Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Hijack bid was second attempt, court hears

A Melbourne court has heard that a man who tried to hijack a Qantas plane had previously tried to take over another flight and had flown around Australia looking for crash sites.

David Mark Robinson, 41, of Bentleigh East, is facing three charges including attempting to hijack a Melbourne to Launceston Qantas flight in May last year.

The Supreme Court has heard Robinson thought he was on a mission from God when he armed himself with wooden stakes, aerosol cans and lighters and planned to crash the plane into the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in Tasmania.

Robinson was overpowered by a flight attendant and passengers.

In a video-taped interview played to the jury, he told Australian Federal Police officers he had tried to hijack a flight from Hobart in early January last year.

He said that after going to the toilet he tried to open the cockpit door but it was locked and he was challenged by flight attendants. He said he was not harmed.

In the taped interview, Robinson also told officers he had flown all over Australia, including capital cities, Broome, outback Northern Territory and Port Douglas, looking for a woman wearing crimson and scarlet who would show him where the devil lived.

He said he found her in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and planned to crash the plane there to rid the devil from the earth.

He has pleaded not guilty due to mentally impairment and the jury must decide whether he was mentally impaired at the time of his offences.