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Tomorrow shes one of 10,000

Round the Bays

Saturday-Sunday, February 20-21, 2010

Freight: (Auckland, Tauranga, South Island) $3.00


The life and times of Terry Serepisos


Worst rapist admits more

NEW ZEALANDS worst serial rapist, Joseph Thompson, has confessed from behind bars to attacking two more young girls taking the number of his victims to 49. Thompson, now 51, had stalked the darkened streets of South Auckland in the 1980s and 90s to burgle homes and attack the sleeping victims. He has now admitted raping two girls in his own home in June or July 1993. Standing impassively between two Corrections officers in Wellington District Court yesterday, Thompson was sentenced to 10 years jail. That term will be absorbed into the sentence imposed on him in August 1995 of 30 years jail and the open-ended term of preventive detention with no parole for at least 25 years. That sentence covered 129 crimes against 47 victims. The two new charges emerged as part of a wider investigation. Another man, who lived in the same Manurewa house as Thompson, is expected to stand trial later this year. Police hope Thompson will agree to give evidence at the trial. The victims were cousins, aged about 10 and 11, who were at Thompsons house during a social function. Detective Constable Austin Wong, who spoke to Thompson late last year, said he got the impression Thompson was relieved to talk about it. It was sort of like he was hoping that someone would find out and approach him. Former criminal profiler Dave Henwood hunted Thompson in the 1990s as part of Operation Park and spent about 20 hours recording his confession. He went with police to break the ice with Thompson about the new charges in late 2008. He said Thompson seemed settled at Rimutaka Prison, and they got on well. It may have been a rare outside contact for Thompson. Mr Henwood said he got the impression Thompson had few, if any, visitors. In prison, Thompson seems far from the man feared for his attacks on girls and women. I dont know what people expect sometimes hes an insignificant little fellow, Mr Henwood said.

Cop in coma after catght

Britton Broun POLICE
AN OFF-DUTY police officer who stepped in to break up two fighting girls was knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the head. The local policeman, aged in his early 40s, was in a critical but stable condition in Aucklands Middlemore Hospital last night after being attacked in Elizabeth St, Tuakau, near Pukekohe, south of Auckland. He was in an induced coma suffering from severe head injuries and a collapsed lung. The officer, who works at the Tuakau police station, was at home just after 4pm yesterday when he noticed two girls fighting in the street. He walked across the road accompanied by another neighbour, but when he stepped in to break up the fight the officer was hit from behind in the back of the head and knocked down by a group of teenagers. A police spokeswoman said the officer was repeatedly kicked in the head and body while he lay on the ground by members of the group possibly about 10 people who were associated with the fighting girls. When other neighbours ran to help, the youths bolted and the semiconscious officer was taken back to his house where he collapsed. Counties-Manukau district commander Superintendent Mike Bush said witnesses were being interviewed but no-one had been arrested. The officer had some very serious head injuries. Its a major concern but not just from a police perspective. As far as these people are concerned he was a member of the public. Its a real concern that weve got young people who turn on members of the public who are just trying to keep the peace. No-one deserves that, Mr Bush said. Were determined, I dont care how old these people are, that theyll be held accountable. It was unknown if the teenagers went to Tuakau College, which is at the end of Elizabeth St. Rhonda Holland, who lives near where the attack happened, said the injured police officer was often seen out walking his german shepherd. Im shocked. Weve never had anything like this before but you see the young ones with their [gang colour] scarves hanging out of their pockets. These are all the ones going to college. Another resident, Alistair Deeley, said he was worried for his own childrens safety. My initial thoughts were, Thats it, were moving. But the reality is, in todays world, its anywhere you bloody go.

Pammi Du Vois: A fashion stylist in Britain.

Titchy: Rap artist who sings with Boy George and may perform at Homegrown on the Wellington waterfront today.

Didio Amabo: Zimbabwe Government cultural ambassador.

Are they poking the Borat?

