Panicked radio calls in which police plead for someone to "take out" Bourke Street attacker James Gargasoulas have been aired at the inquest into the 2017 car rampage that killed six people.
"This car is a danger to pedestrians," one officer is heard saying as the stolen Holden Commodore is driven in circles outside Melbourne's Flinders Street Station. "It is in the middle of Flinders and Swanston [streets] doing donuts."
Gargasoulas then mounts the footpath on Swanston Street, sparking a flurry of chilling messages.
"Urgent. Someone needs to take this vehicle out before it kills someone," says another officer. "Get an opportunity."
Another says: "Someone needs to take this vehicle out before it kills someone."
Moments later, he turns into Bourke Street Mall.
"We have someone down on — multiple victims, multiple victims. As many units as you possibly can, we need to take him out," one officer radios back.
Killer's name will not be spoken
On the first day of the coronial inquiry into the attack, the Coroners Court of Victoria heard Gargasoulas would not be mentioned by name at the request of his victims' families.
In her opening address, Coroner Jacqui Hawkins referred to "horrific scenes of murder and carnage" that followed when Gargasoulas mowed down pedestrians in the mall in January 2017.
"It has astounded me that many more people were not killed or injured," Ms Hawkins said.
"One by one these lives were extinguished.
"These six individuals were going about their day … when the murderous actions of the offender ended their lives.
"I have a responsibility to the family and friends of the victims … to examine the events of this day."
The inquest was initially opened in July 2017, but had to be adjourned so the criminal process would not be compromised.
In February, Gargasoulas was sentenced to life in prison, with a non-parole period of 46 years, for murdering six people and injuring dozens of others.
"Thankfully, the community is now much safer for it," Ms Hawkins said.
The inquest will focus on a number of issues including the out-of-sessions bail hearing at which Gargasoulas was given bail, and Victoria Police's response to the incident.
Bail system is 'fraught', says victim's wife
The widow of one of the Bourke Street victims has criticised the bail system that allowed Gargasoulas to be released from custody six days before the attack.
Gargasoulas had been arrested for threatening his mother with a knife and charged with 23 offences. Police opposed his release on bail, but a volunteer bail justice granted it.
Melinda Tan, whose 33-year-old architect husband Matthew Si was killed on Bourke Street after the pair ate lunch together in the city, described the bail system as "fraught".
"The bail system continues to fail us and there will be another tragedy if no major changes are made," Ms Tan said.
Victoria continues to use volunteer bail justices, who do not need specific legal qualifications, for out-of-hours bail hearings.
But the State Government has also set up a night court to conduct bail and remand hearings until 9:00pm every night of the week.
Ms Tan also questioned the timing of the announcement of a new police policy clarifying officers' powers to stop drivers using cars as weapons.
"It's an irony that the police's new hostile driving policy was announced a month before the inquest began," she said.
"It is not risk management if [we] only react to deaths."
Dozens of witnesses to be questioned
The inquest will hear spoken evidence from 62 witnesses, many of whom would be profoundly traumatised, counsel assisting the inquest Stephen O'Meara QC told the court.
In his opening address, Mr O'Meara said Gargasoulas engaged in a "cowardly and maniacal rampage" that amounted to a "horrendous crime".
"It reverberated across the country and internationally."
Ms Hawkins acknowledged the inquest would be unbearably painful for families and witnesses.
She urged the lawyers present — who numbered more than 25 at the bar table on the first day — to be sensitive and respectful when questioning witnesses.
She told the inquest she would be searching for answers.
"We must learn from this and be better equipped in the future," she said.