Jeweller death: fingerprints analysed, court hears

Dermot O’Toole, second from left, with his wife Bridget and sons Dale, Christian and Trent.Fingerprints on packaging that contained a knife that was used in the fatal stabbing of a Hastings jeweller are being analysed to determine if they belong to the man charged with his murder, a court has heard.
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Gavin Perry, 26, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court court on Monday, charged with the murder of Dermot O’Toole, 64, who was allegedly stabbed for stock worth $200 at his shop, The Jewel Shed, on July 12.

Mr O’Toole’s wife of 41 years, Bridget, was also stabbed.

The court heard prosecutors were still waiting for the results of forensic testing, which included an analysis of fingerprints found on the packaging of a knife stolen from a nearby supermarket.

A blood sample from a nearby laneway, where Mr Perry was seen falling to the ground, was also analysed, the court heard.

As magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg went through the list of witnesses to be called at Mr Perry’s committal hearing, the court was told one witness had identified the accused man outside the shop, having met him the previous night.

Mrs O’Toole was one of six potential witnesses who would not have to give evidence at the committal, the court heard.

CCTV footage would be shown during the committal, the court was told.

Mr Perry, dressed in a green tracksuit in the dock, also faces charges of armed robbery and intentionally causing serious injury.

Members of Mr O’Toole’s family were in court for Monday’s proceedings.

Mr Perry was remanded in custody to appear again on March 24.

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Benefits of buying interstate

Thinking ahead: Ralph Nicholson at his home in Williamstown. Photo: Ken IrwinThere is no denying the residential property market is heating up as investors flood back in, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. If your local area or state is getting more expensive, then perhaps it might be time to look interstate, at areas that are yet to become the next big thing.
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In fact, buying the current ”hot spot” is often a recipe for trouble as, if everybody already knows about it, the opportunities for growth have probably been exhausted.

The founder of property advice company Destiny Financial Solutions, Margaret Lomas, has 40 investment properties, many of which are interstate. She says buying interstate forces you to do more research about the property and area you are about to invest in. ”I think it’s a brilliant idea to buy interstate,” she says.

”It comes down to knowing how to ask the kind of questions that uncover the investment potential and growth drivers in an area.”

The problem with buying close to home, according to Lomas, is that we believe we know the area when we may not actually be as knowledgeable as we think. Interestingly, she also says seeing or inspecting a property is not always a good thing.

”I think actually looking at a property is dangerous, because it allows you to have an emotional buy-in,” Lomas says.

Property investor, journalist and author of Smart Property Investment Peter Cerexhe says that buying interstate can be a good idea, but that you need to be careful of when and how you do it.

”For a start, there is a well-known risk of buying property in haste while on holiday,” he says.

If you’re visiting a holiday town you might start to believe that property is cheap, just because it’s cheaper than home, which is probably a major capital city.

”A quick trip is potentially more dangerous than not going at all, if you are relying on the expertise of a reasonable professional,” he says.

Our case study Ralph, at left, relies on a network he has hooked into, via Destiny Financial Solutions, to inspect local properties that are not in his state of Victoria, but he doesn’t visit them himself.

Louis Christopher, managing director of property research company SQM Research, says you need to be careful of dodgy property promoters who are coming back into the market as it heats up. ”Whatever you do, don’t speak to property spruikers offering you free flights to the Gold Coast or whatever. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, the cost has got to go somewhere,” he says.

Different states also have different stamp duty structures and land tax, which you need to be aware of before you buy.

Capital gain potential

But the fundamentals for buying interstate and buying locally should not change. You need to find areas that have diversified industries, that is to say they do not rely on one sector such as tourism, councils with money to spend on infrastructure, growing household incomes and a growing population. ”You don’t want to be distracted just by the property,” Cerexhe says. ”The local economy is absolutely key.” And you should try to buy those areas before anyone else does.

You should also consider, like our case study Ralph, property structures that could appeal to the widest share of buyers, which in most cases are families.

All of the above might sound like a big ask, but it’s not impossible and you will end up with a much better investment than if you just jumped on the nearest property boom closest to you.Profile taken interstate

Ralph Nicholson is 53 and lives in Victoria, but four of his seven properties are outside that state. He has two in NSW and two in Queensland.

”I looked at my situation three years ago and I thought we may not have enough to survive comfortably,” he says.

His interstate property investment plan is therefore his retirement plan.

After one misstep buying in a bushfire prone area that took a long time to eventually sell, Ralph took it upon himself to get better educated and do more thorough research. ”As an investor you need confidence to buy in other markets, or else it’s a real risk and you’ve got to mitigate those risks by doing your research,” he says.

