Danny Deacon, ex of Darwin mother Carlie Sinclair, arrested on suspicion of murder


They got him Danny Deacon , THE EX as most folks thought, after he allegedly returned to burial site, thank god for the family and friends who have fought so hard to keep the investigation alive, and the hard work at the NT POLICE force be those dedicated to find justice. Covert surveillance in this day and age is a huge investigative tool in all sorts of situations…Remember Kiesha? He pathetic parents (stepfather) caught a taxi to her burial site and the cops were waiting…

Missing woman Carlie Sinclair (inset) and her partner Danny Deacon, pictured speaking at a police press conference.
PHOTO: Danny Deacon said the last time he saw Carlie Sinclair (inset) they had a row before she walked off. (Supplied)

The former partner of Darwin mother Carlie Sinclair has been arrested on suspicion of her murder, sources have told the ABC.

Danny Deacon was arrested today after being seen close to where a body, thought to be Ms Sinclair’s, was found near Berry Springs, in Darwin’s rural area.

Police Commissioner John McRoberts would not name the man they had arrested, but said he had recently returned from interstate.

“I will say at this stage that he was known to Ms Sinclair and that’s as far as I can take it,” he said.

“The man that has been arrested left the Northern Territory soon after the disappearance of Ms Sinclair and has only just returned, in fact less than 24 hours ago.

Mr Deacon was the last known person to see Ms Sinclair, when she left a business in the Darwin suburb of Parap.

Mr Deacon told investigators the pair had had an argument while having a drink, and she walked off.

Body found in shallow grave

Mr McRoberts said a body, believed to be Ms Sinclair’s, had been found at Berry Springs, in Darwin’s rural area.

Police near the gravesite of Carlie Sinclair
PHOTO: Police near the gravesite of Carlie Sinclair at Berry Springs, near Darwin. (ABC News: James Dunlevie)

Mr McRoberts described the arrest as a “significant development”.

“Earlier today, as a result of a man being seen in the Berry Springs area, he has been arrested and we are now holding him in custody until the results are known of a comprehensive crime scene analysis which is currently underway,” Mr McRoberts said.

“Based on the information we have, including comments made by the man, we are very confident that we know where Carlie is, although it will take us some hours, or possibly not even until tomorrow to be able to tell her family that we have, in fact, confirmed her identity and where she is.

Mr McRoberts said he expected there would be more details from the crime scene later today.

“Based on all the evidence that has been compiled, based on the fact that we now have a man in custody, based on the fact that we now have what is clearly a gravesite at Berry Springs, we are very confident that we have solved the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Ms Sinclair,” he said.

Ms Sinclair, 36, has not been seen since the evening of July 18, 2013, with police mounting a widespread publicity campaign to find her and offering a reward of $250,000 for information.

Mr McRoberts said information from members of the public was significant in helping the piece together their case.

Police said Ms Sinclair was last seen leaving the Parap decorative concrete business she ran.

She was then spotted on CCTV at a BP service station at nearby Fannie Bay.

Police at the crime scene near Berry Springs
PHOTO: Police at the crime scene and suspected gravesite of Darwin mother Carlie Sinclair near Berry Springs.(ABC News: James Dunlevie)

Police said Ms Sinclair had not been in contact with her son, Alex, since disappearing and had not accessed her bank account or used her mobile phone.

“Her sudden disappearance was completely out of character, and after being advised police immediately held grave concerns for her welfare,” Mr McRoberts said.

“It was simply too much to believe that Carlie would leave Alex behind.”

In January, the NT Supreme Court granted the Public Trustee management of Ms Sinclair’s estate, which included a property in Stuart Park, and several vehicles and bank accounts.

The media are being taken to the suspected gravesite at Berry Springs.


 Carlie Sinclair – Missing for Six Months

Wednesday 18-Dec-2013 12:31

Six months ago, little Alex Deacon’s mum, Carlie Sinclair, disappeared, sparking a Major Crime investigation that continues to build momentum.

The Northern Territory Police Major Crime Squad have been vigilant in their intelligence gathering and investigation, and are focussed on finding some closure for Carlie’s family.

“It has now been six months since Carlie was last seen alive,” said the head of Operation Samburu, Detective Sergeant Tony Henrys.

“In the lead up to Christmas, spare a thought for little Alex who will not be able to spend Christmas Day, Carlie’s birthday, with his mum.”

Carlie Sinclair was last seen alive by her partner Danny Deacon at their business premises, ‘Darwin Decorative Concrete’, late in the evening of Tuesday June 18.

Acting on information received early on in the investigation, Detectives and members of the Territory Response Group searched bushland and water courses in the vicinity of Parap, Stuart Park and Berry Springs. A search warrant was also executed at a Parap location, with soil samples gathered.

Two vehicles of interest were nominated back in early July, and Detectives are still calling for anyone who may have witnessed a white Hi-Ace van or late model silver Toyota Rav 4 around the Parap, Stuart Park, Cox Peninsular Road or Berry Springs area on the evening of June 18 or before midday on June 19 to contact Police.

“Detectives involved in this investigation are not prepared to give up. Every tiny shred of information is being thoroughly examined,” said Detective Sergeant Henrys.

“We would like to thank the community for their support thus far, and Police are very keen to speak to anyone who has information about Carlie’s disappearance.

“Somebody knows something. Somebody has the vital piece of information that will help us piece together this suspicious disappearance, and find some justice for Carlie, her parents, and her two-year-old son, Alex.

Carlie’s mother and father, Marlene and Robert, and brother, Kristian, have not given up on finding Carlie, and urge anyone with any information about Carlie’s disappearance to contact Police.

“Next Wednesday, while everyone celebrates Christmas with their families, we will be still wondering what happened to Carlie,” said Marlene Sinclair, Carlie’s Mum.

“If you know anything, anything at all, please call the Police. The small piece of information you have may be just what the Police need to make a breakthrough.”

You can report information to the Police anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

“Since the day the matter was reported to Police a team of investigators have been working on this case. We have not stopped and will not stop.”

“We continue to follow up on a number of matters and revise the evidence, statements and information we have already collected, looking for new leads to act on.

“We are determined to find out what happened to Carlie and to locate any person or persons that may have been involved in her disappearance,” concluded Detective Sergeant Henrys.

If you have information about the suspicious disappearance of Carlie Sinclair, please contact Police on 131 444, or make an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. You may be eligible for a reward.


                                         Carlie SINCLAIR

Police hold grave concerns for the wellbeing of missing mother of one, Carlie Sinclair, who has not been seen since the evening of Tuesday 18 July 2013 and are calling on assistance from the public to locate her.

Ms Sinclair, who resides in Stuart Park, was last seen on the evening of Tuesday 18 June and has not been heard from since. Ms Sinclair is described to be of Caucasian appearance, solid/heavy build, with blonde hair which she wears in a pony tail. She was last seen wearing a black mini-skirt, a horizontal striped black and white top with sleeves and brown ‘Havaianas’ thongs.

Police urge anyone who may have seen Carlie, who may have had contact with her since Tuesday, or who may know of her whereabouts, to contact Police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Northern Territory Police Force

Missing Woman Carlie Sinclair – Update

Northern Territory Detectives investigating the suspicious disappearance of Ms Sinclair from Parap on Tuesday 18 June are currently searching an area in Acacia.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Henrys from the Major Crime Squad said Police had received fresh information concerning a vehicle in the vicinity of Livingstone Road.

“We are concentrating on an area of bushland and water courses close to the road. Members from the TRG and Crime Command are using a helicopter to co ordinate the search.

“Police continue to hold grave concerns for the welfare of Ms Sinclair and urge any person who has information to come forward.”

Anyone who may have information is asked to call Police on 131 444 or they may make an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Christmas is Carlie Sinclair’s birthday – she has been missing for six months

SIX months ago a Territory woman disappeared from Parap sparking a major crime investigation.

Carlie Sinclair was last seen by her partner Danny Deacon at their business premises, Darwin Decorative Concrete, in the evening of Tuesday June 18.

Her two-year-old son, Alex Deacon, will spend Christmas – also Carlie’s birthday – without his mum.

Acting on information received early on in the investigation, detectives and members of the Territory Response Group searched bushland and water courses in the vicinity of Parap, Stuart Park and Berry Springs. A search warrant was also executed in Parap, with soil samples gathered.

