NT triple murderer reveals why he did it

·3-min read

A gunman convicted of murdering three people and killing another during a drug-fuelled Darwin shooting spree has told his side of the story for the first time.

Benjamin Hoffmann pleaded guilty mid-trial in November to intentionally killing Hassan Baydoun, 33, Michael Sisois, 57 and Rob Courtney, 52, and the manslaughter of 75-year-old Nigel Hellings, on June 4, 2019.

During the 48-year-old's latest appearance in the Northern Territory Supreme Court on Monday, Hoffmann took the stand for sentencing submissions to give evidence about the killings.

Under questioning from Justice John Burns, the gunman said his world was turned upside down in the lead up to the killings when he learned his girlfriend Kelly Collins had re-started using methamphetamine.

"Things spiralled out of control with Kelly. Too much was going on for too long," he said.

Hoffmann said a group of men had been feeding Ms Collins drugs and pimping her out and raping her.

"She had guys stalking her that were stalking me," he said.

He said the pair had met "naturally" while they were drug-free at the rehab centre after he was released from prison and planned to move in together, but her regression had left the pair vulnerable.

"That part of my life out of control and the stress and the fear it put of me trying to get her to a safe area. I tried to save her. I feared for my life and my girlfriend," he said.

On the day of the killings Hoffmann believed Ms Collins, an ex-prostitute, was in danger and likely to have been physically harmed.

"I had full visions of Kelly being held against her will as a hostage. The night before I was convinced I'd been poisoned and I believed she had been too," he said.

Hoffmann also said he believed various groups of men were out to get him, including an outlaw motorcycle gang.

In reality, he was high on methamphetamine and shot the four men dead while hunting a man named Alex Deligiannis, who he believed had lured Ms Collins back to drugs and prostitution.

Hoffmann shot his first victim, Mr Baydoun, four times with a double barrel shotgun from about a metre away at the Palms Motel in central Darwin.

Mr Hellings was gunned down through the front door of his apartment soon after about 800 metres away.

Hoffmann's next victim was Mr Sisois, who he shot in the head in the car park at the nearby Buff Club bar and restaurant.

Mr Courtney was murdered at an industrial yard about two-and-a-half kilometres away.

He was found with 69 injuries, including 36 stabbing and slicing wounds, multiple blunt force injuries and a gunshot wound.

Mr Deligiannis had previously visited three of the locations regularly.

Hoffmann told the court he was a scared man suffering from a severe mental illness, post traumatic stress syndrome, flashbacks and was often suicidal.

"It is a disaster what has happened but before the disaster there was signs I was cracking," he said.

"All I can do is try to right a wrong and put the truth to how it was."

Prosecutor Lloyd Babb asked Hoffmann who was responsible for the killings, to which he replied after a long pause: "That is a very good question".

Mr Babb said Hoffmann lacked remorse and was attempting to blame a mental illness despite five psychiatrists reporting he was not suffering from one.

He recommended Justice Burns sentence him to prison for term of natural life without parole.

Justice Burns reserved his decision to a date to be fixed.

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