Tuesday 28 March 2017

Sydney siege gunman too 'weird' for Australian motorcycle gang, inquest hears

Man Monis, who took 18 people hostage at a Sydney cafe, was a self-obsessed fabulist who grew increasingly defiant as he edged closer to his attack, an inquest heard (Dean Lewins/AAP/AP)
Man Monis, who took 18 people hostage at a Sydney cafe, was a self-obsessed fabulist who grew increasingly defiant as he edged closer to his attack, an inquest heard (Dean Lewins/AAP/AP)

Matt Siegel

A self-styled sheikh who staged a siege at an Australian cafe last year suffered "grandiose delusions" and was once kicked out of a motorcycle gang because he was deemed so weird, an inquest into the deaths of three people heard on Monday.

Police stormed the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in central Sydney in the early hours of Dec. 16 after Iranian-born gunman Man Haron Monis shot and killed 34-year-old cafe manager Tori Johnson with a sawn-off shotgun following a 17-hour standoff.

The inquest has already heard that one of the hostages taken by Monis, 38-year-old lawyer Katrina Dawson, was killed by a ricochet from at least one police bullet.

Monis, who was killed by police, harboured deep grievances against the Australian government and claimed to be carrying out an attack as a member of the Islamic State radical group.

However, far from belonging to a global movement, the inquest was told of his multiple failed attempts to cultivate a following not just within Sydney's mainstream Muslim community but anywhere that would accept him.

Read more: Sydney siege gunman who took 18 people hostage was a 'self-obsessed fantasist, narcissist'

Flashback to Sydney Siege: Cafe employee Bae Jie-un runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped the gunman
Flashback to Sydney Siege: Cafe employee Bae Jie-un runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped the gunman
Hostages run towards armed tactical response police for safety right after the police stormed into a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
A young girl dressed in Christmas attire walks around the thousands of floral tributes for two deceased hostages Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson in Martin Place (Getty)
Anger is growing over why Sydney gunman Man Haron Monis was free on bail to carry out the deadly cafe attack (AP)

"His constant goal in life appears to have been achieving significance," said Sophie Callan, a lawyer assisting the inquiry.

The inquest will continue to examine Monis' biography, as well as looking into how he was on bail at the time of the siege despite facing charges relating to the murder of his ex-wife, who was found burned to death in a Sydney apartment block.

Between 2002-2007 Monis reinvented himself as a new-age guru or clairvoyant, marketing his "spiritual healing" techniques to female clients through advertisements in ethnic newspapers.

He was eventually charged with more than 50 counts of sexual and indecent assault as a result of his activities during that period, the inquest heard.

Read more: Sydney siege inquest: Cafe owner forced to kneel on the floor by gunman – before he was shot in the back of the head

In 2012 or 2013, Monis unsuccessfully attempted to join the notorious Rebels Motorcycle Club, Callan said. He was rejected because the biker gang thought that he was too "weird".

The siege in Sydney shocked the world; Women comfort each other in Martin Place. Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
The siege in Sydney shocked the world; Women comfort each other in Martin Place. Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Man Haron Monis, believed to be the gunman inside the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place
Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis speaks in this still image taken from undated file footage

"Ultimately, he was rejected by the Rebels and they took his motorbike," she said.

Monis, who received Australian citizenship after claiming persecution, falsely claimed that his late father had been an ayatollah in Iran, lawyer Jeremy Gormly told the inquest.

Monis was found guilty in 2012 of sending threatening letters to the families of eight Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan as a protest against Australia's involvement there, and was known to harass government employees.

Telegraph.co.uk

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News