Survivors of the terrifying siege that took place in Sydney’s Martin Place in December have come forward to share the stories of their ordeal in moving television interviews.
On Nine’s 60 minutes, eight of the survivors of the terrifying hostage situation that came to a dramatic end in the early hours of December 16, described their traumatic ordeal
Lindt Café Barista Harriette Denny, 30, revealed the details of her secret pregnancy that she kept hidden from Monis to protect her baby. At 14 weeks pregnant, only one other person trapped in the café knew of her secret pregnancy.
Harriette was considered something of a mother-hen to the café staff and would arrive half an hour early for work every morning to have coffee with café manager and victim of the gunman, Tori Johnson, before preparing to open the café.
Despite being just teenagers, Lindt café workers Joel Herat and Jarrod Morton-Hoffman, both aged just 19, would come to play a critical role in keeping their fellow hostages safe. The kitchen workers revealed that they both secretly pocketed kitchen knives and box-cutters with the intention of using them to protect themselves if need me.
Permanent memorial announced for Sydney Siege victims Jarrod particularly played a crucial role inbetween police negotiators and Monis, repeatedly calming him down through the course of the day and evening. Joel meanhwhile, helped facilitate hostage videos being uploaded to YouTube and social media.
Fiona Ma, 19 – another student working at the café to earn some extra cash says that she was selected early on by Monis to be his helper, fetching food and water for other hostages and escorting them to the bathroom. She managed to slip out only moments before the police stormed the building.
60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes with seven of the siege survivors, reunited to tell their story
Lindt Café supervisor Paolo Vassallo, 36 described how the gunman seemed to have it in for café manager and victim Tori Johnson, as a figure of authority. “he did, he had it in for him from the beginning” Paolo said.
Louisa Hope, 52 who suffers from MS, revealed how her 72-year old mother Robin Hope boldly stood up to the gunman, demanding that she be allowed to go to the toilet while her daughter needed to be allowed to take her medication.
On network Seven, Mother-of-three Marcia Mikhael, 43, told her own tale of the traumatic events that expired at the Martin Place café.
Marcia described seeing police officers on the side of the building who were only visible to her. She communicated to the officer how many gunman there were and where he was in the café. She told him using hand signals as she held up an Islamic flag in the window.
“I could see police officers there and I was thinking why you aren’t helping us, why can’t you come and get us out of here. I know they couldn’t and I know they had a plan, but not knowing, the unknown was hard. It was really hard.”
Marcia questioned Monis about how he was going to release all the hostages if all his demands were met, before asking him how he planned on getting out alive.
She asked Monis: “How do you think you are going to get out of here?”
He said: “Don’t worry I have a plan for myself.
“I knew then he didn’t want to get out of there alive and because of that I was afraid of how it was going to end.”
Marcia revealed the gunman said “For every person that escapes, I’ll shoot two.” She continued “That’s when I lost hope.”
“I asked him if I could call my kids and speak to them because I actually wanted to hear their voices for the last time.”
“I told them that I loved them very much and that I needed them to remember that.”
“I was probably either going to get shot in there, or shot trying to get out”
IT workers Pushpendu Ghosh and Viswakanth Ankrireddi, 20-year-old cafe worker Jieun Bae and 82-year-old customer John O'Brien also shared their tale with Seven.
Noticeably absent from both of the televised interviews was the other pregnant survivor of the siege, Julie Taylor.
Julie is a barrister and close friend of Katrina Dawson, fellow barrister and one of the two victims who was fatally wounded that day.
No doubt, for Julie, who was 19 weeks pregnant at the time of the siege, the health of her unborn child is her main focus at the moment. After the siege, she released a statement saying that: “Although it’s an emotional time, we’re trying to focus on keeping ourselves healthy so that can occur.”
Julie, who worked with Katrina in commercial law at the Eight Selborne Chambers, says she was the “most wonderful person I have ever met”.