Added by Gary Dunn on May 10, 2011
A man who hijacked a peak-hour Melbourne bus and was shot in the chest was attempting “suicide by cop”, a court has heard.
David William Chuter, 22, was mentally ill when he boarded the bus at Essendon station in May 2010, he held a knife to the back of the bus driver’s neck as he forced him out of the vehicle.
There were seven passengers on board the bus at the time and large numbers of commuters waiting at the station.
Police tried to subdue Chuter with capsicum spray, but it had little effect and he continued advancing towards them with his knife.
One officer, who was scared for his life, shot Chuter in the chest.
Chuter had faced more than 20 charges, but on Monday pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery and two counts of assaulting police.
The Court heard Chuter had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was on antipsychotic medication and had been in custody since his arrest.
Chuter’s counsel Len Hartnett said his client had been involved in what could fairly be described as a failed “suicide by cop”. He also said his client had responded well to his medication and should be granted a community-based order after spending 12 months in prison already.
Judge Mark Dean said the two police officers – Senior Constables Shane O’Laughlin and Steven Taylor – should be commended for their exceptional bravery during the incident.
Chuter was remanded in custody for sentencing on June 14.