Police are also still seeking anyone who may have seen a white Hi-Ace van or late model silver Toyota Rav 4 around the Parap, Stuart Park, Cox Peninsular Road or Berry Springs area on the evening of June 18 or before midday the following day.

“Somebody knows something. Somebody has the vital piece of information that will help us piece together this suspicious disappearance, and find some justice for Carlie, her parents, and her two-year-old son, Alex,” said head of Operation Samburu, Detective Sergeant Tony Henrys.

Det Sgt Henrys thanked the community for their support so far.
Carlie’s mother and father, Marlene and Robert, and her brother Kristian, have not given up hope of finding Carlie and urge anyone with information about her disappearance to contact police.

People can do so by ringing 131444 or making an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

Hopes re-enactment could bring results one year after Carlie Sinclair went missing

POLICE have scoured waterways, bushland and drains; they have doorknocked homes, reviewed CCTV footage and made several high-profile calls for help.

Still the desperate search for Darwin mum Carlie Sinclair continues.A year on from her disappearance, four Northern Territory detectives are working full-time on the baffling case: re-examining evidence, reinterviewing people and poring over old statements.

It is all they can now do to bring closure to her loving family – parents Marlene and Robert, brother Kristian and, most importantly, her three-year-old son Alex.

Carlie, who would now be 36, was last seen by partner Danny Deacon at their Parap business, Darwin Decorative Concrete, on the evening of June 18, 2013. Mr Deacon told investigators the pair had an argument during a drink and she walked off.

Police suspect foul play and Mr Deacon, who has since moved to Perth, remains the only suspect.

“He was the last person to see her and he was in a domestic relationship with her,” investigator Acting Commander Tony Fuller said.

“He will remain a suspect until he’s eliminated.”

But building a case is difficult with no body and the trail has gone cold.

Acting Commander Fuller would not comment on the couple’s relationship, what evidence police have uncovered, or what lines of inquiry they were pursuing. But he said there were no “fresh” leads and her bank cards had not been touched since June 18.They have ruled out suicide and her devotion to Alex has all but ruled out the possibility she ran away.

“The mostly likely scenario is she met with foul play that night, by person or persons unknown to us at this stage,” Commander Fuller said.

Tomorrow it will be exactly one year since Carlie was last seen alive and police are making another public push for information.

“There must be someone out there who saw something or heard something that quite possibly hasn’t heard about Carlie’s disappearance,” Acting Commander Fuller said.

“It gets taxing over time, but those officers are very committed and they’ve only got one thing on their mind – that’s to get answers for young Alex.”

Police want to speak to anyone who has information, or who saw a white HiAce van or late-model silver Toyota RAV4 around the Parap, Stuart Park, or rural areas on the evening of June 18 or before noon the next day. Information can be given anonymously to police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

A Channel Nine special featuring re-enactments and interviews with Carlie’s family, friends and partner Danny Deacon will air tomorrow night in the hope of prompting someone to come forward with information.The project, shot on a shoe-string budget, has been more than four months in the making and taken presenter Jonathan Uptin and senior cameraman Graham Morrison beyond Darwin to Perth and Brisbane.

The re-enactments feature volunteer actors and are meticulous on detail, right down to the make and model car Carlie was driving when she went missing.

“One of the best things was there were so many people who volunteered their time and resources – these are people who didn’t want money,” Mr Uptin said. “Hopefully we’ll get a breakthrough; someone might be able to come forward.

“It’s something I’ve become emotionally invested in – it’s absorbed my life and I really want closure for the family. It sounds cliche but it’s true.”

The half-hour special will air at 6.30pm and lead into the second State of Origin clash between NSW and Queensland on Nine.

HOW IT UNFOLDED

JUNE 18, 2013: Carlie Sinclair is last seen by partner Danny Deacon at their Parap business, Darwin Decorative Concrete.

JUNE 28, 2013: Police search an area off Livingstone Rd, Acacia, after a tip-off Mr Deacon’s 4WD was seen in the area on June 18. It is one of several searches.

JULY 3, 2013: Mr Deacon asks Carlie to come home, saying: “Carlie, if you can hear this, you need to know that we both miss you very much, Alex and I are struggling on a daily basis.”

JULY 18, 2013: Mr Deacon reveals police have been watching his every move. He tells the NT News: “It is not nice being accused of it but at the end when you face reality that is what I expect them to do.”

DECEMBER 22, 2013: Days before what should have been Carlie’s 36th birthday, police and mother Marlene issue another public appeal for assistance.

JUNE 17, 2014: The eve of the one-year anniversary of Carlie’s disappearance. Police still count Mr Deacon as the only suspect, but say there are no fresh leads.


 

 $250,000 reward offered to find Carlie Sinclair

A $250,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for the disappearance of Darwin mother, Carlie Sinclair in 2013.

The reward includes a recommendation of indemnity from prosecution for any accomplice who gives information leading to a conviction, provided he or she did not actually commit the crime.

Chief Minister Adam Giles announced that the Government had approved a reward to help Police in their search for the person or persons who may have taken the life of Sinclair.

“Around midnight on Tuesday June 18 last year, Police believe the young mum left her business address at number 209 Stuart Highway in Parap after an argument with her partner,” Mr Giles said.

“She left behind her personal belongings, her car and her young son.

“She has not contacted her family or friends since which relatives say is completely out of character.

“Her bank accounts have not been touched since the day she was last seen and Police suspect she may have been murdered.”

Despite an intensive, year-long Police investigation, they have been unable to find her or those responsible for her disappearance.

A team of detectives has interviewed witnesses, viewed CCTV footage, conducted aerial and ground searches of the local area and organised information stands in Parap to no avail.

It is hoped that the offer of this substantial reward may provide an incentive for someone to come forward with what they know, saw or heard.

“A single piece of information, no matter how small, may hold the key to solving this crime,” Mr Giles said.

“Carlie Sinclair’s family, particularly her young son, deserve answers about what happened to her and who was responsible.

“I urge anyone with information to contact 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”

The allocation of the reward will be at the discretion of the Police Commissioner.

Police struggle in search for Carlie Sinclair, $250,000 reward offered

Northern Territy Police say they are at the end of the line in their investigation into the disappearance of Darwin mother Carlie Sinclair, and are announcing a $250,000 reward to try an re-ignite interest in the case.

Ms Sinclair disappeared on June 18 last year, and Police Commissioner John McRoberts said the anniversary was a good time to try and get fresh leads.

“Rewards are something that are considered when the investigation gets to a point at which we have exhausted all other avenues. We are now at that point,” Mr McRoberts said.

“I think it is also fitting that we use the 12-month anniversary as an ideal opportunity to generate a great deal of public interest,” he said.

It is kown that Ms Sinclair left her business in Parap with her partner Danny Deacon at their Parap business, Darwin Decorative Concrete.

She was not seen again and her bank accounts have not been touched since in the past 12 months.

She was the mother of a three-year-old boy, Alex, when she went missing.

“This is a substantial reward that seeks to identify information that can lead to the successful prosecution of someone who was involved in the disappearance and potential murder of Carlie Sinclair,” NT Chief Minister Adam Giles said.

Mr Giles said he was not aware of the NT ever paying out reward money in relation to previous crimes.

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Clive Palmer media adviser Andrew Crook charged over alleged kidnap of National Australia Bank executive


By the National Reporting Team’s Mark Solomons and Mark Willacy – exclusive

Fri 19 Dec 2014, 4:59pm

Clive Palmer‘s media adviser and confidant Andrew Crook has been granted bail after facing court charged over the alleged kidnapping of a National Australia Bank executive on an Indonesian island.

Crook was arrested this morning during police raids on properties in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

As part of the same operation, police from the state’s anti-bikie taskforce arrested Mick Featherstone, a Gold Coast private investigator and former senior detective at the centre of a year-long probe by Queensland‘s Crime and Corruption Commission into money laundering and police corruption.

Police also issued a warrant for the arrest of multi-millionaire property developer and former Sydney Swans , who lives in Bali.

Do you know more about this story? Email investigations@abc.net.au

Crook and Featherstone were held during morning raids at addresses in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm and Upper Coomera on the Gold Coast.

Crook was then taken to his Brisbane CBD office where police carried out further searches.

Officers also raided another Brisbane premises and seized documents.

On Friday afternoon Crook and Featherstone faced court charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, retaliation against a witness and attempted fraud against NAB.

Crook was bailed on conditions including that he surrender his passport and does not go within 100 metres of the NAB’s Southport branch.

