Bourke Street Rampage: Desperate Messages To Accused From Police Revealed
A jury in the murder trial for the man accused of running down pedestrians in Melbourne’s Bourke Street has been told of the failed police efforts to arrest him in the lead up to the tragedy.
James Gargasoulas is accused of murdering six people and injuring 27 others during the rampage though the CBD on January 20th last year.
He’s pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Victoria’s director of Public Prosecutiobs, Kerri Judd QC, is opening the trial.
The jury was told in about a minute Gargasoulas caused death and carnage along Bourke Street shortly after the lunch hour.
He was a heavy ice user, and had used the drug the day before his alleged crimes. The prosecution said he was in a drug induced psychosis.
The court has heard of the contact police had with Gargasoulas in the hours beforehand.
A detective spoke to him twice on a mobile phone urging him to calm down and surrender.
During a 30 minute conversation shortly after midday, Gargasoulas came close to agreeing. But he changed his mind, telling his girlfriend on the phone, “I'm not going to let them get me and go down like a bitch”.
That afternoon the order went out to police that all units were to follow at a safe distance, no pursuits were to begin, and Gargasoulas was only to be arrested once he was out of the vehicle.
The same detective also sent the accused man text messages, urging him to stop.
At 1:27 pm he texted Gargasoulas: “Don’t do this”.
The accused man didn’t reply.
About 1:30 pm Gargasoulas drove around in circles in the busy city intersection outside Flinders Street Station. Witnesses says he appeared to be taunting the crowd. A police officer heard him yell, “look they can’t do anything. They can’t stop me. They’re nothing.”
The detective sent another text, “stop.”
The officer was on the scene and yelled out through a car window, “what are you doing?! Calm down!”
Gargasoulas drove down Swanson Street and was followed by a convoy of market and unmarked police cars.
He then accelerated through the Bourke Street Mall, witnesses told police he appeared to be deliberately lining up pedestrians.
The trial continues.