The most emotional moments from last night's Sydney siege interviews.

For weeks we’ve been hearing about what they were going to say, and tonight we heard them say it.

Despite all the detail we’ve already read, watched and heard about the siege at the Sydney Lindt Cafe on December 15, hearing the harrowing accounts from the surviving hostages tonight brought the horror of that long day and night into sharp focus.

These are just some of the most moving moments from tonight’s major television event on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night and Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes.

You can read a more detailed account of the interviews here: Inside the Sydney Siege: the survivors finally speak.

1. Two young women shared a happy secret in the middle of fear and horror. 

Harriette Denny, 30, was just a few weeks pregnant on that day in December, and she needed her colleague Fiona Ma to know. “It was a good moment in a bad day,” Fiona said of the moment her friend told her on a trip to the bathroom, adding that it made her more protective of Harriette. “I wanted her out of there.”

Harriette said she didn’t want the gunman to find out first.

“You didn’t want to have to tell him. You wanted to tell your family first?” Liz Hayes asked Harriette.

“Yes,” she replied.

“You didn’t want to have to tell him. You wanted to tell your family first?”

“It was very hard, we had to beg for our lives,” Harriette said, recalling the moment she was pushed up against the glass when the siege began.

Harriette went on to describe the phone call between herself and partner George, which she thought would be their final conversation.

Read more about Harriette’s story here: Hostage Harriette Denny returned to Martin Place today. This is her story.

“He asked me if I was in the building and I said yes,” she said. “I didn’t think I was coming out.”

“He said he loves me too and that he’s waiting outside.” And he was.

Harriette and her partner George.

2. The bravery of the youngest hostages was staggering. 

At just 19 years of age, Fiona Ma and Jarrod Hoffman were singled out by fellow survivors for their extreme bravery. For some reason, perhaps their age, the gunman trusted them more than the other hostages who were trapped in the cafe. But he underestimated them.

Fiona stashed a mobile phone that she let the other hostages use on bathroom trips. Jarrod made it his business to appease the gunman when he had to, even lying when he was forced to read out the news reports of the siege to Monis and he knew the facts would enrage him.

Jarrod talked the gunman down at one point, when he was in such a state of rage that he was about to shoot someone. The gunman thanked him, “I was going to shoot you. But thank you, Jarrod.”


“I assumed he realised that he could only stay awake for so long and he need to make some sort of move that would force the police’s hand or force our hand,” Jarrod said.

The gunman thanked Jarrod, 19.

Selina recalled that Fiona went to get food for the hostages and tea for the gunman, upon his orders. At this point Jarrod offered to join his colleague, to “help” her get food, for Monis, and for their fellow hostages, who were offered water and sandwiches throughout the day, not that many of them could eat it.

Still, the pair served food politely and professionally, “Just the way that they would be if they were serving patrons,” Selina said. “Such a courageous girl, such a courageous boy.”

Despite his bravery, Jarrod admits he vomited on one of his trips to the bathroom. “I dried my face and went back to work, I guess,” he said.

Fiona Ma stashed her mobile phone and let others call their loved ones from the bathroom on the breaks Monis allowed them.

3. One cameraman watched the whole thing, and was deeply affected.

Greg Parker, who was working in Channel Seven’s Martin Place studios at the time of the siege was asked to stay after he showed a police officer that he could see the gunman through his camera.

“I showed him the shot and, by chance, the gunman was middle of frame. Gun, headshot, you could see the lot,” he said.

“You could see the lot,” Greg Parker said.

He recalls what happened next, “Another officer came in and said ‘Look, we really need the basic surveillance that this camera’s providing. Are you prepared to stay?’”

“Of course,” Parker said, “who wouldn’t?”

Greg was given a bulletproof vest and remained with a sniper in the studio for the entire siege. He supplied them with vital, real-time information about the gunman’s movements.

This is how he described what he saw:

“Some pretty distressing shots of people, like you and me. Clearly being forced to stand against their will. Clearly in distress. Tears.”

“Torturing people, putting a gun to their head. Seeing hostages faint. Seeing them just clearly breaking down in distress.”

Parker filmed the whole 17 hour ordeal.

Greg particularly recalls seeing Marcia Mikhael getting increasingly distressed, “Like she’d given up. Just slumped against the side wall.”

4. Monis ‘hated’ Tori Johnson from the start, but the manager refused to leave his staff. 

Paolo Vassallo, who escaped the cafe earlier in the day, recalled that the gunman didn’t like Tori, the cafe manager.

Read more: The country mourns Sydney siege victim Tori Johnson.


“I think it was his authority figure. He felt like it undermined him,” he said. “He kept referring to him as ‘Manager, manager …’ If anything went wrong he implied he would be the first to be shot.”

“Tori was brave, he was. He wasn’t leaving. I could see it in his eyes. Whatever happened that day, I knew in his eyes that he was staying until the end. I had no doubt about that.”

