‘It is a tragic day for all of you and myself’: Bourke Street killer James Gargasoulas claims HE is the victim in astonishing courtroom rant to the loved ones of the six people he murdered
- Gargasoulas claimed to be victim of ‘government opression’ in bizarre speech
- He said he’d accept life in prison because ‘judgement day was around the corner’
- The 29-year-old read from a letter he had written and added he had a ‘big heart’
- Mass murderer apologised to victims but said jail time would not fix his actions
Bourke Street killer James Gargasoulas has claimed he is the victim of ‘government opression’ in an astonishing rant to the victims of those he murdered.
Gargasoulas, 29, killed six pedestrians and injured dozens more when he drove a stolen car along footpaths and through a busy pedestrian mall while in a drug-induced psychosis on January 20, 2017.
His bizarre address to a Supreme Court of Victoria pre-sentence hearing on Thursday was similar to a statement he delivered to the court during his trial.
Bourke Street killer James Gargasoulas ( has claimed he is the victim of ‘government opression’ in an astonishing rant to the victims of those he murdered (pictured leaving court on Tuesday)
Gargasoulas read from a letter he wrote three days ago, and also said he had a ‘big heart’.
He added he would accept life in prison without parole because he knew ‘judgement day is around the corner’, according to news.com.au.
The 29-year-old apologised to his victims and their family and friends, but added neither his apology nor ‘a lengthy jail sentence’ would fix his actions.
The speech came after victim Melinda Cleland told the court on Wednesday of the horrific moment she was slammed into a concrete wall in the rampage.
The parents of Zachary Bryant, who sustained fatal injuries in the rampage, and his sister Zara – who was also struck by Gargasoulas’ car – were also present at the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday.
‘I am deeply ashamed of what I’ve done. I must say it is a tragic day for all of you and myself. If only we could go back in time, I would change it all,’ Gargasoulas told the court.
‘What I want you to know is I am a victim of government oppression. It is because of oppression six people have died and many were injured.
‘I am not evil. I am not a terrorist. I am a freedom fighter who is now educated to stop oppression.’
The 29-year-old apologised to his victims and their family and friends, but added neither his apology nor ‘a lengthy jail sentence’ would fix his actions (pictured is the car driven by Gargasoulas)
Gargasoulas described what he believed were the government and monarchy’s misdeeds in overruling ‘God’s laws of liberty’ and said the country’s legal, social and financial systems were designed to ‘enslave humanity’.
He said he was the Messiah and that his actions on the day of the massacre were caused by God, who wanted Gargasoulas to help reinstate God’s laws.
‘God is half responsible for what I did. He kept me safe from the people that wanted to harm me so I could tell the truth,’ he said under cross-examination.
Gargasoulas described what he believed were the government and monarchy’s misdeeds in overruling ‘God’s laws of liberty’ and said the country’s legal, social and financial systems were designed to ‘enslave humanity’ (pictured victim Melinda Cleland seen exiting Supreme Court of Victoria
‘Prior to Bourke Street, I had visions, visions that kept me safe from assassinations.’
He added he was in a ‘bad headspace’ at the time caused by troubles with his girlfriend, younger brother, and because he believed the Illuminati was ‘after me’.
Gargasoulas said he had a ‘big heart’ and was remorseful but admitted he ‘wasn’t thinking straight’ during the massacre and said he felt his victims colliding with his windscreen.
He also denied he had schizophrenia and claimed the drug ice, which he’d used before the massacre, was not ‘that bad a drug’.
Zachary Matthew Bryant (pictured with his mother Nawwar) was left brain dead after the pram he and his sister Zara were in was struck by James Gargasoulas’ stolen car in 2017
Sections of a letter from Gargasoulas’ father Christos were also read to the court, in which he said the incident had brought ‘much shame on my family’.
‘The last two years before the incident at Bourke Street, I noticed that Jimmy was not very stable with any jobs or relationships or life in general,’ Mr Gargasoulas said in his letter.
‘I am very sorry for what my son has done and apologise for his actions and all the pain he has caused.’
The plea hearing continues on Thursday afternoon, when Gargasoulas’ treating psychiatrist is expected to give evidence.