An injured hostage is carried to an ambulance. Photo: AP Rob Griffith
An injured hostage is carried to an ambulance. Photo: AP Rob Griffith AP Rob Griffith

Australia reflects one year after Lindt Cafe attack

TODAY marks 12 months since Australia was shocked out of complacency by a gunman whose act of terror ended with his own death, and the deaths of two innocents.

One of those innocents was 38-year-old barrister and mother-of-three Katrina Dawson, whose life was extinguished after Man Monis -- a violent offender on bail for attacking his ex-wife -- captured morning diners when he began his siege of the Lindt Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place.
 

Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson
Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson

A year on, Ms Dawson's family released a statement giving thanks after they were "overwhelmed by the extraordinary support, generosity, and comfort of people both here in Australia and elsewhere in the world".

"Whilst nothing can replace the void that Katrina's death has brought to our lives, the warmth of those many voices of support has helped us enormously on the darkest of days.

"Today is one such day.

"Nevertheless, we shall remember Katrina not because of the circumstances of this anniversary but because of the extraordinary joy, hope and inspiration she brought to so many people's lives, ourselves included."

 

Commissioner Andrew Scipione APM address the media on the anniversary of the Lindt Cafe siege.

Posted by NSW Police Force on Monday, 14 December 2015

Cafe manager Tori Johnson was also killed in Monis' attack -- his sacrifice honoured today by Lindt Australia's vow to donate every dollar spent at the cafe on Tuesday to the Katrina Dawson Foundation and beyondblue.

Each were chosen by Mr Johnson's family.

In Sydney, Lord Mayor Clover Moore has told ABC TV the attack should not be considered a "terrorist event" but the act of a violent man with "clearly a mental illness".

"It wasn't a terrorist event. I didn't want our multicultural harmonious community to be divided."

It also drew rare public commentary from New South wales Coroner Michael Barnes, who is leading the ongoing inquest into the Sydney Siege.

He offered his condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson.
 

The interior of the Lindt cafe in Sydney's Martin Place
The interior of the Lindt cafe in Sydney's Martin Place

 

He also said the "severe distress" of the events, and the grief that followed, will not have calmed for many after 12 months.

"In the days following the siege, we saw a monumental outpouring of emotion as thousands of people paid their respects to Katrina and Tori at Martin Place.

"One year on, we need to remember these feelings will not have subsided, particularly for those directly impacted by the siege. In some instances, it could be worse.

"Often people are expected to get on with their lives after losing a loved one, but you cannot put time limits on grief.

"Everyone processes loss in their own way and we need to support those who are grieving no matter how long it takes."



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