to market, with the intention of releasing decisions made on the future of the site by the end of the year.

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Cat chasing a dog trumps war threat

Icy: Kim Jong-un watches as Marge Simpson issues an ice-bucket challenge. We were driving through Belmont with a friend on Sunday, when a conversation started.
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Kim Jong-un had to compete with a cat chasing a dog at Belmont on Sunday.

Friend: Did you hear about North Korea’s failed missile test?

Us: Yeah.

Friend: Trump should just take out the sites where the missiles are.

Us: But he can’t. If he does, [North Korea leader] Kim Jong-un will wipe out Seoul. North Korea is building the capability to attack the US with intercontinental ballistic missiles and there arefears that they’ll make a nuclear bombthat fits onto a missile. Trump has to deal with it, but he has to be careful.

As we relayed these thoughts, ourfriend saw something out the window.

Friend: Look, it’s a cat chasing a dog.

Us: Hey, we were talking about something important here.

Both of us are laughing now (quite possibly at the absurdity of life).

Friend: (still laughing) Sorry, I’m easily distracted. And you don’t see a cat chasing a dogevery day.

For a moment there, it felt like we were in a Simpsons cartoon.

While we’re on this subject, The Simpsons did feature Kim Jong-un in a special short YouTube video in 2015.

In the video, Marge Simpson challenges the North Korealeader to an ice bucket challenge.

Remember the ice bucketchallenge? That was quite afad. It was once described as “a middle-classwet T-shirt contestfor armchair clicktivists”.

The Party Posse Cat chasing a dog trumps war threat TweetFacebookI’m from TexasBack in the Great Depression, there was a place called Texas…at Carrington.

Reader Neil Pitt told us about it. Neil said Texas was in the suburb’s north, nearthe coal loaders.

Poverty-stricken peoplelived there inhumpies and shacks made of tin and wood.

The place had only a few taps. Locals would walk to the taps with buckets to get water to take back to their makeshift homes.

“People had to live somewhere –they couldn’t afford rent,” Neil said.

Herald history writer Mike Scanlon wrote an article about Texas 15 years ago.

Mike wrote that Texas was one of several camps in Newcastle in the 1930s Depression era, where unemployed people lived.

“One of the people who used to live atTexas was Frank Embleton, a film projectionist. He even shot a short film atTexas. A western, naturally,”Jim Smith told Mike.

“People used to run horses there. There were stables. That’s why it was called Texas.”

The “Carro”shanty town flourished from about 1930 until at least 1956.In 1932, 54 people, including 16 women, gave the areaas their address.

Other camps in Newcastle during the Depression were Hollywood at Jesmond (also known as Doggeyville), Platt’s Estate and Tramcar at Waratah, Diggers Camp in the West End, Nobbys Camp, the Stockton “Coral Trees”and the “Pig Sty”at Waratah saleyards.

One of the makeshift houses at a shanty town called Texas at Carrington in 1949.

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New details on rail corridor housing

AS IT COULD BE: An artist’s impression of the Market Street lawn, its signal box and the light rail.NEWCASTLE’s former rail corridor will include 30 affordable homes under a plan revealed on Tuesday morning.
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Planning and Housing Minister Anthony Roberts announced the plan in a bid to provide for “people on moderate incomes who make up our workforce”.

“This is why I’m backing an innovative proposal…to build 30 affordable homes on a site on the corridor,” he said.

“The proposal involves the pooling of government resources by combining Hunter Development Corporation and Newcastle City Council’s affordable housing funding and is awaiting approval from the council.”

The housing would sit between Merewether Street and the defunct Civic Station.

NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Transport Minister Andrew Constance held apress conference on the rail corridor housing proposal at 11am on Tuesday withRevitalising Newcastleprogram directorMichael Cassel.

UrbanGrowth will issue a tender under the proposal to find a community housing provider.

The successful tenderer would deliver, own and manage the homes when the corridor was rezoned.

Mr Roberts said the proposal, along with a Catholic diocese plan for 128 homes on the former Empire Hotel site, would help keep families in the city.

“Both housing developments are in the heart of Newcastle, which is important because it helps ensure we don’t push lower income families to the fringes of the city,” he said.

Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel said the plan, put forward by his program, would createone, two and three-bedroom family homes near essential services.

“It is hoped council will consider allocating funding for the proposal at its April meeting, which would be the first step in bringing the concept to life,” he said.

Fairfax Media reported earlier this year thatplans for an “affordablehousing” block on a section of line west of Merewether Street were causing arguments even before they have been formally announced.

Mr Cassel unveiled the affordable housing proposalat a March meeting of Newcastle City Council’s building better cities committee.

The proposal involves pooling$3 million of unused council funds with money from the Hunter Development Corporation to build a block that would then be managed by a community housing organisation.

Greens councillor and building better cities committee member Therese Doyle said at the timethe committee was “steamrolled” into endorsing the proposal, which she alone voted against.

“It’s an attempt to force the council’s hand by counterposing public transport with public housing, just as happened with the university proposal,” Cr Doyle said.

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