The son of an older couple who were tragically stabbed to death in their Brisbane home in 2020 in a suspected terrorism attack has shared his grief with a court, devastated that they will never meet their great-grandchildren.
Testimonies and evidence were brought before the court on Monday, concerning the events leading up to the death of Brisbane couple Zoe and Maurice Antill, 86 and 87, respectively, in December 2020. The alleged assailant was later subdued by police.
Maurice and Zoe’s son, Howard Antill, were present and told the court about his parents’ hospitable nature.
“The impact and sudden loss of Maurice and Zo will be felt forever,” he said.
The accused attacker, 22-year-old Raghe Mohamed Abdi, alerted bypassers by walking the median strip of the Logan Motorway the day after the incident. When police arrived, Mr Abdi attempted to rush the police with a knife and was fatally shot.
The coronial inquest will investigate the events the lead up to the fatal attacks at the couple’s Parkinson home over the next two weeks, along with the motive for Mr Abdi’s actions.
When the bodies of 87-year-old Maurice and 86-year-old Zoe were found in their backyard, police alleged Mr Abdi had stabbed the couple to death the night before and that he was influenced by the terrorist group Islamic State.
At the time, Queensland Police Service (QPS) Deputy Commissioner, Tracy Linford, said she had watched the police bodycam footage and confirmed Mr Abdi shouted “Allahu Akbar” translating to “God is great”, moments before he was shot by officers.
Mr Abdi’s family denied the allegations, claiming he was suffering from a severe mental illness that had been heightened by interactions with authorities.
“He was a young man who wanted to have a limitless life as any young person … who is stigmatised because of the identity he was given. I felt he was under mental pressure,” his father, Mohammad, told the media after the incident.
The first to give evidence at the inquest was the lead investigator in the murders, Detective Inspector Christopher Knight, who said the QPS consulted Terrorism and National Security lecturer Levi West to produce his opinion in a report.
Mr Knight said the report found “insufficient evidence to explain that Abdi’s [alleged] murder of the Antills […] was ideologically motivated. Therefore, the [alleged] murders cannot be considered an act of terrorism.”
Mr West will be called as a witness later in the inquest.
Mr Knight said Mr Abdi had not been near the Antills’ home prior to the incident and believed he was not motivated by money or theft.
“If you were motivated by theft or some sort of financial gain […] there was plenty of opportunity. There was cash visibly left on benchtops — there was jewellery,” he said.
“The opportunity was there to steal items of value if that was on your mind.”
14 witnesses will be called to give evidence at the inquest.