An #Australian grandmother who claimed she was tricked into carrying drugs into #Malaysia after falling for an online romance scam Tuesday won her final appeal against the death penalty and will be freed.
Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto was arrested in December 2014 while in transit at Kuala Lumpur airport with 1.1 kilos (2.4 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine stitched into the compartment of a backpack she was carrying.
She was initially cleared of trafficking after a judge ruled in 2017 she did not know she was transporting the drugs, but the acquittal was overturned after prosecutors appealed and she was handed a death sentence.
Capital punishment is mandatory in Muslim-majority Malaysia for anyone convicted of trafficking certain amounts of some controlled substances.
But the Federal Court in the administrative capital Putrajaya, the final court of appeal, overturned that decision and ordered her release.
“The appeal is allowed. The appellant is freed and discharged,” said chief justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.
The mother of four, who was stopped in Malaysia while heading to Australia, had claimed she was fooled into carrying the bag after travelling to China to see someone she met online called “Captain Daniel Smith”, who claimed to be a US serviceman.
A British baby is fighting for his life after almost drowning in a bathtub in #Thailand.
York Skirrow stopped breathing and his tiny heart stopped beating for 18 minutes following the tragic incident in Bangkok.
The 11-month-old was found by a nanny, who was looking after York and his brother Rex, and later rushed to hospital.
He remains in a critical condition.
York’s ex-pat parents Nick and Jana Skirrow, 36 and 34, were out teaching when the incident happened and believe their son may have stepped on the plug and turned the tap on when the water was draining.
Nick, originally from Leeds, West Yorks said: “I don’t know the ins and outs but it seems York needed washing off.
“He had a bath and the nanny had drained the water out.
“She got worried that the stove was still on and that Rex – York’s two-year-old brother – could be there so she went to check.
“No one can know for sure but our thought is he stepped on the plug and turned the tap on.
“He has done this before but he must have slipped and then the unimaginable happened.”
The horrified nanny rushed the boy to hospital where doctors desperately revived him.
But he was starved of oxygen to the brain and it is feared York may be left brain damaged.
A family friend has since started a GoFundMe page to help his parents pay for mounting medical bills.
Charles Bagnall described York’s mum and dad as “lovely people”.
He added: “The costs to give him a fighting chance is around £4,000 a day and until he is stable they don’t have the option to move to another hospital.
“It’s a nightmare situation both with York’s prognosis and the costs.”
The family has private insurance which reached its £25,000 limit in less than a week.
Charles’ page was set up six days ago and has already racked up almost £20,000 in donations.
He wrote on the GoFundMe : “Nick and Jana have not asked for this campaign to be set up.
“However I ask for friends to come forward on this site with any cash contributions, no matter how large or small, to give them a helping hand they need in the difficult weeks ahead.
“I think I speak for all of us when I say this is a deeply upsetting incident that couldn’t have happened to a nicer family.
“If you aren’t in a position to contribute then I plead you to keep York, Nick, Jana and York’s brother Rex in your thoughts and prayers.”
Nick said he has been able to forgive the nanny – who he said was “beside herself” – and that she loves his sons greatly.
He added: “Moving forward we are looking to provide York with the best life he can have. He has been on a roller coaster ride and the ups and downs have brought tears to us and our friends.
“However, the support has been fantastic.
“York is a true fighter, he has been in ICU for a week already. In that time he has stabilised and his organs all seem to be on the mend.”
The baby will remain in ICU for another 10 to 14 days as he continues to be treated in a private hospital.