Confused, rambling and wanting to read from a 25-page explanation for his actions, James Gargasoulas has apologised for killing six people in a car rampage through Melbourne’s Bourke Street last year.
The 28-year-old told the Supreme Court on Monday he had permission from a premonition he believe came from God to hit people with the stolen car he was driving, but not to kill anyone.
“I apologise from my heart but that’s not going to fix anything… neither will a lengthy sentence fix what I done,” he told his murder trial.
He has pleaded not guilty to six charges of murder and 27 of reckless conduct endangering life but admits his driving caused his victims’ deaths and injuries.
Originally planned for four weeks, the trial looks set to last just four days.
Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC closed her case on Monday – day three – telling jurors “this is the clearest case of criminal liability that you will ever come across”.
The day was an emotional one, starting with Detective Sergeant Sol Solomon talking jurors through CCTV footage showing the rampage unfold.
One by one, he pointed out all 33 victims, narrating the moments they were struck and the aftermath.
The graphic, confronting footage was played almost three dozen times over two hours.
Several jurors gasped and flinched as the footage showed pedestrians being struck.
Others watched with hands clasped tightly over their mouths.
Defence barrister Theo Alexander will deliver his closing remarks on Tuesday.
He called no witnesses other than Gargasoulas, who over 14 minutes answered a handful of questions and read from a two-page handwritten note, condensed moments earlier from 25 pages.
“I still haven’t gathered my thoughts as to understand why I did that,” he said when Dr Alexander asked why he drove on the footpath injuring and killing people.
Gargasoulas spoke about a judgment day comet coming to smite the earth and about the Bible and Koran but was quickly directed back on topic each time by Justice Mark Weinberg.
“I am here to prove we are under oppression, which we are, and when we are under oppression things like Bourke Street happen,” Gargasoulas said.
He said he wanted “God’s royal laws” reinstated, under which the penalty for his crimes would be death.
Under cross-examination he told Ms Judd he didn’t intend to kill people, but knew death or serious injury was probable.
“I had permission to run people over, but that doesn’t mean I have permission killing people,” he told the court.
The jury is expected to begin deliberating on Tuesday.