Basmah Qazi


Parents who lost 3-month-old baby in Bourke St attack describe the haunting day

Parents who lost 3-month-old baby in Bourke St attack describe the haunting day

The tragedy of losing a child is one that can’t be put into words, but that is exactly what the brave parents of a Bourke Street rampage victim have done, after they described the moment they lost their three-month-old baby on the harrowing day.

Listening to his final heartbeat, the father of three-month-old Zachary Bryant said he was “trying to desperately hold onto the moment”.

The year was 2017, the day January 20. Before leaving home, the parents of baby Zachary had no idea that he, along with his older sister Zara, would be in the path of James Gargasoulas, 29, as he drove his car manically through a crowded mall in Melbourne's CBD.

In his drug-induced state, he killed six people and injured dozens.

The two young children were thrown from their pram, which then became wedged in the smashed windscreen of the car that Gargasoulas stole before he committed the heinous crime.

Despite suffering from critical head injuries, Zara managed to survive, but little Zachary wasn’t so lucky and died in hospital.

Their father Matthew was unaware of how bad the situation was, as he drove to be by their side.

“At that point all I could do was pray, pray for some kind of miracle that they would pull through, but in my heart, I already knew my son had already left us,” Mr Bryant told a plea hearing for Gargasoulas on Wednesday in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

“I held him for the last time, trying desperately to hold onto the moment, not wanting to let go.”

Mr Bryant and his wife Nawwar Hassan-Bryant described their son as “freezing cold” before they buried his lifeless body.

“When Zachary left us, I felt a part of me die with him,” said Mr Bryant.

“I feel a constant guilt and failure that I was not there to protect my son and daughter.”

Ms Hassan-Bryant described Zachary as a “gentle and calm soul who was always easy to please,” a child that had only been in this world for a few months before his demise.

“My Zachary was gone,” she said. “My beautiful, innocent, perfect baby was gone. I watched his little chest stop moving as he lay in my arms. He was still just perfect.”

Their story was just one of 50 that were read out in court this week, before the sentence of Gargasoulas is announced.