In Victoria’s Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Mark Weinberg set a non-parole period of 46 years for what he described as one of the “worst examples of mass murder” in Australia, after sentencing Gargasoulas to six life terms for murder. He said he did not accept that Gargasoulas was genuinely remorseful.
“You made no attempt to avoid people or to slow down. You simply ploughed through them — quite deliberately,” Weinberg reportedly said. “You were not suffering a mental illness at the time you committed these offences. You were suffering from a drug induced psychosis.”
In November last year, Gargasoulas was found guilty of all charges relating to the attack with the jury taking less than an hour to reach a verdict.
During the rampage on January 20, 2017, Gargasoulas killed six people and injured a further 27. At the time he pleaded not guilty to six charges of murder and 27 charges of reckless conduct endangering life, although did admit his actions caused both death and injury.
The victims of the deadly rampage included three-month-old Zachary Matthew-Bryant, 10-year-old Tahlia Hakin, Yosuke Kanno, 25, Jessica Mudie, 23-year-old Matthew Si and 33-year-old Bhavita Patel.
The verdict was welcomed by the families of the victims.
It comes after Gargasoulas pointed blame at the government during a hearing in Melbourne last month, claiming it was government oppression that led him on the deadly rampage.
In the letter obtained by the publication, Gargasoulas said he was “deeply ashamed” by his actions and wished he could turn back time. However, the killer didn’t take full responsibility for his actions, claiming he is a victim of “government oppression”.
“It is because of government oppression six people died and many were injured,” The Age reported he said in court.
“I am not evil. I am not a terrorist. I am a freedom fighter who is now educated to stop oppression.”
According to the publication, Gargasoulas went on to say during a cross-examination that he had had a premonition from God that he was the “Messiah” and would run down pedestrians in a car. The Age also reported the court heard Gargasoulas’ defence counsel claimed his client’s paranoid schizophrenia played a part in his rampage.
The handwritten note was later shared on Twitter by ABC journalist Karen Percy.
Murderer James Gargasoulas read from a handwritten letter; “I am deeply ashamed of what I’ve done. I must say it is a tragic day for all of you and myself.” Blames “government oppression” and God for the deaths of 6 people on Jan 20, 2017 on Bourke St. pic.twitter.com/2dUazTBlrt
— Karen Percy (@PercyKaren) January 31, 2019