Australia

Bourke Street rampager James Gargasoulas found guilty of six murders

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Melbourne Bourke Street rampager James Gargasoulas has been found guilty of six counts of murder and 27 counts of reckless conduct endangering life.

James Gargasoulas, who went on a rampage through Melbourne's Bourke Street and mowed down pedestrians, has been found guilty of murdering six people and endangering the life of 27 others.

A Supreme Court jury took just over an hour to find the 28 year old, who admitted killing six people in a Bourke Street rampage on January 20 last year, guilty of all charges.

Yosuke Kanno, 25, Bhavita Patel, 33, Jess Mudie, 22, Matthew Si, 33, and Thalia Hakin, 10, were killed in the rampage. 

James 'Dimitrious' Gargasoulas has been found guilty of murder.
James 'Dimitrious' Gargasoulas has been found guilty of murder.
AAP

Despite admitting his actions driving through the busy pedestrian mall and along footpaths caused death and injury, Gargasoulas pleaded not guilty to six charges of murder and 27 of reckless conduct endangering life.

The court heard Gargasoulas was driving at speeds of more than 60km/h and did not stop driving, even after a pram he'd hit became lodged in the vehicle's windscreen.

The car driven by James Gargasoulas, which he used to run down and kill six pedestrians on Bourke Street in Melbourne.
The car driven by James Gargasoulas, which he used to run down and kill six pedestrians on Bourke Street in Melbourne.
Supplied

Families of the victims welcomed the verdict.

"Today, the jury formally recognised that on 20 January, 2017, James Gargasoulas murdered six innocent people and recklessly endangered the lives of 27 others," according to a statement from lawyer Genna Angelowitsch, who represents the families of five victims.

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Families of victims from Gargasoulas trial 'grateful' for verdict
Families of victims from Gargasoulas trial 'grateful' for verdict

"His callous actions on that day shattered the lives of the family and friends whose loved ones he stole.

"The families of the victims are grateful to all those whose hard work secured today's outcome, and for the ongoing support they have received during this difficult time.

Emergency services in Bourke St Mall after the horror crash.
Emergency services in Bourke St Mall after the horror crash.
AAP

 

During the trial, Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC told jurors it was "the clearest case of criminal liability that you will ever come across".

The defence did not challenge the prosecution case, and Gargasoulas took the witness stand to offer an "explanation" in which he said he was sorry for his actions.

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Gargasoulas pleades not guilty, saying he was motivated by a desire to evade police
Gargasoulas pleades not guilty, saying he was motivated by a desire to evade police

Gargasoulas told the court on Monday he hadn't intended for anyone to die, but understood that "in a sense, yes" he knew when he was doing it that was the probable outcome.

"I apologise from my heart but that's not going to fix anything ... neither will a lengthy sentence fix what I done," he said.

He claimed he had a premonition half an hour before the Bourke St attack giving him permission to run people down in order to evade police, but that he didn't have permission to kill anyone.

Earlier jurors flinched and gasped as confronting and graphic footage of pedestrians being struck on January 20 last year was played close to three dozen times.

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