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Weird World News: When punishment takes an unusual route

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PHUKET: This week’s Weird World News roundup shatters the foundations laid out by many great nations that claim “cruel and unusual punishments [shall not be] inflicted”, as a hometown speedster has his car turned into a tree house, a horror film clown threatens your child (by request) and a suicide-kit saleswoman’s business gets smothered with a mere US$1,000 fine after at least seven deaths, all made headlines this week.

‘Race car’ left aloft

Residents of a Polish town driven crazy by a young man’s driving found a suitable parking space for him – on top of a willow tree.

This month Zbigniew Filo, 24, woke to find his car, a souped-up white Ford Escort, not where he had parked it the night before, The Mirror reported.

“We received a call from a man saying his car was stuck in a tree, and that his neighbors had put it there,” said a police spokesman.

“After inspecting the site, we instructed him to remove it from the tree,” she added.

The residents of Lubczyna have refused to oust the uplifting culprit, but did admit that one of the villager’s cranes was borrowed for the night, which you think would help police hone in on possible suspects.

However, it seems the Poles have made their point, as Mr Filo has promised to drive with more care, – despite the fact that he does not have a driver’s license.

“Whoever, or whatever it was, it’s probably a good thing as he was a dangerous driver and could have killed someone,” a neighbor was reported as saying.

“Perhaps he’ll think twice about his hair-raising driving and about getting a license or who knows where his next car might end up?” the neighbor added.

“I get the message, but I think it was a bit harsh,” Mr Filo admitted.

Evil cake-slinging clown offers to stalk your child

An “evil birthday clown” in Switzerland, for a fee, will threaten and stalk your child for the entire week leading up to their birthday, all while waiting for the perfect moment to attack them.

The clown, Dominic Deville, will send frightening text messages, make prank calls and even booby-trap their letters, but the icing on the cake is the surprise attack – a cake in the kid’s face, reported Metro.

Dominic Deville is capitalizing on what has become a mainstay for all circus-going kids: the fear of clowns, reported The Huffington Post. He also apparently is capitalizing on unusually cruel parents.

“The child feels more and more that it is being pursued,” Deville told Metro. “The clown’s one and only aim is to smash a cake into the face of his victim, when they least expect it, during the course of seven days.”

Mr Deville’s look appears based on the monster clown played by Tim Curry in the 1990 TV adaptation of the Stephen King novel It,” reported The Sun.

In his text messages, phone calls and letters to his targets, Deville lets them know that their time is coming, according to the Herald Sun.

Since the creepy prank is supposedly all done in fun, Mr Deville the evil clown does promise to back off if the parent’s ask him to, so the judgment call on how scarred the child should be is left up to already questionable judgment.

“If at any point the kids get scared or their parents are concerned we stop right there,” he said. “But most kids absolutely love being scared senseless.”

Great-grandma’s suicide kit business smothered only for tax evasion

A great-grandmother who made headlines by selling suicide (asphyxiation) kits has agreed to cease selling them as part of her plea settlement Monday, reported Reuters.

Sharlotte Hydorn, a retired science teacher, pleaded guilty in December to a federal charge of failing to file income tax returns from 2007 through 2010, a period during which investigators said at least seven customers used her mail-order kits to kill themselves.

As part of her plea deal Mrs Hydorn has agreed to pay back US$25,000 in back taxes, as well as a US$1,000 fine.

But the federal judge who sentenced Mrs Hydorn in San Diego rendered a finding that her suicide-kit business was illegal under California law.

However, the San Diego County district attorney, who was a party to the plea settlement, agreed to not prosecute Mrs Hydorn for her role in any of the six known deaths that occurred in California.

Mrs Hydorn’s kits sold under the brand name GLADD (Glorious Life And Dignified Death) were priced at US$60, including instructions and shipping. The kits contained a plastic hood that closed around the neck, and tubing that connected the hood to a tank of gas.

The US government estimates that she grossed about US$40,000 from about 1,300 do-it-yourself asphyxiation hoods sold between 2007 and 2010.

Mrs Hydorn was prosecuted under the US tax code because “the sale of suicide kits is not a violation of federal law,” assistant US Attorney Peter Mazza said after the sentencing.

“This case was never about the position that someone has the right to end their own life. This was about her indiscriminate sale of kits to anyone who wrote her a check,” he added.

Mrs Hydorn claimed that her product intended to help terminally-ill people end their lives with dignity at home, but she acknowledged selling the kits without performing background checks or screening individuals who ordered the apparatus.

Prosecutors said Mrs Hydorn had no way of knowing whether her customers actually suffered from incurable, fatal illnesses or were merely depressed, or whether they were adults or minors.

Mrs Hydorn has said her interest in helping the terminally ill stemmed from the loss of her husband to colon cancer in 1977.

On Monday after the hearing, she recounted how her spouse was tied down to his hospital bed with restraints at the end of his life.

“All he could say was, ‘Home, home.’ He wanted to go home, and I couldn’t take him. That’s how we got here,” she said.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

 

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