James Gargasoulas, the man behind the deadly rampage in Melbourne’s Bourke Street last year, has been found guilty of six charges of murder.
According to 9 News, a jury found Gargasoulas guilty of all charges over last year’s attacks and took less than an hour to reach a verdict. During the rampage on January 20 last year, Gargasoulas killed six people and injured a further 27. He had 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 has been welcomed by the families of the victims.
“Today, the jury formally recognised that on 20 January, 2017, James Gargasoulas murdered six innocent people and recklessly endangered the lives of 27 others,” Adviceline Injury Lawyers Senior Associate Genna Angelowitsch, who represents the families of five victims, said in a statement obtained by 9 news. “His callous actions on that day shattered the lives of the family and friends whose loved ones he stole.
“The families of the victims are grateful to all those whose hard work secured today’s outcome, and for the ongoing support they have received during this difficult time. They appreciate the continued respect of their privacy as they prepare for the sentencing process.”
According to the report, Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC told jurors it was “the clearest case of criminal liability that you will ever come across”, while CCTV footage of the attack was played in court.
Gargasoulas had previously explained he didn’t intend for anyone to die, but understood what he was doing and the consequence of his actions. He apologised in court and claimed he had a premonition before the attack that gave him permission to run people down to escape police.
“I apologise from my heart but that’s not going to fix anything … neither will a lengthy sentence fix what I done,” he said.
Justice Mark Weinberg explained to jurors they must accept Gargasoulas’ admissions as established facts, according to The Guardian. He said although Gargasoulas was suffering from mental health issues, he hadn’t used that as a defence. Weinberg also said that because Gargasoulas’ behaviour was the result of drugs, he couldn’t claim mental impairment as the cause of the attacks.