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15th Apr 2024

Here’s everything we know about the Sydney attacker

Joseph Loftus

As we awoke on Saturday morning, the news was already out.

There had been a stabbing in the Westfield Bondi Junction Shopping Centre, and many were feared dead.

Six people were later confirmed dead, five of whom were women, and a further eleven people were injured.

The perpetrator, who was later named as Joel Cauchi, was shot dead by a lone female police officer who fired upon him when he came towards her with a knife.

Here’s what we know about Joel Cauchi.

The morning after the stabbings, the perpetrator was named as 40-year-old, Joel Cauchi, from Toowoomba, Queensland.

Cauchi had travelled to Sydney just a month earlier and police later confirmed that Cauchi had lived a drifter’s lifestyle.

He wasn’t believed to have been employed and was more or less homeless. It’s also believed that Cauchi was single and had no children.

Cauchi was diagnosed with mental health issues from the age of 17 onwards and it’s believed that he was schizophrenic. It’s also reported that Cauchi’s mental health had been deteriorating rapidly in recent years.

Cauchi had advertised himself as a male escort online.

The 40-year-old is said to have advertised sexual services to both men and women.

According to 9 News he described himself as “an athletic, good looking 39-year-old guy” and it’s said that he offered many services.

These details have emerged as police are probing if Cauchi specifically targeted women.

New South Wales police commissioner Karen Webb said that the focus on female victims is a “line of enquiry”.

She added: “It’s obvious to me and it’s obvious to detectives that it seems to be an area of interest that the offender had focused on women and avoided the men.

“It has been reported that five of the deceased are women and the majority of victims in hospital are also women.”

Cauchi was known to police.

Queensland Police said that Cauchi had been known to them for the last few years.

Their last interaction with him, or at least the last recorded interaction, was in December when he was questioned on the street over suspicious behaviour.

Days before the attack, Cauchi made a post online asking people to meet up to go surfing on Bondi Beach.

Years earlier he had made Facebook posts to find gun enthusiasts.

In one, he wrote: “Hi I am looking for groups of people who shoot guns, including handguns, to meet up with, chat with, and get to know. Please send me a DM if you can help me out!”

In the aftermath of the attack, Cauchi’s father told reporters that he was devastated by the news and said that he had previously taken knives off his son.

He said: “He wanted a girlfriend and he has no social skills. He was frustrated out of his brain.”

His father, Andrew, told Sky News: “I’m extremely sorry. I’m heartbroken for you. This is so horrendous I can’t even explain it.

“You’re trying to get me to give you an intelligent conversation but I can’t do it. I’m devastated. I love my son. I made myself a servant to my son when I found out he had a mental illness. I became his servant. I did everything because I loved that boy.”

Cauchi’s mother, Michelle, added: “This is a parent’s absolute nightmare when they have a child with a mental illness that something like this would happen. And my heart goes out to the people our son has hurt.

“If he was in his right mind he would be absolutely devastated at what he’s done but he obviously was not in his right mind and something triggered him into psychosis and he lost touch with reality.”

In another interview the Cauchi’s said that they did not blame the police for shooting their son, saying: “We are in contact with both the New South Wales Police Force and Queensland Police Service and have no issues with the police officer who shot our son as she was only doing her job to protect others, and we hope she is coping alright.”

The victims have been named as Yixuan Cheng, a Chinese student, Dawn Singleton, the 25-year-old daughter of Australian businessman John Singleton, 47-year-old Jade Young, who worked as an architect in Sydney, 55-year-old Pikria Darchia and security guard Faraz Tahir.

38-year-old, Ashlee Good, died in hospital from her wounds and her nine-month-old daughter Harriet has undergone surgery and is in a serious but stable condition.

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