MAKO/File Online   -  # Martin Bryant

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Age: 43 yrs old (2011)

State: Tasmania

Sentence: Sentenced to Life in Jail - No parole.

Offence/Other: Mass murderer - Child Killer.
On April 28 1996, Martin Bryant killed 35 people and injured 25 more (Port Arthur Massacre).

Martin Bryant

Martin Bryant

My time with mass killer Martin Bryant

Bryant was always childlike with the ability to instantly switch into the killer with a look of pure evil.

Former police officer Phil Pyke was handed the grim task of guarding Australia's worst mass murderer Martin Bryant in the hospital after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. He had met Bryant before and been shocked by his callous attitude to the death of his father. But it was watching over the killer in the hours after the tragedy that he gained a unique insight into Bryant's evil nature. These are his never-heard-before thoughts from that time..
The cover of the spiral-bound notebook is plain with my handwritten notes scrawled across nearly 22 pages. For nearly two decades, these pages contained my observations on the largest incident I ever participated as a Tasmanian police officer - the Port Arthur massacre.
The notebook also details my interaction with the Port Arthur gunman, Martin Bryant, several years before when his father committed suicide and the days after the massacre when I guarded him in the burns unit of the Royal Hobart Hospital.
In mid-August 1993, I was undertaking my Tasmania police recruit course at the Rokeby Police Academy. Given the course was larger than the average with 25 members, we often were called upon to assist Search and Rescue on searches for missing people.
Over the year, my course searched for missing German backpacker, Nancy Grundwalt, on the State's east coast and a missing 10-year-old south of Hobart.
In mid-August we assisted at a property on the Arthur Hwy at Copping where a 60-year-old man, Maurice Bryant, had gone missing. It was there in strange circumstances, I first met Martin Bryant.
The previous day, members of the local fire brigade had assisted in the search of the property. However, as a shotgun was missing from the property and Maurice may have used it in self-harm, we were sent in.
Initially we searched up the hill in light scrub towards the back boundary. With no sign of the missing man, the search swung back down towards the weatherboard house and outbuildings.
Approaching the house, I first noticed a man with long blond hair watching us intently from the fence-line. I found his attention towards us rather unusual, particularly towards the female recruits on which he strongly focused his attention.
"That's the son of Maurice," the sergeant replied when I asked who the man was. "I think his name is Martin and he lives here."
With the land-search now completed, we remained near the house. The vehicle of the missing man was parked in a shed and I could see large sums of money inside. A note saying "Get The Police" was hanging on the door of the house.
Martin hung around our group, seemingly unconcerned about the whereabouts of his father. He kept moving towards several female members attempting to ask them out on a date. His manner caused the girls to quickly move away, feeling uncomfortable at the unwarranted attention.
Police divers located Maurice's body in a small deep dam beside the highway.
Dunalley officer, Constable Garry Whittle, took Martin down to formally identify his father - a requirement under the Coroner's Act. He stood there for several moments looking down at his father before nodding to Constable Whittle.
I couldn't hear what Bryant said but was amazed to see him walk away almost laughing. Initially from his behaviour and speech, I believed Martin was handicapped in some way but noted he was completely disconnected from the death of his father.
We viewed Maurice's body as part of having part of the Coroner's Act explained to us. For the younger members of the course, this was their first deceased person and they struggled with knowing how to react. I remember the weight belt across Maurice's body.
Martin wandered over to the local water carrier who arrived to fill the household tanks. He engaged the water carrier with jokes, laughing loudly while ignoring the activity down near the dam.
One of the police divers later described the conditions in the dam to me.
"The dam sloped away quickly and dropped down to around 3 -5 metres," he said as they packed their gear away.
"We dived down and found several sheep carcasses before locating Maurice at the bottom with a weight belt strapped across his body like a bandolier."
Some years later I realised, having grown up on a farm, sheep don't drink from water-courses in a Tasmanian winter or spring and rarely fall in. To this day, I firmly believe the sheep had been thrown into the dam.
We returned to the outbuilding for lunch with Martin coming back over to attempt to again invite some of the female officers out. He was ignored but remained watching until we left on the Academy bus.
