Hijack jet man insane
Katie Lapthorne

A MAN who tried to hijack a passenger jet has been found not guilty because of mental impairment.

David Mark Robinson, 41, of East Bentleigh, was suffering paranoid schizophrenia, which included grandiose religious delusions, when he tried to hijack a Qantas aircraft in May last year.

Yesterday, a Supreme Court jury found him not guilty of attempted hijacking, attempted murder and intentionally causing grievous bodily harm.

Justice Murray Kellam said Robinson would be held in the secure Thomas Embling psychiatric hospital and his condition continually assessed.

The jury heard Robinson thought he was on a mission from God to crash a plane into the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, in northern Tasmania, and rid the world of the Devil.

Robinson boarded Qantas flight 1737 from Melbourne to Launceston carrying wooden stakes and aerosol cans to use as flame-throwers.

Just after take-off, Robinson attacked cabin manager Greg Khan and flight attendant Denise Hickson, intending to kill everyone on board and take control of the plane.

But Robinson was overpowered by Mr Khan and passengers. Mr Khan and Ms Hickson were both injured in the scuffle.

In a police interview, played to the jury, Robinson said he felt burdened by the responsibility God had given him, and had travelled around Australia looking for a woman in crimson and purple who would show him where the Devil was hiding.

The court heard Robinson had tried to hijack a flight from Hobart to Melbourne in January, but was thwarted by a locked cockpit door.

Justice Kellam adjourned indefinitely his determination of a nominal sentence for Robinson.