Bourke St pedes­trian heard ‘thud, thud, thud’

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - TESSA AKERMAN

The ac­cused Bourke Street driver had both hands on the steer­ing wheel “10 to two” with a cig­a­rette in his mouth as he ploughed into pedes­tri­ans on Jan­uary 20 last year, a court has heard.

Wit­nesses to the event in which six peo­ple were killed gave ev­i­dence in the Vic­to­rian Supreme Court yes­ter­day on day two of the trial of James Gar­ga­soulas. He has pleaded not guilty to six counts of mur­der and 27 counts of reck­less con­duct en­dan­ger­ing life.

He is charged with mur­der­ing Yo­suke Kanno, 25, Jes­sica Mudie, 23, Matthew Si, 33, Bhavita Pa­tel, 33, Tahlia Hakin, 10, and three­month-old Zachary Matthew-Bryant.

Solic­i­tor Joshua Bal­dacchino told the court he had just fin­ished a lunch on Hard­ware Lane when he saw a car “ef­fec­tively plough­ing into peo­ple” and driv­ing up Bourke Street to­wards Queen Street. He said he heard a group of peo­ple shriek­ing as the car headed to­wards them. “The car hit them just as if they were an in­sect — thud, thud, thud, thud,” he said.

Mr Bal­dacchino told the court he saw the driver of the car with a cig­a­rette in his mouth. “Both hands on the steer­ing wheel, 10 to two … just driv­ing his car as I would drive down the street reg­u­larly,” he said.

Banker Aaron Jensen told the court he first heard sirens and the sound of cars driv­ing fast as he was walk­ing to the NAB of­fice.

“I turned around ex­pect­ing to see a fire truck and in­stead I saw a car on the foot­path,” he said.

“It hit a per­son, a man … I couldn’t be­lieve it ei­ther, he went fly­ing over the ve­hi­cle. It then hit an­other per­son sec­onds later.”

He said the car then went to­wards a group of peo­ple near the RACV build­ing.

Mr Jensen said one woman tried to squash her­self against the build­ing and the car pushed her into the wall.

“I re­mem­ber an­other man tried to do a Su­per­man jump away from the car … the car clipped his legs,” Mr Jensen said.

“I re­mem­ber the des­per­a­tion in his eyes to get away. I still re­mem­ber till to­day the sound of those peo­ple’s bod­ies be­ing hit.”

De­tec­tive Se­nior Con­sta­ble David Ca­vanagh from the Crit­i­cal In­ci­dent Re­sponse Team told the court he was in the lead po­lice ve­hi­cle as Mr Gar­ga­soulas al­legedly turned the stolen ma­roon Holden Com­modore on to Bourke Street from Swanston Street. “At that point we have turned left on to Bourke Street and ob­served the ve­hi­cle ac­cel­er­ate hard, di­rectly into peo­ple,” he said. “Our plan was to ram the ve­hi­cle (but) we were un­able to get close enough to do that safely.”

He told the court the ve­hi­cle even­tu­ally slowed down “due to sig­nif­i­cant dam­age”.

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