The ABC understands Queensland Police will allege Crook and Mr Smith were involved in a January 2013 attempt to coerce a witness in a $70 million civil case involving Mr Smith to recant his evidence, using subterfuge and threats of violence.

Queensland Police say the charges stem from an elaborate scheme which police will allege was planned partly in Queensland. Section 12 of the Queensland Criminal Code allows for prosecutions for offences overseas where they would be considered crimes in Australia.

Police have been investigating claims Crook and Mr Smith lured the witness, an employee of the National Australia Bank, to Singapore and on to Batam Island in Indonesia using the pretence of a possible job offer from Clive Palmer.

It will be alleged that once on Batam Island, the witness was strip-searched, threatened and forced to make a statement recanting his evidence.

Clive Palmer calls raids a ‘black day for Australia’

Mr Palmer is not thought to have had any involvement in, or knowledge of the plot.

The federal MP arrived at Crook’s office during the raid and said he knew nothing of the allegations.

But he suggested the police actions could be politically motivated.

“I don’t know very much other than to say that Crook Media and Andrew Crook are responsible for all our media in Australia, was responsible for the Palmer United Party winning the last federal election,” he said.

“And of course, the LNP, the Liberal Government – Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott – don’t like the opposition we’ve been giving them in the Senate, they don’t like that sort of thing.

“I think this is a black day for Australia if any of this, which I don’t know anything about at the moment, has anything to do with political freedom in this country.

“I think it’s very important that there’s freedom of speech in Australia, that there’s diversity of opinion. I’m personally very concerned because Mr Crook is our media adviser and if they wanted to attack me or our party they can do that.”

Brisbane-based Crook has been Mr Palmer’s media adviser and spokesman since before the tycoon entered politics.

Since becoming a federal MP, Mr Palmer has retained the services of Crook and his PR firm, Crook Media, to handle his political media relations.

Clive Palmer chats with Andrew Crook Photo: Mr Crook has been Mr Palmer’s media adviser and spokesman since before the tycoon entered politics. (AAP: Dave Hunt)

Mr Smith made his fortune in the tourism industry after his AFL career.

Since 2009 he has been embroiled in legal action against the National Australia Bank, claiming the bank caused him to lose $70 million at the height of the global financial crisis.

He began building the biggest mansion on the Gold Coast, on Hedges Avenue at Mermaid Beach, but was later forced to sell it unfinished and at a loss.

Mr Smith then shifted his businesses to Bali, where he has developed luxury holiday accommodation. He also has interests in New Zealand and has re-invested in Gold Coast real estate in the past couple of years.

It is understood detectives from the Queensland police anti-bikie taskforce Maxima stumbled on evidence of the alleged January 2013 plot earlier this year while investigating Featherstone and his links to bikies, to former and serving police officers and his involvement with online betting syndicates on the Gold Coast.

The ABC revealed in September that Featherstone was the focus of a joint Maxima and Crime and Corruption Commission probe described as a “priority” investigation by CCC chairman Ken Levy.

In a parallel, four-month investigation, the ABC uncovered evidence Featherstone had for almost 10 years been involved in setting up and operating online betting syndicates alleged to have defrauded thousands of people across Australia of millions of dollars.

Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading (QOFT) this week renewed Featherstone’s private investigator’s licence, which had expired in October. It also renewed the licence held by his PI firm, Phoenix Global.

The office of Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, which oversees the QOFT, told the ABC it had conducted the required criminal history checks and could find no reason to deny Featherstone or his firm a licence.

Cairns stabbing: Eight children found dead at a home in Cairns-Mum charged with murder

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RIPkids19th Dec 2014

An absolutely horrific situation up in Cairns, 8 kids found dead in house, more to come!!! It’s understood a woman has been taken to hospital with stab wounds.The children are reportedly aged between 18 months and 15yrs

Mersane Warria has been arrested over the children’s deaths.

Mersane Warria has been arrested over the children’s deaths.

Mother arrested for murder after children found dead in Cairns home

MAJOR UPDATE Sat 20 Dec 2014, 9:30am

The 37-year-old mother of the children found dead in a Cairns home yesterday has been arrested for murder.

Cairns Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said the mother was lucid and awake and speaking with police.

The bodies of eight children were found following a multiple stabbing on Friday morning.

The children, aged from 18 months to 14 years, were found in Murray Street, Manoora, where the 37-year-old woman was also located with chest and neck wounds.

“The 37-year-old mother of several of the children involved in this incident has been arrested for murder overnight and is currently under police guard at the Cairns Base Hospital,” he said.

“Overnight we had the forensic people in the house. The deceased have been removed from the house.

“Today we will have our coroner and pathologist conducting their investigations with the assistance of the family.”

Detective Inspector Asnicar said police are not looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths and are comfortable the community is safe.

He dismissed speculation the Manoora house had been the subject of calls from the Department of Social Services.

“It’s not a problem house, as has been speculated,” he said.

Anyone who is distressed by this story is advised to contact the following organisations:

“This is an ordinary neighbourhood, a lot of good people, a lot of kids in the area. This is something that has caught everybody by surprise.”

Investigations are continuing throughout today and police said autopsies on the children would also occur today.

Police said a number of possible weapons including knives were located in the house.

Seven of the children found dead are siblings and the eighth child is a niece of the woman arrested, police said.

Police said the suburban Cairns home will be locked down for several days while forensic officers conduct their work.

Acting Chief Superintendent Russell Miller said the investigation would take time and officers from Brisbane and Townsville arrived yesterday afternoon to assist with the complex investigation.

Ms Warria, 34, is undergoing a mental health assessment in Cairns hospital, where she was transported after sustaining serious injuries. She suffered stab wounds to the chest and neck.

“She was having a bad night; I heard her fighting with someone this morning about 4am,’’ a neighbour, Tahnia Ruttensteiner, said.

Ms Ruttensteiner said she saw Ms Warria “moving stuff out of the house”, claiming she was going to “make a new start”.

“I last saw her about 6am, then it was quiet.

“She was putting furniture and stuff out the front on the street, giving stuff away to family and friends.

Relationships Australia has set up an office close to the murder scene.

Spokeswoman Debra Bennett said the organisation is inviting people in the community to seek counselling there if they feel they need to speak to someone.

“There’ll be a whole range of support services so we encourage people to take advantage of that and to encourage other members of their family and the community if they feel they’re struggling with this experience it’s really important that people don’t try to do this on their own,” she said.

Filicide is the deliberate act of a parent killing their own child. The word filicide derives from the Latin words filius meaning “son” or filia meaning daughter and the suffix -cide meaning to kill, murder, or cause death. “A filicide” may refer to the parent who killed his or her child as well as to the criminal act that the parent committed.


 

A Mobile Police Facility has been established, and officers from the Cairns Criminal Investigation Branch, Child Protection and Investigation Unit, Scenes of Crime and Scientific section are investigating at the scene.

Eight children dead after stabbing at Cairns home

Updated 4 minutes agoFri 19 Dec 2014, 1:58pm

Emergency crews were called to an address in Murray Street in the Cairns suburb of Manoora. (ABC News: Sharnie Kim)

Emergency crews were called to an address in Murray Street in the Cairns suburb of Manoora. (ABC News: Sharnie Kim)

Authorities have confirmed that eight children have been killed at Cairns in far north Queensland.

It is understood there was a mass stabbing and a woman has been injured.

Details of the tragedy are unclear.

Emergency crews were called to an address in Murray Street at Manoora around 12:30pm (AEST).

A crime scene has been declared.

ABC reporter Sharnie Kim says there are police at the property, which has a small park at the back.

“There are about a dozen police vehicles at the scene including the region’s most senior detective inspectors,” she said.

“Part of the road has been blocked off and a police paddy wagon with lights flashing is at the property as well.

“The media are about 20 metres away from the property.”

Police will hold a media briefing shortly.

More details soon.

manoora-4870, cairns-4870, qld


The Daily Telegraph

December 19, 2014 1:47PM

Police on the scene of a major incident in the Cairns suburb of Manoora.

Police on the scene of a major incident in the Cairns suburb of Manoora.

Queensland Police have confirmed that eight children have been found stabbed to death at a home in Cairns.

Emergency crews were called to an address in Manoora a short time ago.

It is understood that a woman has been taken to hospital.


Death investigation, Cairns

Cairns detectives have established a crime scene and begun an investigation into the death of eight children in Manoora this morning.

