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Drug-driver who killed six in 'one of the worst mass murders' in Australian history handed life sentence

James Gargasoulas killed six people when he drove into shoppers in Melbourne in 2017.

James 'Dimitrious' Gargasoulas is escorted from a prison van at the Supreme Court of Victoria (file photo)
James 'Dimitrious' Gargasoulas is escorted from a prison van at the Supreme Court of Victoria (file photo)
Image: AAP/PA Images

AN AUSTRALIAN MOTORIST who killed six people during a rampage along a busy shopping street was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.

James Gargasoulas, 29, also injured dozens when he drove his car into shoppers in Melbourne in an act that a judge described as one of the country’s worst mass murders.

The January 2017 attack at Bourke Street mall, which police determined was not terror-related killed a three-month-old baby, a 10-year-old girl and a Japanese student.

Witnesses described “bodies flying through the air” and people running out of the path of the speeding vehicle.

At the Supreme Court in Victoria state on Friday, Gargasoulas was handed life sentences for six counts of murder and told he would serve a minimum of 46 years in prison.

Despite being in a “drug-induced psychosis” under the effects of methamphetamine, Judge Mark Weinberg said he was fully aware of his actions on the day of the killings.

“This was one of the worst examples of mass murder in Australian history,” he said.

A jury last July took less than an hour to convict Gargasoulas, who was also found guilty of 27 counts of reckless conduct endangering life.

During the trial, the killer apologised “from the heart”.

“But that’s not going to fix anything if I say sorry. Neither will a lengthy sentence fix what I’ve done,” he said. 

However, Weinberg found Gargasoulas was not “genuinely remorseful” for his crimes, adding that it was “enormously fortuitous” he did not kill more people.

“You were also well aware of the likelihood that by driving through the crowds in the way that you did, you would kill, or at least seriously injure, those that you struck,” he said.

With reporting from AFP.

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