Victim speaks of Bondi attack, weekend shoppers return

Counsellors are on site to help shoppers after Westfield Bondi Junction re-opened to the public.

Counsellors are on site to help shoppers after Westfield Bondi Junction re-opened to the public. Photo: AAP

A security guard stabbed while confronting the man responsible for the deadly rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has spoken from his hospital bed as weekend trade at the complex resumes.

Muhammad Taha was rushed to hospital after he was stabbed in the stomach by Joel Cauchi at the Bondi Junction Westfield a week ago on Saturday.

The Pakistani national was wounded while trying to help his colleague, Faraz Tahir, one of six people killed in the attack.

“I tried to use my hands and somehow he managed to stab me in the stomach,” Taha told Nine News from his hospital bed on Friday night.

“I tried to give them first aid but he was hit in the chest, so he just passed away.”

Tahir thanked Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for granting him permanent residency “for the country I love” in the wake of the attack.

Albanese said Taha had shown “extraordinary courage” and put the safety of others before his own.

French construction worker Damien Guerot — dubbed “bollard man” after footage showed him holding back the attacker — will also be issued a permanent visa.

Six people remain in hospital, including a nine-month-old baby girl whose mother, Ashlee Good, 38, died from injuries sustained in the attack.

NSW Police continue to probe what motivated Cauchi, a 40-year-old Queensland man with a history of mental health issues, to carry out the massacre and the likelihood he targeted women, who were the majority of the victims.

Customers will return to the normally bustling shopping mecca on Saturday, marking exactly a week since Australia’s worst mass killing in years.

The centre will have an increased police and security presence with guards in stab-proof vests to patrol each floor.

Work Health and Safety Minister Sophie Cotsis said mental health counsellors would remain on site as long as needed.

Psychological health and safety support for businesses with fewer than 200 employees would also be available through a free advice service and mental health training.

A candlelight vigil will be held at Bondi Beach on Sunday evening, with a minute’s silence to honour the victims.

Faraz, a refugee who fled persecution in his native Pakistan, will be farewelled at a funeral in western Sydney on April 26.


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