News State Victoria Bourke Street rampage: plans underway for permanent memorial

Bourke Street rampage: plans underway for permanent memorial

Bourke St flowers
Mourners have left hundreds of tributes to the victims of the car attack in the Melbourne CBD. Photo: AAP
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Plans for a permanent memorial to the victims of the Bourke Street rampage are now underway as the tragedy claimed its sixth life on Monday.

Bhavita Patel, 33, became the latest victim of the attack after she died in Royal Melbourne Hospital on Monday evening from critical injuries.

Her brother Mitesh, 30, told the Herald Sun: “I have no idea what to say about what happened except that I miss her and love her so much, and can’t believe that I won’t see her any more.

“My parents and I are broken. But we all appreciate the love we’re getting from people.”

Further charges are now expected to be laid against 26-year-old Dimitrious “Jimmy” Gargasoulas, who was already facing five counts of murder.

He has been remanded in custody and ordered to face court via video link in August.

Meanwhile, standing in front of what Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle described as “the epicentre of grief and reflection”, he and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told a joint news conference on Tuesday that they wanted to take their time on a permanent memorial and “get it right”.

“One of the difficulties we have is there’s not a single site, arguably this is not the central site … there are nine sites that we will deal with along Bourke St … each of them is important,” Lord Mayor Doyle told reporters.

Lord Mayor Doyle also said it was time to “gather up the tributes”.

“The organic material will take some months to compost and it will go on the victims of crime garden [located adjacent to Parliament House]; we will preserve the cards; separately we will preserve all the other mementoes, the teddy bears and pictures,” he said.

“We’ll work out in coming days about a permanent memorialisation.”

Premier Andrews said the floral tribute, located on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets in Melbourne’s CBD, was a “very powerful statement of love and care and compassion, and it’s now appropriate now that this floral tribute is gathered up and that we find a permeant home”.

Bourke Street
SES volunteers begin the task of removing 1000s of floral tributes from Bourke Street. Photo: AAP

The Governor of Victoria also attended in what she described as the “next stage of the healing process”. Aboriginal elders conducted a smoking ceremony as the flowers, cards and mementoes were gently and carefully removed by SES workers, chaplains and volunteers.

Among the tributes removed were photographs and messages of love from mourners for 10-year-old Thalia Hakin who was killed during the rampage on January 20.

On January 26, The Australian Jewish News revealed she had written a compelling and heartwarming piece for a 2015 global competition in a bid to bring Jewish women together.

Thalia Hakin, a victim of the Bourke Street rampage
Thalia Hakin, 10, was laid to rest last week.

Described as “the words of an angel”, she wrote: “Now the world is dark, but soon to be bright for us.”

“When you light up a candle you light up your neshama [soul],” Thalia wrote.

“And you light up the world. And when you light up the world you make it a better place.

“Like for you, me and everybody. Now the world is dark but soon to be bright for us. And im yirtzeh hashem [God willing] mashiach [the messiah] will come.”

Thalia’s words are due to be published in a book published by JGU, called One More Light. JGU’s Susan Axelrod said the book would be blessed with the “words of an angel”.

Bourke st victims
Jess Mudie, 22, and Matthew Si, 33, were also killed during the incident. Photo: Victoria Police

“We will publish this entry and forever honour the soul of this Jewish daughter,” she told The Australian Jewish News.

On Tuesday, Thalia’s mother Nathalie remained in a critical condition while her younger sister, Maggie, is recovering from serious leg injuries.

Mr Andrews, who said that people should “always ensure that we never forgot those who have paid such a high price”, said seven people remained in hospital and one person was critical.

Four people died at the scene while another, a three-month-old baby, died the following night in hospital.

Police refused arrest warrant for brother of accused

Also on Tuesday, a magistrate refused to issue a warrant for the arrest of the injured brother of the accused Bourke Street killer, chastising police for not knowing whether he was still in hospital.

Angelo Gargasoulas was allegedly stabbed by his brother 12 days ago, hours before Dimitrious Gargasoulas allegedly mowed down pedestrians along Bourke Street.

Angelo Gargasoulas failed to appear for a hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday on charges yet to be released to the media.

A police prosecutor asked for a warrant to be issued for his arrest, despite not knowing whether he was still in hospital.

It was refused by Magistrate Felicity Broughton, who said police did not need to be “Einstein” to know what the situation was, and that she expected police to be more understanding.

“He is the victim of a stabbing and in hospital … he may be the victim of a very serious crime,” she said.

“If you can’t tell me in those circumstances where he is then I see no basis to issue a warrant.”

The matter will return to court later this week.

Magistrate Broughton said she expected police to come with “proper information” about how the case should proceed.

-with ABC

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