Man Who Killed Punjabi Bus Driver in Australia Has 'History of Mental Illness'

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), October 29, 2016 | Go to article overview

Man Who Killed Punjabi Bus Driver in Australia Has 'History of Mental Illness'


New Delhi, Oct. 29 -- A man with a reported history of mental illness was on Saturday remanded in custody after being charged with the murder of Punjab-born bus driver Manmeet Alisher in the Australian city of Brisbane.

Anthony Mark Edward O'Donohue, 48, allegedly hurled an incendiary device at Alisher on Friday, setting him alight and killing him on the spot. The family of Alisher, 29, has said they believe the attack was racially motivated though Brisbane police said there was no apparent motive for the killing.

O'Donohue, who was injured in the attack, appeared briefly in the Brisbane magistrates court on Saturday morning and was charged with the murder of Alisher, 11 counts of attempted murder related to passengers in the bus and arson, ABC reported.

Outside the court, his lawyer Adam Magill said O'Donohue was "numb". He added, "His major concern as far as I'm concerned at this point in time is his mental health, that needs to be assessed."

Magill acknowledged the case was "very heinous" and said he did not expect O'Donohue to apply for bail.

"He's numb at this stage...I don't think he's feeling anything at this point in time. He's trying to come to terms with what happened himself," Magill said.

Police officials were astonished by O'Donohue's reaction after the attack. The 7 News channel quoted its sources as saying that when detectives arrived at the scene of the attack, O'Donohue was sitting casually and saying nothing other than "I want a lawyer".

Police delayed entering O'Donohoe's nearby apartment because they feared it could be booby-trapped. O'Donohue has a history of mental illness but he had never done anything as violent as Friday's attack, police said.

Officials said on Friday that Alisher "stood no chance" and died soon after the device was thrown at him. O'Donohue, who was among passengers waiting to board the bus at a stop when he carried out the attack, was arrested on the spot.

Superintendent Jim Keogh said there was "no apparent motive" for the attack and that police had ruled out terrorism.

Bus drivers across Brisbane wore black armbands on Saturday as a mark of respect for Alisher and his family. The flag over the City Hall in Brisbane flew at half mast.

Watch these two short films made by Alisher

Hundreds of people who gathered for a vigil at the site of the attack on Friday night placed flowers and lit candles. …

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