The driver accused of mowing down pedestrians in Melbourne’s CBD could be heard arguing loudly on the phone for three straight days, his neighbour has claimed.
An anonymous man who lived near Afghan refugee Saeed Noori has told the Herald Sun the 32-year-old used to play music loudly ‘100 times a week’ at his public housing unit and was overheard having heated discussions on the phone in another language a couple of weeks before he allegedly drove a white Suzuki Vitara through the pedestrian intersection of Flinders Street and Elizabeth Street on Thursday.
‘This was an argument. You could tell it was a heated discussion,’ he said.
‘Sometimes it was loud music 100 times a week … Another time we heard [a woman] crying and I knew he wasn’t home because we saw him walking back from the shops not long after.’
Saeed Noori (pictured) was charged with 18 counts of attempted murder and one count of conduct endangering life after being formally interviewed by police
The neighbour claimed Noori took over the unit from his 72-year-old father, who lived on the property for roughly six weeks when it was first built.
The 32-year-old has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder and one count of endangering life.
Over the weekend, a former colleague of Mr Noori’s said there was always talk of his religious beliefs in the office.
The colleague, known only as Daniel, worked with Mr Noori at a call centre, where the accused went by the name Mark.
Daniel said Mr Noori ‘forced’ his religion on other people.
‘People would say ‘I believe in God’ and he’d say ‘you need to believe in Allah’,’ Daniel said.
Daniel said he was shocked to hear Mr Noori was allegedly behind the wheel of a car when it ploughed into pedestrians in Melbourne’s centre on Thursday.
While he was shocked by the seriousness of the accusation, Daniel said he noticed aggressive tendencies in Mr Noori.
‘There was one or two instances where he’d blow up and he’d say I need you to calm down you’re at work now,’ Daniel said.
Noori is expected to face court on Saturday afternoon. Twelve people injured in Thursday’s car attack remain in hospital, with three people fighting for their lives, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Saturday
Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said investigators had asked advice from the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions on the charges
Victoria Police Prosecutor Senior Constable Amitoj Singh told the court Mr Noori drove the vehicle through the intersection ‘with the intention of killing or causing serious injury’.
He said 18 people were injured, and three remained in a critical condition in hospital.
Senior Constable Singh said Mr Noori’s motive for the incident was still under investigation.
Mr Noori did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody ahead of a hearing on Wednesday.
The mother (pictured) of the man accused of mowing down 18 pedestrians outside Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station has violently lashed out at reporters as she arrived at court for her son’s charges
Footage of his distressed mother (pictured) shows the woman swinging her handbag angrily at journalists outside court as she arrived to support her son on the dock
Mr Noori’s mother violently lashed out at reporters as she arrived at court for her son’s charges on Saturday.
Footage shows the woman swinging her handbag angrily at journalists outside court as she arrived to support her son on the dock.
The 32-year-old’s mother kept her face hidden under a Hijab as she swung wildly at onlookers and yelled out incoherently.
Emotional scenes played out in the courtroom as the woman sobbed and rocked back and forth as the charges laid against her son were read out, the Herald Sun reports.
She attempted to reach out to the accused and took photographs on her mobile phone before being assisted back to her seat and instructed to turn off the device.
Noori covered his face with his hand and looked down for the hearing, as prosecutors read details of the incident, indicated more charges are being considered and said the motive remained under investigation.
The 32-year-old’s mother (pictured) kept her face hidden under a Hijab as she swung wildly at onlookers and yelled out incoherently
When asked if there were any custody management issues, Noori’s defence lawyer said: ‘Yes, your honour, first and foremost mental health.’
He also said the accused man had physical health issues.
Magistrate Bob Kumar remanded Noori in custody to face a filing hearing on Wednesday. He also ordered that Noori be seen by a nurse for physical and psychiatric issues.
At the end of the hearing, Noori uttered a quiet: ‘Thank you,’ before being led from the dock into custody.
Twelve people injured in Thursday’s car attack remain in hospital, with three people fighting for their lives, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Saturday.
Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said investigators had asked advice from the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions on the charges.
‘I’ve got a firm belief that what he [allegedly] did on Thursday night was a deliberate act,’ he told reporters on earlier Saturday.
‘The motivations for that act, we’ll work through.’
Mr Noori made ‘utterances’ to police about voices, dreams and the ‘poor treatment of Muslims’ to officers in hospital on Thursday night, and later made comments about Australia’s top security body and Allah.
Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said Saeed Noori made comments while at St Vincent’s under police guard, only hours after the horrific rampage on Thursday afternoon.
‘I don’t know the exact detail, to do with Allah and some ramblings about ASIO (the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation),’ Mr Patton said according to The Herald Sun.
