Christopher Raftopoulos: Accused Melbourne stabber was travelling around Australia, court told

The man accused of a random stabbing spree plans to fight the allegations by saying police arrested the wrong person, a court has been told.

Christopher Raftopoulos, 31, was arrested in the early hours of January 7 after five people were stabbed in a three-hour window across Melbourne overnight.

He returned before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, asking the court to give him bail.

The application was heavily opposed by police and prosecutors, who raised concerns Mr Raftopoulos was a “realistic risk” of causing harm to any person if released.

Outlining the police case, Senior Constable Roland Stagg said the alleged slashing spree began after Mr Raftopoulos followed a 28-year-old man off a city-bound tram in Southbank about 9.21pm.

He allegedly ran towards the man as he crossed the street, stabbing him three times in the lower waist.

Less than 40 minutes later, a second man was stabbed in the leg outside a King St burger restaurant.

Constable Stagg said CCTV had allegedly captured Mr Raftopoulos following the man at a 20m distance before running up to him.

In the third alleged incident, Mr Raftopoulos allegedly followed a man and a woman, both 31, off a tram in St Kilda East shortly before 11pm.

A witness allegedly told police she observed the couple walking towards a nearby cemetery before hearing “loud and terrifying screams” about 90 seconds later.

Constable Stagg said the woman was stabbed in the upper back and arm multiple times, while the man was slashed – partially severing his arm.

At 12.30am, a fourth man was allegedly stabbed in the upper thigh on Acland St in St Kilda.

The court was told Mr Raftopoulos was arrested after a short foot chase after protective services officers spotted him aboard a train.

Inside a black backpack, police allegedly found a bloody 20cm kitchen knife and several shirts with blood smears.

All the alleged victims have since left hospital, the court was told, with the last person discharged on Friday.

As details of the alleged offending were read, Mr Raftopoulos showed little emotion but could be seen blinking at a quick pace.

Constable Stagg said it would be alleged that Mr Raftopoulos took efforts to avoid detection by changing outfits several times.

“These were calculated attacks against different members of the public when they least expected it to occur,” he said.

“Police strongly believe he poses a real risk of fatally injuring any member of the public.”

The court was told police believe Mr Raftopoulos had been homeless and travelling throughout Australia for at least the past 12 months.

Constable Stagg said Mr Raftopoulos was allegedly on bail at the time and avoiding police, saying investigators hold concerns he would leave the state “immediately” if released.

Mr Raftopoulos’ lawyer, Richard Revill, told the court his client was “mentally unwell” when arrested but instructed he was now feeling “much better” after receiving treatment and medication.

He said Mr Raftopoulos was planning on pleading not guilty to the charges and would fight the allegations by arguing police have the wrong person.

“At this stage we would say he’s disputing the charges on the basis of ID,” Mr Revill said.

During a short intermission, Mr Raftopoulos addressed his lawyer directly, saying: “Police do not have any evidence of my face in any of those CCTV images – I’m sure of this Richard.”

The case was adjourned until early March to allow Mr Raftopoulos’ lawyers time to ask family members if they would support Mr Raftopoulos living with them if granted bail.

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