The Bourke Street driver has told a jury he had a premonition from God of running people over in Melbourne’s CBD half an hour before driving down 33 pedestrians.
James Gargasoulas, 28, has given evidence from the witness box on the third day of his Supreme Court trial after pleading not guilty to six counts of murder and 28 counts of attempted murder.
His evidence came on the same day the court released a police reconstruction showing the route the car took through the mall in January last year.
Mr Gargasoulas drove up the footpath for several city blocks at speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour, killing six people and injuring another 27.
In court, he read from a two-page statement, which he had condensed from a version that was 25 pages long, and rambled about the Illuminati and oppression as he gave evidence for about 10 minutes.
He said he still had not “gathered his thoughts” to understand why he committed the attack, but told the jury he had a premonition from God before driving to Bourke Street.
“I apologise from my heart,” Mr Gargasoulas said.
“But that’s not going to fix anything if I say sorry. Neither will a lengthy sentence fix what I’ve done.”
Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC asked Mr Gargasoulas if he knew he would kill people when he got to Bourke Street.
“In a sense, yes,” he responded.
Mr Gargasoulas said he had previously had premonitions about ways to evade police.
“On that day, I weighed up all my options because I knew that a comet related to judgement day was coming,” he said.
“God’s royal laws of liberty have to be throughout the whole world in order to pass judgement day.”
Detective says driver admitted ‘f—-d up thing’
Justice Mark Weinberg interjected several times during his statement to order Mr Gargasoulas to simply answer the questions put to him.
Relatives of some of the victims, who have attended each day of the trial, remained in the courtroom to hear Mr Gargasoulas.
Earlier, the jury was shown CCTV footage of the 33 pedestrians as they walked along Bourke Street oblivious to the car coming behind them.
They also saw video of them being struck and the location their bodies landed.
The video took more than an hour to be played to the visibly upset jurors, who gasped as the footage showed the car colliding with groups of people.
Detective Sergeant Sol Solomon, from the homicide squad, also gave evidence about a conversation he had with Mr Gargasoulas in an ambulance just hours after the rampage, as the driver was being transferred to the Alfred Hospital.
Detective Solomon described Mr Gargasoulas as being “quietly spoken, calm and coherent” and said he had committed the attack for an “important reason”.
He said Mr Gargasoulas had told him “it’s a very long story and I will tell you when I get to hospital and have a drink”.
“I know I have done wrong, but you must understand why,” he said Mr Gargasoulas told him.
“That was a f—-d up thing. I’m not mentally unstable.”
Detective Solomon told the court that Mr Gargasoulas was taken into the hospital’s emergency department and treated alongside his alleged victims who began arriving by ambulance.
Mr Gargasoulas was discharged from hospital three days later and refused to answer questions from police after receiving legal advice.
At the start of Monday’s hearing, Justice Weinberg told the jurors that the “terrible events” that occurred in Bourke St last Friday had nothing to do with Mr Gargasoulas’ case.
He told them to focus on the evidence and put those events out of their minds.
The prosecution and defence are expected to close their cases on Tuesday before the jury is sent out to deliberate.
Topics: courts-and-trials, law-crime-and-justice, murder-and-manslaughter, crime, emergency-incidents, disasters-and-accidents, melbourne-3000, vic
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