Infamous Bourke Street driver James Gargasoulas has been found guilty on all 33 charges relating to a shocking rampage in Melbourne’s CBD last year.
Despite entering a plea of not guilty, the jury of the trial, which started on Wednesday at Melbourne’s Supreme Court, unanimously found the 28-year-old guilty of murdering six pedestrians and recklessly injuring another 27 when he sped along a footpath.
On 20 January, 2017, Gargasoulas drove a stolen Holden Commodore through the busy Bourke Street Mall, where he deliberately mowed down pedestrians.
The jury, which was made up of seven women and five men, didn’t need much time, deliberating for under an hour before announcing their verdict on Tuesday, reports Fairfax.
Justice Mark Weinberg requested that people ‘‘exercise extreme restraint’’ as the verdicts to each of the charges were announced.
According to reports, Gargasoulas was seen yawning five minutes before the jury returned with their verdict.
On the morning the incident occurred, police had been looking for Gargasoulas after he stabbed his brother Angelo.
During the trial it was revealed that a detective had been sending text messages to Gargasoulas just minutes before the tragic incident occurred, trying to get him to surrender, to which he replied that he was the saviour and that Earth was destined to be hit by a comet.
‘‘I’m one man and you need an army,’’ a message from Gargasoulas read.
The 28-year-old had been using the drug ice in the month before the incident and was in a drug-induced psychosis when he was driving that Friday morning.
During the trial on Monday afternoon, Gargasoulas told the court that he’d had a premonition about hitting pedestrians ahead of the incident. He also spoke of a comet hitting Earth, the Illuminati, Muslim freedom fighters, upholding God’s law, and government oppression.
Asked by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd QC if he knew he would kill people once he began driving along Bourke Street, Gargasoulas replied “In a sense, yes.”
Questioned further about his intent, he said “That’s still a question to ask God”.
Gargasoulas requested to read the court a 25-page written statement, but Justice Weinberg didn’t allow it.