Monis like an ‘athlete preparing for event’



Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis was psyching himself up like an “athlete preparing for a big event” in the moments before he shot Lindt Cafe manager Tori Johnson, an inquest has heard.

Louisa Hope – the last of the hostages to give evidence at the inquest into the 2014 siege – has given a harrowing account of the terrifying final moments before Monis executed Mr Johnson, prompting police to storm the cafe.

Ms Hope told the inquest on Thursday that after six others escaped the cafe just after 2am Monis then positioned herself and her mother Robin Hope either side of him, before calling out to Mr Johnson: “‘You come over here’.”

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“‘You kneel down and put your hands on your head’,” Ms Hope recalled Monis saying.

Ms Hope said it appeared Monis “was psyching himself up” as he scanned the room from side to side, worried that police were about to enter the building.

He was “huffing and puffing”, Ms Hope said, adding that Monis was “like an athlete preparing for a big event”.

“Then he shot the gun and I felt the gunshot,” Ms Hope said.

“Tori fell forward with his hands still at his head.”

Louisa Hope

Louisa Hope leaves the inquest on Thursday. Photo: AAP

On Wednesday, hostage Selina Win Pe said she heard a male Australian say the words, “‘Oh my God'”, before Mr Johnson was shot.

But Ms Hope said she was confident that was not the case.

Ms Hope also praised Mr Johnson.

“Tori Johnson stayed with my mother and I’m grateful,” she said.

Earlier, the inquest heard from a psychologist with expertise in radicalisation that police and security agencies should have picked up on signs Monis was becoming more radicalised.

Dr Kate Barrelle, a clinical and forensic psychologist said that Monis was a “narcissist”, “paranoid” and a “terrible mix of personality disorder” who had also radicalised.

A month before Monis seized control of the Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place, he had publicly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

He had also previously written to Attorney-General George Brandis about contacting IS and had been charged in relation to a murder.

Counsel for Ms Dawson’s family, Phillip Boulten SC, on Thursday put it to Dr Barrelle that there were signs over a long period of time that Monis had become fixated on ideological and political beliefs and had demonstrated no signs of deradicalisation.

“I suggest police and security agencies, people charged with keeping us safe, should have picked up on the fact that he was charged with murder and continued to carry on in this ideological fashion as fair predictors of him being inclined to commit a terrorist attack,” Mr Boulton said.

Dr Barrelle replied: “I say that I think that’s a very reasonably formulation.”

Monis took control of the Lindt Cafe shortly before 10am on December 15, prompting a siege that lasted more than 16 hours.

Lawyer Katrina Dawson was also killed, as was Monis, when police stormed the building at about 2.13am.

The inquest continues.


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