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'As long as you like': Albanese tells bollard hero he can stay in Australia

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Apr 2024, 4:08pm
Shopper Damien Guerot used a bollard to fend off Joel Cauchi (inset) as the killer tried to climb an escalator in the Bondi mall attack.
Shopper Damien Guerot used a bollard to fend off Joel Cauchi (inset) as the killer tried to climb an escalator in the Bondi mall attack.

'As long as you like': Albanese tells bollard hero he can stay in Australia

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Apr 2024, 4:08pm

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Frenchman who took on the knife wielding attacker in Bondi can stay in the country “as long as he likes”.

Video emerged on Saturday of Damien Guerot holding the base of the black bollard in his left hand and the top in his right at the top of an escalator, preventing the offender Joel Cauchi from going to the next level of the shopping centre.

While this was happening, shoppers could be seen retreating further into the surrounding stores.

Guerot and friend Silas Despreaux witnessed some of Cauchi’s rampage.

Bondi stabbings
Bondi stabbings

“I saw a guy on the floor with a lot of blood, I saw one girl from the balcony get stabbed,” Guerot said.

He said he was running on adrenaline and didn’t think he would have come face to face with the killer.

The Frenchman described Cauchi as having “empty eyes”.

“It was like he wasn’t there.”

Albanese spoke about the French national’s bravery.

“This is someone who we would welcome becoming an Australian citizen, although that would of course be a loss for France,“ he said.

“It says a lot about the nature of humanity at a time when we are facing difficult issues that someone who is not a citizen of this country stood bravely at the top of those escalators and stopped this perpetrator from getting onto another floor and potentially inflicting further carnage on citizens.”

“We thank him for his extraordinary bravery.”

Despreaux is a permanent resident but Guerot’s visa expires in July, and the public is calling for him to be made a citizen.

Police Minister Yasmin Catley said the Acting Inspector Amy Scott, who shot and killed Cauchi, commended Guerot and Despreaux to her for their heroism.

Guerot disagreed, saying Scott was “the real hero”.

Victims of the Bondi stabbing tragedy. Photo / NZ Herald
Victims of the Bondi stabbing tragedy. Photo / NZ Herald

“She did the job. We just did what we did.”

The six victims of the Bondi stabbing have been identified as Dawn Singleton, 25, Jade Young, 47, Pikria Darchia, 55, Yixuan Cheng, 27, and 30-year-old Faraz Tahir who died at the scene, while Ashlee Good, 38, later died in hospital.

Seven people, including a 9-month-old child, remained in hospital on Monday night.

The 40-year-old Cauchi seemingly targeted women in the attack but authorities are yet to pinpoint a motive for the nation’s worst massacre in recent years.

This article was originally posted on the NZ Herald here.

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