Police say the “rule books have been thrown out the window” after the deadly double shooting of two women in suburban Sydney on Saturday night.
Lametta Fadlallah, 49, and Amner ‘Amy’ Al Hazouri, 39, were killed after a hail of bullets were fired into a car in Panania, just before 9pm.
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Police believe the shooting occurred at Hendy Avenue, Panania, before the vehicle traveled to Weston Street, Revesby, where emergency services were contacted.
Local woman Rebecca, who was preparing her young kids for bed, said there was no mistaking the sound that rang out in the quiet street just before 9pm.
“My kids heard it; we all did,” Rebecca told The Daily Telegraph.
“Like bang bang bang, yeah, we knew straight away it was a gun.”
The vehicle with four people inside it then sped away for about a kilometer before coming to a stop in nearby Revesby.
Peter Aitkin was sitting on his veranda when the victims’ car pulled up directly outside.
“There was a lot of yelling, but I had no idea what it was all about,” the retired firefighter told The Daily Telegraph.
“I thought at first the woman in the back might have had a heart attack and that’s why the car has pulled up.”
The same commotion prompted a neighbor to call triple-0.
“The man was yelling at the woman to get back in the car,” the neighbor said.
“She was screaming, I couldn’t really understand what she was saying but she was hysterical, so I called the police.”
Emergency services arrived at the scene to find Fadlallah and Al Hazouri inside the car with gunshot wounds.
Fadlallah, identified as a mother of two, could not be revived and died at the scene.
Al Hazouri was taken in a critical condition to Liverpool Hospital, where she later died.
A girl, 16, and man, 20, were also in the car at the time and were left shaken but physically unhurt, Homicide Squad commander Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty said.
He said the other occupants were incredibly lucky not to have been killed or seriously injured.
“This is an appalling attack on two women, who lost their lives in a planned murder and assassination that’s happened in a public street in Sydney,” Doherty said on Sunday.
“It’s not acceptable by any standards. It’s unprecedented, really, and we’re determined to get the answers for the family.”
Crime editor of The Daily Telegraph, Mark Morri, told Sunrise there was a big difference between this murder and other gangland shootings in Sydney.
“To actually kill a female in public like this, like they are a gangland figure, I’ve never seen it in the 40 years I’ve been here,” he said.
“Not to say that women haven’t been killed, they have… but the big difference we have seen with this one is where the rule book has been thrown out.”
Burnt-out cars were found in nearby suburbs in the hours following the attack and police are investigating if the vehicles are linked to the shooting.
Security vision seized by police shows attackers in dark clothing pouring petrol on the cars before making off.
“These are the hallmarks of a planned attack,” Doherty said.
“It was methodical, it was planned.”
Police were familiar with Fadlallah for having past connections to underworld figures, and one theory is that she was the intended target of the attack.
She had been in a long-term relationship with Halal Safi, a standover man and drug dealer found dead earlier this year.
Doherty said the three other people in the vehicle had no links to organized crime.
Al Hazzouri, a hairdresser known as Amy to her friends, is considered to have been an innocent bystander caught up in a barrage of deadly gunfire.
He urged the public to come forward with information about the attack.
“The time is now. This is unprecedented,” Doherty said.
“We should be asking questions, how could this happen? How did we get to this point, where two women have lost their lives in Sydney, in a public street?”
Doherty said underworld figures used to operate by “unwritten laws” under which women and children were protected from being attacked – but it appeared these rules no longer applied.
“I think this has just demonstrated how low they’ve got at this point, where any person that may be associated with someone who they want to target … they don’t discriminate, whether you’re male or female,” he said.
“The rule books have been thrown out the window.”
Strike Force Laurantus has been established to investigate the incident.
Anyone who may have information, or dashcam or CCTV footage from the surrounding areas, is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Danny Hodgson is considering what legal action he can take for compensation after he was left with catastrophic injuries when he was coward punched by a teenager who was on bail for other crimes.
Mr Hodgson made the revelation in an emotional interview with 7News’ Flashpoint, during which for the first time since the attack, he returned to the Perth Train Station pedestrian bridge where his life changed for ever on September 5 last year.
“If anything, I’m just really angry at the justice system,” he said.
“The justice system is to convict criminals, to protect citizens, and to keep order across the country.
“But again it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say that a criminal that has 23 offenses shouldn’t stay on the streets.”
Before the attack, Mr Hodgson was a healthy, talented soccer player with ECU Joondalup. He was on his way home from end-of-year celebrations when he was punched to the back of the head.
The teenager was jailed for three years and eight months over his attack on Mr Hodgson and other strangers while on bail. He was facing 23 charges relating to 13 separate incidents in the seven months prior to the attack.