Kate Newton
THEY were African-born triplets, separated at birth. Now ones a rapper, ones a British fashion stylist and the thirds the Zimbabwe governments cultural ambassador or so they say. In reality, it seems New Zealand has been taken for a Borat-style ride by a British film crew and a female Sacha Baron Cohen. Yesterday The Dominion Post spoke to the film crew and human subjects of a joint BBC-Gibson Group documentary, purportedly about the three triplets reuniting on New Zealand turf. Two of the sisters Pammi Du Vois and Titchy say they grew up in Britain, becoming a fashion stylist and a rap artist. The third, Didio Amabo, stayed with the trios mother and now claims to be a cultural ambassador for the Zimbabwean government. Film crew members said they were following the three sisters

In 1995, Joseph Thompson admits

129 crimes against 47 girls and women

committed from March 6, 1983, to December 16, 1994. Among the charges were

46 of rape, 15 of sexual violation by unlawful

sexual connection, and

10 of assault with intent to commit

rape. He was sentenced to

separate journeys around New Zealand before they reunite for the first time in 27 years in Auckland. However, it seems all three sisters are characters played by an unknown comedian and their separation and reunion is a hoax. The producer-director of the documentary is Gary Reich, a former BBC director credited with starting the career of Borat and Bruno star Baron Cohen. Didios title of cultural ambassador is the same position fictional character Borat held in Kazakhstan. The website of Reichs production company, Brown Eyed Boy, states that it is filming an eight-part production for the BBC and TV3. The exact nature of the show will only be revealed after production. Reich denied that the documentary was a hoax, saying the three sisters were real and were separate people. When The Dominion Post spoke to Didio she denied that she was the same person as Titchy and

Whos the joker? Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt meets the Zimbabwe cultural ambassador.
Pammi. No . . . that is crazy. However, the sisters individual websites the only traces of them on the internet are all owned by someone called Matt Katz and administered by a company called XCalibre Communications. Documentary crew members were unable to provide photos of Pammi and Titchy together, even though the pair were supposedly on the same Interislander crossing yesterday. Mr Reich said the pair did not get along so had to be kept separate. The sisters have been in New

Zealand for three weeks, meeting New Zealand identities including Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt and former MP Georgina Beyer, as well as dozens of ordinary Kiwis. Organisers at the Homegrown music festival, on in Wellington today, and Tui Brewerys Small Town Big Sounds festival have both been contacted by the film crew, who were hoping for Titchy to make an appearance on stage. A Small Town spokeswoman said it was all a bit ad hoc but they were trying to get Titchy stage-time with Evermore and Supergroove. TV3 said they were aware of a coproduction being created by the Gibson Group and the BBC. Its a skit-type show featuring a black comedian and its almost a Candid Camera-style show. This may be one of the stunts that theyre trying to do on the show. Ms Beyer met Didio last week and said it was weird. I came away thinking, what the hell are they here for again?

30 years jail on some charges and

preventive detention on others. Yesterday he received a concurrent

10 -year sentence for raping two girls

in 1993. He has been in prison for years and cannot be considered for parole till 2020 when he will be 62.

Kiwi doctor trying to grow new limbs

Kate Newton HEALTH
HUMANS may one day be able to regrow organs and limbs, a Kiwi working on breakthrough research says. Vishal Bhasin, a former Wellingtonian, has spent the past six years in Sydney researching tissue regeneration which he says may soon enable humans to regrow parts of their body in the same way some amphibians do. It was not science fiction, he said. Ive already managed to turn [skin] cells into fat cells and bone cells. The next step is to engineer those cells into complex three-dimensional structures. The key lies in finding a way to


253 prisoners are currently serving

preventive detention. In the past 10 years

22 detainees have been released on

life parole but some have been recalled and only

10 are now in the community.


He put his hands up and said I did it the Joseph Thompson story. NEWS A7

prompt cells near a wound to grow new tissue, rather than scar tissue. When a salamander or newt loses a limb, the cells near the wound turn into progenitor cells, which are similar to stem cells. These multiply and form into the different types of cells needed to grow a replacement limb, such as bone, skin and tissue. Human cells cannot turn back into progenitor cells, so instead scar tissue forms over the wound. There was some pathway there that they were able to switch on that we cant, Dr Bhasin, 36, said. Theres a worldwide race to find this pathway. The breakthrough, when it happens, is going to transform medicine. Researchers have already made significant advances in growing

body parts from human stem cells, such as a piece of jaw and a full-sized windpipe. One group, at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, has managed to get bladder cells to regenerate, using the technique to grow bladders in a lab that were later transplanted into patients. However, Dr Bhasin said he was on the verge of discovering a way to prompt cells to regenerate at the site of a patients injury. Theres a natural way to do it and I think I know what it is. Dr Bhasin, who has been selffunding his research since a grant ran out in 2008, hopes to publicise his findings within 18 months. He was hoping to sign a new funding contract within the next few months.

Not science fiction: Vishal Bhasin says he will publicise his findings within 18 months. Photo: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD





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