Police were called to the Murray Street residence around 11.20am following reports of a woman with serious injuries.

During an examination of the residence police located the bodies of the children, all aged between 18 months and 15 years.

The woman, believed to be aged in her 30s, is receiving treatment for her injuries and is currently assisting police with their investigations.

A Mobile Police Facility has been established and officers from the Cairns Criminal Investigation Branch, Child Protection and Investigation Unit, Scenes of Crime and Scientific section are conducting an investigation and examination of the scene.

The road is currently closed and no further information is available at this stage.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.

Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service.

For all non-urgent police reporting or general police inquiries contact Policelink on 131 444 or Policelink.qld.gov.au 24hrs a day.

MARTIN PLACE SIEGE REVIEW-Terms of Reference

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MARTIN PLACE SIEGE – JOINT COMMONWEALTH – NEW SOUTH WALES REVIEW

17 December 2014

Prime Minister

Premier of New South Wales

E&OE

In the aftermath of the horrific Martin Place siege and following the tragic loss of innocent lives, we must learn what we can from this incident and implement any changes necessary at the State and Federal level.

The Commonwealth and New South Wales governments will urgently conduct a review into the Martin Place siege and what lessons can be learned from the events leading up to and surrounding the siege.

As our State and Commonwealth law enforcement and security agencies work together to keep Australia safe, the review will identify important lessons for the future.

The review will examine and make recommendations about a wide range of issues including the circumstances surrounding hostage-taker Man Haron Monis’ arrival in Australia and subsequent granting of asylum and citizenship; what information agencies had about him and how it was shared; and whether relevant national security legislative powers could have been better used.

The Terms of Reference for the review are attached.

As we work to learn what we can from these terrible events, we acknowledge once again the courage and professionalism shown by our law enforcement and security agencies and emergency services.

We are determined to ensure that nothing stands in the way of ensuring the people who put their lives on the line to keep Australia safe can get their job done.

We have asked the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet to commence the review immediately, drawing on expertise from within our relevant jurisdictions and consulting as necessary with other States and Territories.

The review will report by the end of January 2015.

Martin Place Siege – Terms of Reference

On 17 December 2014 the Prime Minister and Premier of NSW established a review, for consideration by the Commonwealth and NSW Cabinets, of lessons learnt from the Martin Place Siege of 15-16 December 2014.

The aim of the review is to identify lessons for the future: what worked well and what might be improved.

The review will examine and make recommendations in respect of Commonwealth and NSW agencies and the cooperation between them, in relation to:

  • the arrival of Man Haron Monis in Australia and subsequent grant of asylum, permanent residency and Australian citizenship;
  • support received from, or any other interactions Man Haron Monis had with, government social support agencies;
  • information held by Commonwealth and NSW agencies about Man Haron Monis for the period prior to and following his arrival in Australia up until the siege including how any information relevant to public safety was shared between, and used by, agencies;
  • the interaction of Man Haron Monis with the NSW justice system;
  • Man Haron Monis’ access to firearms;
  • whether, how and at what stage relevant national security legislative powers including Control Orders were or could have been used in relation to Man Haron Monis’ activities of security concern;
  • any lessons learnt by the NSW and Australian Federal Police about the handling of the siege;
  • the effectiveness of public communication including coordination of messaging between the Commonwealth, NSW and jurisdictions; and
  • the effectiveness of coordination more generally between the Commonwealth and NSW.

The review will take account of the parallel investigations into the incident including by the NSW State Coroner, and NSW Police and Australian Federal Police.

The review will prepare a report for consideration by the Commonwealth and NSW Cabinets by the end of January 2015.

17 December 2014

Update Martin Place siege: Hostages taken in Lindt Chocolate shop-Ends in tragedy

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This is a very serious situation taking place live on TV. All sorts of reporting about who and why they have taken hostages…Lets hope the hostages get out alive- UPDATE Unfortunately that has not been the case. I personally think they needed to react much much earlier and take the asshole out.The dust will settle and all that will be analysed. My thoughts are really with the family and friends of hostages both dead and alive.

There are hundreds and hundreds of bouquets, it’s probably about 15 metres by 15 metres and growing rapidly… the thing that struck me is that these aren’t just random bouquets, people have gone to the effort of writing personal notes to the families and to the victims.

ABC 702 reporter John Donegan

sad update this morning, he also made hostages film this tape yesterday afternoon causing great anguish and stress, as the hostages cannot understand why a few simple demands had still not been met (in their eyes) which would enable their release.Compelling viewing (removed by youtube ATM)

sheikh-haron-october2014_redacted

letter-to-pm-tony-abbott-1nov13_redacted

about-sheikh-haron

Hauntingly I have been able to find his website via the archives online and check out this ominous warning in relation to channel 7 and something they broadcast quite a while ago, in 2011 (Click image to enlarge

Haron promise


 

A good insight, until we get the official reports from the enquiry I will not be posting any more news media…

Sliding door tragedy of the Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place

 AT 9.44am on Monday, the sliding doors closed at the Lindt cafe. Seventeen hours later, two lives would be lost and an evil sham sheik would have changed our nation forever.

HE orders a skinny flat white.

He is in a hurry, yet there’s time to admire the vaulted ceilings of the former bank chamber.

The four well-dressed ladies around the corner seem so happy. Here’s an old fellow alone at a table. Then, they call his name. “Chris?” Wow. That was quick.

Chris Kenny does not see a middle-aged man with the scruffy beard, a father of four who likes his coffee.

He is sitting at a table, a sawn-off shotgun in a blue bag, chatting with the cafe manager.

Kenny, a senior journalist at The Australian, is walking out the door.

His phone is ringing and his mind is elsewhere. It’s 5AA, a South Australian radio station, for a pre-arranged interview.

Kenny sits at an outside table, a few metres from the automatic doors. He discusses the state Liberal Party’s apparent need for generational change.

As he finishes, three motorcycle police pull up with sirens blaring.

A woman tells officers she has tried to enter through the cafe’s sliding doors. They have been locked shut.

UNIMAGINABLE END FOR A PERFECT LIFE

10 FATEL FAILURES THAT LED TO TRAGEDY

NINE SILENT MINUTES THAT BEG SO MANY QUESTIONS

DUMP HIS BODY AT SEA, MUSLIM LEADERS SAY

BARISTA ELLY CHEN ESCAPED WITH LIFE

Kenny’s interview started at 9.40am. He may have been the last person to walk through the sliding doors of the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place.

He belongs now with David Johnson, the Lindt cafe worker given the day off, and his colleague Bruno, who turns up just before 10am for his shift.

He belongs with us, on the outside, if only just, in the chaos of sirens and roadblocks, where the confusion is captured by a Sydney cabbie blocked in Elizabeth St: “Bastards. Terrorism in Sydney. My god.”

INSIDE the cafe, palms are pressed against glass.

The mood Kenny witnessed has dissolved in the theatrics of a movie scene, starring a villain who delivers bad lines for the next 17 hours.

Eighteen staff and customers have been ordered to put their hands up.

They have been told to lie down. There are screams and sobs. Someone vomits.

The man with the bandana and the shotgun wants to be called “the brother”.

He says he is from the Islamic State. He says he has bombs.

Man Haron Monis is doing what he has done since he arrived in Australia in 1996.

As a proclaimed IS extremist, he is pretending to be something he is not: until recently, before the most unlikely of conversions, he was a Shi’a – not Sunni — Muslim.

He has terrorised before, by words and deeds, though not like this.

He has chosen an unusually nice grouping of people to menace.

John O’Brien, the 82-year-old, is on his annual ritual of a coffee after his eye check-up upstairs. Three lawyers, including Katrina Dawson and her pregnant colleague Julie Taylor are catching up.

Dawson is indulging a daily routine in being here: she had asked along another friend this morning, but she had missed the call.

Among four Westpac people is the Indian father, Viswakanath Ankireddy, who would ring his wife during the crisis and his colleague, Puspendu Ghosh, still abuzz from a recent skydive. Selina Win Pe is with them to discuss IT issues: soon, under threat of a gun, she will be making demands of a prime minister.

The cafe staffers, their fellow prisoners, share a genuine camaraderie that defies many workplaces.

Tori Johnson, 34, is the sort of manager who sticks his tongue out in Christmas Party photos.

He is from a close-knit family: he hopes to one day marry his partner of 14 years, Thomas Zinn.

The staff share qualities with their customers that Monis can not claim.

