Ex-partner defends Sydney woman found dead in house with son

At 9am on Monday, Matt Davis received a message from his former partner, the mother of his child.

Stacey Docherty told Mr Davis, who had planned to take their son to the park, to come to her place in Sydney’s east later that afternoon.

She would leave the door open for him.

After he finished work and arrived at the Hillsdale unit about 1pm, his door knocks went unanswered and his world collapsed around him.

Inside were the bodies of Ms Docherty, 38, and their four-year-old son Seth.

Scribbled over the walls was a mess of barely decipherable messages written in blood.

Police said on Tuesday they were still keeping an open mind as to whether a third person was involved in the mother and son’s death or if it was a case of murder-suicide.

Former professional skateboarder Mr Davis conceded that, while his former partner had anger issues, she was a “beautiful mum” who loved Seth dearly.

“She really did love Seth, she put him first before herself all the time,” he said on Tuesday at his eastern suburbs home.

Ms Docherty moved from New Zealand to Australia more than a decade ago and worked as a nursing assistant in Sydney.

She spent five years in a relationship with Mr Davis, who said he stayed close to Ms Docherty and Seth, often visiting them at the Grace Campbell Crescent unit.

Most recently, Mr Davis said his former partner was feeling the stress of a separate relationship break-up and having to find somewhere new to live.

Neighbours and police were also aware of Ms Docherty’s volatile behaviour. Last year she smashed the windows of three of her neighbours’ cars after a dispute about parking.

Mr Davis said he had spoken to Ms Docherty about her anger and encouraged her to get more support.

“She could’ve received more help, there could’ve been more help for her in regard to her anger and frustrations at the world,” he said.

Despite the possibility that Ms Docherty killed their son before ending her own life, Mr Davis wasn’t angry.

“I can’t begin to fathom really what made her make the decision she did,” he said.

“Obviously I wished she called me or let me know she was having these feelings so I could have left work and been there to try to help sort it out and to not be in the position I am in now.

“But she didn’t.”

In a sign she was looking forward, Mr Davis said Ms Docherty agreed on the weekend to negotiate a custody agreement for their son.

NSW Family and Community Services was in contact with Ms Docherty, Mr Davis said, but she always promised she would never do anything to harm Seth.

“Stacey never actually said to me anything or said to me she had suicidal thoughts,” he said.

“She vowed to me constantly that she would never do anything to hurt Seth. And I knew she wouldn’t, she was very protective of him in regards to other people.

“I just want people to know that I love my son and I love Stacey in my own way and that we did our best to try to be good parents to him.

“He deserved more than what happened to him.”

Initially police were concerned about a strong smell of gas in the apartment complex on Monday afternoon. However, investigators have since ruled out that it contributed to the mother and son’s death.

Mr Davis has encouraged people with concerns about their loved ones’ mental health to speak up.

“Even if you feel intrusive, be intrusive,” he said. “Because the outcome is this and it is painful and it is shocking.”

Lifeline 13 11 14; MensLine 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

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ATO hits out at ‘vote rigging’ claims

Australia’s top tax man has bit back at claims the Tax Office used massive amounts of data on its own public service to “rig” a workplace ballot.

Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan says he has independent legal advice that his agency’s covert sharing of employment data with a private polling form was legal.

Mr Jordan said the Australian Services Union, which says it will call in the Privacy Commissioner to investigate the massive data handover, is engaged in “groundless mischief making.”

Fairfax revealed on Tuesday that the Tax Office supplied its contractor with the names, email addresses, locations of work and pay grades of each of its 19000 employees without their knowledge or consent.

The contractor ORIMA then used the information to build up a profile of which groups of workers were voting against the unpopular Abbott-era proposals for a new workplace deal at the ATO.

But in a strongly worded statement issued on Tuesday, Mr Jordan, said the Tax office had a legitimate reason for every disclosure is made to ORIMA.

The Commissioner also said the ATO had consulted external lawyers who advised that the “processes undertaken are lawful.”

“Should the matter be referred to the Privacy Commissioner, the ATO will openly share this advice and detail of our process,” Mr Jordan said.

He took aim at the ASU, saying the union was making it harder for the ATO and its workers to extract themselves from the industrial stalemate that has gripped the revenue agency since 2014.

“Yet again we are seeing groundless mischief-making ahead of the greater good,” the Commissioner said.

“It is unfortunate that baseless comments – like the vote process being ‘rigged’ – continue to cloud the truth.

“Imagine if we excluded employees not actually in the office or without remote access during the voting period from voting!

“The comments made today erode the spirit of good faith bargaining and the trust we have with our employees.

“They are not constructive to reaching a new enterprise agreement for our committed and professional workforce.”

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Mid North Coasters on song at NSW Life Saving titles

Tahlia Kollen (photo: Stephen Chu)IN ANevent that boasted arguably one of the strongest start lists of the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships held at Blacksmiths Beach at the weekend, Urunga’s Tahlia Kollen finished fourth in the U19 Ironwoman.

Max Shaw from Bellinger-Valley North Beach also became a finalist when he raced to 5th position in the U15 Beach Sprint.AndFinn Askew from South West Rocks was the lone medallist from Tacking Point when he won silver in the U15 male 2kmBeach Run.

Cudgen Headland was the best performed club from the area finishing an impressive 15th place overall but showed signs that the coveted top 10 is not beyond their reach.

