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Melbourne car attack: James Gargasoulas guilty of six murders

James Gargasoulas outside courtImage copyright
EPA

Image caption

James Gargasoulas drove his car into pedestrians in Melbourne last year

An Australian man has been found guilty of murdering six people and injuring 27 others in a vehicle attack in Melbourne.

James Gargasoulas deliberately drove his car into pedestrians along Bourke St in the city centre in January 2017.

The 28-year-old had pleaded not guilty to the attack, arguing that he was in drug-induced psychosis at the time.

A jury rejected his defence on Tuesday after deliberating for less than an hour.

The attack claimed the lives of Bhavita Patel, 33, Matthew Si, 33, Yosuke Kanno, 25, Jess Mudie, 22, Thalia Hakin, 10, and three-month-old Zachary Bryant.

Bourke St was also the scene of an unrelated stabbing attack on Friday that left one victim dead and two others injured.

During his trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Gargasoulas apologised for his actions, testifying that he had received a premonition from God directing him to drive into pedestrians.

When he was asked if he knew he would kill people, he said: “In a sense, yes.”

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Media captionFootage showed Gargasoulas driving erratically before the attack

The court was also shown footage of Gargasoulas driving a stolen car which he used to carry out the attack.

“There is no issue of identity – the conduct itself is captured on CCTV,” prosecutor Kerri Judd QC told the court.

Gargasoulas had taken the drug ice, also known as crystal methamphetamine, in the month before the attack and was delusional at the time, the court was told.

Justice Mark Weinberg said although Gargasoulas suffered from mental health problems, they could not be used as a defence.

He will be sentenced in a court hearing at a later date.

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