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Police reveal identity of 40-year-old Sydney mall attacker

Author
Cherie Howie,
Publish Date
Sun, 14 Apr 2024, 9:34am

Police reveal identity of 40-year-old Sydney mall attacker

Author
Cherie Howie,
Publish Date
Sun, 14 Apr 2024, 9:34am

The man behind the Bondi Junction stabbing attack has been identified as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi from Queensland.

Seven people are dead - including Cauchi, who was shot dead by a policewoman who is being credited for her bravery - and 12 more, including a baby, are in hospital after a mass stabbing at a busy Sydney shopping centre.

Central Metropolitan Region commander and Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke revealed this morning Cauchi came to New South Wales last month.

Cauchi was known to Queensland Police, but Cooke would not confirm how he was known. He did confirm he had well-documented mental health problems.

He said he did not know how Cauchi may have come into possession of the knife used in the attack.

Cauchi took possession of a small storage facility last month, which has been investigated by police.

Cauchi’s family has been spoken to by police and they are cooperating in their investigations, Cooke said.

“There is no information that we have received, no evidence we have recovered, no intelligence we have gathered that would suggest that this was driven by any particular motivation, ideology or otherwise,” Cooke said.

“We know the offender in the matter suffers from mental health [problems].”

Man armed with a knife inside the Bondi shopping mall.
Man armed with a knife inside the Bondi shopping mall.

Cooke said police are also speaking with the families of the victims, two of whom have no family in Australia.

Nine of the twelve people injured a woman, and five of the six died as well. Cooke said he did not know if gender was a factor for Cauchi when he began his attack.

Two men and a 9-month year old baby were also injured.

He pleaded to the public for any people who were witnesses to the stabbings and have not come forward to present themselves, so they can provide support.

Cooke said he would hope that “everyone should respect everyone’s feelings” when speculating on the religion and motive of the attacker. He would not say if “public mischief” charges would be sought for those sharing false information on the attacker’s identity.

He said this was a very “difficult scene” and they continue to make “progress” in their investigations.

Cooke said he had spoken to the police officer who fatally shot Cauchi last night and she was “doing well”.

“Can I just say how proud we are of the actions of the officer involved,” he said.

Among the victims at Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre are a 9-month-old baby, who was taken to Sydney Children’s Hospital and who was undergoing surgery last night.

Some of those injured were believed to be seriously or critically ill, Cooke said.

“The baby got stabbed. The mum got stabbed and the mum came over with the baby and threw it at me... it looked pretty bad”, a man told a 9 News reporter after the 3.20pm incident (5.20pm NZT).

The baby’s brave mother, 38-year-old Ash Good, died from her wounds in hospital.

Ash Good, 38, was among the six shoppers killed at Sydney's Bondi Westfield mall on Saturday April 13.
Ash Good, 38, was among the six shoppers killed at Sydney's Bondi Westfield mall on Saturday April 13.

A young witness locked inside a store told the Telegraph she heard gunshots and “blood-curdling” screams.

Another woman, in tears, told ABC News she heard gunshots as she hid in a backroom.

“Who does that to people?... I just came out of the gym, I was living my life and then I thought I was going to die.”

The incident was “shocking and appalling”, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with the victims, the loved ones of those killed and injured, and the Australian people,” Peters said.

In a statement by NSW police, they encouraged any witnesses, anyone with information or mobile phone vision who has not yet spoken to police, is urged to call police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

Rachel Maher is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. She has worked for the Herald since 2022.

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