The mother of the 26-year-old man charged with murder after a car ploughed into vehicles and pedestrians has spoken out about her son’s history of mental health issues.
Zain Khan has been charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder after the carnage on Bourke St, in Melbourne’s CBD, on Friday night.
“It’s very sad. He’s sick,” Mr Khan’s mother told 7News.
“If some family who have kids that are sick, they will understand what mental illness is,” she said.
Homicide squad detectives charged Mr Khan, from Melton West on Melbourne’s northwestern fringe, on Saturday evening.
He was initially deemed “unfit” to be questioned by police after a mental health interview and was unable to be interviewed for close to 24 hours.
Mr Khan appeared at an after hours court hearing on Saturday, where one count of murder, three counts of attempted murder, three counts of intentionally causing serious injury and two counts of conduct endangering life were formally laid.
Police will allege Mr Khan ploughed into pedestrians and sped up before he smashed into two cars at a tram stop on Bourke St.
The driver of a Hyundai, a 76-year-old man, died at the scene, while five others were taken to hospital.
Three men and two women, aged in their 20s and 30s, were understood to be in stable conditions with various injuries.
Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Shane Patton, said the vehicle was allegedly travelling at 60 to 70 km/hr before the deadly collision.
He said there were no warning signs or reports of erratic driving before the incident and noted the counter terrorism unit had assessed all of the intelligence related to the crash, concluding it was not a terror act.
“We’ve ruled out terrorism as being any factor in this,” commissioner Patton said.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews said there was no “obvious” safety measure that could have prevented the crash — the third fatal incident on Bourke St in six years.
“We’re always ready to do more, there’s been $52 million worth of works ... to try and protect and provide sanctuary to people,” he said.
“There’s always limits to how far you can go when you’ve got shared spaces and particularly when you’re running a tram network which is unique in the world.”
A $52.5 million security upgrade across Melbourne’s CBD was launched after a January 2017 rampage killed six people on Swanston and Bourke Streets.
The works included the installation of hundreds of steel bollards, reinforced barriers and gates in high-profile pedestrian sites.
Mr Andrews said he had received advice there was “not much more” that could be done to ensure safety in Melbourne.
“I don’t think there is an obvious engineering fix ... but having said that, that‘s why you have the coroner look at these matters,” he said.
“If there‘s anything more we can do that comes through that coronial process, of course we stand ready to do that.
“We owe it to the family of that 76-year-old man who lost his life and those who are injured and those who are caught up in this — we owe it to all of them to try and learn from this incident and any other incident.”