Bourke St killer's wife 'curious' about IS

Hassan Khalif Shire Ali's widow Beyza Even said she had been curious about Islamic State.
Hassan Khalif Shire Ali's widow Beyza Even said she had been curious about Islamic State.

Bourke Street stabber Hassan Khalif Shire Ali's widow says she used to be "curious" about Islamic State and sent her husband radical sermons as "religious reminders".

Shire Ali blew up his car, stabbed Melbourne identity Sisto Malaspina to death and injured two other people in the CBD in November 2018.

The 30-year-old was shot after lunging at police with a knife and died in hospital.

Widow Beyza Eren on Thursday told an inquest she would send Shire Ali videos and texts by radical preachers "as religious reminders", as she was trying to get him more involved in Islam.

She told Victoria's Coroners Court she had previously been "curious" about IS.

She said she hadn't known what to make of media coverage of the terror group at one point and had researched it online.

Ms Eren denied holding extremist views and said she hadn't known what Shire Ali did until after the attack.

He experienced hallucinations, was paranoid and convinced his wife's family and security services were following and bugging him in the lead-up.

Shire Ali called his wife minutes before his rampage. Ms Eren said he spoke about distributing pamphlets about Islam.

She'd given him the pamphlets.

"He just seemed like he was in a rush, he was a bit anxious," Ms Eren said of the call.

She said she later threw out the phone and SIM card because people kept contacting her and she also didn't want anyone to find intimate photos she had stored on the device.

She only agreed to give evidence at the inquest after being granted legal protection barring authorities from using what she said against her in any criminal proceedings.

Ms Eren and her husband were stopped in 2015 trying to leave Australia for Somalia, where Shire Ali had a son from another relationship.

Police found IS material on the man's phone and cancelled his passport. Ms Eren said she now believed Shire Ali had intended to travel to Syria.

The couple watched and exchanged videos by Anwar al-Awlaki, who was affiliated with IS and killed by a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

They sought marriage counselling from controversial Islamic preacher Koda Soueid.

Shire Ali watched IS videos with his brother, Ali Khalif Shire Ali, who was jailed earlier this year for plotting a terror attack on Federation Square.

He was in custody at the time of the Bourke Street incident.

Ms Eren was arrested the day after her husband's attack. She was suspected of aiding and abetting a terrorist act but never charged.

She has since married Mr Soueid.

The inquest was told Shire Ali did not necessarily behave like a devout Muslim. He smoked marijuana, watched pornography and looked up escorts.

Ms Eren's family didn't like him. Her brother, Evren Eren, said he had been angry because Shire Ali was "lazy" and didn't work.

"In our religion, once you get married, you're supposed to be a man and work and look after your family," Mr Eren said.

"But he didn't do any of that."

After the Bourke Street attack, Mr Eren told police his sister had "gone too far with the extremist stuff".

He thought Shire Ali's attack was the result of a breakdown and not terrorism.

"He was acting like a paranoid schizophrenic before," Mr Eren said.

Ms Eren believed Shire Ali's mental state contributed to the attack, alongside what she now conceded were his extreme religious views.

Australian Associated Press