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14th Apr 2024

Hero who helped stop knifeman in Sydney stabbings has been named

Simon Kelly

Sydney stabbings hero named

“I’m not gonna lie, I was scared.”

The hero who prevented the Sydney knifeman getting into a children’s play area has been named as Ukrainian man Silas Despreaux.

Dubbed “bollard man”, Mr Despreaux confronted the knife-wielding Joel Cauchi inside the Bondi Junction shopping centre by grabbing a bollard and blocking his way up an escalator.

A widely shared video showed the moment the brave member of the public tried to fend off Mr Cauchi.

The 40-year-old attacker was shot dead by a police officer who responded to the attack at the busy shopping centre while on duty for an unrelated matter.

The horrific stabbings occurred on Saturday and resulted in the deaths of five women and one man. Several others, including an infant, were injured in the attacks.

Hero who helped stop knifeman in Sydney stabbings has been named

Speaking to Australian news channel 7NEWS, Mr Despreaux said he had just arrived to the shopping centre with his friend Damien Guerot to go to the gym when they witnessed people running.

After seeing the attacker stabbing nearby shoppers, the two friends grabbed a bollard to hold him back.

“I’m not gonna lie, I was scared but you cannot just like stay away and not do anything,” Mr Despreaux said. “He looked like, just — just determined to kill people.”

Footage showing Mr Despreaux fending off the knifeman.

Mr Guerot added: “We didn’t think, it’s like you couldn’t think at that moment, just like adrenaline.

“The eyes was like empty eyes. (Cauchi) was like, uh, it wasn’t there.”

Queensland police said the attacks by Mr Cauchi was most likely “related to the mental health” of the perpetrator, adding that they were not an “act of terror” and there was “no ideological motivation”.

Authorities said Mr Cauchi was single with no children, and believed he had been living in a vehicle since arriving to Sydney.

He had been diagnosed with mental health issues as a teenager, but it is understood that his mental state had deteriorated in recent years.

In a press release, Mr Cauchi’s family said: “We are absolutely devastated by the traumatic events that occurred in Sydney yesterday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims and those still undergoing treatment at this time.

“Joel’s actions were truly horrific, and we are still trying to comprehend what has happened.”

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