Man charged with attempted murder after car hit pedestrians in Melbourne

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.

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.

Pedestrians walk past as police and emergency services attend the scene of an incident involving a vehicle and pedestrians in MelbourneCredit:
Kaitlyn Offer/AAP via AP

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.

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."

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.

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."

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.

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"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.


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