His younger sister, Asha Ali, told police she was aware her older brother had been watching Islamic State propaganda but believed this was due to his “curious” and “intelligent” mind.
But following the cancellation of his passport in 2015 after he was intercepted carrying IS material at the airport, Ms Ali said her Somalian-born brother began to withdraw and became increasingly paranoid, fearing their father and brother were working as government spies.
“He lost his grip on reality,” Ms Ali said.
Another sibling, whose name was redacted from court documents, painted a haunting picture of the killer’s final days and months and said when Shire Ali spoke of people following him 12 weeks before his death, they thought it was nothing more than “a crazy hallucination”.
“Hassan did not trust my dad or brother. He was distant from the family,” the sibling said.
“He thought I was working for the police.”
The sibling said hours after they learnt of Shire Ali’s death, his family were woken about 2am to “footsteps on the roof” and a call from police telling them to come outside one by one with their hands up.
The family home in Werribee was subsequently raided by police.
Shire Ali was later buried in a secret pre-dawn funeral to avoid public attention.
Images released to the public on Thursday also shed light on the 2018 crime scene, including photographs of the charred remains of Shire Ali ’s ute and other recovered items.
These included blackened gas bottles pulled from the smouldering wreck, a scorched passport, a Medicare card, ropes, power tools and Islamic papers Shire Ali had placed into his ute before setting it ablaze.
Harrowing statements released on Thursday also included testimony from those who witnessed the deadly attack.
Some recalled seeing a man “on a rampage, stabbing people” and the “screaming” of gas cylinders, while others remembered Shire Ali’s victim, Mr Malaspina, as the man with the “kind face”.
Shadi Helal, the security guard injured in the attack, told police: “I worry more about the people, what they had to see today. They shouldn’t have”.
Shire Ali’s younger brother Ali Khalif Shire Ali was arrested on unrelated terrorism charges a year before the 30-year-old’s attack.
Ali Ali is currently serving 16 years in prison for planning to kill New Year’s Eve revellers at Federation Square in the name of Islamic State on December 31, 2017.
In November 2020, the Coroners Court of Victoria held a lengthy inquest in the hope of preventing similar deaths occurring in the future.
The coroner’s findings are expected to be handed down later this year.
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Erin covers crime for The Age. Most recently she was a police reporter at the Geelong Advertiser.