The coroner’s inquest into the Martin Place siege, has heard the tragic incident began when gunman Man Haron Monis stood in the Lindt cafe and said: “This is an attack, I have a bomb”.
The siege ended 13 hours later when Monis was seen by a police marksman shooting hostage Tori Johnson in the back of the head with a pump action shotgun.
Johnson was forced to kneel down in front of Monis when he pulled the trigger.
“The end of the barrel was about 75 centimetres from Mr Johnson’s head at the moment of discharge. Mr Johnson is believed to have died instantly.”
A police order was immediately given to storm the cafe, using SF-9 stun grenades and firing on Monis. The police entered the cafe through two doors.
A total of 11 distractors (or “flash-bangs”) were tossed into the cafe by police as they entered. They made a total of 99 noises and sudden flashes of light.
Monis fired off two shots as police raided the cafe.
Bullets and fragments of bullets hit Monis and he was “killed instantly”. He was shot twice in the head and at least 11 times in the body.
Katrina Dawson was struck by six fragments of a police bullet or bullets. One fragment struck a major blood vessel, which caused her to lose consciousness quickly and she died soon after.
Three other hostages were also struck and injured by police fragment ricochets.
The inquest heard that on the the morning of 15 December 2014, around 8:30am, Man Haron Monis entered the Lindt Cafe.
Jeremy Gormly QC told the inquest that Monis was wearing camoflauge pants, a large backpack, and carrying a blue plastic bag.
By chance, Monis met and spoke with his family solicitor in the cafe that morning. He ordered some cake and tea and after about 30 minutes, he told a waiter he wished to speak to the manager.
Monis spoke with Lindt cafe manager Tori Johnson. Following their conversation Johnson told a member of his staff, “I need you to get my keys from the office. W’ere closed. Everything is okay, tell the staff to stay calm.”
The doors were locked and Monis put on a vest and bandana. He stood and announced, “This is an attack, I have a bomb.”
Hostages were then ordered to stand by the window of the cafe and hold “an Islamic-type flag”, Gormly told the inquest.
The inquest revealed that as the siege went on Monis did not remove his backpack and continually threatened to shoot hostages.
Addressing the issue of hostages and witnesses providing interviews to media outlets, such as Channel 9’s upcoming 60 minutes special, Gormly said, “the law is that unless there is a contempt it’s not automatically illegal for a witness to give a paid interview”.
“In this case there is not likely to be any actionable contempt,” he said.
Statements have been obtained from and signed by every hostage involved in the siege.
The hearing has been adjourned for a later date.
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