But he also values the local agent contacts he has found through his property investment adviser. ”I don’t think, even given the education, I would be confident buying in those areas unless I have those local contacts,” he says.

He buys properties that have the potential to appeal to the greatest market, which means residential houses for families with four bedrooms or at least three. ”I just try and buy garden-variety buildings, hopefully with enough land, because I place a fair degree of emphasis on land value.”

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Be realistic, vendors warned as selling season nears end

1028 Glenhuntly Road, Caulfield South, was sold under the hammer for $835,000. Photo: Ken IrwinProperty sellers are being warned to be realistic about the prices they can expect to achieve for their houses and flats with only five weeks left before the market closes for its summer hiatus.
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Melbourne turned in another solid set of results over the weekend with a few runaway successes, but some agents reported a shortage of bidders.

Melbourne’s clearance rate of 72 per cent over the weekend was derived from 925 auctions reported to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria; Australian Property Monitors (owned by Fairfax Media) reported a slightly higher 73 per cent from 692 results and research house RP Data produced a lower 69.2 per cent clearance rate from 996 results.

RP Data spokesman Robert Larocca said this was only the second weekend in 14 weeks with the clearance rate falling below 70 per cent.

”It’s too early to say the market’s pulling back but it certainly shows it’s not racing away from us,” Mr Larocca said.

Sydney had its biggest weekend of auctions with 784 properties under the hammer. APM reported an 84 per cent clearance rate.

The REIV data shows 124 properties sold before auction and 262 passed in – 142 of them on a vendor bid. A further 141 results have yet to be reported to the REIV.

While not a stellar performance, the market is much healthier than last year when a 59 per cent clearance rate was achieved on a weekend with 1100 auctions.

The solid results follow the Reserve Bank’s decision last week to keep the cash rate on hold for another month but there is some speculation that further cuts to the historic low rate of 2.5 per cent could occur next year in a bid to hold down the value of the dollar.

Some of the biggest deals of the weekend sold for close to their reserve prices. Kay & Burton’s Gowan Stubbings had the two biggest auctions in Toorak.

Just off Heyington Place, 3 Rostill Court fetched $3.02 million, only slightly over its $3 million reserve, with competition from two bidders. Mr Stubbings said the buyer planned to live in the house, which is on 692 square metres.

An hour later, he auctioned 21A Albany Road, a single-level three-bedroom townhouse. While the result is undisclosed, it is understood to have sold for $4.55 million after a single bid.

Mr Stubbings would not confirm the price but he emphasised how much time and effort went into educating vendors about the value of their properties. ”People have to be realistic about … valuing their homes. The buyer pool is big but vendors have to be realistic,” he said. ”We’ve really only got five weeks to go … there are buyers out there for pretty much everything so long as vendors meet the market.”

Williams Batters director Philippe Batters said: ”We find there are very, very good results but they aren’t happening all the time. I keep reading that we’re in a boom market; the trouble is, some vendors believe it.

”If a property is really good, people will fight for it. It doesn’t mean it’s really expensive, it just means it has special features,” Mr Batters said.

As summer is beckoning, the number of beach houses on the market has started to increase but the buyers are slow to arrive.

Prentice Real Estate agent Don Campbell put two properties from a deceased estate to auction on Saturday but the house at 19 Oxford Street, Sorrento, was passed in on a vendor bid of $500,000 and an adjoining block of vacant land was passed in, also on a vendor bid, at $450,000.

”Even in the current market, $450,000-$500,000 for a block of land in Sorrento is cheap, very cheap,” Mr Campbell said.

”Things down here are pretty slow. We’re not reflecting what’s going on uptown. Rye and Rosebud, the cheaper end of the market, are going well. But from Blairgowrie to Portsea, it’s very slow.

Kay & Burton had better luck in Flinders, where 14 Bass Street, a four-bedroom beach house with sea views, sold for $1.645 million.

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GALLERY: Esperance remembers the fallen

THE sacrifice of diggers in past and present conflicts was commemorated at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Esperancethis morning.
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While no World War I diggers remain, their family and friends have takenpart in ceremonies across the country to remember their sacrifice.

With a bigger-than-average crowd in attendance, possibly due to the addition of cruise ship passengers in town, Returned and Services League’s (RSL)George Starcevich read Don Crawford’s poem Why Wear a Poppy?

Reverend Frank Roe read the Prayer of Remembrance.

