Julian Knight- The Hoddle Street Massacre

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Government to legislate to keep Hoddle Street killer Julian Knight in jail indefinitely

update 18/02/14 This dog is going to die in jail where he belongs, been wasting the courts time for more than 20 years from demanding smokes are cheaper in jail, to wanting to write to victims, to better computers to who gives a crap what else.

lets hope we never hear of him until it is confirmed he has dropped dead, alone in jail.

Knight will remain in jail until he is in imminent danger of dying or is seriously incapacitated.

Knight will remain in jail until he is in imminent danger of dying or is seriously incapacitated.

The Victorian Government will introduce a new law into Parliament to keep mass murderer Julian Knight behind bars indefinitely.

The Hoddle Street killer is eligible for parole in May after serving a minimum 27-year sentence.

Knight, a former army cadet, was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing seven people and injuring 19 others in what became known as the Hoddle St massacre on August 9, 1987.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine says legislation specifically targeting Knight will be introduced into Parliament today.

Julian Knight is our worst mass murderer. He has shown no remorse, no regret and he should rot in jail.

Denis Napthine, Victorian Premier

The Premier says that means Knight will only be released if he is in imminent danger of dying or is seriously incapacitated.

“This is a special situation for Julian Knight,” he said.

“Julian Knight is our worst mass murderer.

“(He was) convicted of seven murders and has a history of further inappropriate behaviour and disrespect for our fellow man whilst in jail.

“He deserves to rot in jail.”

Dr Napthine believes the legislation will be supported by all Members of Parliament, the victims and their families and especially members of the emergency services.

“I think all Victorians but particularly those who are families of victims, particularly those who are in the emergency services and those who are directly affected by the Hoddle St massacre… will applaud and support this legislation because they know Julian Knight is our worst mass murderer,” he said.

“He has shown no remorse, no regret and has showed no evidence of changed behaviour.”

The Government had to table special legislation in 2011 to prevent Knight from writing to his victims.

He has also sought access to his prison records to see if allegations against him in prison would affect his chances of parole.

Knight has made so many complaints about his treatment in prison that the Supreme Court declared him to be a vexatious litigant.

He now requires court approval before launching any legal action.

New law branded unfair

Greg Barns from the Australian Lawyers Alliance says he has numerous concerns about the plan.

“Julian Knight, whatever you think of him, has certain rights,” he said.

“When he was sentenced to life with 27 years, to then retrospectively say no, that’s not your right that is grossly unfair.

“It also means that it sets a very dangerous precedent for governments to think they can make policy on the run to undermine peoples’ rights.”

Jeff Lapidos is a former prisoner advocate and he remains in regular contact with Julian Knight.

He says Knight has been doing all he can to demonstrate to the parole board that he should be released.

“(Knight) has wanted to be released on parole as soon as is practicable. He has made arrangements with his family for a place to stay,” he told ABC local radio.

“We’ve been hoping that the Parole Board would be allowed to do its job independently as it should for every person in prison.”

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Julian Knight The Hoddle Street Massacre

Classification: Mass murderer

Characteristics: Revenge

Number of victims: 7

Date of murders: August 9, 1987

Date of arrest: Same day

Date of birth: March 4, 1968

Victims profile: 5 men and 2 women

Method of murder: Shooting (high-powered rifle, a .22 calibre rifle and a pump-action shotgun)

Location: Clifton Hill, Melbourne, Australia

Status: Sentenced to seven consecutive terms of life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 27 years on November 1988

The Hoddle Street Massacre

was a spree killing that occurred on the evening of Sunday, August 9, 1987 in Hoddle Street, Clifton Hill, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. The shootings resulted in the deaths of seven people, and serious injury to 19 others.

After a police chase lasting more than 30 minutes, 19 year old former Australian Army officer cadet Julian Knight was caught in nearby Fitzroy North and arrested for the shootings. Knight was later sentenced to seven consecutive terms of life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 27 years for one of the bloodiest massacres in Australian history.

As Knight was between 18-21, he was classed as a young adult offender under Victorian law and also because at the time Victoria did not have life without parole, he was given the 27 year minimum.

Julian Knight

A failed Australian military cadet, Julian shot his way into infamy on August 7, 1987, as he mowed down 7 and wounded 19 on a busy Melbourne street.

After his arrest, the 19-year-old maniac blamed the military for his rampage: “They trained me to kill, and I killed.” At one with his role of media star, Julian criticised local police for their slow response to his attack and announced plans to write the definitive account of his rampage, casting himself as the hero.

Julian thought his behaviour was a result of being ousted from the Royal Military College, where he was regularly beat up by his fellow cadets who thought he was a wimp. Adding insult to injury, he was rejected by his girlfriend. And, when the gear box of his car blew up, it pushed him right over the edge. Curiously, the killer counted being adopted and not being breast-fed among his list of reasons for his actions.

On August 7, at 9:35 p.m., Julian took up his position in the shrubbery on the median strip of Hoddle Street and fantasised that the homeland was being invaded. Armed to the teeth with a Ruger semi-automatic rifle, a Mossberg pump-action shotgun, an M-14 and 200 rounds of ammunition, he started shooting at everything that moved.

After 38 minutes he ran out of bullets and was captured by police. Later he claimed that he had saved a round for himself and lost it, prompting his surrender. Otherwise, he thought he deserved to be praised for his actions. “I performed exactly as my Army superiors would have expected me to perform in a combat situation… In other circumstances I would have gotten a medal for what I did.”

Rambo killing rampage

A 19-year-old former officer cadet yesterday entered no plea to one charge of murder, after he allegedly shot dead six people and injured 18 others in an inner Melbourne suburb on Sunday night.

The man, Julian Knight, a store-man, was remanded to appear again in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court next Monday. A police charge sheet indicated that Knight, of Clifton Hill, where the shooting took place, would face five other murder charges.


Knight was arrested after being chased by the police. He shot at the police and was arrested only after he ran out of ammunition. Hospital sources said the death toll from the massacre could rise – the condition of a 21-year-old woman was deteriorating.

Earlier yesterday an Army spokesman said Knight had started an 18-month officer course at the Royal Military Collage Duntroon in January but had resigned in June. Defence sources said Knight’s performance on the course had been below par and it had been suggested to him that he resign rather than be dismissed.

Opened Fire

Witnesses during the 40 minutes of violence said the Rambo-style attack turned Hoddle St. in Clifton Hill into a war zone. The gunman opened fire from behind bushes on motorists, pedestrians and a police helicopter. Two of his victims were woman. One woman was shot dead when she stopped her car because she thought the bodies on the road were the result of a car accident. Another woman, a passenger in a car, was killed while her husband and daughter looked on.

The daughter was injured. Another victim was a motorcyclist who crashed to the ground in the middle of the road. The police said the gunman used a high-powered rifle, a .22 calibre rifle and a pump-action shotgun.

The shooting was the bloodiest in Australia since the Milperra “bikie” massacre in Sydney in September 1984, when six men and a 14-year-old girl were killed. Clifton Hill residents who know Knight said he was a quiet, reserved young man. He had just been dropped by his girlfriend.

One man who lived up the road from the Knight family home knew of the 19-year-old’s collection of guns and his shame at being teased by Army colleagues for his slight build. “My son was a friend of both him and his girlfriend,” said the man, who asked not to be identified. “I saw him yesterday. He was going back to his place because it was his mother’s birthday and they were celebrating”. “His girlfriend had just dropped him – she didn’t want him anymore.”

The Hoddle Street Massacre

The mass shooting which Julian Knight committed in Hoddle Street, Clifton Hill, in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday the 9th August 1987, became known as the “Hoddle Street Massacre”.

In the space of 45 minutes, Julian Knight, a 19-year-old recently discharged Army Officer Cadet, fired a total of 114 rounds from three weapons which killed 7 people and wounded a further 19, including two police officers. The trail he left extended for over two kilometres and ventured across three inner-city Melbourne suburbs; Clifton Hill, Northcote and Fitzroy North.

The Hoddle Street Massacre was described by the then Victorian State Coroner, Mr Harold “Hal” Hallenstein, as “a significant tragedy in the history of Australia”. The Victorian Supreme Court judge who sentenced Knight, Mr Justice George Hampel, referred to the shootings as “one of the worst massacres in Australian history”.

At 11.30am on Sunday the 9th August 1987, Julian Knight woke up in his temporary bedroom in the front room of his mother’s house at number 6 Ramsden Street, Clifton Hill. It was the 16th day since his discharge from the Australian Regular Army, where he’d been an Officer Cadet at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in Canberra.

