Rescue mission

The NT triple murderer was ‘on a rescue mission’ | Busselton-Dunsborough Courier

A gunman convicted of murdering three people and another believed he was on a rescue mission during a shootout across Darwin.

Benjamin Hoffmann pleaded guilty at mid-trial in November to the intentionally killing Hassan Baydoun, 33, Michael Sisois, 57, and Rob Courtney, 52, and the manslaughter of Nigel Hellings, 75, on June 4 2019.

His trial in the Northern Territory Supreme Court heard the 48-year-old ‘hunted’ a man named Alex Deligiannis, who the court heard was a drug dealer and pimp.

But on Friday, during Hoffmann’s sentencing hearing, psychiatrist Siva Bala said Hoffmann told him that his ex-girlfriend Kelly Collins had been held hostage and that he had been looking for her during his fueled rampage. by drugs.

“That’s one of his reasons, the other was to stop this control he believed Alex had over Kelly. He was supporting her…and Alex’s associates or whoever raped her,” said Dr. Bala.

Dr Bala agreed with prosecutor Lloyd Babb that Hoffmann had a “serious grudge” against Mr Deligiannis, and found he was delusional and suffered from drug-induced psychosis.

“Probably towards the end of May, around the time he called the police at his house and said there were people on the roof,” Dr Bala said when asked when the psychosis had started.

“It’s a very complex case.

Expert testimony about Hoffmann’s mental health and condition when he killed his four victims will likely determine the severity of his sentence.

Dr Bala said Hoffmann’s psychosis was not habitual and short-lived, but he disagreed with Mr Babb that it was more likely drug poisoning. However, he agreed it was possible Hoffmann could have hatched the plan to find Mr Deligiannis before he fell mentally ill.

“My opinion that he was psychotic is based on a balance of probabilities. It’s not beyond doubt,” he said.

“As he started using methamphetamine in April, May…his delusions crystallized against Alex…became increasingly encompassing involving other people, including Ms. Collins.”

Psychiatrist Alan Jager said Hoffmann told him he believed he was in danger and that it was “him or them and he decided to commit the offenses against the people he believed would cause him harm. wrong”.

He reported that Hoffmann was unable to understand that his conduct was bad shortly after the incidents. However, the court heard that he was observed not to be psychotic the following day.

“It’s certainly in favor that it’s a drug-induced psychosis versus a constitutional psychosis, like schizophrenia,” he said.

“He was smoking it a lot then he pulled it the morning of the incident…These things aren’t consistent…We can have moments of clarity and then psychotic thoughts again.”

He said Hoffmann may have become psychotic as early as a month before the murders based on his mother’s report that Hoffmann had “spoken in riddles” when he took her to a cafe on the feast of the dead. mothers.

When asked if Hoffmann could have faked psychosis, Dr. Jager said it was possible to mimic the symptoms but hard to maintain the trick.

“From the facts that I saw, there was evidence that he was psychotic,” he said.

Psychiatrist Lester Walton agreed, saying “the main characteristic was delusional ideas”.

“He was convinced he had to save Kelly, that she was in danger and that was driving him,” he said.

“He was concerned for her welfare, she was being raped and prostituted in order to provide funds for drugs.”

Mr Deligiannis has previously denied being a pimp and drug dealer.

The case will return to court on July 25 for further sentencing submissions.

Australian Associated Press