Saeed Noori (pictured), 32, is an Australian citizen who came to Australia from Afghanistan via a refugee program in 2004
Mr Patton told The Project Noori made utterances about voices, dreams and about why he drove the Suzuki SUV through the busy crowds.
‘Others are about that he did this act because of perceived harms committed on Muslims around the world,’ he said.
‘There’s a range of issues there.’
After treatment Noori was transferred from hospital to a holding centre to be interrogated by police.
The 32-year-old tried to hide his face with his cuffed hands while sitting between two detectives as he left Melbourne Police Station heading for the Custody Centre below the Magistrates Court.
The Afghan refugee accused of mowing down 18 pedestrians outside Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station has been transferred to a holding centre to be interrogated by police
The Afghan immigrant spent the previous 24 hours under police guard in hospital after crashing the white Suzuki Vitara into a tram stop bollard at the corner of Flinders and Elizabeth Streets.
Detectives were initially unable to interview him due to his injuries from the crash and a struggle with an off-duty police sergeant who heroically wrestled him from the car before other officers arrested him.
Mr Patton said there were no signs in Noori’s online activity that he planned the attack in advance, and that counter-terrorism specialists did not believe it was a terrorist attack.
‘We haven’t excluded [him being motivated by terrorism]. We haven’t seen any warning signs that there was any threat of violence,’ he said.
He said Noori had a history of drug use and mental illness, stressing that investigators had not yet found any extremist or terrorist links to the horror rampage.
The 32-year-old spent the previous 24 hours under police guard in hospital after crashing the white Suzuki Vitara into a tram stop bollard at the corner of Flinders and Elizabeth Streets
Speaking briefly to investigators last night as he lay in a hospital bed at St Vincent’s under police guard, the Noori made a ‘number of utterances’ and ‘spoke about dreams and voices’
Investigators were still searching for a motive for Noori’s alleged ‘evil act’ and it was hoped the formal interview, would shed some light on them.
Police said it did not appear to be a terrorist attack but raided two homes in Heidelberg West – where Noori lives – and Oak Park in Melbourne’s north on Thursday night, hours after the terrifying incident.
The family members present were reportedly cooperatives as forensics teams seized electronic items from the homes that police will comb through for clues about Noori’s motives.
‘At this stage nothing has been found to indicate a linkage to extremism, a terrorist organisation or anything of a terrorist nature,’ police told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.
Noori arrived in Australia as a refugee in 2004 through a resettlement program, and had several run-ins with the law between 2008 and earlier this year.
‘He came to Australia as a refugee. He did not come with a people smuggler, he came through the appropriate refugee, the normal refugee programs,’ Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.
Police said it did not appear to a terrorist attack but raided two homes in Heidelberg West – where Noori lives – and Oak Park (pictured) in Melbourne’s north on Thursday night, hours after the terrifying incident
The family members present were reportedly cooperatives as forensics teams seized electronic items from the homes that police will comb through for clues about Noori’s motives
‘At this stage, because investigations are continuing, apart from that statement, there are no known links to any political issues or any, certainly any links to extremist groups.
‘Therefore, the position I am advised off at the moment is that no terrorism link has been identified at this stage. I want to stress, there is a mass of material that is being investigated and nothing should be ruled out, nothing should be ruled out.
‘Now, whatever the motivation, this was a despicable and cowardly act, but I want to reassure all Australians that this is an isolated incident.’
Noori’s legal issues started with a minor assault charge in 2010 that was dropped after he pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury and was fined $800.
Then in June this year he was convicted and fined $1000 after pleading guilty to driving while unlicensed, using a mobile phone while driving, and failing to answer bail.
Many more could have been injured or killed if the car hadn’t crashed into a tram stop bollard on Flinders Street and the intersection of Elizabeth Street
The missing bail charges was from when he missed a court date for the driving offences, which occurred either early this year or late last year, and which he also faced court for in February.
Nineteen people were injured in the incident, including the driver and an off-duty policeman who heroic wrestled him from the car where other officers arrested him.
Many more could have been injured or killed if the car hadn’t crashed into a tram stop bollard on Flinders Street and the intersection of Elizabeth Street.
By midday on Saturday 12 people were still in hospital with only three, including an 83-year-old from Northcote and two South Koreans in their 60s who remain in a critical condition.
Five men, aged 25, 40, 43, 45 and 83 and six women, aged 25, 30, 35, 47 and 58, were among the victims and along with another three men and two women of unknown age.
Many were from overseas including citizens of South Korea, China, Italy, India, Venezuela, Ireland and New Zealand.
Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.