Nation's tears turn to anger

from page 1 of The West Australian, May 1, 1996

by Tony Barrass

[An eye for an eye] [27k .jpg]   As shock turned to anger in Hobart yesterday, police tightened security around Martin Bryant -- the bedridden man facing a murder charge after Australia's worst massacre claimed 35 lives on Sunday.
  Bryant is under heavy guard at Royal Hobart Hospital, which was forced to paint over a big slogan daubed on its wall yesterday which called for "an eye for an eye".
  Earlier, Bryant was charged during a bedside court sitting with the murder of WA woman Kate Scott.
  The 21-year-old Balga woman was Bryant's first victim, shot in the back of the head as she sat in Port Arthur's Broken Arrow cafe with boyfriend Michael Sargent, also of WA.
  Ms Scott had been in high spirits after celebrating a friend's wedding at Hobart the night before where Mr Sargent was the best man.
  Ms Scott's grandmother had given her an airfare to the wedding as a 21st birthday present last December.
  As police in Hobart appealed for calm, talk-back radio stations were jammed with irate callers demanding to know why Bryant was being treated under the same roof as his victims.
  Bryant, a 28-year-old drifter with long blond hair and a history of mental illness, was under heavy guard in an isolated section of the hospital where he is being treated for burns to his back and buttocks. He could be in the hospital for up to 10 days.
  But Tasmania's Assistant Commissioner for Crime Luppo Prins said the accused may be moved to the hospital section at Tasmania's Risdon Prison to try to defuse growing community anger.
  "It's not an ideal situation for a person on such a charge to be in this hospital but we've got to be guided by what the hospital authorities tell us," he said.
  "At this stage he can't be moved from this particular hospital. We will have to talk to the jail authorities as he's now in the custody of the Collective Services.
  Bryant made no plea during the 15-minute hearing to the charge of shooting Miss Scott. He was remanded in custody to appear in court on May 22.
  The hospital's chief executive officer, Lindsay Pyne, said people had been ringing the hospital threatening to kill Bryant.
  "As you would expect, there's a lot of anger," Mr Pyne said. "Most of them are saying 'why?'. It's quite disturbing for staff who are already having a rough enough time.
  Anaesthetist Paul Luckin spoke of the despair and anger that had consumed many of Royal Hobart's medical and academic staff.
  "There is no doubt staff at the hospital have very human feelings about this," Dr Luckin said. "I cannot say everyone is happy about it and we're all aware there's a huge well of anger in the community.
  "But those medical and academic staff who do have contact with him (Bryant) are treating him absolutely professionally."
  Thirteen shooting victims still remaining in Royal Hobart -- four of them in a serious condition and nine stable -- were in different wards of the hospital, he said.
  As Australia was still coming to grips with the tragedy yesterday, questions resurfaced concerning the mysterious death of Bryant's father, Maurice, in 1993.
  Although police have officially listed his death as suicide, neighbours at a property Bryant inherited from a wealthy widow said they were suspicious of the circumstances.
  Mr Bryant sen. died about three years ago before his body was taken from a dam on the property. His son's diving weight belt was found around his neck. Police would not confirm last night that the body had bullet wounds.
  Other stories of extraordinary heroism and miraculous escapes began to emerge from survivors of the rampage yesterday.

[images: "Rage: The message on a wall outside the Royal Hobart Hospital, where the killer is being treated just a few metres from his surviving victims." (13x32)
"Shattered: A policewoman outside the Broad Arrow Cafe where 20 people died." (6x10) ]

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