After the massacre, guarding Bryant in hospital was a hard job, especially after experiencing the events down at the Port Arthur six days before. In my mind I couldn't change what had occurred and there was still much work to be done.
I commenced at 0600, with two members from the Prosecution Section and another from the Radio Room. Bryant was asleep in the end ward with the burn section locked off with all external doors secured.
Hospital security, assisted by police, staffed the locked entry doors. Untrained for this type of situation, they were very nervous.
The prison officers sat at the entrance to Bryant's room - a large room with normally four beds now only housed this alleged killer. As Bryant had been formally charged and detained, he was in the custody of the Justice Department not Tasmania Police.
Looking around the corner, my first view was of a huddled figure under brown sheets, his head a mass of burnt hair.
In the darkness, I couldn't tell if he was asleep or awake and watching us. The room smelt of burnt skin, which I could thankfully only faintly detect due to having a limited sense of smell.
Our briefing said Bryant previously had made threats towards the nursing staff, making shooting motions with his hands. The lights of the room came on as the relief shift for the prison staff arrived, pulling back the sheets to check his handcuffs.
His severely burnt body was covered with the netted bandage commonly used for burn victims. Looking at Bryant lying in the bed, I wondered how I could protect him if anyone forced their way into the ward to harm him. We had received un-validated reports on people flying from the mainland to try and kill him. Suspects had allegedly made a reconnaissance of the area - two making application for security positions at the hospital.
I made up my mind to protect the prison officers and nursing staff but not Bryant. If anyone came through the door with firearms, they could have him. Perhaps this decision wouldn't have been sound judgment but with 26 hours sleep over five days, I was sleep deprived like many others.
Bryant had no liberty including bathroom access, defecating on a sheet that was quickly removed and replaced with another. This was the best of care given his notoriety. However, I saw his behaviour change from being completely childlike to that of an evil killer many times over the day - with one incident in particular involving me.
As I chatted with one of the prison officers who lived in my hometown, I was aware Bryant was watching me intently. Looking towards him, Bryant slowly closed his eyes as if he was falling asleep. When I looked away, he fixed me with a stare I described as pure evil. This was the killer - the person I knew was capable of having carried out those murders. It was at that point there was no doubt in my mind he had committed this crime.
After going through the past few days and remembering the Mikac girls [young victims Alannah and Madeline], I pulled my stool towards him. As he opened his eyes and again fixed me with that evil stare, I tapped my fingers on the outside of my holster, saying, "if you get out of those handcuffs Martin, this is for you as I fight back unlike your other victims," After this engagement, he no longer held any eye contact with me.
I heard Bryant described his love of action movies, especially those with Steven Seagal - which linked in with my observations inside his house on the morning of 29 April.
When asked about certain people, I heard Bryant say "I hated the Martins. I did it because they were the worst people in my life." As I know now, the owners of Seascape were killed first in the chain of events of April 28.
Bandage changing was hard as the badly injured Bryant was in pain. After one session of nursing staff changing the bandages, Bryant said in his childlike voice, "thank you for looking after me and treating me so kindly." The nurse fled the room in tears, personally struggling to show compassion to this spree killer.
His voice was often regressed to quiet and childlike too. When he wanted something, it was always "please could I have something to eat." "Please I need to go to the toilet."
Bryant was always childlike with the ability to instantly switch into the killer with a look of pure evil. Knowing him before, having worked at the scene, observed inside his house and now at the hospital, it is my belief Bryant saw himself as an action hero of some nature.
Having been heavily involved on many levels over this incident, I know Bryant undertook this act of violence alone and the trigger was his perceived hatred for the specific people in his life.
For me personally, I witnessed after effects of the Port Arthur massacre just over a year later when a mentally ill father slashed the throats of his four daughters (aged 10 - 18) because he didn't want them to grow up in an evil world. I was the second police officer at the scene and this event, along with Port Arthur and its victims, remains constantly with me even today.
For me, there remains no logic in the madness and evil which took place at Port Arthur nearly 20 years ago.

