Bourke Street Scene Was 'Madness', Court Hears
The trial for Melbourne’s Bourke St accused killer has heard of the attempts to arrest him hours before the deadly rampage.
James Gargasoulas, 28, has pleaded not guilty to murdering six pedestrians and injuring 27 others, although he admits he sped through the crowded Bourke Street Mall on January 20 last year.
Detective Senior Constable Adam Burnett was involved in the police hunt for Gargasoulas that morning.
The accused man was on the run after stabbing his younger brother, Angelo.
During the day police followed him in marked and unmarked vehicles, as he drove around Melbourne suburbs in a stolen car.
The officer told the jury he was in a police car when Gargasoulas was spotted in the stolen Commodore on driving along busy Punt Road.
Police followed Gargasoulas through the inner suburbs of St Kilda, Prahran and Toorak, as more police cars became involved in covertly following Gargasoulas.
Detective Senior Constable Burnett gave evidence it was the police plan in that scenario to wait for the person of interest to stop and hopefully be arrested out of the vehicle.
“We’ve had a lot of ramming issues so then wanted to wait for that car to stop.”
In South Melbourne, Gargasoulas did stop, and motioned for police to approach his car. When he sped off police gave chase, and notified police command that they were involved in a pursuit.
But the detective told the court 30 to 60 seconds after the pursuit started, they received the order to call it off, loud bells sound over the police radio and all cars must stop immediately.
A short time the detective was notified the target vehicle was doing doughnuts outside Flinders Street Station.
The police then followed him up Swanston Street in the city and then left onto Bourke Street, where Gargasoulas started driving at pedestrians.
“I could just hear screaming straight away it was madness,” the detective said, “I could actually see pedestrians being flung into the air.”
He remembers the words coming over the police radio, “the car is hitting pedestrians and must be stopped at all costs.”
Once the car stopped, Detective Senior Constable Burnett helped remove Gargasoulas from the vehicle, turned him in his back and handcuffed him.
Other police witnesses are also giving evidence on the second day of the trial.
The jury has been told Gargasoulas had taken ice the day before his alleged crimes, and was in a drug induced psychosis when he drove down Bourke Street.