Bus driver killer told police he may kill

ANTHONY O'Donohue admitted to authorities he was afraid he would kill someone years before he set a Brisbane bus driver on fire, because he believed he was part of an elaborate conspiracy to destroy his life.

Mr O'Donohue will spend at least a decade in a mental health facility after lighting a backpack containing a bottle of fuel and throwing it at Manmeet Alisher while he was collecting passengers in Moorooka, in Brisbane's south, in October 2016.

An investigation into Mr O'Donohue's treatment under Queensland's mental health services found Mr Alisher's death could have been avoided.

But investigators were unable to conclude issues identified in the handover of information between services, risk management, the handling of Mr O'Donohue's discharge in 2016 and his attempt to get help again would have changed the outcome, the report released on Friday found.


An investigation has found Manmeet Alisher's death could have been avoided.
An investigation has found Manmeet Alisher's death could have been avoided.

"The assessment and management of risk in Mr O'Donohue is in accord with current practice but was disrupted by his lack of co-operation and, in the view of the investigators, by the absence of a dedicated community forensic service," it said.

Queensland's Mental Health Court has declared O'Donohue was of unsound mind at the time, and therefore not criminally responsible for his actions. Queensland Health has already received the findings of two reports into the circumstances surrounding the death, including why O'Donohue was living unsupervised in the community despite being in the grip of a severe mental disorder.

The state government said it would not release the reports until the legal process involving O'Donohue was concluded.

The court was told O'Donohue had been assessed by several doctors over a number of years. However, none realised the severity of his illness, which by the time of the attack involved a full-blown conspiracy theory that unions, police and governments were actively working to ruin his life.

In chilling testimony, the court was told that when Mr Alisher smiled at O'Donohue as he boarded the bus, the mentally ill man took that as a sign the driver was part of the conspiracy.

Mr Alisher's death prompted a huge outpouring of grief and sparked reforms to better protect bus drivers.