*Phil Pyke served as a member of Tasmania Police 1993 - 2008. The aftermath of the tragic events of 28 April 1996 saw him later transferred to the Tasmania Police Media Office. These events were the commencement of his career in strategic communications, which has taken him around Australia and the world with the ADF as a Reserve public affairs officer. He now works as the Business Development Manager in the Tasmanian agriculture sector.

www.news.com.au (13-10-2013)

Horrific Port Arthur massacre footage posted on YouTube

Police have admitted they're all but helpless to stop the circulation of a video that depicts the horrific footage of the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre.
Police are trying to trace the account holder who uploaded the footage to YouTube under the alias "FreeMartinBryant".
The nine-minute evidence video was stolen from the Tasmanian Police archive.
Tasmania Police deputy commissioner Scott Tilyard says police cannot stop the video's continued circulation.
"Unfortunately, since unauthorised copies were made many years ago, it is all but impossible to ensure that these images are not posted on, and circulated via, internet-based technologies."
The video contains graphic images of some of the 35 people shot dead at the tourist spot, and police last night were trying to have it removed from the internet.
FreeMartinBryant's user profile contains more than 20 videos pertaining to "conspiracies" surrounding the events of Port Arthur, with several videos pertaining to Bryant's "innocence".
It is unknown how the footage was obtained, but it also appeared on the internet in 2004 .
"Unfortunately this isn't the first time that this training video has turned up in the wider community," Mr Tilyard said.
"It has been known for some years that copies of the police training video have found their way into the public domain.
"A copy was located at a public tip in 2004, which led to an investigation."
Police Minister David O'Byrne said the footage was unlikely to have been stolen recently.
The video archive was upgraded in 2004.
"Tasmania Police changed their procedures after discovering the material may be in the public domain, in 2004," he said. "I'm advised no breach has occurred since then and that the current procedures for handling such material are secure."
Police are greatly concerned about the effect the video could have on the wider community.
"It is highly distressing not only for the families of the victims, but for the community, for these images to be available on the internet," Mr Tilyard said.
Trauma psychologist Paul Stevenson, who worked for many years with many of the survivors and victims' families, shared the disbelief and horror about the posted video.
"To post this is a nasty, terrible thing to have occurred," the Brisbane-based consultant psychologist said.
"By watching or hearing it is a re-experience - all of those things people felt at the time come back. The tragedy occurs all over.
"This is very distressing ... a real worry for families of victims because this is exactly what triggers post-traumatic stress."

www.heraldsun.com.au (28-6-2011)
Meryl Naidoo, Brian Ward

Martin Bryant book anger

Port Arthur massacre victims have slammed gunman Martin Bryant's mother's plans to release a book about the tragedy.
Fourteen years after Australia's worst massacre, in which 35 people were killed, Carleen Bryant's book My Story is set to hit bookstores on Tuesday.
Ms Bryant writes about her regrets over encouraging her son to plead guilty and questions his mental ability to plan such a crime.
Melbourne man Wally Nash, whose son Peter, 32, was killed by Bryant, questioned her motives.
"Why do it? Why stir it up now? I wouldn't buy it and if I never read it, I'd never care," he said.
Keith Moulton, whose daughter Nanette Mikac, 36, and two grandchildren Alannah, 6, and Madeline, 3, were slain in the 1996 massacre, said he was not interested in her story.
"She should cop a fair bit (of criticism) because she's raising a lot of hard memories for monetary gain," he said.
"There might be one or two (people interested), but they'd be warped people themselves. It's not a Christmas present I'd get."
Carly Martin, whose parents David, 72, and Sally, 69, were Bryant's first victims, said she was shocked, but not surprised, by the book, which is expected to sell for about $35.
"I don't think he should have any attention, he should be forgotten about forever," she said.
Another survivor, who did not want to be named, said: "Pleading guilty was the only decent thing he's done in his life."
Ms Bryant spoke to New Idea, on sale tomorrow, about Bryant's social and intellectual problems and diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome.
"He was a misfit and could not make friends or concentrate at school. We made sure Martin always had the best treatment and advice, but no one ever really knew what was wrong with him," she said.
She said she regretted encouraging Bryant, who will spend life in prison without parole, to plead guilty.
Ms Bryant also questioned how he could have planned such a crime, but claimed she did not wish to spark debate about his guilt or innocence.
"There are conspiracy theories that Martin was not and could not have been the gunman. These would have been addressed with DNA, witness statements and fingerprints, to prove it one way or another," she said.
"The world does not need to remember Martin, but he is my son and I will always love him unconditionally."
The book's editor Michael Ludeke said Ms Bryant was not cashing in on the tragedy and just wanted to set the record straight.
"This is not Martin Bryant's story, it's Carleen's story," he said.
Mr Ludeke said the book covered before and after the massacre, including the suicide of Bryant's father and Ms Bryant's fortnightly visits to her son in jail.