Check out our gallery of past Remembrance Day ceremonies here:http://www.esperanceexpress南京夜网.au/story/1892934/throwback-thursday-gallery-revisiting-remembrance-day-2002-12/

See the full story in the Wednesday, November 13 edition of the Esperance Express.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool. Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

Remembrance Day is marked in Esperance on November 11.

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War museum expands it’s collection

THE Bendigo District RSLSoldiers War Memorial Museumis steadily growing its collection.
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Daggers, bayonets and swords are among some of the newest pieces of memorabilia to make their way to the Pall Mall museum.

Museum curator Peter Ball said the items were donated by the 8/7 Royal Victorian Regiment and dated back to the first World War.

“It’s really exciting,” he said.

“(The new memorabilia) really adds to our collection and gives it a a bit of range.

“They are items we don’t have so it really adds to the array of memorabilia.”

Mr Ball said the pieces would be properly checked and their history recorded before being put on public display.

“The pieces are about learning about military history and our part is mostly telling the personal stories from all sorts of people,” he said.

“Hopefully we will have them on display soon so people can come and have a look.”

Mr Ball said the museum was open from 10am to 4pm on weekdays and occasionally on Sundays.

The collection covers the Army, Navy, Air Force, Prisonersof War and Women’s Services from before the Boer War to Afghanistan.

It is located at 37-39 Pall Mall in Bendigo.

HAND OVER: 8th/7th Royal Victorian Regiment members Geordie Wiseman, Raymond Tuk, Tegan Bobb, Dale Hannaford, Bradley Tyrell and Peter Macumber hand over the memrobillia to museum curator Peter Ball. Photo: BRENDAN McCARTHY

MEMROBILLIA: Museum Curator Peter Ball receives the artefacts from Paul Neunhoffer and John Blanchard of 8th/7th Royal Victorian Regiment. Photo: BRENDAN McCARTHY

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Kennington motorbike injuries

A 21-YEAR-OLD motorbikerider is in a serious but stable condition after a crash nearKennington on Sunday night.
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CRASH: The scene of the incident near One Tree Hill. Picture: BLAIR THOMSON

CRASH: The scene of the incident near One Tree Hill. Picture: BLAIR THOMSON

The P-plate rider, who lives in Bendigo,crashed on Edwards Roadaround 5pm.

He was airliftedto the Alfred Hospital after the incident.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

A witness said he had been left shaken after watching the man lose control of the bike before crashing into a tree.

He said the rider stopped breathing for a period.

Two people spoke to police at the scene and a motorcyclist also spoke to officers.

The rider’s jacket and helmet were strewn in bushland near the site of the incident and the man’s blackand silver Suzuki was badly damaged.

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Locals could be slugged millions

RESIDENTScould be slugged witha multi-million dollar repair bill for the Bendigo Creek, under new state government plans.
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Greg Bickley with Huntly resident Lindsay Sargeant earlier this year.

Darren Fuzzard

The City of Greater Bendigo is set to “vehemently oppose”state government plans to pass on responsibility of the leveeto local government.

Thisfollows growinguncertaintyaround the management of the bank.

Local residentLindsay Sargeant said while the creek was in desperate need of repair,it was not good enough toput the burdenontobeneficiaries.

“It would break us,” he said.

“You can’t say to 15,000 property owners that they have to pay the $50 millionto rectify the levee.

“It should be dealt with from all levels of government, not us.

“We’re not the ones who have overdeveloped the area and caused these problems.”

Director of presentation and assets Darren Fuzzard said the shift in responsibility was of significant concern for council.

He said thestate government wouldonly contribute financially to any upgrade or maintenance if the local community met ongoing costs through rates.

The shift ofresponsibilitycomes in responseto the Inquiry into Flood Mitigation Infrastructure in Victoria, which identified the need to overcome uncertainty overwho manages the levee.

And while Mr Fuzzard believes clarification is needed, he said this was not the right outcome for the community.

“It would cost millions and millions of dollars if we had to dispose of the materials,” he said.

“We agree that the levee is not proactively being managed but that doesn’t mean we should take on full responsibility.

“We’re starting to see the state government (pass the buck) more and more and the only way we can continue this extra work is by increasing rates.”

Council will on Wednesday consider writing to the Premier, Minister for Local Government and Minister for Climate Change to oppose the changes.

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Calls for disability reform ahead of NDIS

BENDIGO care providers have been urgedto preparefor the National Disability Insurance Scheme, or risk being squeezedout of the sector by private businesses.
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Victorian manager for National Disability Services James O’Brien said not-for-profitproviders in Central Victoria need to reform their business models in the lead-up to the NDIS roll-out.

