By police reporter Jessica Kidd
A senior police officer who was in charge during the final hours of the Lindt Cafe siege says he accepts blame for the deaths of hostages Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, as well as gunman Man Haron Monis.
The Police Forward Commander, whose name has been suppressed, made the stunning admission during his third day in the witness stand at the Sydney siege inquest.
“Three people lost their lives because of me, my decision. I can’t change that,” he told the inquest.
“Every day I think about that… I rack through my head, what could I have done differently. But I could never mitigate the risk of the bomb.”
The inquest had previously heard police believed Monis had a bomb in his backpack and a detonator in his hand, and they held that belief right up until a bomb squad entered the cafe after the siege.
Today, the commander admitted he did not send police into the cafe before a hostage was killed because the presence of the bomb made it too dangerous.
It was only when Monis shot cafe manager Mr Johnson at point blank range at 2:13am that the commander said he had no choice but to order his officers to make force entry.