Following the escape of six more hostages in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Monis executed him in front of the remaining victims.

“From the time that Tori was told to kneel, it was minutes,” says Louisa Hope, her voice blurred with emotion.

“It was time for Tori to steady his heart. And then, he shot him…

“It’s just unbelievable that this beautiful man was alive a moment ago, but you know that he’s no longer with us. And he hasn’t just died, his life has been taken. And the gun and the violence, was just so instant and that is the only small consolation I have in that moment is that it was instant.”

Tori Johnson was described as the “captain” of the ship. He wasn’t leaving.

Sunday Night reported the moments when Tori’s life ended:

Only minutes before the siege came to its conclusion, police stormed the building and the gunman singled out Johnson.

“Manager, come over here” he said, before pointing the shotgun into Tori’s back. The gunman fumbled and then reloaded his gun; silently. It was 2.14am, Tori was dead via a gunshot to the back of the head.

The building was suddenly ablaze with police gunfire, as hostages dove to the floor with the smell of gunpowder and the heat of the grenades surrounding them. It was during this exchange of bullets that Katrina Dawson was hit, lying on the floor alive but no longer moving. The mother of three did not survive. Nor did the gunman, whose head had been shot in the head by police.

Tori died instantly.

5. The hostages thought that they had been left to die alone. 

Marcia Mikhael spoke of looking at the deserted, evacuated streets outside the Lindt cafe and feeling completely abandoned.

Selina Win-Pe agrees, saying that the hostages felt that they had to save themselves. “We truly felt we were responsible for our own safety, our own wellbeing. Finding ways to keep and stay alive. We truly felt we were alone, abandoned, like nothing was happening and we were being left here to die.”

Marcia says that in the moments following the escape of the first three hostages, the gunman became agitated and angry with both himself and the remaining hostages. He then told the group that for every additional person who made a break for it, he would shoot two others, dead.

Read more about the hostages: These are the brave hostages of the Sydney siege.

Marcia explained that those remained made a pact not to try and escape. And with that, the hostages banded together rather than risk one of their own lives.

Marcia said she thought they had been left to die.

“No one was coming for us. I knew that… they weren’t going to come” said Marcia, who was forced by the gunman to be on the phone with authorities, demanding to be allowed to speak to Prime Minister Abbott.

Marcia spoke with frustration when she describes being dismissed by a police contact on one of the calls she was forced to make: “The Prime Minister is a VERY busy man, I am sure you understand that”. This was the point she reached utter despair, and asked the gunman if she could please call her children – to say goodbye.


She also texted her husband saying “He’s going to kill us.”

6. They were forced to beg for their lives, more than once.

In a moment that made for harrowing viewing, Selena Win Pe described what it was like when, in the middle of the night, Monis took her out to the storage room with his gun pressed against her head.

Monis had demanded that Selena get Martin Place’s streetlights turned off, or choose a hostage for him to kill. The panicked hostage called triple-0 and explained what was happening. The streetlights stayed on, and Monis, enraged, dragged Selena away, to what she assumed would be the moment of her death.

“And I thought, ‘this is how I get to see my father,'” Selena says.

“And he looked and me and I  said to him, ‘Brother please, please don’t shoot me, I only have my mum, please don’t shoot me. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘You have 15 minutes’.”

7. The hostages are haunted by the gunman’s face. 

“I can see his face,” Marcia Mikhael told Mel Doyle on Sunday Night, when she was asked if she could remember Monis’s face. “The question should be the other way around – ‘Can I ever not see his face?’ It’s always there. I can’t describe it, I can’t. It’s just an angry face, an unfriendly face.”

Mikael also spoke of seeing Monis lying dead as she was finally evacuated from the cafe. “It was not a pretty sight,” she says.

“I can see his face,” Marcia told Mel Doyle.

Harriette Denny also told Liz Hayes she would never forget his face either. “It was very strange, he kept smiling,” she said on 60 Minutes. “But I will remember those teeth.”

8. The surviving hostages feel guilty that they’re still here when others are not.

For those that escaped their survival was bitter-sweet. Joel Herat, 21, says he feels guilty because Katrina Dawson was sitting right behind him and he wishes he had saved her.

Joel is also haunted by the death of his good friend and boss Tori. “Could have I got him out, could I have done something? I left him to die…” he says.

“I thought that Tori was right behind me … I just thought we were all going to be ok, but I thought wrong … I thought I got most out, but just not enough.”

Paolo also worked at the cafe with Tori and Joel.

“Part of me wishes I didn’t run sometimes … I almost wish I got killed in there … because when people die in there and you got out, you have guilt I guess,” Paolo said.

“They did what they had to do and I was grateful they got out,” Louisa concludes.

All of our thoughts tonight are with these brave survivors, and with the families of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson.

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