A knife-wielding man ‘with terrorist ideologies’ killed one person and attempted to stab several others in a central Sydney rampage today before being chased and pinned down by members of the public, including Britons.
Police say a 21-year-old Sydney man with a history of mental illness – named as Mert Nay – shouted Allahu Akbar (God is great) during the attack. He was found to have a thumb drive containing details of mass-casualty white-supremacist attacks in the United States and New Zealand.
Nay, who is understood to be a recent convert to Islam, is believed to have killed a sex worker in a residential unit before going on the rampage across the city’s business district.
Another woman was rushed to hospital after being stabbed in the back while the attacker also tried to knife several others near a busy intersection in Australia’s largest city, say police. Dramatic footage shows the man, holding a large knife, jumping on top of a car while screaming ‘shoot me in the head’.
Brave witnesses, including Britons Lee Cuthbert, Paul O’Shaughnessy and Luke O’Shaughnessy, all from Manchester, tackled the man and pinned his head down with a milk crate until police arrived to make the arrest. Earlier, a businessman was seen fighting off the suspect armed with a chair. Officials later hailed them as heroes.
Although the incident is not being treated as terror-related, the knifeman was described by police as a ‘lone actor’ who may have some terrorist ideologies. Officers are investigating whether he escaped from a mental institution.
A knife-wielding man ‘with terrorist ideologies’ killed one person and attempted to stab several others in a central Sydney rampage today before being chased and pinned down by members of the public, including Britons. Dramatic pictures show the man brandishing a knife (left) while a bystander (right) defends himself with a chair
Dramatic footage captured the moment hero bystanders, including Britons Lee Cuthbert, Paul O’Shaughnessy and Luke O’Shaughnessy, helped pin the man to the ground
The alleged attacker was pinned to the ground by heroic bystanders. They held him down with milk crates until police arrived
Footage shows the Sydney attacker being pinned to the ground by hero bystanders carrying milk crates and chairs. Officers are investigating whether the man had escaped from a mental institution
The suspect was taken away after being arrested by police (pictured). Although the incident is not being treated as terror-related, the knifeman was described by police as a ‘lone actor’ who may have some terrorist ideologies
A woman was pictured being taken by ambulance from a hotel after the knife rampage today. A spokesman for the city’s St Vincent hospital said a 41-year-old woman injured in Nay’s alleged attack was in a stable condition
Police said that while the suspect had no known links to terror groups, he did have a thumb drive with details of mass-casualty white-supremacist attacks in the US and New Zealand.
NSW commissioner Mick Fuller said: ‘Information was found on him that would suggest he had some ideologies related to terrorism… but he has no apparent links to other terrorist organisations.’
Medication was also found close to the alleged attacker, identified as a drug used to combat anti-anxiety called antinex, Channel Seven reported.
A man wearing a grey hoodie covered in blood wielding a large knife could be seen yelling in the street as hundreds of people fled for their lives
It is believed the woman who died in the attack was a sex worker and was known to Ney.
NSW Police said the woman’s body was found in a residential unit at 3.15pm, with a witness saying it was found on the building’s fourth floor.
They said authorities had little doubt the death of the woman in the hotel and the stabbing spree on the street were linked.
Officers on Tuesday evening were searching the alleged attacker’s home in Blacktown.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the city’s St Vincent hospital said the 41-year-old woman injured in Nay’s alleged rampage was in a stable condition.
Earlier, three British colleagues described how they raced from their fourth-floor office to the street.
‘We’ve opened the window and seen the guy wielding a knife and jumping on the bonnet of a nearby car,’ said Paul O’Shaughnessy, 37, a former midfielder with Bury between 1999 and 2004.
Convinced it was a terrorist attack, his brother Luke – a champion Muay Thai boxer – led the chase.
‘We all just ran down the building and chased him down the street,’ said Roberts. ‘Everyone was kind of panicking, no one really knew what was happening,’ he said. ‘Not your normal Tuesday afternoon.’
Cuthbert said Luke, with the help of another man, ‘managed to get him down on to the floor and pin him down’ with chairs and a plastic crate before police arrived.
‘We’re a very, very close team, we’re a start-up recruitment company’ he added. ‘We’re all brothers really, so when you see brothers running, your natural instinct is to go and follow.’
Police spokesman superintendent Gavin Wood hailed the action of the bystanders.
Britons are hailed as heroes after chasing knifeman and pinning him down with a MILK CRATE
Three Britons have been hailed as ‘heroes’ by police after they helped detain the knifeman.
Lee Cuthbert, Paul O’Shaughnessy and Luke O’Shaughnessy, all from Manchester, were working in the area when they heard the man attempting to stab several people outside.
They described the moment they apprehended the suspect as being likely down to ‘instinct’, with dramatic eyewitness footage appearing to show a young man being pinned to the floor with chairs and a milk crate.
Paul O’Shaughnessy, 37, a former midfielder with Bury between 1999 and 2004, told reporters: ‘He had a balaclava on, he was wielding a knife with blood on it.
‘And we were like: ‘Wow, what is going on here?’
Three Britons have been hailed as ‘heroes’ by police after they helped detain the knifeman. Lee Cuthbert(left), Paul O’Shaughnessy (centre) and Luke O’Shaughnessy (right), all from Manchester, were working in the area when they heard the man attempting to stab several people outside
Footage showed the attacker being pinned to the ground by hero bystanders carrying milk crates. Police then swooped and made an arrest
‘We went down the escalator and continued to chase the guy where other people were going away because obviously he was wielding a knife.
