Flinders St killer guilty
Deadly rampage not terror: court
A MAN has admitted accelerating into pedestrians, killing a grandfather, in a deadly pre-Christmas rampage in Melbourne.
Saeed Noori, 33, yesterday faced the Supreme Court where he pleaded guilty to one count of murder, 11 of recklessly causing serious injury and five of reckless conduct endangering life over the Flinders St onslaught on December 21.
Family of victim Antonios “Anton” Crocaris, 83, wiped away tears as they stared down their loved one’s killer as he said the word “guilty” to each charge.
His plea comes almost a year after he ploughed into pedestrians crossing at the busy junction of Flinders and Elizabeth streets about 4.40pm.
Mr Crocaris, of Northcote, suffered critical head injuries and died in hospital nine days later.
Sixteen others were injured, including a four-year-old boy and teenager, 16.
Shocking CCTV footage shows Noori stop his vehicle at the red light along Flinders St and wait as the pedestrians started crossing, before accelerating up to 52kmh into the crowd.
A previous hearing heard how he had tried to hire two bigger SUVs on the day of the rampage in an attempt to cause maximum damage.
But when they only had sedans to offer him, he caught public transport to his mother’s home and took her Suzuki Vitara SUV. Investigating police also found images of vehicle-ramming terror attacks, in London, Charlottesville, Virginia, in the US, and Barcelona, on his computer.
Witnesses revealed hearing him yell “Allahu Akbar” as he drove through the pedestrians.
He later told a police officer: “It was deliberate. There were voices.”
Yesterday’s court hearing heard the incident was not being treated as a terror attack.
“He hasn’t been charged with terrorism offences,” Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth confirmed.
Noori, of Heidelberg West, had initially pleaded not guilty, with his defence counsel Dermot Dann, QC, indicating they would examine his fitness for trial. The Afghan-born Australian had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2014.
But last month, Mr Dann told the court they would no longer be looking at the mental impairment defence and had put a deal to the prosecution.
Noori was remanded to reappear in court for a three-day plea hearing, starting on February 12, which will hear from dozens of witnesses and victims about the impact his crimes had on them.