Sunday 18 August 2019

'He was bloodied and tried to bite us' - Irish hero who tackled Australian killer

Stopped: The attacker is pinned down by members of the public using a milk crate and a chair. Photo: Andrew Denney/7 News/PA Wire
Stopped: The attacker is pinned down by members of the public using a milk crate and a chair. Photo: Andrew Denney/7 News/PA Wire

Stephen Maguire

An Irishman has described how he helped to take down a killer rampaging through the streets of Sydney.

The 21-year-old man with a history of mental illness wounded a 41-year-old woman on the street with a butcher's knife and tried to stab several other people.

The body of a 21-year-old woman was later found in a nearby apartment building.

Irishman Shane Donaghey says that he has no doubt more people would have died if he and other passers-by had not intervened.

Mr Donaghey (38), from Buncrana in Co Donegal, was one of several people who ran after the attacker through the streets of Sydney's Central Business District.

The knifeman was shouting "Allahu Akbar" (Arabic for "God is [the] greatest").

But police, who had the man in custody last night, said he did not appear to be acting for any terrorist groups and the attack was not being treated as terrorism.

The knifeman also jumped on cars and yelled at bystanders to "shoot me in the f***ing head".

Shane Donaghey, who was cut and bruised while subduing the knifeman
Shane Donaghey, who was cut and bruised while subduing the knifeman

The street stabbing victim, who suffered a wound to her back, was in stable condition last night, a police spokesman added.

They did not say how the first woman died but said the man was responsible for both attacks.

There was no apparent link between the two women.

Mr Donaghey yesterday described how he helped to subdue the attacker and how the passers-by used makeshift weapons, including a milk crate, to pin him down.

Safe: An injured woman is taken away by ambulance. Photo: Dean Lewis/AAP/via REUTERS
Safe: An injured woman is taken away by ambulance. Photo: Dean Lewis/AAP/via REUTERS

"It was crazy stuff," he said. "I just heard this commotion and this guy was running down the street with a knife. His hands were covered in blood.

"I just started running and I soon caught up with him.

"We managed to get on top of him and others used pieces of makeshift furniture to keep him pinned down until the police arrived.

"He was crazy. He was trying to bite us and all but we managed to keep him pinned down."

Mr Donaghey moved to Australia with his mother and father and the rest of the family in 1988. He suffered cuts and bruises in yesterday's incident.

Paul O'Shaughnessy, originally from Manchester, said he and his brother Luke were working in the office of their recruitment company when they heard shouting through an open window.

The brothers, fearing the man was conducting a terrorist attack, ran down to the street and began chasing him.

The city was briefly put into lockdown during the attack.

Reports that the knifeman had recently escaped from a mental health facility were unconfirmed last night.

Irish Independent

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