In their own words: The details of the brave escape from the Lindt cafe.

Joel Herat, one of the hostages trapped inside the Lindt cafe during the Sydney siege, has told his family the harrowing details of what really happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The gunman, Man Haron Monis, was not dozing off, as previously thought.

The 21-year-old said the gunman was agitated and very awake at 2:00am. Mr Herat told his family he didn’t think they would survive until morning if they stayed inside the cafe.

Mr Herat’s father, Lawyer Bruce Herat, spoke to Fairfax Media about the details.

Joel Herat. Image via Facebook.


“From what Joel told me initially, towards 2am Monis started to bring groups of people together in close proximity from where they had been dispersed throughout [the cafe]”, he said.

“And at that point in time, Joel and five others came to the conclusion that they were not going to survive until the morning if they did not do something. So I think him and Jarrod [19-year-old Jarrod Hoffman] basically came to the conclusion that they would bust down the door. And I know that Joel made sure that Harriette [Denny] … got behind him and he said, ‘You’re coming with me’, and basically made sure that all that group were ready to go when Joel and Jarrod broke down the door, it was a group of six in total, I’m not sure who the others were.

“I haven’t ventured to go [deeply] into the detail of it simply because I just don’t want to visit that with Joel too early.

“I don’t know how they did it but they did kick down the [internal] door, which leads to the barristers’ chambers, and then the moment they busted that door down, Joel heard shots in his proximity. And he made sure that Harriette got out and Jarrod got out .. there were shots as they were fleeing.”


The hostages escaping early Tuesday morning. Joosep Martinson/Getty Images.


Mr Herat has confirmed his son did not see what was going on in the cafe as they escaped.

“It had to be immediate, no opportunity to look back or anything like that, they just had to take their opportunity.”

When three hostages escaped earlier on, there were grave fears things inside the cafe would take a turn quickly, but that wasn’t the case.

“We knew that three escaped early on, and I knew that was fabulous, but we were very much worried that some form of retribution would be taken. Luckily it wasn’t but I know that when I spoke to Joel later he said that upon the first escape, [Monis] lined up five people, one of them was Joel, and pointed a gun at them and said, ‘Someone must die now’,” Mr Herat said.

Flowers in Martin Place. Joosep Martinson/Getty Images


“I think they talked him down. It progressed to another level, in terms of them being asked to do things, put the flag up again, being positioned in certain areas where he could monitor and control them. And beyond that I don’t know.”

Mr Herat has said he was unaware there was a situation until he received a text from one of Joel’s friends just before 10am. The text asked if Joel was working at Lindt that day.

“I was about to reply, yes, drop in and have coffee with him…. and I asked why, and he said, “I think you had better get up there, there is a situation happening,” he said.

“I just ran. I ran from Chippendale to Martin Place.”