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.