A ‘cowardly’ gunman who murdered three people and killed another during a drug-fueled shooting spree across Darwin will spend the rest of his life in prison without parole.
Benjamin Glenn Hoffmann pleaded guilty in mid-trial in November to intentionally killing Hassan Baydoun, 33, Michael Sisois, 57, and Rob Courtney, 52, and the June 4, 2019, killing of 75-year-old Nigel Hellings.
The 48-year-old was sentenced in the Northern Territory Supreme Court on Thursday to three life sentences for the murders and 15 years for manslaughter, with Judge John Burns refusing to set a parole date.
CCTV captured a shirtless Benjamin Glenn Hoffman covered in blood and holding a shotgun on the day he killed four men
‘You set out on a deliberate course of seeking out those you felt had wronged you in order to kill them. When it turned out you killed four innocent people, Justice Burns said.
“These were men who had family and friends. People whose lives have been changed forever by your cowardly, self-centered behavior … Your behavior was brazen when you committed these offenses openly and in the presence of witnesses.’
The father-of-two was high on methamphetamine when he shot the four men while chasing a man named Alex Deligiannis who he believed had stolen his girlfriend, Kelly Collins.
He shot Mr Baydoun four times from less than a meter away with a double-barreled shotgun at the Palms Motel in central Darwin.
Hellings was shot down through the front door of his block of flats about 800m away.
Hassan Baydoun (right), 33, was the first person killed. Michael Sisois, 57, (left) was also shot and killed
Hoffmann’s next victim was his partner, Mr. Sisois, who he shot in the head in the parking lot of the nearby Buff Club bar and restaurant.
Mr. Courtney was murdered in Darwin Recycling’s yard, about 2.5km away.
He was found with 69 injuries, including 36 stab and cut injuries, several blunt force injuries and a gunshot wound.
One of his other victims was Damita Jerome, who Hoffman shot in the legs after he killed Mr. Baydoun as he moved through the Palms Motel looking for Mr. Deligiannis, who had previously lived there.
Outside court, Mrs Jerome said she had not recovered from the incident but was “grateful” for the sentence Hoffmann had received.
‘I’ve waited so long and it’s finally been dealt with. I’m just happy that justice has finally been served,” she said.
Timeline of shooting across Darwin that killed four and seriously injured one woman
Hoffmann, who had a long history of drug abuse and criminal activity, was also convicted of six other charges, including three counts of reckless endangerment, possession of drugs and one count of threatening to kill.
His lawyer Patricia Petersen said he was ‘visibly upset’ and in shock at the verdict when she spoke to him after the hearing and was likely to appeal it.
Hoffmann and Ms. Collins met in early 2019 at a rehab center, where they planned to move in together.
Benjamin Glenn Hoffmann, 47, is alleged to have killed four people and wounded one woman during the shooting across Darwin on June 4, 2019. He is pictured being interviewed by psychiatrist Dr. Rob Parker while under police guard at the Royal Darwin Hospital.
But two weeks before the shootings, Mrs Collins sent Hoffmann a text saying she was in love with her pimp Mr Deligiannis and had returned to prostitution.
“Things got out of hand,” he told the court earlier.
On the day of the killings, Hoffmann, who suffers from a personality disorder with antisocial and narcissistic traits, said he believed Ms Collins was in danger and that a group of men had drugged and raped her.
“I had full visions of Kelly being held against her will as a hostage,” he said.
“I tried to save her.”
Hoffman, seen here in the midst of a deadly rampage, was visibly upset by the sentence handed down against him, his lawyer said
DARWIN SHOOTING – A TIMELINE:
10.52: The police allegedly catch Benjamin Glenn Hoffmann driving 94 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. He is fined and allowed to go.
17.39: Hoffmann allegedly arrives at the Palms Motel in Finnis Street, Darwin
17.45: He allegedly shoots the taxi driver Hassan Baydoun, who was on a break at the taxi lane next door
– He also allegedly shoots a woman in the legs
17.50: Hoffmann drives two minutes away to Gardens Hill Crescent, where he allegedly walks into a home and shoots and kills a 76-year-old man
17.59: Just before 6 p.m., Hoffmann is said to have stormed into the Buff Club pub and killed a 57-year-old man
18.10: Hoffmann allegedly drives to an industrial area and shoots a fourth man, 52
18.30: The alleged gunman then drives to an NT Police station after earlier calling the warden and asking to be placed in protective custody
18.45: Hoffmann is arrested by police in the Stuart Park area of Darwin
Hoffmann’s mental state when he committed the offense was a key issue during the trial and during sentencing hearings with several psychiatric experts called to provide reports and opinions.
Justice Burns said on balance he was not satisfied that Hoffmann was suffering from a chronic psychotic illness or that he was suffering from drug psychosis on June 4.
“Even if I were convinced that you were suffering from a methamphetamine psychosis, that fact could not reduce the moral culpability of these offences,” he said.
‘You knew before June 3, 2019 that you were prone to violent acts and weapons offenses when using methamphetamine. You knew it when you started using that drug again after leaving (rehab).’