Asked if legal action for compensation was being considered, Ms Hodgson’s partner, Jess Pollock, said “definitely”.
“Someone needs to be held responsible for this and why should we go through this journey and suffer in other ways as well — not being able to pay our bills when we were both working,” she said.
“I don’t even know if what he did was legal to let him out after breaching bail on 23 charges, I don’t even know.
“But if it is legal, and he has followed the law, then the law seriously needs to change.”
Mr Hodgson spent 82 days in intensive care at Royal Perth Hospital before he underwent weeks of rehabilitation at Fiona Stanley Hospital. He was rushed back to hospital last month after suffering a 10-minute seizure at home.
Heartbreakingly, Mr Hodgson’s independence, as well as his dream of having children, has been ripped away.
“We were hoping to start a family pretty soon but now I can’t start a family because you can’t have Jess as having full responsibility for a kid,” he said.
“As a parent you’ve got to have two parents to look after you, to change your nappy, to feed the kid — it’s impossible to have a kid as one parent.
“It’s not impossible but it’s hard to have a good kid and do the right thing, and that’s been taken away from us.”
He added: “I honestly may as well be dead in my head, mate. There’s no point of being alive. I’m worthless, I’m hopeless, I’ve got no benefit of being on this earth anymore.”
Asked if he had a message for Attorney-General John Quigley, Mr Hodgson said: “He can be a hero and save people’s lives”.
“Please change the law so this doesn’t happen again,” I asked.
“You’ve got the power to change the law and you can save people’s lives.”
Mr Quigley did not respond to Flashpoint’s questions asking why the offender was allowed out on bail and what action he had taken to ensure that what happened to Mr Hodgson would not happen again in the future.
But he said he would meet with the family in coming weeks to discuss their concerns.
Under WA’s Criminal Injuries Compensation legislation, a victim of crime can be entitled to a one-off, maximum payment of $75,000.
Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator, unable to speak, and may lose an eye.
The Indian-born novelist, who spent years in hiding after Iran urged Muslims to kill him because of his writing, was stabbed in the neck and torso onstage at a lecture in New York state and airlifted to hospital.
“The news is not good,” Andrew Wylie, Rushdie’s agent, said.
“Salman will likely lose one eye, the nerves in his arm were severed and his liver was stabbed and damaged.”
Rushdie, 75, was being introduced to give a talk to an audience of hundreds on artistic freedom at western New York’s Chautauqua Institution when a man rushed to the stage and lunged at the novelist, who has lived with a bounty on his head since the late 1980s.
Stunned attendees helped wrest the man from Rushdie, who had fallen to the floor.
Police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey.
“A man jumped up on the stage … and started what looked like beating him on the chest, repeated fist strokes into his chest and neck,” Bradley Fisher, who was in the audience, said.
“People were screaming and crying out and gasping.”
Henry Reese, the event’s moderator, suffered a minor head injury during the incident.
Rushdie, who was born into a Muslim Kashmiri family in Bombay, now known as Mumbai, before moving to the United Kingdom, has faced death threats for his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims said contained blasphemous passages.
The novel was banned in many countries with large Muslim populations upon its 1988 publication.
A few months later, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Iran’s supreme leader, pronounced a fatwa, or religious edict, calling upon Muslims to kill the novelist and anyone involved in the book’s publication for blasphemy.
Rushdie, who called his novel “pretty mild”, went into hiding for many years. Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of the novel, was murdered in 1991.
The Iranian government said in 1998 it would no longer back the fatwa, and Rushdie has lived relatively openly in recent years, although Khomeini’s successor as supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said as recently as 2019 the fatwa remained “irrevocable”.
Iranian organisations, some affiliated with the government, have raised a bounty worth millions of dollars for Rushdie’s murder.
Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency and other news outlets donated money in 2016 to increase the bounty by $US600,000 ($A845,000).
Fars called Rushdie an apostate who “insulted the prophet” in his report on Friday’s attack.
Rushdie published a memoir in 2012 about his life under the fatwa called Joseph Anton, the pseudonym he used while under British police protection.
His second novel, Midnight’s Children, won the 1981 Booker Prize.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was appalled Rushdie was “stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend”.
Rushdie was at the institution in western New York for a discussion about the United States giving asylum to writers and artists in exile and “as a home for freedom of creative expression”, according to the institution’s website.
There were no obvious security checks at the Chautauqua Institution, a landmark founded in the 19th century in the small lakeside town of the same name, with staff simply checking people’s tickets for admission, attendees said.
“I felt like we needed to have more protection there because Salman Rushdie is not a usual writer,” Anour Rahmani, an Algerian writer and activist who was in the audience, said.
“He’s a writer with a fatwa against him.”
