Sydney siege inquest: Lindt Cafe hostage considered stabbing Man Haron Monis in neck.

By court reporter Jamelle Wells

A Lindt Cafe worker considered stabbing Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis with a pair of scissors but could not bring himself to do it, an inquest has heard.

Joel Herat, who still works at the cafe, was among 18 hostages held at gunpoint by Monis during a 17-hour ordeal in December 2014.

Mr Herat said he decided against stabbing the gunman in the neck as he believed the risks were too high.

“I’ve never stabbed someone in my life… It’s not something you do every day,” he said.

The inquest heard Mr Herat feared people would die if he botched the attack.

Mr Herat told the inquest his colleague Jarrod Morton Hoffman also gave him a Stanley knife to hide in his apron “just in case” after Monis ordered staff to close the cafe.

Escapes would be Tori Johnson’s fault: Monis

The inquest also heard Monis tried to manipulate his hostages into thinking he was nice and told them an escape would be cafe manager Tori Johnson’s responsibility.

Monis ultimately shot and killed Mr Johnson, prompting the storming of the Lindt Cafe by Tactical Operation Unit (TOU) officers that ended the siege.

TOU officers shot and killed Monis, while hostage Katrina Dawson was killed after being hit by fragments of police bullets that bounced off the cafe walls.

During the siege, cafe worker Elly Chen escaped through a side exit with another hostage, April Bae, after crawling under a table.


Ms Chen coughed to help distract Monis while Ms Bae unlocked the door.

Ms Chen told the inquest that before her escape, she had vomited and hyperventilated when forced by Monis to hold an Islamic flag near the cafe window.

She said Monis let her lie down on the floor and other hostages helped her, and as the day dragged on she doubted his claim that he had a bomb in his backpack.

She said Monis gave the hostages access to food and water.

“He did keep telling us he was a nice person; I guess it was a manipulative thing,” she told the hearing.

Ms Chen, who is now 23, said Monis warned the hostages he would hold Mr Johnson accountable if they escaped.

“He was pressuring us,” she said.

She said her guilt about what might happen to the other hostages at first stopped her leaving.

The day of the siege was her third day in the job.

The final stage of the inquest before NSW coroner Michael Barnes is examining the events of what happened during the siege itself and the deaths of Monis, Mr Johnson and Ms Dawson.

The coroner started hearing evidence in May 2015 and is expected to hand down his findings later this year.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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