400,000 people flocked to the St Kilda foreshore last year to watch the likes of Tim Finn, Kimbra, Gareth Liddiard and Jebediah at the annual music event, the St Kilda Festival. One individual however, thought it would be a good idea to bring two homemade bombs.
23-year-old apprentice baker, Sam Aniello Castellano pleaded guilty to eight charges of eighteen last April – including reckless conduct of endangering serious injury and two charges of recklessly causing serious injury and possessing an explosive substance, after he set off two DIY devices, injuring five people – two seriously – at St. Kilda Festival in February, 2011.
Today The Age confirms that Castellano – who originally claimed he didn’t intend his “homemade explosives” to hurt anyone – has now been jailed for at least 15 months with no parole.
A police explosives chemist told the court that the Anglesea youth’s DIY devices consisted of a metal container, and could have been a makeshift “soda bomb” which holds an explosive charge.
Charges that Castellano set off at the music event on February 13 last year – one at 3.23pm in O’Donnell Gardens and another at 7.10pm in a crowded beer garden.
Judge John Carmody of the County Court who handed down the 15 month sentence said Castellano’s “stupid acts” failed to appreciate the risk of damage and injury to others in detonating his homemade bombs, despite the defendant’s claims he ‘just wanted to have some fun’.
Five people were injured by shrapnel from Castellano’s explosives, which embedded itself in random attendee’s flesh and body parts.
One of the injured by the blast tells The Age they now suffers from anxiety attacks whenever he is in St Kilda and now avoids events and gatherings of large crowds.
Yet another injured attendee told the court that “these things should not happen at a family event where people are just trying to have fun.”
The most tragic fallout from Castellano’s horrible actions is a man who – at the time – reported seeing a flash before his leg gave way. He was then hospitalised for two days from a wound that filled up with blood that later required 25 stitches.
As a result, the shrapnel that tore the tendons and a nerve in his leg meant that he lost his job as a result of the St. Kilda bomb.
He has since had further surgery to remove scar tissue, but as a result has reduced movement and sensitivity in his leg and foot – meaning he can no longer run or walk properly.
Judge Carmody told Castellano during his sentencing that “the stupidity of your reckless actions is difficult to fathom,” saying that while the 23-year-old’s actions were absent of any intent or maliciousness, his behaviour should not be accepted by the community and the victims of his homemade explosions.
The Judge said that since the incident, Castellano had penned a letter to the court expressing remorse over his “immature” actions and that he had since turned a new leaf with a new job, new relationship and attempting to turn around the fractured relationship with his parents.
Despite his best intentions since the St. Kilda Festival incident, Judge Carmody said that Castellano’s actions still required adequate punishment, namely being jailed for a total of 34 months with a no-parole period of 15 months.