A 28-year-old man has been convicted of the murder of six people after hitting pedestrians with his car in Melbourne in January 2017.
Jurors in Australia took less than an hour to find James Gargasoulas guilty of all 33 charges against him, including 27 counts of reckless conduct endangering life.
Gargasoulas pleaded not guilty to all of the counts at Melbourne Supreme Court, but admitted driving through the city’s busy Bourke Street mall, a pedestrian-only street, and along pavements in January 2017, causing death and injury.
He told the court he believed he had received God’s permission, through a premonition, to hit people with the stolen car he was driving but not to kill anyone.
Jurors heard Gargasouls had a mental illness but did not use this as a defence.
He said: “I apologise from my heart but that’s not going to fix anything… neither will a lengthy sentence fix what I done.”
Before the jury retired, Justice Mark Weinberg said they must accept Gargasoulas’ admissions as established facts, and that because his psychosis and delusions at the time of the rampage were drug-induced, he could not argue he was not guilty by way of mental impairment.
The victims ranged in age from three-months to 33-years-old, and a lawyer representing the families of five murder victims told reporters they were grateful for the verdict.
“This was an intentional, callous act by Mr Gargasoulas that has stolen six innocent victims from the people that love them,” the lawyer, Genna Angelowitsch, said outside court.
Gargasoulas will be sentenced in January.