Court hears that ISIS sympathizer, Saeed Noori, 33, who mowed down pedestrians in Melbourne’s Flinders Street, killing an elderly grandfather, said he “did it in the name of Allah” as revenge for allegedly being “tortured by the Australian government for about 3-½ years.”
The Flinders News Noori drove his mother’s SUV into 16 pedestrians outside Flinders Street Station on December 21, 2017, motivated by an apparent hatred of the Australian government. He was arrested by an off-duty police officer who had just alighted a tram near the attack, and Noori uttered “Allah Akbar” as he was restrained.
One of his victims was 83-year-old Antonios “Anton” Crocaris, who later died from head injuries. Noori told homicide squad investigators a “voice within” told him to drive into pedestrians, a Supreme Court of Victoria pre-sentence plea hearing was told on Tuesday.
“I’m sorry for the people that I injured but I did it in the name of Allah,” he was quoted as saying, and: “I’ve been tortured by this government for about three-and-a-half years. They got me to a point that it was a voice within – within me ask me to do it”. “I just drove into them. I just did a turn and shut my eyes,” he also told police.
Noori, who had fasted for seven days before the attack, also condemned the Australian government as racist and for oppressing Muslims, repeatedly saying he believed he and other Muslims were targeted by “bullies” at ASIO, the court was told. He added he was sympathetic to ISIS, but didn’t know any members and “I just support my religion”.
Noori’s computer and a USB stick were found to contain a number of images from international terrorist attacks, videos about ISIS and other material that an expert said showed he had a “degree of radicalization.” He previously pleaded guilty to murder, 11 counts of recklessly causing serious injury and five of conduct endangering life.
Also on Tuesday, Mr Crocaris’ son Bill told court of losing his “precious and irreplaceable father” who was “handsomely dressed” in a pinstripe suit on the day of his murder. Bill Crocaris said watching his father take his last breaths was “heartbreaking and torturous.” Every day I wonder why he was killed in the senseless manner that he was.”
Mr Crocaris’ daughter, Freda May, said she now felt threatened and vulnerable in places where she used to feel safe. She added that her father’s death had been treated as insignificant compared to other similar attacks.
Other witnesses to the attack said they saw “bodies flying” in the air, and suffer post traumatic stress, being “triggered” when they heard cars accelerate or read about similar crimes.
Crown prosecutor Mark Gibson SC argued Noori should be punished with life imprisonment. “It was unprovoked and displayed a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life,” he said. “He clearly was seeking to take out his hatred for the Australian government … by attacking the community.