The Mercury (5-12-2010)

Martin Bryant's death option

Long-serving prisoners such as mass murderer Martin Bryant should be legally allowed to die instead of serving their full jail sentences, says euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke.
Speaking at the end of a three-day visit to Tasmania, Dr Nitschke said incarcerating prisoners for life was equivalent to "eternal torture" and should not be tolerated by society.
He said prisoners should be given the option of taking a drug to peacefully end their lives, especially Martin Bryant, who has made six suicide attempts in Tasmania's Risdon Prison and has been treated at hospital twice this year after slashing himself with razor blades.
In previous attempts to harm himself Bryant swallowed a toothpaste tube, took an overdose of Rohypnol, and tried to choke on bandages.
"Locking prisoners like Martin Bryant away is all to do with punishment, and if you punish them forever you are effectively torturing them forever," said Dr Nitschke.
"People say you should not let that bastard off the hook so lightly. They want to see revenge forever and they want to see that revenge played out in front of them.
"But let's be honest about the fact that when we put people in prison forever, it's tantamount to torture. What we're doing to people like Martin Bryant is punishing them forever.
"And I don't know if I feel terribly comfortable with the notion of endless revenge."
Dr Nitschke said there was no denying that Bryant -- whose prison papers were marked "never to be released" after he received 35 life sentences for killing 35 people at Port Arthur 11 years ago -- had done terrible things.
But he still deserved the right to end his suffering.
"He's done evil and horrible things and deserves a huge incarceration," Dr Nitschke said. "But either there should be a plan for his rehabilitation and release or infinite incarceration plus or minus the chance to leave with death."
He said there would need to be safeguards, including assessments of a prisoner's physical and mental wellbeing before assisted suicide could occur.
And it was not intended as a quick fix for prisoners who were having adjustment problems in their early days in prison.
But he believed that in some cases it would be suitable.
While he has never spoken to Bryant, Dr Nitschke has had contact with other prisoners on the issue of euthanasia.

Herald Sun (12-6-2007)
Linda Smith

Ten years on, the horrors of Port Arthur linger

Port Arthur has seen unspeakable horrors, both ancient and modern.
Into the history of this hamlet, when 28-year-old misfit Martin Bryant began a murderous rampage in the Broad Arrow Cafe, firing a semi-automatic rifle. He killed 35 people and injured 25 more.
People in this town do not talk about the events of April 28, 1996. They do not say Bryant's name.
Today, the Port Arthur community, on the Tasman Peninsula, hopes to bury the demons it has wrestled with so long.
Today is likely to be the last formal commemorative service for the Port Arthur massacre, and for many who were here that day, today will be the first, and perhaps only time they come back.
Keith Moulton lost a daughter, Nanette, and two granddaughters, Alannah and Madeline, to Bryant's madness.
He has escorted others through the site and says coming back is important for those affected by the tragedy.
"When they come here, and see it on a nice day when it's quiet they've won their
battle. "(But) I wear a scar for this place and there is a big scab on it and every so often, that scab might get kicked, but I carry a scar and I know I'll carry it the rest of my life."
Today will be difficult.
Prime Minister John Howard will give the keynote address today, while Mr Moulton will read from the Bible.
Port Arthur is a beautiful but menacing place. Tour guides and locals are happy to take visitors through the old convict cells. They will point out the punishment cells and the rack to which "incorrigible" prisoners were tied to be flogged, almost proud of this place's brutal history.
But the guided tour of the site makes no mention of Australia's largest mass murder, and even beyond ignoring the events of April 1996, effort is made to hide them.
The guidebook asks that visitors don't ask tour guides and staff about the massacre.
The ruins of Broad Arrow Cafe, once the thriving hub of Port Arthur, now stand alone. It's not part of the tour, but visitors still come. There is nothing inherently sinister about the building. But the fact that 20 people were killed in cold blood within its squat, brick walls makes it a haunting place.
Near the cafe is a square, reflective pool, the centrepiece of today's memorial service.
At the end of the service, 35 candles one for each victim will be placed in the pool.

The Age (28-4-2006)
Ben Doherty

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