Accused killer’s ‘trail of carnage’
GASPS broke the silence of the Supreme Court in Melbourne as CCTV was played of the horrific moment pedestrians were struck during the Bourke St rampage.
Accused driver James Gargasoulas (pictured) has pleaded not guilty to murdering six people and hurting 27 others – so that he can take to the witness stand and explain his actions, a jury has been told.
Gargasoulas, 28, is accused of being behind the wheel when pedestrians were mowed down in Melbourne’s CBD on January 20 last year.
The Supreme Court heard he texted a friend in the hours before the horrific one-minute trail of carnage: “I’m going to do something drastic, take everyone out. Watch me. You will see me tonight on the news.”
People in court gasped as footage showed some victims being thrown in the air, while others went under the tyres.
“In a period lasting only about a minute, in the busy lunchtime rush, the accused left a trail of death and carnage along Bourke St,” prosecutor Kerri Judd QC told the jury of 13 people.
Defence lawyer Theo Alexander told the jury on the first day of the trial that it was an “unusual case” as Gargasoulas was not disputing the facts.
But the accused killer wanted to give his “very important reasons” for the deadly car rampage on January 20, Dr Alexander said.
“Mr Gargasoulas has pleaded not guilty,” he said.
“Equally, he has agreed … to all of the facts necessary to establish the charges.”
To explain why he has pleaded not guilty, Dr Alexander told the jury they must understand that Gargasoulas had a right to plead however he wants.
“Secondly, and more directly, he says he had very important reasons for what happened on January 20th,” Dr Alexander said. “Mr Gargasoulas, for better or for worse, is committed to his explanation. And as a jury found him fit for trial, he is accordingly allowed to have his say.”
Dr Alexander said his client would give evidence at the end of the trial.
“Mr Gargasoulas is not a well man. He has a mental illness now,” he said.
Opening the evidence, Ms Judd QC detailed how Gargasoulas steered the car towards workers, shoppers and young families walking through Bourke St Mall.
The trial, before Justice Mark Weinberg, continues.