Since then he had been re-employed as a storeman/driver for a Melbourne clothing firm, Cuggi Rarity Stores Pty Ltd, but he was finding it near impossible to meet the weekly repayments on his $6,000 Defence Force Credit Union car loan. He was already two weeks behind with the repayments and he still owed over $5,800. In addition to the car loan he had around $1,200 of other debts.

The only asset Knight owned was a Holden Torana SLR5000 V8 sedan he’d purchased with the car loan in April 1987. He’d decided to sell it two weeks ago to help him pay off his debts, and he had made extensive attempts to sell it, but a buyer still hadn’t eventuated. His financial problems were creating a great deal of anxiety and his daily alcohol intake was now around five times what it had been when he was in the Army.

Since his discharge from the Army on the 24th July 1987, Knight had also attempted to re-enlist in two Army Reserve units; the 7th Transport Squadron, and the unit he had served in during 1985-87, the 4th/19th Prince of Wales’s Light Horse Regiment. On both occasions he had been rejected because of the pending criminal charges that had been laid against him.

At around 2.55am on Sunday the 31st May 1987, Knight had stabbed his Company Sergeant Major in a Canberra nightclub, the Private Bin. He had been training as an army officer at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, since the 13th January 1987.

The stabbing of his Company Sergeant Major was the direct result of continuous bastardization and victimization that he had been subjected to at the college. Immediately following the stabbing, Knight had surrendered to two Australian Federal Police officers in a nearby laneway, and he had subsequently been charged with malicious wounding, assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was now on bail – a $5,000 self-surety – and he was due to appear in the Australian Capital Territory

Magistrates Court on the 10th November 1987. The pending charges not only prevented Knight from re-enlisting in the Regular or Reserve Army, they also prevented him from pursuing almost all of the alternative careers he had considered following. The impending criminal convictions would effectively permanently exclude him from a military career – his “reason for living”.

To compound his problems with re-adjusting to civilian life, Knight’s former Melbourne girlfriend wanted to have nothing to do with him, and his Canberra girlfriend had remained behind in Canberra. He had drifted apart from his local friends and, unable to afford to live by himself, he’d been forced to “camp out” in the front room of his mother’s two storey terrace house.

To add to his anxiety, Knight’s natural mother, who was living in the Republic of South Africa, had failed to respond to a letter sent to her by Knight’s social worker. Knight had been adopted as a baby, and he always knew this, but he was disturbed by his natural mother’s refusal now to communicate with him.

Between 1.10pm and 4.10pm on Sunday the 9th August 1987, Knight attended a belated birthday party for his mother at his grandmother’s house in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn. Whilst at the party Knight consumed two cans of full-strength beer. He left the party in his own car and drove his younger sister home before driving aimlessly around theClifton Hill area.

At about 4.50pm Knight went to see an old girlfriend in Clifton Hill in order to give her a magazine. He only stayed at her flat for about five minutes then he continued to drive aimlessly around the area. Minutes later the gearbox of his car – his only asset – jammed and stuck in second gear. He limped the car home, where he changed clothes and drank another car of beer before walking angrily around to the nearby Royal Hotel, his local pub, at around 5.30pm.

None of Knight’s friends were at the Royal Hotel so he drank alone in the public bar from around 5.32pm to about 8.55pm. At around 8.50pm Knight began to feel the effects of the beer he’d been drinking and he had a “vision” of soldiers being ambushed. He felt as if it was a “call to arms” and at about 8.55pm he rushed from the hotel and ran back to his mother’s house.

Arriving back at his mother’s house minutes later, he spoke briefly to his sister when she met him in the hallway outside the front room. He then waited until his sister returned to the rear of the house to watch a movie on TV with their mother, before he ventured upstairs to his mother’s bedroom.

Stored under her bed were his legally owned and licenced weapons: a .177 calibre Daisy BB air rifle, a .177 calibre Chinese air rifle, a .177 calibre Crosman model 766 air rifle, a .22 calibre Ruger model 10/22 semi-automatic rifle, an 12-gauge 8-shot Mossberg pump-action shotgun, and a 7.62mm calibre M14 semi-automatic military rifle.

Knight retrieved the Ruger rifle, the Mossberg shotgun and the M14 rifle from underneath the bed, then he took the Ruger and the Mossberg back downstairs to the front room. He then returned to his mother’s room and collected the M14, and a steel ammunition box and a leather shotgun cartridge belt from his mother’s wardrobe, before returning to the front room to load the three firearms.

After loading the three firearms and stuffing his pockets with ammunition, including a “suicide” 7.62mm round which he placed in the front right hand pocket of his jeans, he placed a black combat knife down the back of his jeans. He then slung the M14 over his back and picked up the Mossberg and the Ruger in his right and left hands respectively. Immediately afterwards, at around 9.29pm, he opened the front door of the house and ran out into Ramsden Street.

After running west along Ramsden Street and crossing the nearby railway line, Knight reached the eastern side of the main four-lane arterial road known as Hoddle Street. At 9.30pm, from the nature strip on the east side of the road, Knight commenced firing on passing cars with the Ruger rifle.

The first car that Knight opened fire on contained a married couple, Con and Rita Vitkos. Rita received minor wounds and her husband drove on before stopping at a Mobil service station about 150 metres further south down Hoddle Street.

Following the Vitkos’s was a car containing Michael Anthony and Trevor Smeelie, and a car driven by Gregory Elliott. Both of these cars were damaged but none of the occupants were wounded. Following Elliott’s car was a car driven by Alan Jury and containing Monica Vitelli and Dannielle Mina. Jury and Vitelli were both wounded and they joined the others at the Mobil service station.

Knight fired rapid bursts at each car, and he reloaded with spare 10-round Ruger magazines as he moved north along the nature-strip towards the nearby Clifton Hill railway station. He ensured that he fired on every south and north-bound vehicle as it passed him, The next car he fired on contained Raewyn Crighton, Bernd Micheel and Dianne Arnold, who all escaped injury.

The following car was driven by Sand Wang, who received minor wounds. The next car was driven by Diane Fitzpatrick, who received a serious back wound. The next three cars to be shot at contained Michael Pearce and Jacqueline Langosch, Issac Lohman, and Reginald Dutton and Dana Sabolcki respectively, and they were all fortunate to escape injury.

At around 9.35pm Knight ran out of ammunition for the Ruger, so he dropped it on the nature-strip and commenced firing with the Mossberg shotgun. The loud blasts of the shotgun alerted local residents to the shooting and the first calls were made to the Victoria Police’s emergency communications centre, D24.

The first car to be fired at with the shotgun contained Sharyn Maunder, who did not receive any wound and who did not realize the front of her car had been hit. The next car to be hit was driven by Vesna Markovska, who received minor wounds, followed by a car driven by her fiance, Zoran Trajceski, who also received minor wounds. Both Markovska and Trajceski parked their cars by the side of the road and got out to take cover. As they did so a car driven by Georgina “Gina”

Papaioannou stopped on the opposite side of the street. Knight immediately fired on the car and Gina was slightly wounded. Soon afterwards a car driven by Jayne Morris, and also containing Kay Edwards and Cecily Caulis, drove south through the ambush zone.

Further south down Hoddle Street they flagged down a police divisional van containing Constable Glen Nichols and Constable Belinda Bourchier, and informed them about the shootings. Nichols and Bourchier immediately drove to the scene with their lights and siren on as they radioed D24. Soon after 9.38pm they reached the intersection of Hoddle Street and Ramsden Street and they were shot at by Knight.

Knight continued to change position as he fired at a procession of four single occupant cars which, in chronological order, were driven by Mathew Morrow, Edward McShortall, Trevor Robinson and Keith Wing Shing. McShortall received minor wounds but Wing Shing, who stopped his car opposite Knight, received serious jaw and throat wounds.

Knight continued to reload and change position as he continued to fire at the passing cars. The next car Knight fired at was a car containing Kevin Skinner, his wife Tracey and their son Adam. Tracey was killed instantly by a blast to the face and Adam, who was on her lap below the window sill, received minor glass wounds.

Following this, a local resident, Peter Curmi, and a friend of his, John Muscat, approached the scene from the western side of the street. Knight fired one shot at them which fatally wounded Muscat in the head and chest, and which seriously wounded Curmi. Immediately after this the attendant at the nearby swimming pool, Steve Wight, ran to their aid and was seriously wounded by Knight’s final shotgun blast.

It was now 9.39pm and numerous police units were rushing to the scene. Knight dropped the empty Mossberg shotgun on the ground and took up a prone firing position with his M14 rifle. At this point Vesna Markovska broke cover from behind her car and made for the footpath on the eastern side of Hoddle Street. As she stepped onto the footpath she was spotted by Knight who fired a shot which seriously wounded her. When she fell back onto the roadway Knight fired two further shots which killed her.