Hayley Smith (Cudgen Headland) earned two gold medals during the competition winning individual gold in the U15 Board Race and then joining her teammates Paige Leishman and Sophie Watson to take out the U15 Board Relay.

The competitors from Kingscliff also picked up a number of silver medals throughout the 3-day competition with Scott McCartney (Open Board), Nadi Canning (Open Ski), Luke Chaffer (U19 Board), Rory Matthews (U17 Board), and Kai Onley (U17 Surf Race) all earning a place on the podium.

Byron Bay’s Brad Hunt secured bronze in the U17 Male Beach Sprint Race while the Cabarita duo of Claudia Crawford (U17) and Cahrizma Macdonald (U15) were both finalists in their respective Beach Sprints.

Sawtell and Coffs Harbour led the way for clubs from the North Coast Branch with Lachlan O’Reilly (Coffs Harbour) surging to an impressive silver medal in the U19 Surf Race. He then teamed up with his brother Sean and Jack Pavey to help their U19 Taplin Relay side qualify for the final where they finished in 5th spot in what was a tough field.

The U15 Female Board Relay team from Sawtell which consisted of Aoife Carey, Alyssa Golding and Kate Murray also picked up a medal behind Cudgen Headland in a race that highlighted the strength of country athletes in that age group.

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon felt that despite a challenging start due to the conditions, the State Championships put an exclamation point on what has been another successful summer for the sport.

“I would like to congratulate everyone for what was an extremely successful Open Championships and can safely say that we were all treated to a wonderful few days of racing that while extremely competitive was always conducted in the right spirit.

“There’s a lot to like about the performance of our athletes and I think that next month’s Australian Championships is shaping up to be a big one for NSW competitors.” Mr Pidgeon said.

2017 Open Championship Club Point Score:

Newport SLSC 425

Manly LSC 343

Wanda SLSC 202

North Cronulla SLSC 174

Cronulla SLSC 144

Umina SLSC 128

Redhead SLSC 115

Avoca Beach SLSC 112

Freshwater SLSC 93

Elouera SLSC 89

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Tension pulsates at city’s ranks

WAGGA’S taxi ranks are being described as tension hot-spots, with drunken revellers forced to wait up to two hours to get home.

Calls have beenrenewedto heightensecurity at the Station Place cab rank where many Baylis Street partygoers congregate.

It comes after the notorious Kebab shop skirmish last month left a foul taste in the mouths of the community.

A local taxi driver, who did not want to be named, said she was frequently hassled by customers and often saw fights break out at the top end of Baylis Street.

“It happens so much you wonder if it’s even worth calling the police,” she said.

“They all get out of the hotels at the same time and it just creates so much anger and frustration that you can’t help but be nervous.

“I did call for the police,but I have been known to drive away before when a fight has broken out and this was no different.”

He added thatthe assaults could have been prevented ifsecurity guards were present.

However,alcohol-fuelled violence has dropped by 44per cent inside Wagga’s licensed venues as publicans continue to tighten the taps.

Wagga liquor accord secretary David Barnhill said the initiatives, combined with the Riverina’s “barred from one, barred from all” policy, had been used to good effect in curbing late-nightviolence.

“There’s no doubt it hasworked,” Mr Barnhill said.

“The consequences have been rampedup and people are using more common sense.”

The formerrugby league identity-turned publican said a “considerable” number of offenders had already been penalised under the hard line new approach.

He did not downplay incidents at places like taxi ranks.

“I’m not washing my hands –alcohol is still a factor in some crimes–but it’s about how the punishments are dealt,” Mr Barnhill said.

Kieren Mitchell said the issue was exacerbated by lengthy waits for a taxi at the end of the night.

“It seems like there isn’t enough on the road,” he said.

“People get desperate and start to cut in line and then arguments and fights break out.

“If there were more options to get home, people wouldn’t hang around and end up in a fight near as much.

“That’s the solution.”

Anyone who witnesses a physical altercation in Wagga’s streets should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 666 or Wagga police on 6922 2655.

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Women are changing ‘woman’s work’

So heartened to see my own choices reflected in the wider community: women are shifting the accepted employment paradigm for the betterment of us all.

For too long have patriarchal expectations of work “success” become the value to which striving female workers aspire.

Naturally fluid in work participation, women seem now finally able to set their own personal standards around employment, motherhood, family and community priorities (often including much unpaid and volunteer activities) and are managing their own needs and energy levels to maintain optimum functioning in the fullness of their lives.

Alternative ways to provide income, while maintaining a family presence and personal interests to full advantage, has become simpler and has global ramifications in this digital age.

Indeed, the only limitation placed on women in the workforce is the individual’s inability to step outside the stereotypes.

If we can continue to reimagine what is, in fact, woman’s work, we may well find a new way to engage in a system which currently supports the patriarchy, or to support our community into the future by simply holding true to our authentic voices and intuitive wisdom.

The Productivity Commission has noticed the missed potential of part time or absent females in the workforce in terms of gross domestic product.

In my preferred reality, the Productivity Commission would place higher value on strong family foundations, from infancy onward and including elders having an active role in the community.

So many of the modern social issues with disconnection (drug, alcohol and abandonment), isolation and many mental health issues are rooted in familial stresses and changes.

The work becomes how we can better support families so that women can participate without being penalised for prioritising their family and how children and the elderly can be cared for by loved ones in strong, connected communities.

In short, we must challenge the stereotypes which create work stresses and make family our highest priority.

Now that would be real progress.

Jane MacAllister,

Gol Gol

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