News Australasia

Thursday 16 August 2018

Man (32) charged with 18 counts of attempted murder after car drove at pedestrians in Melbourne

The scene of the crash on Flinders Street in Melbourne
The scene of the crash on Flinders Street in Melbourne

Alexander Britton and Ellie Cullen

A 32-year-old man has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder after a car was driven at pedestrians outside one of Melbourne's major transport hubs.

Nine of the victims were foreign nationals and among them was a 25-year-old Irish woman who is in a stable condition in hospital, police said.

The man, who has not been named by Victoria Police, has also been charged with one count of conduct endangering life and is due before magistrates in Melbourne on Saturday.

Read more: Irish woman 'stable' after Melbourne attack

Emergency cars are seen on the street following the incident outside Flinders St station in Melbourne, Australia, December 21, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Malcolm Sheridan/via REUTERS
Emergency cars are seen on the street following the incident outside Flinders St station in Melbourne, Australia, December 21, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Malcolm Sheridan/via REUTERS
Members of the public stand behind police tape after Australian police said on Thursday they have arrested the driver of a vehicle that ploughed into pedestrians at a crowded intersection near the Flinders Street train station in central Melbourne, Australia December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Melanie Burton
Members of the public stand behind police tape after Australian police said on Thursday they have arrested the driver of a vehicle that ploughed into pedestrians at a crowded intersection near the Flinders Street train station in central Melbourne, Australia December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Melanie Burton
Emergency services attend to injured people at the in Flinders St station in Melbourne,
Emergency services attend to injured people at the in Flinders St station in Melbourne, Australia

A dozen people remain in hospital, three of whom are in a critical condition, after the incident outside Flinders Street station on Thursday.

Police previously said the suspect, an Australian citizen of Afghan heritage, had a history of mental illness and drug abuse.

Security will be boosted at England and Australia's fourth Ashes Test, which starts on Tuesday, as a result of the crash.

Police have said there will be a "highly visible" presence of officers inside and outside the cricket ground for the Boxing Day Test, as well as widespread bag searches.

Pedestrians walk past as police and emergency services attend the scene of an incident involving a vehicle and pedestrians in Melbourne
Pedestrians walk past as police and emergency services attend the scene of an incident involving a vehicle and pedestrians in Melbourne
Emergency medical workers offer aid to victims struck by a vehicle (Australian Broadcast Corp. via AP)
Local media say over a dozen people have been injured after a car drove into pedestrians on a sidewalk in central Melbourne
A man has been arrested after a car collided with pedestrians outside a major train station
More than a dozen people have been injured, some seriously
More than a dozen people have been injured
Emergency services attend to injured people at the in Flinders St station in Melbourne, Australia

Victoria Police's assistant commissioner Stephen Leane said: "Our presence won't disappear when play is finished.

"Whether you are heading home or into the city, fans will see police right across Melbourne."

Read more: Driver mows down 19 in attack in Melbourne

There will also be increased patrols in popular tourist spots, such as Federation Square, at transport hubs, and along routes to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Emergency services attend to injured people at the in Flinders St station in Melbourne,
Emergency services attend to injured people at the in Flinders St station in Melbourne,
Members of the public stand behind police tape after Australian police said on Thursday they have arrested the driver of a vehicle that ploughed into pedestrians at a crowded intersection near the Flinders Street train station in central Melbourne, Australia December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Melanie Burton
Members of the public stand behind police tape after Australian police said on Thursday they have arrested the driver of a vehicle that ploughed into pedestrians at a crowded intersection near the Flinders Street train station in central Melbourne, Australia December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Melanie Burton
Emergency cars are seen on the street following the incident outside Flinders St station in Melbourne, Australia, December 21, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Malcolm Sheridan/via REUTERS

At a press conference outside the ground, Victoria premier Daniel Andrews urged people to remain vigilant.

He said: "Victoria Police have the resources and have the resolve to do everything that needs to be done to keep the community safe.

"If it takes a bit longer to get your bag searched, that's being done for your safety and I would ask that you are patient, that you are as cooperative as you possibly can be and that you remain vigilant.

"If you see something that you don't think is right, speak to one of the many members of Victoria Police that will be out and about over this really busy period."

Read more: 'We heard a massive bang... I grabbed the baby' - Irishman at scene after car hit crowd in Melbourne

Witnesses described seeing people "flying everywhere" as the car was driven at speed along Flinders Street at around 4.30pm (5.30am GMT).

Lachlan Read told the Herald Sun the incident lasted about 15 seconds.

"It was bang, bang, bang. It was just one after the other.

"The last bang the car stopped," the 20-year-old said. "There were bodies on the ground and people running up to them - it was mayhem."

A 24-year-old man who was arrested after he was allegedly found with illegal items during the initial police operation was interviewed and released, with police confirming the two men were not linked.

Press Association

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