It was now 9.40pm and D24 notified the Police Air Wing that one of their Aerospatiale Dauphin police helicopters was needed to assist the police at the scene. Moments later, in a break in the firing, one of the police officers on the western side of Hoddle Street fired a shot at Knight, which missed him by only a couple of metres.

Immediately following this shot Robert Mitchell, who had driven through the ambush zone unscathed and parked his car further down Hoddle Street, ran up the eastern side of the street in an attempt to renderassistance to the fallen Markovska. As he reached her and came to a halt, Knight quickly fired a shot at him which hit him in the right side of the head and killed him instantly.

At 9.41pm, as three police units took up positions in Mayors Park on the western side of Hoddle Street and other police units took up positions in the surrounding area, Knight opened fire on a car driven by Jacqueline Turner and on Gina Papaioannou as she walked from her car to help Markovska and Mitchell. Turner’s car was not hit but Papaioannou was fatally wounded in the left side as she reached Markovska.

Following this, Knight fired on a car driven by John Finn who received minor wounds. The next car Knight shot at was driven by Andrew Hack who was seriously wounded in the left side. Following Hack was a car driven by Dusan Flajnik which Knight fired at. Flajnik was hit in the left side and bled to death in his car.

At 9.43pm Constable Bourchier requested another ambulance from D24 and nominated the Mobil service station as a safe rendevous point for ambulances as two more police units arrived there.

The next car to be shot at contained Michael Smith and Jacqueline Megens. Smith received minor wounds while Megens was seriously wounded in the shoulder. As they were fired upon the first two ambulances arrived at the scene; one at the Mobil service station and one at Mayors Park.

It was now 9.44pm and the next car to be shot at was driven by Steven Mihailidis who escaped unscathed. Immediately afterwards Knight fired at the rider of a motorcycle, Kenneth “Shane” Stanton, who was hit in the left leg and fell onto the roadway. As he lay there Knight shot him a further two times and he eventually died.

Soon afterwards, at 9.45pm, a car containing Dimitrios Collyvas, Renata Coldebella, Danny Coldebella and Danny De Luca, followed Staton down Hoddle Street. Knight, who was by this time beside the southern end of the Clifton Hill railway station buildings, fired a shot at the front of the car.

The car stopped and as it reversed back up the street Knight fired two more shots at into it before it crashed into a police car, driven by Constable Dominic Cannizzaro, which had just arrived at the scene.

The first shot that Knight had fired into the car had slightly wounded Renata, and the second shot he fired had seriously wounded Danny Coldebella. As Collyvas’s car was reversing a motorcycle being ridden by Wayne Timms and Jayne Timbury, followed by a car containing Alexandra Stamatopoulos, Steven Stamatopoulos, Irene Fountis, Vicki Fountis and Panagioti Fountis, drove into the ambush zone and stopped opposite Collyvas’s car.

At this point Knight, who was surrounded by at least 40 armed police officers, decided to withdraw from the area and begin “hunting” police officers. It was just after 9.45pm and he’d expended 40 rounds of .22 calibre bullets, 25 rounds of 12-gauge Buckshot and 32 rounds of 7.62mm calibre bullets in the preceding 15 minutes. Five people lay

dead, two were fatally wounded and a further 17 had been wounded. In addition to the expended ammunition, Knight had lost his “suicide” bullet and another 7.62mm bullet as he had moved up the nature-strip. Knight had also lost his knife on the nature-strip. He now retained only his M14 rifle and 17 rounds of ammunition.

Following his decision to withdraw, Knight turned around and climbed onto the western platform of the Clifton Hill railway station. He ran north along the platform and then continued moving north beside the railway line. He reached a fork in the tracks at around 9.46pm and decided to follow the left fork.

He spotted a police car in the northern end of Hoddle Street and fired three shots at it. The police car contained Sergeant Graham Larchin and Senior Constable Betty Roberts, who were not injured by the gunfire but who abandoned the car after Knight ceased firing.

After firing at Larchin and Roberts’s police car Knight moved into a nearby cluster of trees, sat down and smoked a cigarette. Minutes later, at 9.48pm, Police Helicopter VH-PVA – callsign “Air 495” – arrived over the Clifton Hill area and began searching for Knight with a powerful Nitesun searchlight. A minute later D24 ordered the Victoria Police’s elite Special Operations Group (SOG) to attend the scene.

Knight finished his cigarette and continued moving in a north-west direction towards Northcote. He crossed over the Merri Creek, which bordered Clifton Hill and Northcote, and took up a position at the end of a road bridge which spanned the creek. Just before 10pm he fired a shot at a passing police officer, Constable Colin Chambers, who was slightly wounded in the right side.

After shooting Chambers, Knight moved back across Merri Creek into the adjoining suburb of Fitzroy North. At this point he was chased by Police Helicopter “Air 495” and he ran into a line of trees beside the railway line. He tried to avoid the searchlight for a few minutes but then, at 10.05pm, he broke cover onto the railway line, knelt down and fired three shots at the helicopter as it circled over him.

The Police Helicopter, an Aerospatiale Dauphin containing Senior Constable Trevor Wilson, Senior Constable Daryl Jones, Constable Keith Stewart and Ambulance Officer Alan Scott, was hit by the first shot which pierced it right main fuel tank and forced it to land on a nearby sports field.

Knight continued on into Fitzroy North and headed down McKean Street in an attempt to reach his ex-girlfriend’s house. It was now 10.13pm and Knight was spotted by two police officers, Constable John Delahunty and Constable Ralph Lockman, who gave chase in their police car, callsign “Fitzroy 213”.

As they bore down on him Knight ducked into a laneway, turned around and fired his last ten rounds at the police car as it stopped in the middle of the road facing the laneway. Constable Delahunty, who was driving the police car, received minor shrapnel wounds to the face and left hand as he and Lockman tumbled out of the car with their revolvers drawn.

The police car’s headlights were on high beam facing the entrance to the laneway, which was also lit up by a nearby street light. As Delahunty and Lockman took up positions behind their police car and called upon Knight to surrender, Knight squatted down beside a low brick wall and searched his pockets vainly for his “suicide” bullet.

When he realized that he had lost it he leaned out into the headlight beams and dropped the empty M14 on the ground. He then slowly stood up with his hands in the air. When he was fully upright Constable Delahunty stepped out from behind the rear of the police car and fired a shot at him.

Knight was not hit but he ducked back down behind the low brick wall. As Delahunty and Lockman again called on him to surrender he yelled back “Don’t shoot! I’m coming out!” He again rose up with his hands in the air before walking out onto the street where he was arrested by Delahunty and Lockman.

Numerous other police officers arrived at the arrest scene, and after a short, initially violent, interrogation, Knight was driven in an unmarked police car to the St Kilda Road Police Complex by Detective Senior Constable Richard McIntosh, Detective Senior Constable Kim Cox and Constable Robert Kovacs.

At the St Kilda Road Police Complex Knight was interrogated extensively by McIntosh and Cox, briefly by the then head of the Homicide Squad, Detective Chief Inspector Brendon Cole, then extensively by Homicide Squad detectives Detective Senior Sergeant Brian McCarthy and Detective Senior Constable Graham Kent.

Knight also took part in a night-time crime re-enactment and a daytime crime re-enactment, both of which were videoed, and he was interrogated until he was eventually charged with the murder of John Muscat at 12.20pm on Monday the 10th August 1987.

Nightmare on Hoddle Street

According to police, Knight had drunk no more than five pots of beer during the evening. According to bar staff, he drank eight. Knight himself has insisted that he put away at least thirteen. What is not disputed is the time he left the Royal Hotel (8:20 P.M.) and the time he arrived home according to both his mother and sister, nine o’clock. It takes less than ten minutes to walk from the pub to Ramsden Street.

Knight has claimed that his mind is a complete blank from the time he left the pub to the time he got home. In barely credible contrast, he can remember everything from 9:00 P.M. onwards in extraordinary detail.

He prepared and loaded his three guns. He sorted out additional ammunition. He clipped a 10-inch sheath knife onto his belt. He put a single bullet into the left pocket of his jeans and, at about 9:30 P.M., he slipped quietly out of the house. He had the Ruger rifle in his left hand, the Mossberg shotgun in his right and the M-14 slung over his shoulder.