They laugh in their spare time. They love. They have much to give and stand to be missed.

They belong on the outside. Monis, it subsequently seems, has never belonged.

Monis has a plan.

 Like all his plans it runs short of a logical conclusion. As far as it goes, it succeeds within the first hour or so.

His impact is almost Dystopian. The streets are emptied and barricades rise. Trains are stopped and offices are evacuated.

The Martin Place Christmas tree suddenly soars like a relic from another era.

Elly Chen, normally a smiley 22-year-old, is working only her sixth day at the cafe.

She holds up a black flag with white Arabic text to the window, directly behind the cafe company’s Christmas message.

It is an opening shot in Monis’ message which, like all of Monis’ messages, runs foul of logic.

And there is a lag, almost as if the world is granted time to process events.

For hours, no one is saying what is going on. Monis wants to speak to Prime Minister Tony Abbott. He wants his siege to be announced as an attack by ISIS.

He orders an ISIS flag delivered. He has hostages deliver these messages to news outlets from about noon.

It’s still unclear how soon dialogue is established with police negotiators.

John O’Brien was one of the first to escape. Picture: Toby Zerna

John O’Brien was one of the first to escape. Picture: Toby Zerna Source: News Corp Australia

O’BRIEN has a headache when he spots his chance.

It’s maybe five hours since he would have left of his own accord, perhaps for a hit of his beloved tennis.

He, along with lawyer Stefan Balafoutis, has been allowed to go to the toilet.

They spot a green button at the bottom of a glass door and wonder if the button will open the door. They discover it does.

The cameras track their first uncertain steps on the street, driven by an overwhelming mix of relief and adrenaline, while TV commentators fumble for the right verb — release or escape?

Chen’s expression captures the same anguish and fear when she spills into the street soon afterwards.

She has followed colleague Paolo Vassallo, and precedes Bae Jie-Un.

Monis is enraged by the escapes. He speaks of “an eye for an eye”. None of his demands have been met.

What would have followed had they been — he promised limited releases of hostages for each — is unclear.

Jarrod Hoffman is one of several hostages ordered to spread Monis’ gospel.

It is probably Hoffman, a 19-year-old student, who rings 2GB’s Ray Hadley.

Hadley reports hearing a Middle-Eastern Australian voice giving instructions in the background.

More calls are later made to the Daily Telegraph and TV stations.

Hoffman explains that he is on speaker and that he has a gun pointed to his head. “If someone else runs, someone dies,” Hoffman explains.

Later in the day, Monis orders hostages to record video messages for media organisations.

They are sinister viewing. The hostages speak of “we”, as if they are willing.

Some look more nervous than others. Taylor is businesslike: “We are here with … ummm our brother, who has asked for three simple things, and the first is that Tony Abbott calls him, live in the media, to have a short conversation. . . we can’t understand why that hasn’t happened.”

Mother-of-three Marcia Mikhael has been pressed into Facebook postings by early afternoon. Her formalness is unusual in the social media age, but then again, her words read like a poor joke.

Like Taylor, she is a very successful person, a Westpac executive and fitness business owner. Yet no one inside the cafe can argue against Monis, a nobody in the outside world.

Onlookers feel surges of futility.

Yet only the hostages burn with the violation of being manipulated as pawns. Only they can properly express the growing fear reflected in increasingly tense messages.

“Dear friends and family…” Mikhael’s Facebook message reads.

“The man who is keeping us hostage has asked for small and simple requests and none have been met. He is now threatening to start killing us.”

Such communications are unprecedented, at least in Australia.

They are a product of a new age of technology and terror. Media outlets mostly heed police bans and do not publish or broadcast Monis’ messages.

Yet Monis grabs some underground traction. He resorts to YouTube and these video messages are said to spread.

The hostages’ families, meanwhile, are fretting.

“Please do not share or spread any messages released by the hostages as the terrorist is using them as a means of communication,” writes Mikhael’s niece. “This could put my aunty and the others in grave danger.”

Another hostage, Fiona Ma, uses Facebook as a source of hope. She has been posting and reading messages throughout the day, prompting this latter message: “I’m getting your messages everyone! Thank-you you beautiful souls…Guys I love each and everyone of you.”

OVER 17 hours, Monis does not get what he wants.

Instead, he muddles and confounds.

In doing so, like in his past, he inspires others to rise above his “antics” — as one acquaintance puts it — and seek to overcome the hurt he inflicts.

The hostages have a world’s prayers. It isn’t enough, not on this battleground, not even with hundreds of heavily armed cops just metres away. Monis has an unfair advantage. He has unpredictability — and his gun.

His skittishness grows later in the day. He paces and herds the hostages from one end to the other — this followed rotations when hostages held their hands on the windows.

He shouts and uses Louisa Hope, an MS sufferer with a walking stick as a “shield”. Later, Monis still grips her as he started to tire, despite the protests of her 68-year-old mother, Robyn.

The refusals of her and O’Brien to yield to an armed crazy man’s wishes sound like the makings of folklore.

O’Brien has refused to hold Monis’ flag or lie on the floor for him. Monis, according to a report in The Australian, leaves him alone after this.

It is many hours after O’Brien has gone.

Australia has gone to sleep, knowing the police will wait it out. It is about 2am, and fear and exhaustion are major factors.

The next 15 minutes stand to be forensically analysed in months ahead. For now, we must rely on witness accounts and unofficial sources.

We know that a plot has been hatched after Monis says “it will be in the morning”.

Comic book fan Joel Herat, 21, is a ringleader. A group of hostages figure that death will follow inaction.

A single shot rings out at 2.04am. It is said that the bullet slams into a door or the ceiling. Is it a warning shot aimed at dissuading those hostages who soon appear, arms raised, in the street? Herat shepherds a pregnant 30-year-old Taylor before making his own exit.

The hostages have smashed a side-door lock to escape. Ankireddy’s father sees his son’s escape on Indian TV.

Hostages were forced to hold up an Islamic flag at Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Hostages were forced to hold up an Islamic flag at Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place. Source: Supplied

The cafe is darkened. It’s said that Johnson now tackles Monis and tries to grab his gun. It makes sense that Johnson would try to free his fellow hostages.

Such an act sounds true to his nature.

One newspaper report says that Johnson is beaten around the head before being killed with a head shot by Monis’ gun.

This may be the 2.13am shot that is played again and again the next day, the shot that leads a technical support sniper, perched at a Channel 7 window opposite, to say into his microphone: “Hostage down. Window two.”

What follows is officially known as the “emergency action plan”. Police in night goggles break in, setting off what looks and sounds like an indoor fireworks display. Stun grenades echo. Dozens of rounds are fired.

The outburst is timed at 34 seconds. When it ends an alarm rings and there is screaming. Monis is dead.

His shield Louisa Hope is shot in the foot, her mother Robyn in the shoulder.

Katrina Dawson is fatally wounded. Her loss, like Johnson’s, is inexplicable, and the floral memorial for their loss will lend itself to easy comparisons with Princess Diana’s death in 1997. It will seem so right that Johnson loved flowers.

It will seem so wrong that Dawson’s children, aged eight, five and three, wake the next morning to the worst news.

According to Channel 7, Monis greets the rush of officers with a lament: “Look what you’ve made me do.”

AS epitaphs go, Monis’ final words sound about right.

They befit a predator long practised in the role of playing the victim. They also raise questions about Monis’ goals. The only obvious thread in his public history, besides its oddness, lies in his drives. His religious and moral principles hold no coherence. His need for attention, however, is a constant. Publicity for Monis has never been a byproduct so much as an outcome.

In upturning his past in the days after his death, the thoughts of one of his previous victims jump out.

Man Haron Monis and Amirah Droudis.

Man Haron Monis and Amirah Droudis. Source: News Limited

Joan Senger once received a letter from Monis. Her son, Craig, an Australian trade official, had been killed in the 2009 Jakarta terror bombing.

Monis’ words had been hurtful and insulting. Speaking in 2013, Mrs Senger appears to have figured out Monis long before he stopped a city with a gun.

“I just don’t think he thinks like normal people think,” she said.

Unpredictable. Unhinged. Paranoid. These terms are used by those who knew Monis best. He was well-known to others as the sick sod who had linked fallen soldiers and bushfire victims to obscure religious scriptures.

He had been seeking sympathy since he first chained himself to a pole at the NSW Parliament House in 2000, when he demanded his family be brought from Iran and introduced himself as “Ayatollah”.

