Chilling CCTV shows accused gunman during attack

 

These are the chilling moments the parolee who police claim carried out the Darwin massacre allegedly murdered his last victim.

Police say Ben Hoffmann, who allegedly shot dead four men with a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun on Tuesday, was high on ice when he carried out the killings and had a friend buy him ammunition because he didn't have a firearms licence.

He also reportedly had compiled a hit list and police are investigating whether a feud over drug debts and a former girlfriend sparked the allegedly murderous rampage.

CCTV shows victim Rob Courtney entering his home before the attack. Picture: Supplied
CCTV shows victim Rob Courtney entering his home before the attack. Picture: Supplied

DARWIN VICTIMS

After taxi driver Hassan Baydoun, 33, Nigel Hellings, 75, and Michael Sisois, 57, were shot dead the 45-year-old allegedly arrived at the home of casino worker Rob Courtney, 52.

Hoffmann, who was released on parole in January, was captured on CCTV before entering Mr Courtney's Woolner home.

Mr Courtney tried to defend himself and stabbed the gunman before he was allegedly blasted in front of his housemate.

CCTV shows Ben Hoffmann exit his ute. Picture: Supplied
CCTV shows Ben Hoffmann exit his ute. Picture: Supplied

Hoffmann was then recorded on CCTV emerging from the property shirtless, covered in blood.

He only knew two of the four men he allegedly killed, Mr Courtney and Mr Sisois - who agreed to meet the man he used to work with in a pub car park.

It has also emerged that Courtney, a security guard who was born in New Zealand, was yesterday due to appear in court on a charge of attempted rape, the NT News reports.

In an earlier court appearance, Courtney had indicated he would plead not guilty.

Outside court yesterday, Courtney's lawyer Robert Welfare maintained his former client would ultimately have been cleared of any wrongdoing had he lived to defend the charge.

"He was always going to beat this charge but now, forever more, it hangs over his head," Mr Welfare said.

CCTV shows Ben Hoffmann leaving shirtless, covered in blood. Picture: Supplied
CCTV shows Ben Hoffmann leaving shirtless, covered in blood. Picture: Supplied

HOFFMANN CHARGED

Last night Hoffmann was charged with four counts of murder over the 28-minute rampage in which a woman, 23, was also injured when she was shot in the legs at the Palm Motel where Mr Baydoun was killed.

Hoffman underwent surgery in a Darwin hospital for knife wounds and was later taken to Holtze prison where he will remain in isolation.

Hoffman will appear in Darwin Local Court via video link this morning charged with murder, recklessly endangering serious harm and criminal damage.

Ben Hoffmann has been charged with four counts of murder.
Ben Hoffmann has been charged with four counts of murder.

It's believed Hoffmann had no relationship to taxi driver Mr Baydoun.

Mr Baydoun, originally from Lebanon, had recently graduated with a Masters degree from Charles Darwin University after 10 years of study and was looking forward to a visit from his mum, the NT News reports. It would have been the first time he had seen her in three years.

But Mr Baydoun's life was cut short when it's alleged Hoffmann, who Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said yesterday was "likely" high on ice, shot him in a room of the Palms Motel in the Darwin CBD.

Police have not ruled out an accomplice being involved because the ammunition used was purchased by a "well known associate" and given to the gunman, police commissioner Reece Kershaw said.

"That person has been spoken to and obviously we are looking at all avenues in relation to that individual," he said.

Police believe Hoffmann was searching for a man named "Alex" who was interstate at the time of the killings.

Hassan Baydoun, 33, recently graduated with a Masters degree. Picture: AAP
Hassan Baydoun, 33, recently graduated with a Masters degree. Picture: AAP

Mr Kershaw yesterday confirmed police were looking into whether Hoffmann and "Alex" were involved in a love triangle with an unidentified woman.

Mr Hellings is also believed to have had no interactions with Hoffmann before his death.

Neighbours in the leafy inner city suburb he lived in described Mr Hellings as a kind-hearted man who kept largely to himself and was often seen gardening or collecting mail in his underwear.

Nigel Hellings, 75, pictured at Darwin Harbour was described as “kind-hearted” by neighbours.
Nigel Hellings, 75, pictured at Darwin Harbour was described as “kind-hearted” by neighbours.

The other alleged victim, 57-year-old Michael Sisois, was a former colleague of Hoffmann's, the NT News reports.

His brother, Vincent Sisois, angrily asked why Hoffmann had been released from prison on parole recently given he was known to be dangerous and violent.

"Why was he let out, they knew something would happen and they let him out. Why?" Mr Sisois said.

Michael Sisois, 57, was a former colleague of the accused gunman. Picture: Keri Megelus
Michael Sisois, 57, was a former colleague of the accused gunman. Picture: Keri Megelus

 

A 23-year-old woman at the Palms, who police do not believe knew Hoffmann, was shot in the legs and remains in hospital.

COMMUNITY COMES TOGETHER TO HEAL

Mourners last night gathered at a vigil at the Darwin Uniting Church for the victims, only metres from where Hoffmann was tackled to the ground and tasered by police on Tuesday night.

Nearly 200 people crowded into the Smith St Uniting Church on Thursday night to begin to heal.

 

Those at the vigil spoke of grief, shock, despair and suffering and reminded Territorians of their shared humanity.

"Territorians stand together. Cyclones. Bombs. Floods. Fires. History shows every time we get knocked back down, we get back up again," Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.

"Thank you all for coming tonight to pay your respects. You are Darwin. Peace be with you," he said. "We are feeling pain. We will feel joy again, and we will do it together."

People are seen lighting candles at the Darwin Memorial Uniting Church where a crowd gathered to mourn the death of four men who were shot dead by Ben Hoffmann.  Picture: Keri Megelus
People are seen lighting candles at the Darwin Memorial Uniting Church where a crowd gathered to mourn the death of four men who were shot dead by Ben Hoffmann. Picture: Keri Megelus

Three clergy members and Abdallah Salman held candles for the four gunned down members of the Darwin community: Hassan Baydoun, Rob Courtney, Michael Sisois and Nigel Hellings.

GOVERNMENT REVIEW

The NT government has asked for a report from the Parole Board on Hoffmann and to review all people on parole, however Attorney-General Natasha Fyles defended the system yesterday.

"Internationally, evidence shows that an individual released into the community with support was a greater prospect for reintegration," Ms Fyles said.

 

Chief Minister Michael Gunner is seen at the Darwin Memorial Uniting Church,  Picture: Keri Megelus
Chief Minister Michael Gunner is seen at the Darwin Memorial Uniting Church, Picture: Keri Megelus

Hoffmann was picked up for speeding at 94km/h in an 80km/h zone in the hours before the killings, while wearing an electronic monitoring device, and his suspicious behaviour in Humpty Doo that morning prompted calls to police.

He told officers he was test-driving his silver Proton.

"He was not displaying any adverse behaviour," Mr Kershaw told reporters.



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