Ramsden Street was deserted, not a soul to be seen. He headed west, at a brisk walk, towards the railway crossing. Instead of using the pedestrian gate, he slipped through a hole in the wire fence at the side of the crossing, and picked his way over the railway lines, angling off into the darkness. When he emerged, he was on a narrow strip of land that separated the railway track from a parallel-running, four lane arterial road called Hoddle Street.

The buffer strip had been landscaped with grasses, shrubs and trees to give the impression of a natural divide, cleverly hiding the ugly mechanics of the railway – and, on the night of Sunday 9 August 1987, something far uglier still – from the eyes of the suburban car drivers on Hoddle Street.

Knight knelt down by the side of a tree – or “propped,” in the military jargon he would invariably employ when talking later about the events of that night – and surveyed the scene before him. The traffic along Hoddle Street was heavy and the nearest vehicles passed within about 20 feet of him. Visibility was reasonable but the cacophony of engine noise and the quality of the light – the low-glare shimmer from the overhead street lamps, and the bright cores and vaporous tracers of headlights and taillights – rendered the world strange and unreal.

Even by the usual cowardly standards of pseudo-commando killers, Knight was extraordinarily spineless. He was unable to embark upon his mission without first dealing himself every last psychological ace from the bottom of the pack. He needed to have his victims comprehensively dehumanized; so he chose the night, when darkness reduces people to mere shadows and silhouettes. He needed to jettison his inhibitions, weaken his conscience and sever completely his tenuous distinction between reality and fantasy; so he loaded himself with beer.

Finally, just to be absolutely certain he would not get too close to his victims – that they would remain anonymous, two-dimensional targets – and that the real world and his fantasy world would remain irrevocably fused, he chose, as the location for his rampage, the surreal nightscape of the urban clearway. Hardly surprising, then, that he would later tell detectives, “It was like one big dream … It’s kind of like you could have been in Beirut and you wouldn’t have known the difference.”

He took aim with his Ruger rifle at a shadow behind the steering wheel of a southbound car – and then squeezed the trigger. He fired again, and again, and again: “It was just sights, target, BANG, BANG, BANG.” He moved north up Hoddle Street, keeping to the trees and bushes, and propped again, beneath the giant Coca-Cola billboard near the Clifton Hill Railway Station. Again he opened fire. The muzzle flash from the rifle was the only visible clue to his whereabouts.

Knight, who had been dreaming for years about seeing action in “East Timor, Irian Jaya, Philippines, Thailand, Burma, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Beirut – especially wanted to go to South Africa-Central America, anywhere there was a shit fight on,” but who had failed in the one legitimate career with the potential to satisfy his fantasies, created, in Clifton Hill, Melbourne, on that Sunday evening, his very own combat zone.

The following morning he would retrace his steps, in the company of detectives and a Victoria Police video team. He would be cool and detached, like a soldier being debriefed after a military operation; so much so, that some experts have concluded that he can only have been in a state of post-traumatic shock.

More than twenty people on Hoddle Street were hit by shots from Knight’s three guns. The M-14 did most of the damage. Dusan Flajnik and John Muscatt both died from enormous injuries to the chest and neck. Tracey Skinner died from a shot to the head that blew half her face away. Gina Papaioannou died in hospital, eleven days later, from a massive wound to her hip, which looked, according to one of the ambulance officers who attended her, like a shark bite.

Hoddle Street was strewn with bodies, bullet-riddled cars and shattered windscreen glass. The air was full of the sound of squealing tyres, screams and sirens. Knight slipped away into the darkness again, following the railway line north.

At the Merri Creek, close to the south end of High Street, he shot and slightly injured a police constable who was busy preventing traffic from heading into the Hoddle Street area.

A short while later, a police helicopter swept across the area, its spotlight picking out a figure, crouched in the scrub below the railway bridge. Knight let rip with his M-14. He would say later that it was like a scene from the film Apocalypse Now and that “When I shot at the helicopter, I was expecting return fire, because I thought there’d be an SOG [Special Operations Group] marksman in there. I was disappointed when nothing came except it just flew off.” He had punctured one of the chopper’s fuel tanks and it was forced to make an emergency landing in a nearby reserve.

According to Andreas Kapardis in They Wrought Mayhem, Knight did not want to die slowly, coughing up blood, with a regular police .38 slug in his heart, but “preferred the SOG to take his head right off.” He would not get his wish. As the helicopter veered away, he took to the railway line again.

At about 10: 15 P.M., he was running west along McKean Street in North Fitzroy. By this time, he had discarded the Ruger rifle and Mossberg shotgun and had just nine rounds left in his M-14. He was apparently heading for the house of his ex-girlfriend and intended to kill her and then commit suicide or hold the house to siege, “like they do in the films.”

As he ran along the street, a police car followed in his wake and he ducked into an alley. Senior Constable John Delahunty slammed on the brakes and tried to slide the car sideways to illuminate the alley with the headlights. The stunt didn’t quite come off. The car screeched to a halt, but not at the angle the cop had hoped for, and the alley remained shrouded in darkness.

Cautiously, Delahunty and his partner climbed out of their vehicle. Knight, who was crouched by a wall at the alley entrance, emptied his magazine. He was firing at such a rapid rate, he said, that the muzzle flash was overwhelming and he could barely see what he was shooting at. So loud was the sound of the shots in Constable Delahunty’s ears, that at first he thought he had been hit in the head: “I crawled along the ground to the back of the car, trying to find cover … any cover at all. A blade of grass would’ve looked good at the time.”

Knight, meanwhile, his ammunition exhausted, unclipped the magazine and reached into his pocket for the single bullet he claimed he had kept for himself. The bullet was gone – and he decided to surrender. He rose up slowly from behind the wall. Delahunty “saw his head … and I just stood up … away from the car, out in the open – and I shouldn’t have done that, that was silly … and [I] just took an aim at him and fired a shot.”

Knight ducked back down. As he later remembered it, the police were shouting and Knight begged not to be shot. Delahunty had nothing but contempt for Knight’s pleading. Quickly and entirely by the book they arrested, searched and handcuffed him. It was a neat end to the mayhem.

At 7:24 A.M., the following morning, after hours of questioning, Knight would be sitting alone in the police interview room. The video camera would still be running and it would show him drinking from a plastic cup and thumbing through the morning papers.

On hearing about the Hoddle Street massacre, a 22-year-old former law student called Frank Vitkovic would tell people he couldn’t understand why anybody would do such a thing. Victoria’s Minister for Police, Race Mathews, would tell people that the massacre was an aberration that should remain a one-off indefinitely.

Julian’s life

Julian Knight was born in March 1968 and was adopted by an army family when he was ten days old. His adoptive father was in the education corps and taught English and maths.

For the first thirteen years of his life, Julian was never in one place for very long. The family moved frequently, both within Australia – Laverton, Melbourne and Puckapunyal – and abroad: Hong Kong and Singapore. He was apparently reasonably happy in his early childhood.

According to his own testimony, he admired his father, was close to both his parents, but especially his mother, and got along well with his younger brother and sister. He also had a great affinity for the military. He assimilated the whole army ethos with unusual passion and speed, and set his heart on becoming a soldier at an early age.

In 1980, when Julian was 12, his parents separated. He gave most people the impression that he had been expecting the split – and the divorce that followed – and that he was not unduly upset.

However, a girlfriend would reveal that as late as 1986 he had still not come to terms with the divorce and would often cry about it. Knight himself would later tell a psychiatrist that he was angry because his parents had kept him completely in the dark about their intentions.

As so often with killers, there was a world inside Knight’s head that was rarely glimpsed by those around him. In Knight’s case, as with Wagner von Degerloch, beer-drinking bouts would occasionally result in this secret world seeping into the public arena, allowing those present a fleeting look at a psyche that was conspicuously out of harmony with its owner’s public persona.

In 1982, however, when the newly divorced Mrs. Knight and her three children moved into Ramsden Street, in the Clifton Hill suburb of Melbourne, 14-year-old Julian had not yet taken to heavy beer drinking and his distress about the divorce, as well as the many other facets of his secret world – particularly the extent and the morbid nature of his obsession with the military – remained completely hidden from public view.

In school, according to one friend, Giulia Bagglo, “he was always the class clown, making jokes, entertaining everybody … He was very funny and he was pretty smart, pretty intelligent – always had pretty good marks.”

According to teachers, though, he was overconfident, and was not altogether convincing as a wisecracking extrovert. His antics earned him a certain amount of popularity with his peers, but at least one teacher felt that his extroversion was rather forced and that, basically, he was a loner.

Knight’s love of the military was obvious to all, although no one found it disturbing; he just seemed very committed. He was a school cadet and he often wore army surplus jackets and bought Soldier of Fortune and other military magazines.