Those who knew him knew he played at roles. He was the “sham sheikh”.

He was the “peace activist”. Yet his performances served to mask the villain within. Monis tended to be scorned rather than feared, even though his history is potted with extreme violence and misogyny

Martin Place gunman caught on CCTV before siege

Update 10.50AM 16/12/14

THE manager of the Lindt cafe who was fatally shot in the Martin Place siege is being praised as a hero, responsible for allowing others trapped in the cafe to escape.

Tori Johnson, 34, was wrestling a gun from hostage-taker Man Haron Monis when he was killed.

Photo

Hero hostage: Cafe manager Tori Johnson was killed attempting to disarm the gunman.

It is understood the cafe manager decided to take action when the hostage-taker begun to doze off after the siege had been ongoing for 17 hours.

He lunged at the gunman’s weapon, enabling others to flee.

The second hostage killed has been identified as Katrina Dawson, 38. The mother-of-three is the sister of well known Sydney lawyer Sandy Dawson.

Katrina Dawson

Katrina Dawson

Ms Dawson was tragically killed trying to defend her pregnant friend, AAP reports.


 

Sydney siege: Two hostages and gunman dead after heavily armed police storm Lindt cafe in Martin Place

Tue 16 Dec 2014, 7:51am

Paramedics remove a person, with bloodstains on the blankets covering the person, on a stretcher after the end of the Sydney siege on December 16, 2014.

Paramedics remove a person, with bloodstains on the blankets covering the person, on a stretcher after the end of the Sydney siege on December 16, 2014.

About 2:10am (AEDT) there was a confrontation between police and self-styled Iranian cleric Man Haron Monis, who had taken 17 people hostage inside the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place on Monday morning.

Police said shots were fired and as a result, the 50-year-old gunman was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.

It is not clear if the two hostages who died, a man aged 34 and a woman aged 38, were shot by the gunman or killed in the crossfire.

Monis, who was granted political asylum in Australia, took staff and customers in the cafe hostage shortly before 10:00am (AEDT) on Monday.

He was on bail for a string of violent offences, including being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.

Monis was also facing more than 40 sexual and indecent assault charges and had a conviction for sending offensive letters to families of deceased Australian soldiers.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott issued a statement commending the “courage and professionalism” of the police and other emergency services involved.

“Australians awoke to the news this morning that the siege in Martin Place has ended,” he said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two deceased hostages, the wounded and the other hostages.”

This morning, NSW Premier Mike Baird addressed a media conference and said: “I come before you with the heaviest of hearts. Unbelievably overnight, we have lost some of our own in an attack we never thought we would see here in our city.

“In the past 24 hours, this city has been shaken by a tragedy that none of us could have ever imagined. The values we held dear yesterday we hold dear today. They are the values of freedom, democracy, and harmony.

“These defined us yesterday, they will define us today, they will define us tomorrow. Our first thoughts and prayers this morning are with the innocent victims of this horrendous, vicious attack.”

Following the confrontation, two women were also taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while a male police officer is in a non life-threatening condition after a gunshot wound to his face.

The police operation has concluded and the investigation into the entire incident will be overseen by the Professional Standards Command, a police statement said.

“All information will be provided to the coroner who will determine the cause of, and make any findings about, the events leading to the deaths,” the statement said.

Loud explosions and yelling could be heard from near the cafe at about 2:00am (AEDT) before officers rushed inside.

Just before police stormed the building, at least five hostages came running from the cafe with their hands up and one man lay down on the floor as police patted him down.

Minutes later what appeared to be gunfire and explosions could be heard.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the situation changed suddenly inside the cafe, allowing more of the hostages to escape.

Police then made the quick decision to put their emergency action plan into place and they moved inside the building.

Thanking all the officers involved in the siege, Commissioner Scipione said: “I want to point out they have saved lives, they have saved many lives.”

He said of the hostages: “I can only imagine the terror that they’ve been through. They are very brave people who in many cases were buying a cup of coffee and they got caught up in this dreadful affair.

“We should reflect on their courage, the courage that they displayed during the many hours in that room.”

He said it was an isolated incident and urged: “Do not let this sort of incident bring about any loss of confidence of working or visiting our city.

“It was the act of an individual. This should never destroy or change the way of our life.”

Soon after police entered the cafe, paramedic crews who had been stationed at the scene throughout the day were seen carrying people out of the building on stretchers, and one patient could be seen being resuscitated.

ABC reporter Siobhan Heanue said there were two volleys of gunfire and loud explosions, in the middle of which screams could be heard.

“The sound ricocheted throughout the tall buildings around the area… and hostages started pouring out of the building,” she said.

“Some running, some able to walk, some with their hands up, and some being carried by ambulance staff.”

An exclusion zone around Martin Place remains, with roads still closed, but the police presence has significantly diminished.

The ABC’s Nick Dole said police were working to secure the scene.

“Exactly what is going on inside we don’t know but we have seen evidence that perhaps police from the bomb squad would be in there,” he said.

“So police are working through the Lindt cafe to at least make it safe for investigators to go through.

“We’ve seen a robot – what looks like a police robot.

“Police are working very hard to make the crime scene safe so the investigation can continue.”

Hostages have been taken to a number of hospitals in the city.

Shortly after Monis locked the hostages inside the cafe, some were seen with their hands up while others were made to hold a black flag with Arabic writing against a window.

Heavily armed police officers took up positions in the pedestrian area, which was cleared for several blocks.

Several hours later, at about 4:00pm, two men ran from a front door of the cafe while a man wearing a Lindt apron came out of a side door.

About an hour later two women who worked at the cafe ran from the building.

Martin Place Cafe Siege: Man Haron Monis named as gunman

Sydney siege gunman identified

THE man who held several people hostage in a Sydney cafe for over 18 hours is a self-styled ‘sheik’ with a long history of run-ins with law enforcement.

Man Haron Monis, 50, is believed to have been killed when police stormed the Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place in a hail of gunfire shortly after 2am this morning.

Pic of Sheikh "man Monis" Haron charged with writing offensive letters to widows and fami

Sheik Man Monis Haron charged with writing offensive letters to widows and families of fallen Aussie soldiers outside Downing Court today. Source: News Limited

Monis, also known as Sheikh Haron and Mohammad Hassan Manteghi, was on bail on a charge of accessory to murder, relating to the death of his ex-wife, who was allegedly stabbed and set alight in a stairwell of her Sydney apartment complex last year.

LATEST

Monis’s current partner has been charged with murder over the incident.

On granting bail, Magistrate Darryl Pearce saying the Crown’s noted the case against Monis was weak.

In March this year he was charged with more than 50 sexual offences including the 2002 sexual assault of a young woman which was allegedly carried out under the guise of ‘spiritual healing’.

His victim, 27 at the time, allegedly saw an advertisement for ‘spiritual consultation’ in a local newspaper and contacted him.

Man Haron Monis ‘Spiritual healer’ arrested for sexual and indecent assault — SCC Sex Cri

Man Haron Monis ‘Spiritual healer’ arrested for sexual and indecent assault — SCC Sex Crimes Squad Source: Supplied

He told her he was an expert in astrology, numerology, meditation and black magic and advised her to visit his clinic.

Monis arrived in Australia as a refugee from Iran in 1996 and first became known to the public when he was charged with sending offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the letters Monis called one Australian Digger ‘the son to a dirty pig, and to a dirty animal’, and urged the Diggers’ families to call on the government to pull troops out of Afghanistan.

In court Monis claimed he was a ‘peace activist’ and that his rights to free speech were being trampled.

Haron Monis was charged for sending hate letters to families of soldiers killed in Afghan

Haron Monis was charged for sending hate letters to families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Here, he is pictured appearing for sentencing at the Downing Centre. Source: News Limited

It’s believed Monis lost a High Court appeal against his conviction just last Friday — an event which may have precipitated his decision to stage the Sydney siege.

Shortly before 9.45am yesterday morning Monis entered the Lindt cafe in the heart of Sydney, armed with a sawn-off shotgun and taking up to 20 hostages, several of whom managed to escape yesterday.

Emergency personnel wheel an injured hostage to an ambulance overnight. (AP Photo/Rob Gri

Emergency personnel wheel an injured hostage to an ambulance overnight. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) Source: AP

After a prolonged period of silence overnight, several hostages desperately fled the cafe before police stormed in shortly later.

