An official told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court that the man who allegedly drove his SUV into Melbourne pedestrians gave “multiple answers” about the incident to the authorities, ABC reported on Sept. 25 .
When Paramedic Brett Overend brought 32-year-old Saeed Noori to the Royal Melbourne Hospital after the car attack on Dec. 21, 2017, he asked Noori to tell him what had happened. Overend said that Noori gave “contradictory” answers.
“Mr Noori was saying ‘no comment’ to me at one point,” Mr Overend said. “In relation to the incident [he gave] multiple answers.”
Detective Senior Constable Simon Bray gave evidence that Noori had said “I should be locked up, it was deliberate, there were voices” in the hospital.
Lead investigator Detective Chris Saulle had received a different response. “He said he’d committed the act to have his voice heard,” Saulle told the court.
Not long after the attack, a police official had told media that Noori blamed “the mistreatment of Muslims” for “some of his activities.” Noori is of Afghan descent.
In the court hearing, Noori pleaded not guilty to a murder charge for deceased 83-year-old Antonio Crocaris who died from the incident, 15 counts of attempted murder, and one dangerous driving offence.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) December 29, 2017
The court was shown a collection of footage of the incident. One of them showed an SUV driving into the Flinders Street tram lane and then heading off into the intersection where pedestrians were crossing the road at around 50 kilometers per hour.
Hours before the incident, Noori withdrew $7,000 from his bank account to hire a rental SUV. After failing to hire an SUV from two car rentals in Preston—given his history of mental illness, violence, and drug use—Noori went to Oak Park and borrowed his mother’s Suzuki SUV to drive to the city.
Francis Adams, an off-duty police officer who rushed to the SUV and restrained Noori gave his testimony in court, The Australian reported.
“I approached the vehicle … I tried to restrain his arms and put my head on the side of his head,” Adams said. “He eventually stopped moving … I believed he was faking losing consciousness.”
Prosecutor Mark Gibson said that he yelled “Allahu Akbar” two or three times after he was arrested.
The police found files on Noori’s computer relating to car attacks including images of the Westminster Bridge attack in London and the Charlottesville attack in the United States. Other photos included images of the Twin Tower attack on Sept. 11, and a Taliban execution, The Herald Sun reported.
Magistrate Camerson said that she was satisfied that there was enough evidence for a conviction, but a psychological evaluation must be done before Noori can plead not guilty on the basis of mental impairment, The Australian reported.
Victoria Police asked an Islamic studies expert who had assisted them in the past to help with the case. The expert suggested that Noori could have been radicalised. “There were signs and patterns in his initial statement and material he consulted online,” the expert said, adding that “there could be a fair degree of radicalisation.”
Noori is due to stand trial in Victoria’s Supreme Court on Oct. 2.
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