In 1984, he transferred from Fitzroy High School to Melbourne High School, primarily because Melbourne High had the best cadet force in the city. His commanding officer at Melbourne High described him as an enthusiastic cadet who had a good disciplinary record, but little capacity for leadership. Indeed, Knight would never rise above the rank of corporal. In his secret fantasy world, however, he was an altogether more dynamic figure.

He constructed for himself many heroic and honourable death-in-combat scenarios, which he ran and re-ran in his mind. According to psychologist Dr. Kenneth Byrne, “some of his dreams were about himself dying in combat, as the hero protecting his company, or, in other cases, it would be he fighting against overwhelming odds and this is something that provided a lot of gratification to him.”

Although Knight viewed killing and being killed in very romantic terms, there was also, as psychiatrist Dr. David Sime noted, “a sort of intricate detail about this fantasy life which was very unusual – on and on and on, different baffles but actual historical situations and in factual detail.” He cast himself in starring roles in the famous last stands of history. He would be, for instance, a German soldier in General Paulus’s 6th Army, encircled and doomed at the Battle of Stalingrad.

Often Knight saw people around him not so much as flesh and blood but as accessories for his fantasies. According to Dr. Sime, “So vivid were his imaginings that he’d be sitting in the schoolroom, for example, and he’d look out of the window and he’d see people walking past and he’d immediately imagine this into an ambush situation and into military terms … [It was] very vivid to him.” Knight, in fact, had a fundamental lack of empathy for other people and for some, he had a burning hatred.

The ferocity of his anti-Communist, pro-Nazi and racist beliefs is revealed not just by his fantasies – in one of his most persistent and gratifying daydreams he was a South African policeman gunning down blacks in Sharpeville or Soweto – but also by graphic amendments he made to photo captions in a high school text book, World Powers in the Twentieth Century, by Harriet Ward.

In seeing so clearly America’s insidious cultural colonization of other nations, Knight, who otherwise displayed very little depth of understanding about anything other than guns, showed himself to be not entirely devoid of perceptive ability. In 1989, and with the benefit of hindsight, criminologist Andreas Kapardis would discourse on the same subject in his book They Wrought Mayhem: “It would seem that as Australia is becoming more Americanized in its culture we are experiencing the dawn of a new era, the … assassination of policemen … wanton killings … mass murderers.”

In the early 1980s, the teenage Julian Knight was living in Australia’s most cosmopolitan city, Melbourne, and had access to as much US culture as any US-loving Aussie boy could have dreamt of. He even had a part-time job in that most American of exported American institutions, a McDonald’s restaurant. In fact, he was working there when James Huberty shot up the company’s San Ysidro outlet on 18 July 1984.

Later, languishing in HM Pentridge Prison, Knight would talk about Huberty and other mass killers as if they were old buddies although, as when Andreas Kapardis visited him, “He was very anxious to convince me that he is the best shot of them all.”

Knight told Kapardis, “Considering it was dark, I was shooting from a distance at fast-moving targets and I’d had about 13-15 pots of beer, I did a really good job. Good old Chuck [Charles Whitman] did a good job, too, didn’t he? He was ex-military like me but I think he had sights. It was easier for Huberty at the McDonald’s and Vitkovic in Queen Street because the people they were shooting at were trapped.”

Kapardis found himself extremely unsettled by the conversation. Knight’s “complete lack of remorse, no mention of any compassion for his victims during our interviews, was very disturbing to me; his logic even more.”

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about Knight’s logic, was that it was derived, in part at least, from an idea that, though indeed disturbing, has, nevertheless, been endowed with much cultural legitimacy – not least by Soldier of Fortune and other combat magazines, available from the shelves of all self-styled reputable newsagents – namely that, as a compatriot of Michael Ryan’s put it, “killing is morally justified when performed by ‘experts.”‘

As time went by, Julian Knight, the high school cadet, would become ever more expert in the use of firearms. In 1985, the year he passed his High School Certificate, with C grades in five subjects, he joined the Army Reserve.

On a two-week assault trooper’s course at Puckapunyal, he was trained in the use of eleven different weapons, ranging from a 9-mm Browning pistol to a.50-calibre machine gun. According to Des McArthur, a fellow reservist, “Most people in the Army Reserve fantasize about walking down the street with an SLR in your hand and feeling the power you might get but no one ever does it … you’re Rambo when you’re out on the army reserve but when you go home, you go back to being a plumber or whatever. Everyone joked around, you know, ‘I’m a trained killer.’ Julian did, but in a different way. He was more dedicated than anyone else I knew … anyone else.”

The unhealthy undertones of Knight’s military obsession would rise close to the surface in the riotous beerswilling sessions that army reservists have a fondness for indulging in, and his colleagues were able to perceive, albeit only dimly through the haze of alcohol and general Rambo-swagger, something of the disturbing nature of the world inside his head.

Knight was drinking back home in Melbourne, too, and dating girls – a combination that often induced him to spill more of his secrets. Girls with whom he had intimate relationships have testified that not only was he still upset and angry about the divorce of his adoptive parents, but that he also felt profound unhappiness about having been adopted in the first place. Both subjects could reduce him to tears after heavy drinking.

In addition, Knight displayed a tendency to harbour secret grudges over long periods of time – another of the hallmarks of mass killers – which would occasionally result, again after heavy drinking, in physical violence. On one occasion, he began punching a close friend at a downtown disco. The incident that provoked the attack had taken place weeks earlier and Knight had shown his friend no antagonism in between times; indeed, the pair had been drinking together perfectly amicably for most of the evening, before the assault.

For Knight, 1986 had started badly and just seemed to be getting worse. In March, despite his intense yearning for a full-time military career and possibly under pressure from his parents, he had gone to La Trobe University to study French, German history and politics. He had lasted just six weeks. The place was, he complained, full of leftover hippies from the sixties. For the rest of the year his life seemed to drift. He was unemployed, he drank frequently and heavily, fell out with friends as a result, and eventually lost his girl into the bargain.

His one success of the year, and it was, a notable one, came when he applied for entry into the military, at the army’s Melbourne recruiting office. He was considered a good prospect for the Royal Military College, the Australian equivalent of England’s Sandhurst.

The opinion of his old CO at Melbourne High, that he had no leadership potential, was evidently either unavailable to, or overlooked by, the recruiting officers who assessed him. He met the required minimum academic standards and was found to be physically fit by a doctor and mentally fit by a psychologist. He went up before an RMC Selection Board, comprising three senior officers and yet another psychologist. He was graded a marginal candidate – the lowest acceptable grade for consideration – but he was in.

In its initial and ongoing assessment of Knight, the army noted, among other things, that Julian was the eldest of three children, that the father was absent, having left the family in 1980, and that Mrs. Knight was very devoted to Julian; she was not altogether happy about his application to the RMC but she was thinking of moving the whole family to Canberra just so she could be near him.

It was also noted that Knight was highly committed to the military, that he was over-confident (there was concern among senior staff that his ability might not match his belief in himself), and that he had problems relating to other people and needed to work on developing his social skills.

The Royal Military College possessed, in fact, if it had but realized it, a remarkably accurate profile of a typical pseudo-commando killer. The profile was incomplete in just one respect; at the time, Knight lacked the important prerequisite of thwarted ambitions. Indeed, when he entered RMC Duntroon, on 13 January 1987, at the age of 18, he was realizing his life’s dream.

After the misery of 1986, the world was now Knight’s oyster. He had arrived. He was a winner. He bought himself a fast car. Unfortunately, though, both the car and his dreams would fall apart before the year was out. His immaturity, his high opinion of himself and his fondness for playing the wisecracking extrovert did not go down well with the senior cadets at Duntroon.

All new boys are given a hard time in their first year at the Royal Military College, but Knight was given a harder time than most. He drank heavily and performed his duties poorly. Between March and May he was charged with a number of military offences, including four absences without leave and leaving his post while on duty.

He failed academic and practical examinations and his leadership ability and other personal qualities were also rated below standard. Weapons expertise was the only area in which he excelled, and he was counselled on more than one occasion about his poor overall performance.

A week before Easter, Knight met up with his former girlfriend in Canberra. According to her, he cried all night over their break-up and because things were not going well for him at Duntroon. He arranged to meet her again, about two weeks later, in Melbourne, so they could have a drink and meal together for old times’ sake.

There was apparently some confusion about the details of the rendezvous and the girl never showed up at the pub where Knight was waiting. He went on a scouting mission to other local bars and eventually found her drinking with a girlfriend at the Royal Hotel. He suspected she had been deliberately trying to avoid him and he sat at the counter alone, knocking back beer like there was no tomorrow.

