THE MURDER INVESTIGATION
Michelle Leng, 24, a Chinese international student who studied at UTS, has been identified as the Snapper Point murder victim. Photo: Facebook
Michelle Leng was stabbed at least 20 times before she was bundled in a car, driven more than 100 kilometres and dumped in the ocean, police will allege.
On Friday afternoon, her uncle, Derek Barrett, 27, was arrested by NSW homicide detectives and charged with her murder. He was formally refused bail in Parramatta bail court on Saturday.He will appear in Burwood Local Court on Wednesday.
Mr Barrett’s arrest came amid rampantand tenuousspeculationthatMs Leng had been communicating with an online love interest which ended in a fatal encounter after she went missing on Thursday April 21.
Instead, police believe Ms Leng – a 25-year-old Chinese international student – returned to her Campsie home on Thursday afternoon, where she lived with her uncle, aunt and cousin, after spending the day shopping in Sydney’s CBD.
It is inside the family home that she was allegedly murdered.
She valiantly attempted to fight off her attacker, and suffered a number of defensive wounds, but was overpowered and killed with at least 20 stabbing blows, the autopsy revealed.
It is believedCCTVfootage captured a car entering the Lake Munmorah national park, almost two hours drive from Campsie, around 7am on Sunday morning.
Inside the car, police will allege was MsLeng’sbody.
MsLeng’snaked body was spotted by a tourist floating face down in the Snapper Point blowhole around 10:30am last Sunday.
She remained unidentified for three days until police matched a computer generated image of her with a missing person’s report lodged by her family on Anzac Day.
Earlier in the week Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin revealed his team had thoroughly canvassed the area.
“We’re very creative in the way we can capture what has gone on in the area,” he said. “We are getting a pretty good understanding of what occurred in that area during that time.”
Policeare now reviewing furtherCCTVfootage todetermine Mr Barrett’s movements betweenFriday and Sunday, Fairfax Media has been told.
As police released CCTV footage on Friday showing Ms Leng’s final public sighting at Campsie train station about 4.30pm on April 21, detectives quietly narrowed their focus to the family’s Campsie residence.
By Friday afternoon, the Campsie home was established as a crime scene.
Earlier in the week, Ms Leng’s aunt told an Australia-based Chinese-language news site her niece’s Facebook chat records revealed that, unbeknownst to them, she had recently met an Australian boyfriend.
“We looked at those photos, blonde hair, white skin, his eyes were very fierce, he didn’t look friendly, lives in Wollongong,” she said on Thursday in an interview that has been translated.
“If this boyfriend did something bad to her, Michelle would fight back, plus she never had a boyfriend before, this is her first.”
When Fairfax Media asked the NSW police on Fridaywhether they were pursuing this lead, a police contact confirmed it was not their main avenue of inquiry.
Ms Leng had moved to Australia from Sichuan, a province in southwest China, five years ago to study at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Her mother and brother, who are travelling to Australia in the wake of the arrest, were struggling to comprehend the news of her death, Chief Inspector Jubelin said on Friday.
“I don’t think ‘devastated’ properly describes it. It’s very difficult and even more traumatic for her family that they are so far away at this time.”
Thomas Middleditch, left and Josh Brener star in HBO’s series “Silicon Valley.” Glengarry Glen Ross
Hyper Light DrifterAll platforms
HYPER LIGHT DRIFTER ALL PLATFORMS An early contender for most beautiful game of 2016, Hyper Light Drifter finds you controlling a tiny man with a sword adrift in a ruined land depicted in a riot of oversized pixels. Its look evokes “platformers” of old – deliberately blocky, with a crude, top-down, point of view – but amped up with incredible colour and scale. The story is neither here nor there – basically, you explore and fight things – but the enjoyment really lies in making your way into one stunning environment after the next, then figuring out the path forward. It has echoes of Monument (the phone puzzler that was one of the best games of 2015) and 2001’s Ico, where you guided a similarly little chap through a similarly ruined landscape. Creative, ethereal and highly recommended. AH
Allan Dwan’s gripping 1954 Western unfolds in something close to “real time” as a band of supposed lawmen arrive in the town of Silver Lode to arrest the hero Dan Ballard (John Payne, suggesting a sullen cousin of Jimmy Stewart) during celebrations for the fourth of July. Dan denies the charges, but when his friends turn against him he’s forced to fight for his life, while racing across town in search of sanctuary. Some critics have interpreted this as an allegory for the anti-Communist witch hunts of the era, not unreasonably given that the screenwriter Karen deWolf was blacklisted soon after. More significantly, the film is a showcase for Dwan’s genius for mapping out action sequences, which marks him as a precursor to Hong Kong’s Johnnie To: power dynamics illustrated through compositions in depth, characters moving between contrasted adjoining spaces or disappearing into hiding spots just offscreen. Dwan, like To, is frank in his use of stock situations and types — all the better to reduce the plot to an unsettlingly arbitrary diagram that can be redrawn from one sequence to the next. JW
