Driver guilty of fa­tal car ram­page

Warwick Daily News - - NATION -

A MAN has ad­mit­ted ac­cel­er­at­ing into pedes­tri­ans, killing a grand­fa­ther, in a deadly preChrist­mas ram­page in Mel­bourne last year.

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 Flin­ders St and El­iz­a­beth St junc­tion about 4.40pm.

Mr Cro­caris, from 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 at up to 52km/h 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.

Po­lice also found im­ages of ve­hi­cle-ram­ming ter­ror at­tacks in Lon­don, Char­lottesville in Vir­ginia, 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.

Noori, from 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.

Noori was re­manded to reap­pear in court for a three-day plea hear­ing, start­ing on Fe­bru­ary 12.

Vic­tim An­to­nios Cro­caris.

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