When, a short while later, she told him she was going on somewhere else and that he could not come along, it only served to confirm his suspicions. He threw his glass across the room and stormed towards the nearest exit. He punched out the window of the inner door but found the outer door locked and turned back into the bar. Now in the red fog of an alcohol-adrenaline rush, he began hitting out at everyone in the immediate vicinity. He was dragged out into the street, where he eventually calmed down, and walked away.

After Easter, Knight returned to Duntroon with his tail between his legs. Nothing was working out right for him. On the last weekend of May, he was confined to barracks by his sergeant major for one of his all-too-frequent disciplinary offences.

By Saturday evening, though, he was fed up and went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. At around 11:00 P.M., he and some of the other party-goers arrived at the Private Bin nightclub in Canberra.

Unfortunately for Knight, his sergeant major also happened to be at the club and he ordered Knight back to barracks. Knight refused. At about 1:30 A.M., he got into a scrap with the sergeant major’s drinking buddies and was ejected from the building by a bouncer. He cleaned himself up, sneaked back inside and drank quietly with his friends until nearly 3:00 A.M.

He then decided to leave. As he was heading for the door, he passed the sergeant major. Knight pulled out a knife and stabbed him twice in the right side of the face, near the ear, and wounded himself in the process when one of his fingers slid down the blade, severing a tendon.

A short while later, after fleeing from the nightclub, Knight turned himself in to the Federal Police. He was charged with assault, malicious wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was bailed to appear in court on 12 June but the case was subsequently adjourned to 10 November. His military career was over. The RMC outlined the options available to him and the only realistic one was that he resign.

It does not appear to have occurred to the army that Knight may have been in need of counselling – that his knifing of a fellow soldier, twice, in the face, was disturbing enough, without even considering his statement to police that he had no idea why he did it.

The official army view of the incident, as expressed by General Murray Blake, the commandant of RMC Duntroon, was that “there were others involved … alcohol was a factor and it’s well known that when alcohol’s involved a large proportion of the population, probably, are prone to violence in those situations. So, there was nothing in his record, there’s nothing that he did that would indicate that he was ‘abnormal.”‘ The army simply washed its hands of him. On 2 July, he was passed from Duntroon to the Regimental Supernumerary List. He returned home to Melbourne, his dreams shattered.

On the surface, and to begin with at least, he seemed to cope with the situation extremely well. He was keen to impress upon people that he had learnt from his recent experiences, that his outlook was positive and that he was optimistic about the future. He told friends that alcohol had been ruining his life and that he had decided to give it up for good. He spoke enthusiastically about possible careers with the fire brigade, the Federal Police or customs.

In the meantime, he got a job as a storeman, and applied for a place on a security guard training course run by a Melbourne company, scheduled to start on 11 August. On 17 July he was interviewed and accepted for the course. He really seemed to be knuckling down and trying to make something of his life.

It was all show. He knew only too well that a conviction for serious assault would disqualify him from a career with the fire brigade, police force or customs service, and that even the rather inferior man-of-action career of private security guard would probably be closed to him. He had already made the painful discovery that just the fact that there were criminal charges against him – never mind that his guilt had yet to be proved – marked him as a second-rate citizen. He had tried to rejoin his old Army Reserve regiment but they refused to have him, because of the impending trial. What future was there for him? A dead-end job as a storeman? Well, he would see about that.

It was a new and highly unpleasant experience for Knight to see the future not as something to look forward to but as something to dread. And the past continued to torment him, more doggedly now than ever before. Not only was he plagued by the old ghosts – his adoption and the divorce of his adoptive parents – but newer spectres were also haunting him: his ex-girlfriend, his failure at Duntroon and his natural mother. Knight had found out his real mother’s name and that she was living in South Africa. He had written her two letters but had received no reply.

Rendered by the past a diffused and ill-defined nobody, and facing the prospect of being absorbed by his newly grey and featureless future, the present became increasingly unbearable for Knight, who had always believed he was a man who would make his mark on the world; a big shot. He soon returned to his old drinking habits, to the old love-hate relationship he had with beer.

In the past, the brief, cathartic releases of sentimentality, self-pity and violent anger that the beer facilitated had cost him dearly. These days, they could surely cost him nothing, for his life was about as rock bottom as he thought it could get. He began drinking more frequently and heavily than ever before.

At home in his mother’s house, he no longer really belonged. Nearly all signs of his identity as a member of the family had been erased. When he had gone to Duntroon, his mother had converted his bedroom into a sitting room and he slept there, now, with his old duvet and a pillow on a mattress on the floor. His personal effects photos, diaries, army notes and the like – remained packed away in boxes on top of the wardrobe.

More of his belongings, including army clothing and equipment, were stored on the landing. Aside from a few clothes and other necessities, the only things he had readily to hand were an album of army photographs and his three guns, which he kept under, of all places, his mother’s bed.

He owned a .308-calibre M-14 semi-automatic rifle, a Ruger ten-shot/.22-calibre (Model 10/22) semi-automatic rifle, and a twelve-gauge Mossberg slide-action repeating shotgun. The Ruger was a birthday present from an uncle. The M-14 and the Mossberg shotgun he had bought for himself. He had a licence and all three guns were registered.

On Friday 7 August, Knight went out drinking with an old friend. The bender began at the Royal Hotel, at about 7:00 P.M. Midway through the evening, they switched to the Normandy Hotel in Queen’s Parade, driving past the house of Knight’s former girlfriend, who was having a party to which Knight had not been invited. They drank heavily at the Normandy, until about midnight, and then went back to Knight’s house.

The following evening, Knight went drinking at the Royal Hotel, as he had done every evening for the past week. He whiled away the night trying to chat up the barmaids and moaning about the fact that he had not been invited to the party at his ex-girlfriend’s the night before.

It was getting on for midday when Knight climbed out of bed on Sunday 9 August. A family get-together had been arranged at his grandmother’s that afternoon and, instead of his usual jeans and shirt, he put on a pair of pleated slacks and a smart, navy-blue jumper. He drove his little sister over to their grandmother’s arriving at about one o’clock.

His mother and his brother, who had left earlier in Mrs. Knight’s car, were already there, along with assorted aunts, uncles and friends. Over lunch, Knight drank a couple of beers and a litre of coke, and talked about the security officer training course, which he was scheduled to start in two days’ time. He gave a convincing impression of being excited by it.

At around four o’clock, Knight drove his sister home to Ramsden Street and went straight back out again in the car. He called on a friend, told her that the family get-together had been boring, and then headed back home. On the way back his car broke down with a gearbox problem. Already several thousand dollars in debt to the bank, he had been hoping to raise some capital by selling it. When he got home, he changed and went out to the Royal Hotel, arriving shortly before six o’clock.

The pub was reasonably busy but none of his usual friends were there and he sat at the counter, drinking alone, chatting up the barmaids. During the course of the evening, he also chatted to a few of the Royal’s regulars. He told a young apprentice, who was lodging at the hotel, about the trouble he was having with his car and his ex-girlfriend. He also talked about his military career. He said that army life was a hard life but a good one, and that he was a crack shot with a rifle and had been a big hit with the girls in Canberra.

Being a Sunday, the Royal closed at eight o’clock. Knight had one after-hours drink with a couple of the regulars and left at 8:20 P.M. By this time, he would tell police, exactly five hours later, he had already made his big decision.

Detective:            So, what you are saying is, about half an hour before you left the hotel

Knight:                 I decided that I’d go home and get my weapons and start shooting.


“They trained me to kill, and I killed.”

VICTIMS : 7 Dead, 19 wounded.

“In other circumstances I would have gotten a medal for what I did.”

Adopted, bad temper, gun facination, worship of Charles Whitman, class clown, alchohol abuse, discharged from the Army, rejected by a woman, big fantasy life.

You name it, Knight had it. Could there possibly be a better example of a Mass Murderer. I think not.

So what triggered Knight’s actions. Was it being kicked out of the Army just a few months earlier? or was it being rejected by his ex-girlfriend at a bar that night. Perhaps it was his car-gearbox blowing up earlier in the day. Perhaps he was just a fucking time bomb waiting to explode, who knows, what I do know is that the psycho decided to go to war. He chose Hoddle street in Melbourne to take out his rage.

It all started at 9:35pm. when he started with his fantasy.

You see Julian was playing a game. In it that Melbourne was under attack, and he was defending it against the invaders. So armed with a Ruger semi-automatic rifle (the same gun as Ivan Milat used), a Mossberg pump-action shotgun, an M-14 rifle, and over 200 rounds of ammo, Julian started the game.