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS
The real-estate business was never as cut-throat as in David Mamet’s Pulitzer-winning play, brought to the screen in James Foley’s all-star 1992 production, which resembles a war movie where sprays of obscene language substitute for machine-gun fire. The characters are a crew of desperate salesmen willing to do whatever it takes to clinch a deal; collectively they exist in a kind of hell, but the theoretical gloom is offset by the sheer brio of the cast, including Jack Lemmon as a craven has been, Kevin Spacey as a despised office manager, Alec Baldwin as a gung-ho motivational speaker, and Al Pacino as the alpha male of the group. Foley adds his own brand of visual pizzazz, punching home Mamet’s dialogue rhythms with circling camera movements and rapid back-and-forth cutting. Keeping a distance from realism, he gives the first act in particular the heightened atmosphere of film noir: rain streams down glass, trains rattle through the night, and James Newton Howard’s jazzy score underpins a series of declamatory scenes which, in acting terms, often seem like one flamboyant solo after another. JW
ROADSHOW (SERIES TWO), MA15+
This tech-world comedy maintains the momentum from season one without missing a beat. While there is a lot of jargon about computers, it is really about how people – how they interact, how they solve problems, how they value loyalty (or don’t). Cast as nerdy misfits backing a start-up company that has developed a sensational new product everybody is going to need, they are constantly exposed as normal human beings with poor social habits. It may be stereotypical, but it’s funny as hell. They constantly get into awkward situations, and usually squirm out of them intact, the dream road to gaining financial support and making their product commercially successful, still in front of them. The ensemble of Thomas Middleditch, TJ Miller, Amanda Crews, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani and Zach Woods is powerfully zany. Matt, as Gavin Belson, their evil archrival, is equally as good. Guest appearances throughout from the likes of Silicon Valley celebs like Eric Schmidt, Jason Kincaid, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. The show is already into its third season, so rest assured the ride isn’t over yet. JK
MAY 5, ABC2, 10PM
If you haven’t seen Broad City yet – either in its original form as a web series, or this Comedy Channel incarnation, co-produced by Amy Poehler – now’s the time to catch up. Chronicling the lives of two broke 20-something best friends, Abbi (Abbi Jacobsen) and Ilana (Ilana Glazer) – who created the series – in New York, Broad City is sharper and cruder than Girls (plus it actually features characters who are likeable), the storylines of which feel affected compared to the almost zero narrative arc here. Tonight’s episode see the Abbi and Ilana – who smoke lots of pot, drink, and enjoy casual sex – trying to scrape together cash for a pop-up Lil Wayne concert, no matter how much they need to demean themselves. This is female-centric comedy with a difference, one of the best shows of its genre in recent years. KN
The way handsome Italian Edoardo Perlo sees it, Sydney was far enough from his tiny home town of San Remo in Italy that he could finally have some peace from his family.
And his cousin Stefano de Blasi agrees, though the pair didn’t quite count on just how successful their burgeoning Italian gastronomic empire in Sydney would become when they started five years ago.
On Wednesday night they opened their fifth Salt Meats Cheese outlet, on Broadway. In August they hope to open a sixth outlet, in Bondi Junction.
“Every time we say we are going to take a break we find another new venue and end up opening there … it is crazy,” Stefano admits.
Indeed the affable cousins’ mystery trip to Australia in 2008, following a path of so many young Europeans seeking sunshine and surf, was not your average backpacker experience for the pair.
“We have worked very hard over five years and there have been some very big challenges … but you know we have learned so much about business in that time … we just tried to take small steps to where we are today,” Stefano says.
But with their empire chugging along nicely, and with both cousins single as they approach their respective 30th birthdays, Stefano agrees it might be time to really settle in Sydney, and find a girlfriend.
“I am more the marrying kind,” Stefano jokes, adding that his cousin “likes girls too but I don’t know if is ready to settle down just yet.”
Indeed both men have probably been too busy to focus on their romantic lives with about 80 staff feeding thousands of Sydneysiders each week
“I’m not quite sure our family back in Italy realises just how well this business has gone for us … they know we have done something good but I’m not sure they realise just how good,” Stefano says with a broad smile.
Looks like they won’t be going home to mama any time soon.
There has been tension between Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison recently. Photo: Alex EllinghausenScott Morrison’s relentless rise to power
Political life might have turned out very differently for Malcolm Turnbull if a plan hatched by Scott Morrison when Mr Morrison was Liberal party state director had been implemented.
