In 1996, Martin Bryant had been described as an immature yet harmless man by his neighbors. He was loved by the local children, for whom he often bought expensive gifts. However, Bryant had become lonely, as he didn’t work and lived off a $1.5 million inheritance. He had also told his psychiatrist that he wanted to go around shooting people. His loneliness culminated in Australia’s deadliest spree killing in history, the Port Arthur massacre.
On April 28th, 1996, Bryant walked into Port Arthur’s Broad Arrow cafe with a large black bag, and ordered a meal. He sat down and conversed with other patrons of the cafe and made comments that there were a lot of wasps around as it was a hot day. He then returned his empty tray and opened up his bag which contained an AR-15 assault rifle with 30 rounds attached. The cafe was full of people and was remarkably small, with tables packed tightly together. Within 15 seconds, Bryant fired 13 shots at close range, killing 12 people instantly. Bryant chased down and killed another 8 people in the gift shop area of the site, before moving outside to the car park. Many coaches were parked in this area, with lines of people waiting outside them. When these people realized what was going on, they scattered, but Bryant managed to chase down and murder several more people, before changing his weapon to an FN FAL.
Bryant hijacked a car at the toll booth area of the site, but not before shooting dead the driver and his 3 passengers. He then took a hostage in the boot of this car and drove down to a local B&B known as Seascape. When police arrived at Seascape an 18-hour standoff ensued, during which Bryant communicated with police with a telephone. Bryant claimed he knew nothing about the previous massacre at Port Arthur and that everyone inside was in perfect health, even though it was later proved that Bryant had already shot dead the two owners of the B&B and his hostage, who was handcuffed to the banister. Eventually, Bryant deliberately set fire to Seascape for some unknown reason, and ran out with his clothes on fire, surrendering to police.
After his arrest, Bryant was reportedly obsessed with knowing the number of people he had killed, and wanted to know if he had “beaten” Thomas Hamilton, who had perpetrated the Dunblane massacre just weeks beforehand. Bryant received a sentence of over 1000 years of imprisonment, without parole, for the massacre, and is currently serving his time in the psychiatric wing of Risdon Prison, in Hobart, Australia. Recently, a Police training video has been leaked on the internet that contains photographs of the victims after being shot and a clip that shows Martin Bryant running near the buses in the Port Arthur car park. The video also plays a recording of the phone call between Bryant and police during the standoff at Seascape, in which Bryant claims to have made a cup of tea for his hostage.