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In their own words: What happened inside Martin Place's Lindt chocolate shop.

Hostages from the Sydney siege, as well as eyewitnesses, have started to relay accounts of what happened during the terrifying 17-hour ordeal, which left three people dead including the gunman.

We’ve compiled some of the most recent accounts of exactly what happened during the siege.

For more on exactly how the siege unfolded – and ended last night – see this post.

“I saw a guy who looked like he was overseeing everything”

“I walked up to the door and everyone was sitting down and the door was locked, which was pretty weird cos it’s never locked,” a man, believed to be a Lindt employee, told Channel Nine of the morning the siege began.

“And there was one guy walking round with a hat and a beard, just walking round. And I think I saw my manager there,” he said. The man — named as “Bruno” by Fairfax Media — told reporters he had been spared from being present at the siege by a matter of minutes.

“I was supposed to start at 10,” he said. “I saw a guy who looked like he was overseeing everything… He was standing up while everyone else was sitting down. That’s when the police came and everyone started putting their hands against the window”.

“There was a whole lot of people in there”.

Several family members and friends of the hostages also gave their accounts of the events to Guardian Australia.

According to their reports the first sign that something was wrong came when the store manager recoiled in horror when Man Haron Monis threatened him with a gun after a short conversation.

Monis jumped to his feet and yelled he was a representative of the Islamic State and warned that there were bombs hidden in the building, before demandeding that everyone follow his instructions.

“The gunman was surrounding himself with the staff from Lindt,” one relative told Guardian Australia, “forcing them to stand near him, he was using them to control the social media, to get his message out. He was directing them on what to do, who to call, what to say.

“The other people, the older people, he pushed to the other side of the shop, he kept them there. “

“They were locked in, and they were aware that they were locked in.”

The inside of the Lindt cafe on a regular day.

Another man, who works as a delivery man but did not want to be identified, told The Telegraph that when he first arrived, he noticed a woman outside the cafe knocking on the locked doors, “trying to get someone’s attention inside the café”.

“I did three loads and realised that she was still in there. Then the gunman opened a bag up to show the gun to her, and get rid of her. And she went running down the stairs and said: ‘Gun! Gun! Gun!’ And we went out into Martin Place,” he said.

“I saw the gunman. He was quite tall, probably late 40s, had a long white sleeved T-shirt and a black vest. He was very calm, pacing, looking into the lift well,” he said.

For more on the identity and violent history of the gunman, see this post.

“And I could see other customers sitting down at their tables, they were still drinking, and I’m not sure how alert they were to what was going on. But they were locked in, and they were aware that they were locked in.”

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Hostages were forced to hold a black flag against the windows.

By 10:40am, reports and photos had begun to emerge of hostages pressed up against windows, with their hands in the air. One of those hostages filmed early in the way with her hands against the window was reportedly Harriette Denny, 30.

For more on the identities of the hostages, see this post.

Some hostages, including 22-year-old barista and student Elly Chen, were forced to press a black Islamic flag against the cafe’s windows.

(Photo: Facebook)

Hostages reportedly took turns holding the flag throughout the day, and into the night.

Screenshot: Channel Seven

A mother received a chilling SMS: “Mum, I’m in the Lindt chocolate cafe in Sydney.”

A hostage inside the shop, who works as an apprentice plumber, reportedly sent his mother a message saying: “Mum, I’m in the Lindt chocolate cafe in Sydney.”

The mother, named only as “Mel”, told Radio 2GB’s Ray Hadley her “heart just dropped” when she received the text

“I sent him a text message saying, ‘What’s going on, are you OK?’

“He said, ‘I’m OK mum, can’t talk’,” Mel recalled on Monday afternoon.

The gunman used hostages as human shields.

 Reports began to emerge yesterday that the gunman may be using a female hostage as a shield.

The hostages were forced to contact the media.

Throughout the siege, the hostages contacted several members of the media to relay the gunman’s demands.

The demands were relayed at gunpoint, one 19-year-old hostage reportedly told  The Daily Telegraph.

Nine Network reporter Mark Burrows, a reporter said he spoke with two hostages who called his newsroom directly.

“The first one, as I spoke to her, the gunman was actually reeling his demands through her, a long list of demands,” Burrows said. “I think number one was that he wanted to speak to someone with authority, but mainly the prime minister, and there were quite a few other of those demands.

The Daily Telegraph reports that in a chilling phone call to its newsroom from inside the cafe, one hostage referred to Monis as “The Brother”.

Overnight, three videos were posted to YouTube, showing three women hostages reciting demands Monas had instructed them to deliver. NSW Police asked the media not to publish those requests (this website has abided by the urgings of NSW Police).

“The brother has looked after us all, we are very tired, we’ve got pregnant ladies in here and sick and elderly and the very, very young staff who deserve to have a decent normal life,” a woman said in one of the videos.

“There was no reasoning with him, he was so angry,” a hostage told Guardian Australia. “He knew his message was not getting out, and he was getting angrier and angrier.”

Some hostages escaped.

At 3:35pm, three of the hostages, all men, were able to escape the cafe and hide behind police. One of the escapees was a cafe worker wearing a Lindt uniform. At 5pm, two female hostages escaped.

Monis was furious at the hostages’ escape and reportedly threatened the remaining hostages’ lives, The Daily Telegraph reports.

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A 19-year-old hostage told the newspaper that Monis told his captives: “If someone else runs, someone dies.”

Photo: ABC

Chris Reason tweeted: “When the 5 hostages escaped, the gunman could be seen from here getting extremely agitated, shouting at remaining hostages.”

“The gunman became extremely agitated and started shouting (the moment they escaped). I’m assuming that, I must confess,” Reason added, speaking to ABC radio.

The hostages waited — “pained, strained, eyes red and raw”

Channel Seven reporter Chris Reason had a clear vantage point from his position inside the Seven newsroom, and tweeted at just before 6:30pm: “We can see the faces of hostages – pained, strained, eyes red and raw. One young am [sic] with head in hands”.

The hostages were fed.

Shortly thereafter, Reason added: “food is being delivered to the hostages”.

“Staff bringing it out from kitchen at back,” Reason tweeted at 6:43pm.

Guardian Australia reported that the hostages were also allowed drinks of water and one woman was given permission to take her medication.

A member of the Lindt staff – a hostage himself – was given the task of escorting others to and from the toilet.

The lights were switched off.

All the hostages were huddled at one end of Lindt Cafe, according to a tweet by Reason at 7:23pm. Around 8pm, the lights in the cafe were all turned off. The black flag reportedly remained pressed against the window and was just visible in the darkness.

Photo: ABC

The siege ended in the very early hours of Tuesday morning, with two hostages and the gunman losing their lives. You can read more about how the siege unfolded – and ended – here.

Photos of the siege:

Tributes to the victims of the Sydney siege:

Some more social media tributes:

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