The plan would have parachuted Mr Turnbull into the NSW upper house to take over the position of state opposition leader, with a switch to a safe lower house seat after an election.
The plan, confirmed by Mr Morrison in an interview for Good Weekend, was sketched out in early 2002 as a “Plan B” if then NSW opposition leader Kerry Chikarovski – up against a seemingly impregnable Bob Carr – had faltered in the run up to the 2003 state election.
But the plan was abandoned after the NSW party made a surprise decision to dump Ms Chikarovski and elect a then 33-year-old John Brogden in her place.
Mr Morrison, who delivers his first budget on Tuesday, told Good Weekend that the Turnbull-for-NSW plan was “not very advanced. I don’t think either of us [himself or Turnbull] thought it was going to go anywhere. I mean Kerry was Plan A, and I was very committed to Plan A”.
Mr Morrison’s unhappiness about the switch to Mr Brogden was known to senior Liberals at the time, though the Treasurer insists he regarded Mr Brogden as a “brilliant campaigner”.
Of recent strains in his relationship with the Prime Minister, Mr Morrison says “Malcolm and I have a longstanding friendship that survives all the normal exchanges you would expect between PMs and treasurers. I would go further and say that the strength of our relationship coming into these roles would be greater than that of any of our counterparts over the last 20 years or so.
“That does not mean we have always agreed on everything. It’s not surprising that there will be tensions from time to time between prime ministers and treasurers, But we have a reservoir of a relationship to drawn on to move through all of that.”
Mr Morrison’s preselection for the seat of Cook in 2007 was turbulent, and occurred after the party abandoned the originally anointed candidate, right-winger Michael Towke, and ran a second preselection contest in which Mr Towke alleges he came under extraordinary pressure from the party hierarchy to withdraw. Good Weekend can reveal the existence of a secret legal deed signed between Mr Towke and then state director Graham Jaeschke in which Mr Towke (who’d been bombarded with allegations questioning his fitness to stand) agreed not to recontest the preselection in return for having his good name restored. Mr Towke says he was also offered a job in Mr Morrison’s office – though Mr Morrison denies this.
Former state MP Marie Ficarra said what was done to Mr Towke was “unjust and unfair”, and demonstrated why the party should move to plebiscites for preselections.
“Preselections based on factional warlords’ control of party branches have to come to an end [to ensure] that what happened to Michael Towke will never happen to anyone else,” she said.
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. Photo: Marvel Charlie’s Angels.
Jack Dawson, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Rose DeWitt Bukater, played by Kate Winslet, in Titanic.
THE SATURDAY MORNING ALL YOU CAN EAT CARTOON PARTY (180 minutes) Unrated
Assembled by the gifted programmer and author Kier-La Janesse (House of Psychotic Women), this ragbag of vintage cartoons, serials and other odds and bods gives audiences raised in the 1970s and ’80s the chance to flash back to childhood memories of early morning viewing, albeit in the afternoon and on a much bigger screen. A range of cereals will be on offer. Astor Theatre, tomorrow, 2pm.
THE SILENCES (76 minutes) M
Australian filmmaker Margot Nash (Vacant Possession) has never shied away from the personal, but this film memoir delves directly into the web of family secrets and traumatic memories that lies beneath some portion of her previous work. Nash unfolds the tale in a characteristically artful manner, maintaining suspense while speaking from the heart. Cinema Nova.
CHARLIE’S ANGELS (97 minutes) M
Rebooting the original 1970s TV show for the era of girl power, Austin Powers and The Matrix, this absurdist 2000 action-comedy is credited to the video-clip director McG – but the real creative force is producer Drew Barrymore, joyously vamping it up alongside co-stars Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu. Sixteen years on, this still supplies a sugar rush. Presented by Hot Tub Cinema. Digitally projected. The Common Man (South Wharf), tomorrow, 7pm. Wet and dry tickets available. Entry restricted to 18+. Booking essential (splashouthire上海龙凤419m.au).
TITANIC (195 minutes) M
Time hasn’t been kind to the romantic scenes in James Cameron’s 1997 mega-blockbuster starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio (looking barely pubescent at 22). But once the ship hits the iceberg, it becomes a thrilling and appalling spectacle, which like all Cameron’s best work demands the big screen. 70-millimetre print. Sun Theatre, tomorrow, 1pm.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (146 minutes) CTC
Directed by the fraternal team of Anthony and Joe Russo, the latest instalment of Marvel’s Avengers saga splits the cast of superheroes into opposing teams led respectively by the Captain (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey jnr). By now the entire Marvel enterprise resembles an enjoyably goofy big-budget TV show, incorporating everything from political satire to slapstick. General.