“Something snapped. I went into automatic pilot mode. I was in an intense state of paranoia.”

First victim was a woman who got out of her car to inspect a broken window. Six shots later she was dead. Knight then killed the first two people who rushed to help her. You see it never pays to be a good samaritan. Knight took out another good samaritan as he ran to help the wounded. He also got a guy who was on his

way to work, unaware of what he had driven into. One poor bloke was driving through with his wife, trying to miss the bodies, and wounded, on the road when ‘BANG’, his wife was dead. Perhaps the most viewed scene from this whole massacre is the motorcyclist who Julian cut down early on. He continually fired at the guy until he finally stopped moving. He then keep firing every time someone tried to help the poor guy.

“See a target, shoot to kill, don’t hurt, shoot to kill.”

Eventually Knight ran out of bullets and was captured, but not before he had almost escaped from the police helicopter. When arrested Knight tried to say that he had kept a spare bullet in his pocket, fo himself, but must have lost it along the way. That’s probably why he came crawling out of some bushes pleading with the police not to shoot.

The Hoddle Street massacre is the name given to a tragedy that occurred on the evening of Sunday, August 9, 1987 in Hoddle Street, Clifton Hill, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. The shootings resulted in the deaths of 7 people, and serious injury to 19 others.

After a police chase lasting more than 30 minutes, 19 year old former Australian Army cadet Julian Knight was caught in nearby Fitzroy and arrested for the shootings. Knight was later sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 27 years for the bloodiest massacre in Australian history since the Sydney Milperra massacre in September 1984, where six men and a 15-year-old girl were killed.

Julian Knight

Knight entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon on January 13, 1987, at the age of 18. Whilst a military career had long been a dream, he performed poorly at studies and gained good results only in weapons expertise exercises.

A night at the Private Bin nightclub in Canberra saw Knight involved in the stabbing of his sergeant and charged with assault, malicious wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was bailed to appear in court on June 12 but the case was subsequently adjourned to November 10. With his military career now all but over, it was suggested Knight resign.

Timeline of events

Below is a timeline of events which occurred on August 9, 1987 during the drama.

9.29pm – Knight leaves his mother’s house armed with a .22 calibre Ruger rifle, a 12-gauge pump-action Mossberg shotgun and a 7.62x51mm calibre M14 military rifle

9.30pm – Knight fires randomly at passersby using a Ruger rifle

9.35pm – Knight fires randomly at passersby using a Mossberg shotgun

9.37pm – First police unit arrives at the scene in Hoddle Street

9.39pm – Knight fires randomly at passersby using a M14 rifle

9.44pm – First ambulances arrive at the scene in Hoddle Street

9.45pm – Knight withdraws from the Hoddle Street scene

9.46pm – Knight fires 3 shots at police car “Northcote 253

9.48pm – Police Helicopter “Air 495” arrives over Clifton Hill

9.59pm – Knight fires a shot at Constable Colin Chambers on the Northcote end of the Queens Parade/High Street bridge

10.05pm – Knight fires 3 shots at Police Helicopter “Air 495“, forcing it to land on nearby Knott Reserve

10.13pm – Knight cornered in McKean Street, Fitzroy North

10.14pm – Knight surrenders and is arrested by police


p>Julian Knight (born March 4, 1968) is the mass murderer who on August 9, 1987, murdered 7 people and injured 19 during a shooting spree in Clifton Hill, Victoria, in what became known in Australian history as the Hoddle Street Massacre. He is currently serving a life sentence, with a minimum 27 year sentence before parole.

Knight currently resides in the maximum security Barwon Prison near Geelong and is eligible for parole in 2014.

Early life

Julian Knight is the eldest of three children. He was adopted by a family with strong army ties when he was 10 days old. He moved often as a child, living in Melbourne and Puckapunyal, and also abroad in Hong Kong and Singapore.

His parents separated in 1979 when Knight was 11. He attended Melbourne High School, a selective secondary school with entry by academic examination. In 1986 he attended La Trobe University to study French, German history and politics.

Military career

Knight entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon on January 13, 1987, at the age of 18. Whilst a military career had long been a dream, he performed poorly at studies and gained good results only in weapons expertise exercises.

A night at the Private Bin nightclub in Canberra saw Knight involved in the stabbing of his sergeant and charged with assault, malicious wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was bailed to appear in court on June 12 but the case was subsequently adjourned to November 10. With his military career now all but over, it was suggested Knight resign.

Hoddle Street massacre

Knight was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 27 years for the bloodiest massacre in Australian history since the Sydney Milperra massacre in September 1984, where six men and a 15-year-old girl were killed.

Below is a timeline of events which occurred on August 9, 1987 during the Hoddle Street massacre.

9.29pm – Knight leaves his mother’s house armed with a .22 calibre Ruger rifle, a 12-gauge pump-action Mossberg shotgun and a 7.62x51mm calibre M14 military rifle

9.30pm – Knight fires randomly at passersby using a Ruger rifle

9.35pm – Knight fires randomly at passersby using a Mossberg shotgun

9.37pm – First police unit arrives at the scene in Hoddle Street

9.39pm – Knight fires randomly at passersby using a M14 rifle

9.44pm – First ambulances arrive at the scene in Hoddle Street

9.45pm – Knight withdraws from the Hoddle Street scene

9.46pm – Knight fires 3 shots at police car “Northcote 253

9.48pm – Police Helicopter “Air 495” arrives over Clifton Hill

9.59pm – Knight fires a shot at Constable Colin Chambers on the Northcote end of the Queens Parade/High Street bridge

10.05pm – Knight fires 3 shots at Police Helicopter “Air 495“, forcing it to land on nearby Knott Reserve

10.13pm – Knight cornered in McKean Street, Fitzroy North

10.14pm – Knight surrenders and is arrested by police

Knight had no criminal record prior to the shootings in Hoddle Street, and was able to easily acquire firearms.

Prison life

Knight is currently accommodated in the maximum security Barwon Prison near Geelong, Victoria, and has initiated many legal challenges to the Victorian government whilst imprisoned. Knight’s challenges often concern events and occurrences arising during his imprisonment and his dissatisfaction with prison management and prison discipline. He is currently an inmate of the maximum security Barwon prison and eligible for parole in 2014.

Legal challenges

On September 7, 1992, Knight appeared before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal seeking a review of a decision where he was refused Austudy assistance whilst imprisoned.

On July 4, 2002, Knight appeared before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) with a complaint regarding an abuse of human rights where prison officers removed items “of a political nature” from his cell. The items removed were a collection of business cards, pamphlets and sheets of paper.

One sheet of the paper had a large picture of Adolf Hitler in uniform. A second had a picture of Hitler with Nazi insignia and skull and cross-bones and others only the insignia. The cards had racist slogans saying “Stop the Asian invasion”, “We just hate all queers”, “White power” and “Dial-a-racist” with contact details.

Along with the posters and paperwork, a large amount of contraband items were also located in Knight’s cell, such as blades, sharpened knives, articles associated with the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party, magazines, book and articles on weapons and war, medication bottles, a leather belt, two television remote controls, an extension lead, a can opener, bale hooks, permanent markers, computer disks – many containing information relating to prison security and staff, pornographic material, sandpaper, masking tape, prison manuals, staff pictures, T.A.B. betting information, prison and staff rosters. Knight’s application was dismissed.

On August 21, 2002, Knight appeared before the Supreme Court of Victoria seeking an injunction ordering that prison management and staff cease inspecting and withholding legal mail sent to or by the plaintiff. The application was dismissed.

On September 9, 2002, Knight appeared before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal seeking “Full access to the daily staff rosters for HM Prison Barwon since the 1st May 2001” under the Freedom of Information Act. The application was affirmed.

On October 7, 2003 Knight appeared before the Supreme Court of Victoria seeking injunctions in regards to opening of private legal mail and Knight’s security classification and imprisonment in Barwon Prison’s high security Acacia wing. Supreme Court Judge Justice Philip Cummins said of Knight’s application, “I consider that ordinary tax-payers should not be fixed with the burden of these proceedings. Accordingly, in each instance I order that the costs of the proceedings of the respective defendants be paid by the plaintiff.”. The application was dismissed.

On November 11, 2003, Knight appeared before the Supreme Court of Victoria seeking an extension of time against a decision of VCAT. The application was dismissed with costs awarded against the applicant.

Vexatious litigant

In February 2003, it was estimated the many legal challenges by Knight had cost the Victorian Government over AUD$250,000 and approximately $128,000 had been spent since October 2001 on external legal advice to deal with Knight’s legal appeals and Freedom Of Information requests.

