The identities of the two hostages who were killed during the 16-hour-long siege at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place have been revealed to be commerical lawyer Katrina Dawson and Lindt Cafe manager, Tori Johnson.
The dramatic hostage situation ended just after 2am today when police stormed the cafe where a gunman, Man Monis, had taken 17 hostages.
Dawson and Johnson were pronounced dead after being taken to hospital, marking a tragic end to the drawn out incident.
Dawson was a highly respected barrister from Eight Selborne chambers in Phillip Street, and the younger sister of well-known Sydney barrister Sandy Dawson and McKinsey & Co. director Angus Dawson.
The 38-year-old was the mother to three young children with her lawyer husband, Paul Smith, a partner at King & Wood Mallesons.
Dawson was reportedly visiting the cafe with a pregnant colleague, who managed to survive the siege – close friend and fellow barrister Julie Taylor. She is believed to have been carried out of the building on a stretcher.
The NSW Bar Association has released a tribute to Dawson following the news of her death.
“Katrina was one of our best and brightest barristers who will be greatly missed by her colleagues and friends at the NSW Bar,” Association president Jane Needham said.
“She was a devoted mother-of-three children and a valued member of her floor and of our bar community.
“Our thoughts are with her family at this time including her brother Sandy Dawson of Banco Chambers.”
Dr Michael Spence, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Sydney has said Dawson, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1998 and Bachelor of Laws in 2000, had “carved out a successful career as a respected barrister, and her death is a moment of great sadness for the University of Sydney and the legal community.”
Cranbrook principal Nicholas Sampson wrote to students and families today to break the news that the school had lost one of its “much loved parents”.
“Katrina was the mother of Oliver who has just completed Kindergarten, Sasha, who attended St Michael’s Pre-school and Chloe, a student at Ascham, and the wife of Paul Smith. Katrina was the much loved daughter of Sandy and Jane Dawson and sister of Angus and Sandy Dawson, all families who are highly respected members of our School community,” he said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family at this extremely difficult and very sad time.”
34-year-old Johnson had worked at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe since October 2012.
He had worked at a number of other restaurants and hospitality companies around Sydney prior to taking the job at Martin Place.
He previously studied in the United States and earned a Hospitality Business Management degree from Washington State University in 2003.
There are reports that Johnson made a heroic effort to take the firearm away from the gunman during the siege.
It is understood that the 34-year-old decided to take action when the hostage-taker began to doze off during the latter stages of the incident.
Johnson’s parents have since released a statement via journalist Ben Fordham:
“We are so proud of our beautiful boy Tori, gone from this earth but forever in our memories as the most amazing life partner, son and brother we could ever wish for.
“We feel heartfelt sorrow for the family of Katrina Dawson.
“We’d like to thank not only our friends and loved ones for their support, but the people of Sydney; Australia and those around the world for reaching out with their thoughts and prayers.
“Our deepest gratitude to the NSW police, armed forces and paramedics for their tireless efforts.
“We ask that the media respects our privacy in this difficult time.
“Let us all pray for peace on earth.”
Fordham later tweeted this.
So impressed with the strength from Ken and Rowena Johnson. No surprise their son Tori lost his life while saving the lives of others.
— BenFordham (@BenFordham) December 16, 2014
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