Mr O’Brien told Bendigo Access Employment’s general meeting thatgroups need to act now to avoid being overlooked in the scheme’s new funding model.

He described the multi-billion dollar schemeas a “major historic shift from a charitable approach to a market-based approach”.

The NDIS will be introduced inthe Bendigo region between 2016 and 2019.

Mr O’Briensaid the new model would inevitably involve more competition.

“We will see a rise in for-profit corporate providers,” he said.

“It’s not necessarily a threat but it’s the reality of the market.

“We’re likely to see more of a combination of not-for-profits, private providers and individuals set up as sole traders.We’ve already seen an expansion in providers in Geelong (the launch site for the NDIS in Victoria).”

Mr O’Brien said established groups such as Access Employment would have anadvantageover private businesses in terms of their volunteers and connectionwith the local community.

Bendigo Access Employment chief executive Michael Langdon said therestructure leading up to the NDIS was the biggest reform in the organisation’s 21-year history.

“We know there will be more service providers enter the market,” he said.

“We’re prepared for that. We think it can be a good thing.”

Dr Langdon said it would result in the group becoming an “employer of choice” due to the greater individual control patients can take through the scheme.

Radius Disability Services Bendigo has spent the past two years reforming their business model to fit in with the NDIS design.

Chief executive Cath McDonald said she was braced for a major shake-up to the industry.

“It will involveopening up the business environment,” she said.

“There’s challenges, certainly. Challenges we will undoubtedly have to face.It’s all about the market and providing a good service. That competition keeps you healthy.”

Mrs McDonald said her background in aged care gave her anidea of the level ofprivatisation expectedinthe disability sector.

She said it would involve agreater emphasis on managing the businessside of the organisation.

Brainlink chief executive Sharon Strugnell said there werelingering questions about how the rise in private providers would impact on charitable groups.

Mrs Strugnell -whohosted a forum on the NDISin Bendigo earlier this year -said there were concernsthe new model would impact on patients.

“It’s still a very unknown system,” she said.

“I’m all for competition and that’s very good but the heart of it is making sure families have a real choice. Often families don’t know what they need. One of the key things that came up at the Bendigo forum was that carers don’t have time to shop around, and do their own self-assessments.”

She said the roll-out in Geelong had created mixedfeedback with some positive responses and some teething problems.

The NDIS is estimatedto be used bymore than 100,000 Victorian patients by 2019.

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Naomi achieves a Cooma ‘first’

Cooma Universities Centre Coordinator Zoe Dawson with student Naomi Burgess.NAOMI Burgess is the first student to successfully start and complete a university course while studying at the Cooma Universities Centre.
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She registered as a student at the Centre in April and has just completed a tailored pathways course through Open Universities Australia which will enable her to enrol in a Bachelor of Nursing degree in 2014.

Nursing is a profession that has been in Naomi Burgess’ family for generations. After working for two years at Yallambee Lodge as a carer, Naomi has decided it is time to study to become a registered nurse.

Naomi wanted to stay locally with her job, partner and family, rather than move away as students often do to attend university.

Fortunately, many universities now offer degrees via distance learning so students can stay locally, and study at the Cooma Universities Centre to obtain a tertiary qualification.

Naomi completed the intensive course while also working full time.

The Cooma Universities Centre now has a swipe card system allowing for extended study hours for registered students. It allows students like Naomi to access the centre from 8.30am – 10pm every day, including weekends.

This is a welcome addition to the centre considering the diverse range of students – some who have young children at home, work full time, have children in school, work part time, do shift work, are carers or are full time students.

If you are considering returning to study or want to learn more about entry requirements or getting back into the habit of essay writing and exam study, many universities offer pathways programs and bridging courses similar to the course Naomi has just completed.

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New focus for business

Re-elected Cooma Chamber of Commerce president David Shelley (right) is joined by vice-president Richard Mack and secretary Jane Perkins.A focus on enhancing its new website and forging closer links with NSW business are items high on the agenda for the incoming executive of the Cooma Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
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At its annual meeting on Thursday re-elected president David Shelley said there were ongoing negotiations with the NSW Business Chamber for a formal link between the two bodies.

Once that occurred, there would be immediate benefits for Cooma Chamber members – such as access to a 15 per cent reduction in business insurance.

Another focus for the Chamber would be implementation of the recommendations of the council’s economic development taskforce.

Mr Shelley was joined on the Chamber executive team by vice-president Richard Mack and new secretary Jane Perkins, along with treasurer Kathy Kelly.

David Hogan and Simon Bolton form the 2013-14 committee.

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