The two police marksmen who stormed the Lindt café in Sydney last month after an armed gunman held its inmates as hostages have now come under scrutiny after one of the inmates tells that Katrina Dawson was killed by deflected police bullets. Not much was known about the final moments till a court hearing Thursday and Jerely Gormly, the lawyer, gave a detailed account of the events that unfolded on the day.
Gormly describes how a 50 year old self proclaimed Shiite cleric, later identified as Man Haron Monis, dressed up in camouflage pants and baseball cap entered the café at 8.30 am carrying a large black backpack. He ordered a cup of tea and a slice of chocolate cake and took a seat. A few minutes later, he asked to be moved to a table close to the rear doors of the café from where he could view the entire sitting area easily.
Thirty minutes later, Monis told a waitress that he wished to speak to the café manager. Later as he talked to the 34 year old manager, the workers could make out that their boss was distressed. The worried manager then called an employee and asked him to get his keys and the lock all the doors.
As he knew he was in total control, Monis donned a vest and bandanna, stood up, produced his shotgun and by the account of one hostage stated: “This is an attack, I have a bomb.” He then ordered everyone to stand and move to the café’s northern wall, said Mr. Gormly.
The armed man ordered the café inmates to hold a black flag printed with the Shahadah, a profession of Islamic faith, at one of the windows.
The siege dragged on into the evening as Monis tried in vain to get media organizations to broadcast his grievances and getting frustrated at not being able to do so.
Later in the evening two marksmen stormed into the café and fired 22 rounds in a ‘crazy’, frenetic and adrenaline-filled moment. By that time, Monis had already shot 34 year old Tori Johnson in the back of his head after asking him to kneel.
Though Monis was killed in the gunbattle which ensued as the cops stormed inside, having been shot 13 times, twice in the head, a 38 year old barrister Katrina Dawson also lost her life during the process.
Inmates now recall with horror that fragments of ricocheted police bullets struck and killed the mother-of-three and she dies thereafter from the loss of blood. Gormly said the inquest would address the manner in which the siege was managed and see whether it could have been handled any differently.