Nearly a year after a vehicle rammed a crowd of pedestrians in Melbourne, Australia, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others, the man behind the wheel has admitted to murder. Saeed Noori, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of murder, 11 of recklessly causing serious injury and five of conduct endangering life.
After initially pleading not guilty earlier this year, Noori changed that plea Friday before the Supreme Court of Victoria. If sentenced to the maximum possible punishment, the 33-year-old could face life in prison.
The attack last year occurred just days before Christmas, at a busy intersection in the city of some 4 million. Noori drove his mother’s SUV into a throng of pedestrians, injuring 17 people — including 83-year-old Antonios Crocaris, who later died of his injuries.
Prosecutors believe that Noori, an Australian citizen of Afghan descent, was acting alone and did not charge him with terrorism-related offenses.
“At an earlier hearing, police alleged Noori’s home computer had images of car attacks in London, Barcelona and the US city of Charlottesville and he had ‘a certain degree of radicalisation,’ ” the Australian Associated Press explained.
“But his lawyers said he suffered from schizophrenia and had likely not eaten or slept for days.”
Noori’s plea hearing has been set for February.