Man admits to St Kilda backpackers hostel shooting

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A man shot at a backpackers hostel with underworld links while his girlfriend was inside and was bitten by a police dog while being arrested during 11 days of madness, his lawyer has told a court.

Morty El-Hassan, 28, pleaded guilty to a string of charges in the County Court on Thursday after shooting at a St Kilda hostel owned by underworld figure Tony Mokbel’s ex-partner, Danielle McGuire.

The Melbourne Hostel in St Kilda in 2021.Credit:

Ms McGuire’s daughter, Brittany, was in a relationship with El-Hassan and the two women were inside the Melbourne Hostel on Punt Road when he fired a sawn-off shotgun at the door on September 1, 2020, the court was told.

He shot a hole through the door after firing twice at it, with the McGuires and other occupants of the backpackers fleeing onto the street after hearing the gun shots.

El-Hassan forced the door open and went into a storage room before walking towards the kitchen while holding the gun. He was inside for five seconds before he left in a luxury black Jaguar.

A few days earlier, on August 29, El-Hassan was seen erratically driving a black Audi around St Kilda and Brighton, with Brittany in the passenger seat.

Danielle McGuire.Credit: Angela Wylie

He was disqualified from driving at the time and police tried to pull the Audi over several times after receiving reports it was speeding and cutting off other drivers.

As officers were trying to stop the Audi, near Punt Road and Wellington Street, El-Hassan accelerated and crashed into a police car. He tried to drive away but only made it 50 metres due to damage to the back wheel.

El-Hassan got out of the Audi and ran from police, avoiding arrest by breaking into someone’s house and leaping off a balcony. His girlfriend also tried to run, but she was arrested.

Police searched the Audi and found two knifes along with steroids and syringes.

He was arrested on September 10 at his Burwood East apartment, where he was bitten by a police dog and kicked by an officer, his barrister Kelly McKay told the court.

“It was … an 11-day period of madness, really. And he concedes that and he looks back on it with significant regret,” she said.

He was taken to hospital after the arrest, and she said the dog bite had caused long-term nerve damage to his right leg and he now walks with a limp. He also sustained long-term spinal injuries and it has been difficult for him to manage his pain while in prison.

McKay asked that El-Hassan, who has admitted to shooting, driving and weapons offences, be given a deferred sentence to allow him to receive drug, alcohol and mental health treatment, which the prosecution rejected.

El-Hassan, who remains in custody, has been in prison since his arrest in September 2020. He will return to court on July 24.


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