60 Minutes March 22

60 Minutes has a jam packed show that includes an exclusive interview with Jake Ballard’s father, A medical mystery that ends in true love, and solves the mystery of who shot the Red Baron.

Jihad Jake

A week ago Melbourne teenager Jake Bilardi drove a van laden with explosives into Iraqi troops on a failed suicide bombing mission. He was acting under his assumed name, Abu Abdullah al-Australi. Only a year earlier Jake was a normal Australian kid studying for his Year 12 exams. The youngest of six children, he was brought up an atheist. So how did a suburban kid end up as the new face of radicalisation and martyrdom? It’s a story as non-descript as it is frightening.

This Sunday, 60 Minutes speaks exclusively to the family and friends of Jihad Jake. What they reveal is shocking and confronting. Jake’s classmates still can’t believe it’s the same kid they sat next to in school. In fact at first they thought it was a hoax. His father is heartbroken that his son became a terrorist, and blames himself for Jake’s radicalisation. He’s angry that manipulating forces took control of his son and used him for their evil cause.

Reporter Michael Usher delves into Jake Bilardi’s childhood and upbringing, with exclusive access to photos and home videos, to track how a Melbourne teenager became the poster boy for Islamic State.

60 Minutes will also reveal chilling and never before seen messages from Jake to his father as he planned his suicide mission.

And Jake’s father has a warning to all parents about the dangers of the internet when combined with teenage isolation and alienation.

Reporter: Michael Usher

Producers: Ali Smith, Stephen Rice

Martin’s Miracle
Martin Pistorius was a bright, fun-loving, happy young boy when a mystery illness stole his life away. Martin fell into a virtual coma and lost his intelligence, his memory and his ability to function. Four years later he slowly started coming back to life, but had no way of telling anyone. For six more painful years he could see and hear everything, but no one knew he was “there”. Then one miraculous day, a relief nurse saw that behind Martin’s eyes was an incredibly bright brain at work. With her help Martin proved his awakening and began his inspiring journey back to life. Now he has finished school, university, moved countries, and has a successful career. He has also discovered something much more elusive, which he never thought he’d experience – Martin has found true love.

Reporter: Tara Brown
Producer: Rebecca Le Tourneau, Gareth Harvey

Who Shot The Red Baron?
It is one of the Great War’s unsolved mysteries. Who shot down the famous Red Baron? German pilot Manfred von Richthofen was renowned for his daring aerial manoeuvres and precision aim. He shot down more allied planes than any other pilot and had 80 confirmed kills to his name. The red flash of his fighter plane would strike fear into enemy pilots, but in April 1918, as the war was nearing its end, von Richthofen faltered and chased a plane across enemy lines. Canadian pilot Roy Brown intercepted him, fired his guns, and has been widely credited with bringing the great ace down. But this Sunday, 60 Minutes will reveal new evidence which shows it was not the Canadian at all, but an Australian who finished off the Red Baron. The question is – which Australian? Was it Gunner Robert Buie, a fisherman from the Central Coast of NSW? Or was it Sergeant Cedric Popkin, a carpenter from the Tweed Valley on the NSW/QLD border? Allison Langdon speaks to the children of both men, who each claim it was their dad, and recreates the incident from every angle to finally solve this 98-year-old mystery.

Reporter: Allison Langdon
Producer: Steven Burling

8:30pm Sunday on Nine.