Sydney siege inquest: Dramatic footage shown of final standoff, Monis firing at hostages.

By: Lucy Marks. 

Dramatic footage from the Sydney siege has been played at an inquest, showing Man Haron Monis firing at six escaping hostages, as well as the final moments of the standoff when police stormed the Lindt Cafe.

Monis took 17 hostages at the cafe about 9:45am on December 15, 2014, with the siege coming to a bloody end after a 16-hour standoff.

Counsel assisting the coroner Sophie Callan told the inquest that shortly after 2:00am Fiona Ma escaped and Monis fired a shot into the kitchen.

Monis then ordered cafe manager Tori Johnson to put his hands behind his head and kneel, and is heard telling everyone they will be OK.

Moments later the gunman shot Mr Johnson in the back of the head.

Monis then said: “Don’t move, everything will be fine.”

At this point, a sniper made the call “hostage down” and Tactical Operations Unit (TOU) officers entered the building, used distraction devices, then officers fired a number of shots at Monis.

Ms Callan told the inquest: “It is apparent that the TOU officers that entered the cafe that night believed there was likely to be an explosive device inside.”

Distraction devices described as ‘flash bangs’ were thrown into the cafe’s main doors to distract and disorientate Monis.

The inquest heard Monis discharged two rounds towards the officers, which were found to have hit high above the main doors.

Ms Callan said the two officers who fired their guns, known as officer A and B, shot 17 rounds and five rounds respectively.

“I anticipate officers A and B will [tell the inquest] that because Monis was shooting at them, their intention, in terms of the number of bullets they fired, was to continue shooting until such time as they believed he no longer posed a threat,” she said.

Monis sustained multiple gunshot wounds all over his body and was killed.

Monis was trying to shoot hostages, not warn them

At about 2:03am Monis fired a shot as a group of hostages fled from the cafe led by Jarrod Morton-Hoffman.

Ms Callan told the court it was believed Monis was trying to shoot at the escaping hostages, and was not firing a warning shot as previously thought.

“That assessment was made without the benefit of evidence which has since been gathered, and analysis of video footage,” she said.

“It now appears that although his shot missed, the very strong inference is that Monis was shooting at the hostages.”

Ms Callan said it was not known why Mr Johnson and Katrina Dawson, who were both killed in the siege, did not join the escape at that time.

“It may have been either by decision, or because their positions … did not allow them to leave in time,” she said.

Monis did not know two hostages had earlier escaped

Earlier today, the inquest heard Monis did not realise two hostages had unlocked a door at the cafe and escaped earlier in the evening, as it was played footage of the two survivors reaching police.

The inquest heard that at 4:57pm on the day of the siege, hostage Mr Morton-Hoffman noticed Jieun Bae (also known as April) and Elly Chen crawling from under a bench and attempting to unlock bolts on a cafe door.


Mr Morton-Hoffman attempted to make noise to cover the sound of the unlocking, and Ms Bae and Ms Chen quietly opened the door, crawled out and ran from the building into the arms of police.

Ms Callan told the inquest the hostages’ escape did not affect Monis because he did not notice they had escaped — he only knew of two other hostages who had escaped earlier.

When Monis asked Mr Morton-Hoffman to check online media reports, which said five people had escaped by that point, he persuaded Monis the media had it wrong.

The inquest also heard Monis became increasingly agitated when his request of the delivery of an Islamic State flag was denied.

Mr Morton-Hoffman offered to paint one if Monis let one of the pregnant women go.

The surveillance device inside the Lindt Cafe also captured the “almost childlike” intensity with which Monis checked social media throughout the evening.

By 8:00pm, Monis demanded the lights inside and outside the Lindt Cafe be turned off so police could not see inside, as it darkened outside.

Ms Callan said the lights outside were not turned off and told the inquest “there is an issue to be explored about whether it was a missed opportunity”.

About 1:12am hostage Selina Win Pe called negotiators and pleaded for the lights to be turned off, saying she would be shot with a rifle if the lights were not switched off within 15 minutes.

“My life is going to be gone in 15 minutes if you don’t have someone helping us,” she told the negotiator.

Families ‘deduced their loved ones had been killed’

The inquest is expected to hear the concerns of the families of hostages about the delivery of information from police as the incident unfolded.

Some frustrated family members had used smartphones to check media reports for information.

As hostages escaped or were removed from the building, the families held in the Supreme Court building were informed, but Ms Callan told the hearing information about the deaths of Mr Johnson and Ms Dawson had not been conveyed to their families in a timely manner.

“The Dawson and Johnson families effectively deduced that their loved ones had been killed by a process of elimination, as they were the only families remaining,” she said.

In his closing remarks, counsel assisting Jeremy Gormly SC said the inquest would hear from a representative of a team of UK police experts who compiled a report on the siege.

The experts will give evidence that the overall police response to the siege was appropriate, but they queried whether the trigger for the emergency action plan — death or injury of a hostage — could have been set lower.

The weapons used by TOU officers — heavy-fire M4A1 carbines — will also be scrutinised.

On Monday, the inquest heard audio from the triple-0 call made by Mr Johnson after he was taken hostage.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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