Mur­der charge per­mit­ted

Sunday Mail - - NEWS -

A JUDGE will let prose­cu­tors add an ad­di­tional charge of in­ten­tional mur­der to the case of a for­mer Min­neapo­lis po­lice of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot an Aus­tralian woman last year.

Judge Kathryn Quain­tance ruled yes­ter­day that prose­cu­tors could amend their com­plaint against Mo­hamed Noor to add a charge of se­cond-de­gree in­ten­tional mur­der.

Noor is al­ready charged with third-de­gree mur­der and man­slaugh­ter in the July 2017 death of Jus­tine Da­mond. Au­thor­i­ties say Noor shot Da­mond af­ter she called to re­port a pos­si­ble sex­ual as­sault be­hind her home. In their re­quest to add the count, prose­cu­tors said ev­i­dence showed Noor in­tended to kill when he aimed and fired.

WHEN South Aus­tralian as­tro­naut Andy Thomas was blasted into or­bit on board the space shut­tle En­deav­our in 1996, he car­ried a col­lec­tion of Aus­tralian arte­facts with him.

There was a black opal ring that was part of his fam­ily his­tory, there was a piece of wood from the an­chor of Cap­tain James Cook’s orig­i­nal En­deav­our, and there were the pi­lot wings once worn by two South Aus­tralian broth­ers when they changed what peo­ple thought was pos­si­ble in an aero­plane.

Ross and Keith Smith, and their me­chan­ics Jim Ben­nett and Wally Shiers, flew their Vick­ers Vimy from Bri­tain to Aus­tralia in 28 days in 1919, col­lect­ing a £10,000 prize and open­ing up what would be­come an im­por­tant air route.

The Smith broth­ers, who could have col­lected the prize just for land­ing in Dar­win but de­cided to con­tinue on to Ade­laide any­way, came home to a he­roes’ wel­come.

The war-weary pub­lic were ea­ger for good news, and this was great news in­deed. But de- spite the ini­tial ex­cite­ment, they never re­ally claimed their right­ful place in avi­a­tion his­tory. Tech­nol­ogy was mov­ing so fast that in just a few years, the feat seemed un­re­mark­able. Ross’s death just two years af­ter the race seemed to be the full stop on the story.

The huge Vick­ers is now parked in a hangar next to Ade­laide Air­port’s long-term carpark, its main vis­i­tors made up of peo­ple tak­ing a cu­ri­ous glance as they hurry back to their cars af­ter hol­i­days and busi­ness trips.

For Dr Thomas, how­ever, the air­craft stands as a memo­rial to just what can be achieved by brave peo­ple with a will to suc­ceed. The kind of peo­ple who lit a fire un­der him as a child and in­spired him to be­come an as­tro­naut.

“You have to ask your­self how did they suc­ceed when oth­ers did not, and part of the an­swer is here,” Dr Thomas said, look­ing up at the air­craft’s huge engines.

“This aero­plane was pow­ered by two Rolls-Royce Ea­gle engines. These engines were state-of-the-art in 1919 and the only source of the high-re­li­a­bil­ity engines that were needed for this type of mis­sion.”

It’s im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous that, when it comes to the Smith broth­ers’ Vick­ers Vimy, Dr Thomas knows his stuff.

“It was a name that I was very fa­mil­iar with,” he said.

“When peo­ple ask why I’m here in Ade­laide, I tell them we’re mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary on the Smith broth­ers and the Vimy and many peo­ple look at me like, ‘Who? It’s sur­pris­ing that this is an un­known story.”

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