Sydney Siege details: He ordered tea and chocolate cake. Then all hell broke loose.

Warning: contains graphic details of violence which could be distressing.

It was an ordinary day. So ordinary. A man orders a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate cake, sitting by himself in the busy Lindt Cafe before asking cafe staff to move him to a different table.

And then all hell breaks loose.

Graphic details have been heard on the first day of the coronial enquiry into the deaths of three people in the  Sydney siege including barrister and mother-of-three Katrina Dawson, cafe manager, Tori Johnson and gunman Man Monis.

State Coroner Michael Barnes took the court through Monis’ movements on that fateful Monday in December when the siege began before a court packed with journalists, lawyers representing the families of the victims as well as the surviving hostages.

Scenes from the Sydney siege.

Katrina Dawson’s family had a solicitor there to represent them. So did Tori Johnson’s family and there were two solicitors representing two of the police officers who stormed the cafe at the end of the siege and whose names have been suppressed. The partner of Man Monis also had a solicitor there to represent her.

The only hostage attending today was John O’Brian.  For those unfamiliar with court proceedings, the coronor emphasised the jarring contrast between the horror of the events of that day and the formal nature of proceedings. He noted that  if ‘we appear dispassionate’ that doesn’t mean that he and others working on the inquiry were unmoved by the personal trauma and tragedy of what had happened to the hostages and their families.  ‘If we are focused on matters forensic, do not fear we have forgotten your grief.’  he said.

A memorial for siege victims Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson is removed from Martin Place.

It was a welcome moment of humanity in what would be an extraordinarily difficult and graphic day of evidence put before the inquiry. SBS have put together the following timeline of events based on statements made by counsel assisting the NSW Coroner Jeremy Gormly.


8.33am – Man Haron Monis enters the Lindt Cafe on Martin Place * He wears camouflage pants, black jacket, baseball cap, black backpack, and carries a plastic bag * Monis carries a hidden pump-action shotgun sawn off at butt and barrel

* He eats chocolate cake and drinks tea, then moves to a table with a view of the whole cafe

9.03am: Monis asks to speak to the manager.

* Tori Johnson sits down with Monis.

* Staff says Johnson appears stressed during the conversation.

* Johnson says to a staff member something like, “I need you to get my keys – lock the doors – we’re closed – everything is OK – tell the staff to be calm”.

* The doors to the cafe are locked.

* Monis puts on a vest and a bandanna, stands up, produces the shot gun and declares, “This is an attack. I have a bomb”.

* He orders staff and customers to move to northern wall of the cafe.

* Monis orders hostages to hold a flag described as being Islamic up to the windows.

9:44am: Monis tells Johnson to call triple-zero.

* Following Monis’s orders, Johnson tells operator Australia is under attack by Islamic State.

* Johnson says radio bombs are in Martin Place, Circular Quay and George Street, which later proves to be false.


* Johnson tells the operator he has a gun pointed at him, Monis has taken him and others hostage.

* The call lasts 12 minutes.

9.46am: Police acknowledge the incident

9.51am: Police arrive at the scene.

9:52am: Tactical operations unit acknowledges the emergency.

10.07am: Tactical operations unit arrives

* Siege is treated as a possible terrorist attack.

* Monis had told his 18 hostages he has a bomb in his backpack, which he holds on to throughout the siege.


Some of the hostages escape

* Monis fires his gun, striking the wall above the cafe door


Very early AM: Monis fires his gun, striking the wall above the cafe door

2.14am: Monis forces Johnson to kneel on the floor of the cafe and shoots him in the head. Johnson dies.

* Shooting witness by police marksman who calls it in.

* Police force entry to the cafe, shattering the glass windows and doors

* Tactical units throw 11 flashbang grenades, creating sudden violent flashes of light and gunshot sounds

* Two police officers fire 22 shots at Monis.

* Monis returns fire, shooting shotgun once or twice at the entry team.

* Monis is killed by at least two bullets or fragments to the head and 11 other bullets or fragments to the body.

* Hostage Katrina Dawson is struck by six fragments of a police bullet or bullets, which ricochet from hard surfaces into her body.

* One fragment strikes a major blood vessel. She loses consciousness and dies.

* Three other hostages and one tactical operative are hit by ricocheting bullet fragments.

(Source: Opening statement by counsel assisting the NSW Coroner Jeremy Gormly to inquest)

Counsel assisting the coroner Jeremy Gormly SC said there would be a “high level” of information about the siege that would come out in the inquiry in coming days. ‘We will most likely have a detailed and comprehensive picture of the siege,’ he said.

Jeremy Gormly in the Glebe Coroner’s Court this afternoon.

‘In this case, as in most cases, some facts are not contentious,’ he said. ‘What needs full examination is manner and cause of each of the deaths of Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson.’ The information was coming from the hostages, he said, noting, ‘They are our eyes and ears and memory,’.

OPINION: Should the victims of the Sydney Siege be allowed to profit from their ordeal? 

‘Each of the five shotgun cartridges fired by Mr Monis and the other cartridges he was carrying will be detailed,’ Mr Gormly said.

‘Every shot fired by Mr Monis and police officers is likely to be accounted for.’