Live images of the ensuing firefight were beamed around the world as one loud blast, possibly from Monis’s shotgun, was heard. It was followed by dozens of shots from automatic weapons and flashes from the tactical officers’ flash grenades.

Armed tactical response officers and emergency workers attend the scene (AP Photo/Rob Gri

Armed tactical response officers and emergency workers attend the scene (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) Source: AP

Several ambulances rushed an unknown number of people to hospital as medical teams performed CPR on people in Martin Place. One police officer was seen with blood rushing from his head.

It’s believed three people, including Monis, have died as a result of the firefight.


A man is holding several people hostage at Martin Place cafe

Staff and customers at the Lindt cafe hold what is believed to be a jihadist flag up agai

Staff and customers hold up what is believed to be a jihadist flag up against the window of the Lindt cafe. Source: Channel 7

  • As many as 30 people being held hostage at Lindt cafe
  • Police say at least one gunman involved
  • Incident not being treated as terrorism yet
  • Motivation of gunman unknown – but police have finally spoken directly with him
  • PM Tony Abbott urges calm: “The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people.”

HOSTAGES have emerged from the Lindt Cafe in central Sydney where they have been held by a gunman since just before 10am this morning.

Five people have now left the cafe which has been at the centre of a hostage crisis that has paralysed central Sydney and shocked Australia.

Their escape comes after NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn confirmed hostage negotiators were now speaking directly with the gunman.

“Police negotiators have had contact and will continue to have contact,” she said.

Two female Lindt employees ran from the building just before 5pm. Three other hostages, all men, ran from the cafe earlier this afternoon and are now speaking with police.

It was not immediately clear if any of the hostages were released or if they had escaped.

Hostages inside the café have spoken to media outlets. Two hostages have spoken to Sydney radio station 2GB while Ten News is reporting that they have also spoken to two hostages.

One of the hostages runs towards police from Lindt cafe in the central business district

One of the hostages runs towards police from Lindt cafe in the central business district of Sydney. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

A terrified woman runs from the Lindt Cafe

A terrified woman runs from the Lindt Cafe Source: Supplied

A terrified Lindt employee runs to safety

A terrified Lindt employee runs to safety Source: Supplied

Two of the first hostages to get away came out of the front door while the third came out of a fire door. All had their arms raised in the air.

Dramatic television images showed the terrified hostages running free from the buiding and being shielded by heavily armed police.

One was a man in a white shirt and blue jacket, another wore a white shirt, while the third was clearly the Lindt cafe worker dressed in black.

David Faktor, spokesman for St Vincent’s Hospital, told news.com.au that they have received “one male patient and he is in a satisfactory condition”. Mr Faktor would not comment on anything else in relation to the man’s condition but said “he is fine”.

The hospital is on standby for anything else that might eventuate from the siege.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed media tonight and praised police and security services for their work.

“I’ve received messages of support from a number of international leaders and I thank them for their encouragement on this difficult day. It has been a difficult day, it has tested us

He added that “like Australians in all situations, we have risen to the challenge”.

A hostage is seen outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place.

A hostage is seen outside the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place. Source: Getty Images

Two hostages run to safety outside the Lindt Cafe.

Two hostages run to safety outside the Lindt Cafe. Source: Getty Images

Dramatic scenes outside the Lindt Cafe as hostages run free after six hours of being held

Dramatic scenes outside the Lindt Cafe as hostages run free after six hours of being held captive. Source: Getty Images

The five hostages escape followed reports that as many as 50 people being held by a gunman at the popular cafe. However, when asked this afternoon about the number of hostages NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said: “That sort of number does not equate to what we are assuming.”

At least one offender took hostages at the popular Lindt chocolate cafe, in Martin Place, just before 10am.

Some members of staff could be seen wearing their shop aprons and standing with their hands up at the windows. There is also a black and white flag being held up in a window. It is believed to be the Black Standard, a flag that has been hijacked by jihadists and Islamists.

Hostages have reportedly called Channel 9 news late this afternoon – the second time media outlets have been called by those inside the cafe.

It’s believed hostages have been forced to call the television network.

This morning at least two calls were made to 2GB host Ray Hadley. He later spoke to the mother of an 18-year-old apprentice plumber who texted his mother from inside the cafe.

When she asked him how he was he replied: “I’m okay Mum, I can’t talk”. She hasn’t heard anything since then.

Deputy Commissioner Burn said police had spoken with the gunman for the first time since the siege began.

Three hostages escape Lindt cafe siege

Her information was that the remaining hostages hadn’t been harmed.

She said the gunman’s motivations were not known and it wouldn’t be helpful to “speculate”.

The incident has not been branded a terrorist attack yet, but police have confirmed they have “moved to a footing consistent with a terrorism event” in their response.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione earlier told reporters it remained a hostage situation “but we are ready to escalate if we need to”.

They did not have “direct contact” with the hostage-taker.

“We’re working through that – at this stage we’ve not got extensive communications … We are not dealing directly with him.”

It was not clear what the offender’s motivation was.

Lindt Australia CEO Steve Loane told news.com.au at the scene this morning he believed there are 40 to 50 people inside the cafe, including customers and staff.

Other reports are suggesting there may only be 13 hostages and police have since said they believe there to be fewer than 30 hostages.

Police handcuffed a man 200m from the cafe siege but a police statement has since clarified the arrest was unrelated to the siege.

Jihadist flag at city centre siege

One of the men believed to be holding people hostage: Courtesy: Channel 7 Source: Channel 7

Jihadist flag at city centre siege

Picture: Courtesy of Channel 7. Source: Channel 7

The National Security Committee of Cabinet has met for briefings on the situation this morning.

At a press conference this morning Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the government did not know whether the hostage situation was politically motivated.

“We don’t yet know the motivation of perpetrator, we don’t know whether it’s politically motivated although there are indications it could be,” he said.

“The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people… Australia is a peaceful, open and generous society and nothing should ever change that and that’s why I urge all Australians to today to go about their business as usual.”

Mr Abbott urged all Australians to go about their business as usual but if anyone noticed anything unusual they should call the National Security Hotline 1800 123 400.

He said that the ordinary business of government would go on and the Budget update would be released as planned.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said this afternoon: “We are being tested today in Sydney. The police is being tested, the public is being tested, but whatever the test …we will remain a democractic, civil society.

“There could be some disruption obviously, we are asking also to be patient … we will get through this.”

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione confirmed an “armed offender” was involved. Police were doing everything in their power to bring the situation to a “peaceful outcome”.

“We have a number of incidents that people believe are connected to the city events

a lot of people concerned when they see police vehicle drive down their street, (that area is involved). This is not the case.”

He said there were a number of officers on standby and was satisfied with the response so far. “It’s as good as you will get anywhere.”

Major landmarks in Sydney, including the Sydney Opera House, have been evacuated as polic
Police are patrolling landmarks around Sydney in response to the Martin Pl hostage siege.

Police are patrolling landmarks around Sydney in response to the Martin Pl hostage siege. Source: Getty Images

In a statement earlier, Mr Abbott said he had also spoken with NSW Premier Mike Baird and “offered him all possible Commonwealth support and assistance”.

“This is obviously a deeply concerning incident but all Australians should be reassured that our law enforcement and security agencies are well trained and equipped and are responding in a thorough and professional manner,” he said.

Mr Baird said his thoughts and prayers were with those affected.

“I’ve spoken to Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione & have full confidence NSW Police are working effectively to resolve the situation,” Mr Baird said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he had spoken with Mr Abbott this morning and offered him the Opposition’s full support.

“Our thoughts and prayers today are with the innocent people involved … (and) also with their families who are seeing this incredibly distressing situation unfold, along with the rest of Australia.

“Australians can be assured that we are one when it comes to keeping Australians safe.”

Tactical response officers arrive at the scene. Picture: Toby Zerna

Tactical response officers arrive at the scene. Picture: Toby Zerna Source: News Corp Australia

Siege at Martin Place.

Siege at Martin Place. Source: Supplied

Earlier today, Sydney talkback show host Ray Hadley reportedly spoke to one of the hostages inside the cafe off air.

A spokesman for 2GB said Hadly spoke to someone who he believed was a hostage inside the cafe.

The radio presenter called the number more than once and passed the name and details onto the police.

The Sydney Opera House, which was evacuated earlier today, has cancelled tonights performances, while police have urged people to stay away from the central city tonight for their own safety.

International reaction to the crisis has been swift with Canadian PM Stephen Harper tweeting his support and US President Barack Obama being briefed on the situation at the White House.

