Warning: This article deals with domestic violence and terrorism and may be distressing for some readers.
Three months before James Gargasoulas would kill six people in Melbourne’s Bourke Street mall, he punched his girlfriend, who was 19 weeks pregnant, repeatedly in the face.
It was October 2016, and the 26-year-old was convinced his partner was cheating on him.
“He punched me with his clenched right… fist in my left eye. It felt like he then tried to eye gouge me,” she told police at the time.
“I don’t know how many times he punched me in the face… I was so scared.”
Nine months before that attack, Gargasoulas had intentionally t-boned her car because of his paranoia about her cheating. She was left with spinal injuries, and spent more than three weeks in hospital.
Speaking to ABC’s Four Corners on Monday night, Gargasoulas’ brother Angelo said this violence wasn’t an anomaly. He’d seen it many times before.
Watch a snippet of the Four Corners investigation here. Post continues after video.
“I’ve seen him drop a woman onto the floor, drag her by the hair, knock a woman unconscious, completely,” Angelo told the program.
So why, then, was the Coober Pedy-born man in a maroon sedan able to commit one of the most deadly mass murders in Australia’s recent memory?
Why was the repeated physical assault of his girlfriend – not to mention a criminal record that was 20 pages long – not enough to keep James Gargasoulas off the streets of Melbourne?
Just over two years before the Bourke Street mall terror attack, a man walked into a cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.
It was just before 10am on a Monday morning when Man Monis asked to see the manager, Tori Johnson.
But Monis wasn’t just any potential customer, walking in off the street. He had been charged with 43 counts of sexual assault. He had a history of domestic violence. He was accused of conspiring to murder his own wife.