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The man who allegedly killed Australian teacher Shanae Brooke Edwards in Georgia claims the ‘devil awoke’ inside of him.
Detectives from Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs arrested Georgian citizen Rafael Mursakulov over the alleged murder of the 31-year-old Melbourne ‘free spirit’ in September.
On Wednesday, the accused killer – who has pleaded guilty in a Georgian court to robbery, but not to her murder – addressed Ms Brooke Edwards’ family and his country as his trial drew to an end.
‘I apologise to this country, to the people, to the family of that person,’ Mursakulov said in his native tongue.
‘This is a loss that you can not make up for. Just forgive me. No matter what the verdict is, I will not vote, I will not appeal, I will stand up to the end, I apologise.’
Tributes for the kind and adventurous Shanae Brooke Edwards have flooded social media since her alleged murder on July 30
The much-loved ‘free spirit’ was on a call to a friend in the US while trekking when she was heard shouting ‘take your hands off me’ – before the call cut out
Ms Brooke Edwards’ final Instagram post, of her on a motorbike on July 29, was captioned ‘Joy’
Ms Brooke Edwards was found with stab wounds near a narrow pedestrian trail in Mtatsminda Park in the eastern European country’s capital of Tbilisi on July 31, a day after she went for a hike and never returned.
She had been on the phone to a friend in the United States and was heard shouting when she was attacked.
The Tbilisi City Court has heard Mursakulov’s lawyers claim he was mentally ill when he attempted to rob the beloved teacher.
But, prosecutor Giorgi Kobuladze demanded Mursakulov be found guilty of premeditated murder.
‘The accused stabbed Shanai Brook 13 times, five of them in the neck, which confirms the intent to kill. She was then stabbed with a knife, after which she was brutally killed. Then he hid the victim’s body,’ Mr Kobuladze reportedly told the court.
Georgian detectives further claim Mursakulov had told his brother and sister-in-law about about what allegedly happened after the robbery and threatened to kill their son if they said anything about the crime.
The verdict, which was expected this week, was postponed at the request of the prosecution to allow Ms Brooke Edwards’ brother, who lives in Australia, to be in court at the time.
The court has heard Mursakulov claimed he could not recall in detail how or why he killed Ms Brooke Edwards.
It is a claim refuted by prosecutors, who claim although the killer had traces of psychotropic drugs in his system, knew what he was doing the time of the alleged murder.
Georgian citizen Rafael Mursakulov claims he has no memory of killing Shanae Brooke Edwards, but has apologised for his actions
Georgian police arrested Rafael Mursakulov after an investigation that went for near on 40 days
The body of Shanae Brooke Edwards was found discarded under bushes in the shadow of a popular amusement park.llegedly murdered in a robbery gone wrong
Shanae Brooke Edwards had travelled the world. She was killed after going for a hike
The court heard Mursakulov intended to burn Ms Brooke Edwards’ corpse and had dragged her body to the edge of a gorge and covered it with leaves.
‘He can not perceive how it happened. He has some mental problems, which does not exclude his admission,’ Mr Kobuladze said.
‘He himself can not describe in detail what caused all this. His explanation was that at that moment the greatest devil awoke in him, (which he) could not overcome.’
The trial has heard evidence from other witnesses who claimed the accused also attempted to pursue them in the vicinity of Mtatsminda Park, Georgian media reported.
Prosecutors have called on the court to impose a higher than usual sentence against the alleged killer.
Mursakulov faces between 16 to 20 years or life in prison if found guilty of premeditated murder and attempting to cover up the crime.
The death of Ms Brooke Edwards sent shockwaves throughout the Tbilisi community and Australia.
Police had created a composite sketch of the likely offender after interviewing 200 people, including friends, co-workers, neighbours and fellow hikers who were at Mtatsminda Park the day she was allegedly murdered.
After checking their whereabouts at the time of murder, police closed in on the alleged killer.
Searchers found this old and rusty shovel in the bushes in the area where Ms Brooke Edwards went missing.
The ferris wheel attraction in Mtatsminda Park would have been in view of Shanae Brooke Edwards when she was allegedly murdered
Police in Georgia search for Shanae Brooke Edwards in Mtatsminda Park. Her body was found a day after she went missing
LAST MOMENTS CAPTURED ON CCTV
CCTV footage of Ms Brooke Edwards captured her final moments alive as she took off on her fateful hiking trip on July 30.
Dressed in tight black yoga pants and a dark top, she was last seen leaving the Church of Mikhail of Tver for a hike up along Mtatsminda.
Images clearly captured her carrying a green bag, which reportedly remains missing.
It is understood Ms Brooke Edwards’ mobile phone was found dumped in nearby bushland close to where her body had been found a day after she went missing.
Police sources have told local media that contrary to earlier reports, no signs of sexual assault were found on her body.
‘As a result of complex and multifaceted investigative activities, the circle of the supposed offenders was reduced to a minimum, whereas, as a result of genetic examination report the identity of the offender was unequivocally confirmed,’ detectives claimed at the time.
Word of Mursakulov’s arrest over the killing was welcomed by terrified locals, who had set up a social media page to help protect women following Ms Brook Edwards’ murder.
Shocked citizens had already set up a memorial to the murdered school teacher, with locals laying flowers at the site.
The body of Ms Brooke Edwards was found discarded under bushes in the shadow of a popular amusement park.
In the months since the horrific alleged murder, reports Ms Brooke Edwards had been raped have been revealed to be false.
As have reports of a supposed photofit of a young blonde male being passed around by detectives in the days following the crime.
A GoFundMe page was created to help the family of Ms Brooke Edwards return her body back to Australia had raised more than $20,000 in donations.
However, the Georgian government later stepped in and announced it would cover the transportation expenses of her body to Australia.
Shanae Brooke Edwards was killed in Georgia after going for a hike
A young Shanae Brooke Edwards (right) with her family
Shanae Brooke Edwards and her brother Tyson in happier times
Source: DailyMail AU