Sydney terror inquest enters final stage

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Melbourne, Mar 21: The inquest into the 2014 Sydney terror siege today entered its final stage in an Australian court, over a year after the incident that killed two people when police stormed the cafe where an Islamist gunman had taken hostages.

The inquest would run for the next two months and would hear the surviving hostages and take evidence about police tactics in the case.

Sydney

During the inquest, the triple-0 call which was made by 34-year-old cafe manager Tori Johnson was played which was said to be scripted by the gunman Man Haron Monis who was killed during the police operation.

The court heard that Monis tried to keep his identity secret during the holdup as he thought he might get out alive. Counsel assisting the inquest, Jeremy Gormly SC, told the court that Monis was "protective of his identity and sensitive about it".

"Monis never announced himself or used his name in the siege," Gormly said adding "When negotiators first used his name late in the afternoon, around 4.50 pm on December 15, the call was promptly terminated".

"The fact that Monis had a different mobile and was seemingly protecting his identity raised the possibility he had some idea of escape, or evasion of police," he said.

"Monis never answered that phone throughout the siege despite multiple calls from negotiators. He made no calls from that phone.

"All communications were conducted through police negotiators and hostages, usually on speaker with Monis generally standing next to the hostage and giving instructions on what to say and when to terminate the call," he said. The inquest heard that Monis forced hostage Johnson to make the triple-0 call.

The inquest heard how Johnson remained calm when he made the call, which lasted 12 minutes, from inside the Lindt Cafe at 9.44 am and the handwritten note Johnson read to operators was later found at the siege site.

The siege began on December 15, 2014, when lone gunman Monis entered the central Sydney Lindt Cafe and took 18 people hostage.

Johnson and lawyer Katrina Dawson both lost their lives in the 17-hour standoff that also killed Monis when tactical police stormed the cafe in the early hours of December 16.

PTI 

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