What Happened To Convicted Murderer Martin Bryant?

On April 28, 1996, 28-year-old Martin Bryant walked into a Tasmania, Australia, bed and breakfast called the Seascape Guesthouse and proceeded to shoot and kill the owners, David and Sally Martin. As reported by Daily Mail, he then drove to the Port Arthur historic site where he ate lunch, then opened fire on a large crowd of tourists and locals — which included adults, teens, and children. A total of 35 people were killed in the massacre, and 23 others were injured.

Bryant was quickly identified as the lone suspect in the shooting. Although he attempted to hide from authorities, he was eventually captured and taken into custody. During questioning, Daily Mail reports that Bryant initially denied having any connection to the massacre. However, he ultimately pleaded guilty to 72 criminal counts, including attempted murder and murder. On November 22, 1996, Bryant was sentenced to 35 life terms and will not be eligible for parole.

It is unclear what motivated Bryant to commit such a heinous crime. However, authorities believe he may have been motivated by revenge and the quest for some kind of control.

He reportedly became obsessed with a school shooting in Scotland

As reported by News.com.au, Martin Bryant had a history with David and Sally Martin. In the years prior to the shooting, Martin and his father, Maurice, both attempted to purchase the Seascape Guesthouse. However, the Martins were unwilling to sell their business.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Martin's mother, Carleen, admitted her son was troubled and that he had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. However, she does not believe the shootings "would have happened" if Maurice had not committed suicide. Although it is unclear why Maurice committed suicide, both he and Martin were frustrated that they were unable to purchase the bed and breakfast, and Maurice's suicide affected Martin profoundly. 

It has also been suggested that Bryant may have been inspired to commit a mass shooting after hearing about the Dunblane, Scotland, massacre — in which 16 school children were killed. According to The Age, Professor Paul Mullen, who was Monash University's chief of forensic psychiatry, interviewed Bryant in the midst of his trial at the request of his defense team. Mullen is convinced that Bryant became obsessed with the Scottish school shooting, which happened less than two months before the Port Arthur massacre.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

He has the IQ of an 11 year old

Professor Paul Mullen said Martin Bryant began planning his shooting spree in the aftermath of the Dunblane shooting. As reported by The Age, Mullen said, "He followed Dunblane. His planning started with Dunblane. Before that he was thinking about suicide, but Dunblane and the early portrayal of the killer, Thomas Hamilton, changed everything."

It has also been suggested that Bryant simply did not have the mental capacity to understand the impact of his actions. According to The Age, forensic psychologist Ian Joblin determined Bryant's IQ is similar to that of the average 11-year-old. Although Jobin determined Bryant was legally sane at the time of his trial, he later admitted he had "serious doubts" about his initial assessment.

Whatever it was that prompted Bryant to commit such a heinous crime, he will certainly spend the rest of his life in prison. And by all accounts, his life behind bars has been nothing short of miserable.

Martin Bryant has had a difficult time in prison

As reported by News.com.au, officials initially requested that Martin Bryant be housed in a segregation unit for his own safety. According to reports, he attempted suicide multiple times and was considered mentally unstable. Due to ongoing issues, he was eventually transferred to Risdon Prison Complex, where he is currently housed in a secure unit for prisoners with mental health concerns.

Professor Paul Mullen said Martin Bryant has become an "angry" man following his incarceration (via News.com.au). During an interview, a former prison employee confirmed Mullen's assessment. The former employee, who was not named, said Bryant spends a vast majority of his time alone and has refused opportunities to exercise and spend time in the prison yard.

News.com.au reports the former employee also said Bryant eats a lot of unhealthy foods, including instant noodle cups and chocolate. His diet and refusal to exercise has caused Bryant to gain a great deal of weight since he has been incarcerated.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

He has been diagnosed with several intellectual and mental disorders

In recent years, Martin Bryant was allowed to leave the prison (although he was heavily guarded) for surgery to remove cataracts from his eyes. Although he prefers to be isolated from his fellow inmates, Daily Mail reports that Bryant has physically attacked at least four people, including members of the prison staff. His volatile temper has left some of the guards feeling "very concerned about their safety." Prison psychiatrists have confirmed Bryant's IQ is approximately 66. They also confirmed his diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome and other disorders, which have influenced his behavior and social skills.

At the time of his arrest, Bryant was dating a woman named Petra Wilmott. As reported by News.com.au, they had been together for several months when Bryant committed the mass murder. Although she visited him in prison twice following his arrest, Wilmott eventually cut ties with Bryant and reportedly moved to a remote village to avoid any negative publicity.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

His crimes inspired strict gun control laws throughout Australia

The Port Arthur massacre was devastating on multiple levels. In addition to mourning the immense loss, citizens and lawmakers were concerned that Martin Bryant was able to purchase such a powerful weapon and kill so many people within minutes. At the time, The Guardian reports Tasmania was known for having some of the most relaxed gun regulations in Australia.

In the days and weeks following the Port Arthur massacre, then-Australian Prime Minister John Howard introduced multiple gun reforms in an effort to prevent a similar situation in the future. According to The Guardian, many Australian citizens and gun lobbyists had vehemently opposed the increased regulation of firearms. However, amid the turmoil following the massacre, Howard did not waste any time introducing the new reforms. In fact, they were implemented only 12 days after the mass shooting at Port Arthur occurred.