Michael Hill, the institution’s president, said at a news conference, “Our whole purpose is to help people bridge what has been too divisive of a world.
“The worst thing Chautauqua could do is back away from its mission in light of this tragedy. I don’t think Mr. Rushdie would want that either.”
Rushdie became an American citizen in 2016 and lives in New York City.
Salman Rushdie remained hospitalized in serious condition Saturday after being stabbed at a literary event in New York state in a shocking assault that triggered widespread international outrage, but drew applause from hardliners in Iran and Pakistan.
The British author, who spent years under police protection after Iranian leaders ordered his killing, underwent emergency surgery and was placed on a ventilator in a Pennsylvania hospital following Friday’s assault. His agent said he will likely lose an eye.
“Salman Rushdie — with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced — stands for essential, universal ideals. Truth. Courage. Resilience,” Biden said in a statement.
On Friday, a 24-year-old man from New Jersey, Hadi Matar, rushed the stage where Rushdie was about to deliver a lecture and stabbed him in the neck and abdomen.
Beyond Rushdie’s eye injury, the nerves in one of his arms were severed and his liver was damaged, according to his agent Andrew Wylie.
The fatwa followed publication of the novel “The Satanic Verses,” which sparked fury among some Muslims who believed it was blasphemous.
“For whatever it was, eight or nine years, it was quite serious,” he told a Stern correspondent in New York.
– Assailant raised in US –
Security was not particularly tight at Friday’s event at the Chautauqua Institution, which hosts arts programs in a tranquil lakeside community near Buffalo.
Matar’s family apparently came from a border village called Yaroun in southern Lebanon.
Matar was “born and raised in the US,” the head of the local municipality, Ali Qassem Tahfa, told AFP.
“I was very happy to hear the news,” said Mehrab Bigdeli, a man in his 50s studying to become a Muslim cleric.
In Pakistan, a spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan –- a party that has staged violent protests against what it deems to be anti-Muslim blasphemy — said Rushdie “deserved to be killed.”
British leader Boris Johnson said he was “appalled,” while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attack “reprehensible” and “cowardly.”
– Write memoir in hiding –
But his 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” transformed his life. The resulting fatwa forced him into nearly a decade in hiding, moving houses repeatedly and being unable to tell even his children of him where he lived.
Since moving to New York, Rushdie has been an outspoken advocate of freedom of speech and has continued writing — including a memoir, “Joseph Anton,” named after his alias while in hiding.
An Adelaide father who tried to gas himself and his young daughter has been jailed for more than 14 years for the attempted murder of the girl.
Shaun Mate and his three-year-old daughter were found unconscious in July 2020 in what a judge described as a vindictive act of domestic violence.
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In the days leading up to the crime, he had bought two gas tanks, putting his plan into place after an argument with his then-wife.
Sentencing Mate in the Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Geraldine Davison said the impact of the 45-year-old’s offending was significant and widespread.
“Sadly, in many marriage breakdowns, when feelings are running high and the parties are feeling aggrieved and vindictive, the notion of depriving their partner of one of the greatest joys of their life can seem to be a way of wreaking revenge,” she said .
“There is a significant element of vindictiveness, planning and preparation in your offending.”
On the night of the offending, Mate had made a photo montage of the couple, which he played on the television and said to his wife, “this is what you’re going to miss out on”.
Davison said he later became angry and his ex-wife began to feel unsafe and called the police.
Police arrived and the couple agreed he would stay in a room downstairs.
The judge said the girl’s mother woke up during the night to find her daughter missing from her bed and when she tried to open the door to her husband’s room he told her to “go away, we’re having a little sleep now”.
At that point, the mother heard both her daughter groan and the sound of gas and called police again.
While Mate had barricaded himself in, officers eventually gained entry where they found the girl unconscious and suffering from hypoxia.
Davison said while the offending was both planned and premeditated she accepted a psychologist’s finding that he was suffering from a major depressive disorder at the time.
However, she said regarded his crime as at the higher end of the scale.
“The victim was a vulnerable three-year-old child. Your planning indicates that it was premeditated offending,” the judge said.
“It was the most significant abuse of trust placed on a parent.
“Your intention was to take your child’s life as an act of vindictiveness against your wife thus depriving her of that child.
“Your plan failed by the good fortune of your wife waking and acting as swiftly as she did, along with the first responders.”
Mate’s daughter, now almost five years old, is said to have no memory of the event.
Her mother told 7NEWS that recovering from the ordeal has been “very tough”, but her little girl was “doing as best we can”.
“No one wins out of this, this is not a great scenario for anyone,” she said outside court.
Mate showed no emotion in sentencing, while his father put his head in his hands and cried.
Davison jailed the man for 14 years and three months, reduced from 15 years because of his guilty plea.
-With 7 NEWS
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