On October 19, 2004, Knight was barred from launching any further legal action in Victoria’s courts for 10 years with a judge declaring him a vexatious litigant.. Knight is still able to make requests under the Freedom Of Information Act.


11 thoughts on “Julian Knight- The Hoddle Street Massacre

  1. Pingback: High Profile Criminals Pages « Aussie Criminals and Crooks

  2. Knight is now held in Port Phillip Prison in Laverton. He is still classified as a maximum security prisoner. Knight has consistently tried to get permission from prison authorities to have a computer in his cell and have his security rating lowered. He is eligible for parole next year. It is highly unlikely that he will ever be considered a suitable candidate.


  3. All Police should be fully armed with a side weapon (full size pistol, such as a Glock) of at least a 9mm caliber and those in patrol cars should also have semi-automatic rifles. This way they may have an opportunity, the moment there is such troubles, to try and contain the threat.


  4. Knight is being lead around by guards in and out of court and loving the attention he hasnt been punished for murdering those people in his eyes hes being rewarded and for years hes lapped it up trying to push the boundaries.He will live on because he doesnt have the responibilites and worries that the outside world holds.Hes a cunning psycopath living off us taxpayers dollars Id like to ask him does he really think hed survive on the outside I sure as hell know he wouldnt last 5 min if he was set free which will never happen so he can dream on the pathetic useless peice of shit. He should be in Supermax with the other ratbag Milat.


  5. KILLER COCKY ON APPEAL : High Court to hear me -Knight. By Wayne [email protected] of the Herald Sun. Thursday May 8 2014………..
    HODDLE St mass murderer Juilian Knight would be eligible for parole today, if not for new laws to keep him behind bars which take effect this month !……………………………….
    But in a recent court appearance via video link, Knight said he was busily preparing for a High Court battle to win a chance at freedom…………………………….
    Challenged by a representative of the Parole Board over the likelihood of his getting leave to go to the High Court, Knight appeared confident……..
    “Oh, its going to happen,”——-he chuckled!……………………….
    The mass killer will challenge a Bill introduced to State Parliament in February that states the Parole Board can release him only if it is satisfied that he is “in imminent danger of dying or is seriously incapacitated ” so “he no longer has the physical capacity to do any harm to any person”.
    He would also have to prove he poses no risk to the public.
    KNIGHTS bid to obtain a tentative release date was thwarted in the Supreme Court in March last year…………………The 46 year old was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 27 years for murdering seven people and wounding 19 others in the 1987 massacre .
    Though declared a VEXATIOUS LITIGANT in 2004, which means he can,t sue unless the Supreme Court allows it, Knight still has several matters before the courts……………………….
    At the hearing last week, Knight continued his fight for a ”COMPUTER and VIDEO GAME CONSOLE, CHEAPER CIGARETTES, A TRANSFER TO A ACT JAIL”, and a ” PAY RISE “.
    He is also challenging the states power to punish” INMATES BY SOLITARY CONFINEMENT”.
    Several other lawsuits were adjourned indefinitely.
    In a recent letter to the Herald Sun, the mass murderer vowed to fight any move to keep him in jail, claiming he had been assessed as at a low risk of reoffending violently.
    ”Are the State Government and the Adult Parole Board, by not arguing against the release of any other murderer, claiming that I am the only murderer whose risk of reoffending is unacceptable?
    HE wrote……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    For the record, back in H.M.Pentridge Prison, in early 1989, Juilian Knight was removed out of high protection from “H”.Divison High Security Unit, and reclassified as a A2 Maximum Security inmate and transferred to The Maximum Long Term Prisoners ”J”.Division. In May 1990, after a violent bashing and frenzied mutable stabbing murder of a dangerous rapist: Prisoner Paul “Captain” Cremmin. another jailhouse vexatious litigant and escapee, in ”A”.Division, which was close to nearby “J”.DIVISON and on the same day in Maximum Security ”B”.Division the bashing and stabbing of the most heavy Prisoner controlling Pentridge, Prisoner Keith George Faure, and a serious incident of a lugar pistol and rounds of ammunition being throw over the wall of Pentridge, into a prisoners swimming pool, nearby the ”J”.Division Maximum Security Unit that held Juilian Knight, along with Victorias worst Killers and escapees, and jailhouse killer Paul Steven Haigh, Steven James Hunter and Raymond ”Mr Stinky” Edmonds……………………….
    Juilian Knight at this time in MAY 1990, it was on the inmates grapevine, that he was to be a major target of a brutal murder by Maximum mainstream inmates, that despised Juilian Knight, who was now in the mainstream of Pentridge and no longer in the protective custody of ”H”.Division. Juilian Knight was now a easy target for Pentridge Jail house score settling murder by angry inmates. And it was quickly desided by the Governors of Pentridge, that Juilian Knight be swiftly be transferred by Prison Officers to the safety of Maximum Security Solitary Confinement in the then newly built ”H.M”.Barwon Prison ”Acasia High Security Unit, which was to replace the old ”H”.Division of H.M.Pentridge Prison in 1990…………… Upon Juilian Knights arrival at the new H.M.Barwon prison near Lara, Victoria……….. A large number of Barwon Maximum Security Prisoners protested to the Prison Officers, that they didn’t want Juilian Knight mixing with them in Barwon Jail, and that they would kill him there if they got the chance to get near him…….. This created a management problem for Prison Governors and Officers, and Juilian Knight had to be once again kept under the highest of protection, from mixing near other inmates, that would do him harm. Juilian Knight remained again back in isolation in the most secure part of H.M.Barwon PPrison- The Acasia High security Management and Protection Unit. Some time later on plans of Victorian Prisons were to be found in Knights cell, during a cell search. What his motives were for possessing these confidential security plans, was not discovered, but it is highly likely Juilian Knight was at some time, going to attempt an escape…… When H.M.Port Phillip Maximum Security Prison was opened, Juilian Knight was then Transferred to Port Phillip. And to this day is still held there for his own protection. He has tried to get transferred to H.M.Loddon Prison and other medium and low security Victorian Prisons, but has been refused, and his Maximum Security-A2 Classification rating remains, because of his high profile risk protection management needs. Juilian Knight behaviour for the entire 27 years that he has been locked up in Maximum Security custody several Maximum Security Victorian Prisons, has been a troublesome, problem, cunning and wining nuisance inmate, that continues right up until the present to exceed and demand his entitlement to legal rights in prison. And his constant nuisance VEXATIOUS LITIGANT claims in all the Supreme and High Courts, are ensuring that safest way to ever release him from Maximum Security Prison is in a Pine Box!…….For the sake of his numerous victims, his parole must never be granted, and prison must always remain his home address!………………………………..
    This information is for all the Aussie Criminals Community only , and not for Juilian Knight, if the authorities ever weaken and give him a computer!…………Rot in hell Juilian Knight, you nearly never made it out of H.M.Pentridge, and when your protector Chopper Reid got let out of H.Division and released from Pentridge, apart from your new found jail ,mass killer mate Paul Steven Haigh, and Russell Street Police bomber and Murder Criag ”Slim”Minogue the Jailhouse Lawyer, you were on your own in ”J”.DIVISION!..and on borrowed time.! No wonder you want to a transfer to a Canberra Court, so you can weasel your way close by to a High Court Judge in the High Court, and suck him in to to getting your parole and freedom!………..Hoddle Street Victims will never forgive you , your a total coward that hid behind a powerful military firearm and shot at and picked them all off at random!…..Just defenceless innocent people , and you also caused draconian gun laws to be enforced upon law abiding people, that had to all hand in there guns to the government and all the senseless deaths and injuries and loss of loved ones to so many by your fantasies of being in a war.. Right up until your capture by Police, whom you coward begged to them, “Not To Shoot You”……… More on this lowlife Juilian Knight can be seen on the Hoddle Street Doco,s on Youtube!..


  6. What a coward. He has to get pissed to get up the courage for his massacre. What a ungrateful bastard. Sounds like his parents bought him up ok. He s just a whinger, Poor, little me. Fuck you Julian Knight. You deserve to stay in Jail til you die. Nobody gives a shit about you. You remorseless arsehole. If you don t take a good honest look at yourself. When you die you may go to a much worse jail and there’s no one to complain to and its for eternity . Nasastic little shit. Attention seeking. Probably a personality disorder

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve only just recently come across this case I’m ashamed to say. Displaying all the standard characteristics, very chilling. Completed a lot of research into gun killings for a new book, BULLET PATH. I’m going to include Knight.


    • Where are you from man, and when you publish it and stuff – link up a copy and I’ll happy support you, a fellow writer.. Cheers from aus, qld


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