Lindt Cafe released the following statement on their Facebook page.

“We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and kind support over the current situation at the Lindt Chocolate Café at Martin Place. We are deeply concerned over this serious incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the staff and customers involved and all their friends and families. The matter is being dealt with by the authorities and we are waiting for any updates from them.”

Also on Facebook were pages supporting the gunman, including one called “Lindt cafe bombers supporters facebook page”. Facebook swiftly removed the page, and urged users to report any offending pages immediately for them to remove.

Police have set up an exclusion zone around the cafe in Martin Place.

BUILDINGS EVACUATED

A Lindt cafe worker who managed to get out of the building told Nine News: “Everyone was sitting down, the door was locked. There was one guy walking around with a hat and a beard.”

Channel 7 reported that a woman told police that she saw a man near the cafe at 9.44am carrying a blue sports bag with what she thought was a gun inside.

The chocolate shop is 30 or 40 metres from the Channel 7 offices so they have cameras trained on the building. Channel 7 was evacuated.

Martin Place is home to several prominent buildings, including NSW Premier Mike Baird’s office, the Reserve Bank of Australia, Westpac Bank and the Commonwealth Bank headquarters as well as the US embassy and the Seven Network. The Supreme Court, Sydney Hospital, State Library of NSW, and NSW parliament were also in lock-down.

The Sydney Opera House was also in lock-down for a short time as authorities enacted a cluster of security measures across the city.

The US Consulate has also been closed.

Seven reporter Chris Reason is currently on the corner of Philip and Hunter St where all five floors of Channel 7 staff were evacuated. He told news.com.au that he is with several hundred people from Seven and surrounding buildings.

He confirmed that police entered Channel 7 at 10am to use their building as a viewing point after the incident first happened at 9.44am.

Sydney siege: Heavily armed police run near Martin Place
Courtesy of Channel 7.

Courtesy of Channel 7. Source: Channel 7

A map of Sydney shows where the Martin Place Lindt Chocolate cafe is located.

A map of Sydney shows where the Martin Place Lindt Chocolate cafe is located. Source: News Corp Australia

At 10.20am the entire building was evacuated and the central hosting duties was transferred to Melbourne to broadcast out of there.

Police have erected a large black shield to cover the corner of the Lindt Store from view.

Mr Reason said: “It’s tense, people are obviously concerned for the people inside. During the initial minutes when the evacuation happened there was, of course, a lot of concern, a lot of anguish from some staff. But nobody resisted, we all followed police orders. Right now, outside the building there is a mix of curiosity and concern and hope that the people inside get out OK.”

Currently there are at least 100 police and tactical units stationed in Martin Place

“I was at a cafe right next to the Lindt Store when I noticed people suddenly running towards the building and looking in. At 9.45 I sort of approached and realised what was happening. At first we thought it was an armed holdup because the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) is next door and there were armoured vehicles outside. When we saw the hostages against the windows holding up the flags it was quickly apparent that this was severely urgent.”

When asked whether he thought why the men may have chosen Martin Place, he said: “It’s hard to tell, as we saw in the terror raids in September, Martin Place would be a target. It might not be iconic Sydney location but it is deeply symbolic, on top of our building (Seven) is the State Government, the treasurer the minister, beside it is the financial heart of Sydney with the reserve bank and right in the centre is the cenotaph and ANZAC memorial so it ticks so many boxes when trying to make a political statement.”

There are State Government agencies in the same building and police have shut down traffic in a wide perimeter surrounding the incident. Surrounding buildings are also in lockdown.

RELATED: Martin Place long identified as potential terrorist target

 

There is no confirmation yet whether this is a terrorist attack.

A police statement confirmed that they were dealing with an armed incident and specialist officers were attempting to make contact those inside a cafe.

“Some nearby offices have been evacuated as a precaution. Anyone else in the area encompassing Hunter, George, Elizabeth and Macquarie streets bordering Martin Place is directed to remain indoors and away from open windows. Anyone in the vicinity but outside that area is free to leave their buildings,” the statement said.

“Police urge members of the public to remain calm and note that an appropriate police presence is in place.

Elsewhere in Australia, security has reportedly been increased at the Gabba ahead of the cricket and the Lindt Cafe in Melbourne has been closed with police patrolling the streets outside.

TRANSPORT IMPACTED

The Martin Place train station is shut and trains and buses around the area are being diverted or stopped, including trains between Bondi Junction and Central. Roads are blocked.

A Transport for Sydney spokeswoman told news.com.au that conditions were still changing and they would follow directions from police.

“This is chilling,” said The Morning Show host Kylie Gillies of the scene as she watched on with host Larry Emdur from the Channel 7 news studios. The duo are now off air.

RELATED: Sydney trains cancelled, buses diverted

Frightening siege at Lindt cafe Martin Place Sydney

Frightening siege at Lindt cafe Martin Place Sydney

Sydney siege: Gunman takes hostages in Lindt cafe

Hundreds of armed police have sealed off Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district

Related Stories

At least one gunman has taken several people hostage at a cafe in the Australian city of Sydney.

Pictures on Australian television show at least three people with their hands up against a window, and a black flag with Arabic writing.

Hundreds of armed police have sealed off Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district.

New South Wales police have asked people to avoid the area.

An Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter said that gunfire had been heard at the scene, the Lindt chocolate cafe – but this has not been confirmed.

No injuries have been reported from the incident, according to a police spokesperson.

At the scene: Wendy Frew, BBC Australia Editor Online

Martin Place is a public pedestrian thoroughfare through the heart of Sydney, joining its parliamentary, legal and retail districts.

It is full of media, members of the public and the police, with what appear to be anxious colleagues of people trapped inside the building, waiting for news. Several surrounding blocks are cordoned off.

Police are at this stage not giving media briefings at the site, there are dozens of police cards have arrived at the scene – with more continuing to come.

Sydney map

Police have also said that they are dealing with an “incident” at the Sydney Opera House which has been evacuated.

Local media are reporting that a suspicious package was found there on Monday, though it was unclear whether it was connected to the Martin Place incident.

Terror threat

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the Martin Place incident as “deeply concerning”.

“All Australians should be reassured that our law enforcement and security agencies are well trained and equipped and are responding in a thorough and professional manner,” he said in a statement.

A National Security Committee of Cabinet has been convened for Monday morning, the PM’s office said.

Australia has been facing a growing terror threat in recent months, in part connected to the fight against the Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq.

In September, the largest anti-terror raids in Australian history were carried out in Sydney and Brisbane after intelligence emerged that people were planning to carry out random attacks on Australian soil.

Only one person was charged with terror offences.

Anti-terror legislation was passed in October, which critics said was too severe.

Mr Abbott has said the threat meant “the delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift”.

About 70 Australians are believed to be fighting in the Middle East while another 20 have returned home.

Australia recently introduced tough legislation to combat the threat from returned fighters

The Lindt Cafe is located in a plaza in the heart of the city’s financial and shopping district that is usually packed with shoppers at this time of year.

It is home to the state premier’s office and the headquarters of two of the nation’s largest banks.

The state parliament house is also only a few streets away.


 

The Daily Telegraph

  • 12 hostages thought to be held
  • Public transport shut down between Central and Bondi
  • Channel 7 offices evacuated

A hostage has been forced to hold up an Islamic State flag in the window of a shop in Martin Place that is currently under siege.

It is believed there are 12 hostages in the store and an ISIS flag has been placed in the window.

Martin Place is the main financial area of the Sydney CBD.

The scene of a seige at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place.

The scene of a siege at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

The scene of a seige at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place.

The scene of a siege at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Twitter image of a seige at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Maritin Place.

Hostages hold up an IS flag at Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Public transport between Central and Bondi Junction has been stopped.

Buses are diverting away from Elizabeth St and Hunter St.

There are various road closures in place and motorists are advised to stay away from the area.

In September Federal Police made a host of arrests after allegedly uncovering a plot to abduct a random Australian and execute them by beheading in a public place, possibly Martin Place and post the act on social media.

Hostage in the Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Maritin Place.

Hostage in the Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Maritin Place.

Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Just before 10am it is believed an attempted robbery was taking place when the offender then took a number of hostages inside the Lindt Chocolate shop.

The area has been cordoned off and police are urging people to stay away.

Police do not know how many hostages are in the shop or what the offender is armed with.

The Lindt shop is usually very busy with four or five staff at this time.

More to come.