‘I don’t know whether it was an instinct thing or not what, but we was like, right, we’ve got to try and restrain this guy from doing any more.
‘My brother and I just ran across here, these boys followed, and we managed to get a grip with him and another guy.
‘We’ve got a grip of him and restrained him fully, and then just waited for the cops to come. He’s got blood all over him.’
Brother Luke, 30, told PA: ‘I just wanted to make sure he couldn’t hurt anyone else.
‘We’ve talked before about what we would do when we hear about these things happening around the world.
‘We’re the kind of guys who ask questions later and act on instinct. If it happened again I would do it again and act quicker.’
The pair, who run digital talent agency MAP Talent, were in their office on York Street when the drama unfolded at around 3.15pm local time (6.15am BST).
Luke said they spoke of the danger they were running into as they jumped into the lift to go and help.
‘I heard a massive commotion outside,’ he told PA.
Paul O’Shaughnessy (right and left, in his playing days with Bury in 2003), speaking with a distinctive northern accent, told reporters the man ‘had a balaclava on, he was wielding a knife with blood on it’
Lee Cuthbert (pictured) said Luke, with the help of another man, ‘managed to get him down on to the floor and pin him down’ with chairs and a plastic crate before police arrived
‘I shouted ‘Paul, let’s go there’s a man with a knife’. As we came down in the lift I said ‘seriously, he’s covered in blood’.
‘We came out onto King Street and ran from there all the way round trying to chase him.
‘Eventually we caught up with him and I just apprehended him and pinned him down.
‘He had a knife. It was next to him covered in blood.’
Other passers-by also stopped to help, including two firefighters.
The brothers said they kept the attacker detained until the police arrived on scene.
Paul, a father-of-two who has lived in Sydney for 11 years, said he felt it was his way of giving back to a country which had welcomed him with open arms.
‘The thing I will reflect on is that I’ve given something back today by doing what’s right and that the British can do Britain proud by coming to another country and doing what they can to help,’ he said
New South Wales Police Superintendent Gavin Wood, speaking to reporters near the scene, said: ‘A number of members of the public actually physically restrained the offender.
‘And I want to acknowledge those people, those members of the public who got involved. They are brave, and I can only use that word seriously.
Convinced it was a terrorist attack, Luke O’Shaughnessy (right) – a champion Muay Thai boxer – led the chase
Luke O’Shaughnessy (pictured) chased the attacker and managed to pin him to the ground
‘They are significantly brave people. They approach the person … with clear evidence of a stabbing previously. These people are heroes, and I want to acknowledge that.
‘These members of the public going about their day-to-day business have jumped into a situation which was extremely dangerous, extremely hostile, and they have brought a person – who we will be alleging stabbed an innocent person for no specific reason – into custody and allowed us to do our job.’
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison commended the bystanders for intervening.
He posted on Twitter: ‘The violent attack that took place in Sydney this afternoon is deeply concerning.
‘The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and able to restrain him.
‘The motivation for this attack has not yet been determined as police are continuing with their enquiries.
‘Our thoughts are with all of those who have been impacted by this violent attack.’
‘To approach a person… with clear evidence of a stabbing previously, these people are heroes.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also praised the bravery of the onlookers.
‘The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and were able to able to restrain him,’ he said in a tweet.
‘Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by this violent attack.’
Meanwhile friends of the knifeman claim he had recently converted to Islam. A man who was in the same class as Ney at Blacktown Boys High School said he was shocked at reports he was behind the attacks.
‘I always thought he was a bit weird and he was always posting about converting [to Islam] and stuff like that,’ the man, who wished to remain anonymous, said. ‘[But] I didn’t expect him to go this far.’
Ney’s Facebook page has since been deleted, but another school friend claims to have spoken to him just last week. ‘He just had a vibe, he was just an odd person – he didn’t have many friends.’
Dramatic footage showed the man, wearing a grey hooded jumper and holding a large knife, jumping on top of a Mercedes while screaming ‘shoot me in the head’.
Brave witnesses were able to tackle the man and pin his head down with a milk crate until police arrived and arrested him as hundreds of workers gathered.
‘Do you know how many people you just stabbed, you dog? You just stabbed a chick, mate, in broad daylight,’ one of the men was heard screaming during the arrest.
The Transport Management Centre urged motorists to avoid King Street – south of the city’s Wynyard Station – following the alleged attack on Tuesday afternoon
Stunned onlookers were scene frozen in the street as the man with a knife began his stabbing rampage through the streets
The alleged attacker was pinned to the ground outside a hotel on Clarence Street, where a woman had been found dead with her throat slit (pictured a witness to the incident inside the hotel)
As night fell in Australia, police started to search the Sydney home of suspect Mert Nay
Moments before the attacker was arrested, another woman was found inside The Grace Hotel with a stab wound. She was taken to hospital in a stable condition.
A painter working on a mural near where the man was arrested witnessed him charging down the street with a ‘big kitchen knife’ with five or six people in close pursuit.
Megan Hales told Daily Mail Australia there was a group of people running away from the knife man but it wasn’t clear if he was chasing after them, or running away from the group that was trying to stop him.
‘At that point there were people chasing him down the street trying to stop him,’ Ms Hales, who was at work nearby, said.
Ms Hales described the man as being in his late 20s or early 30s, Caucasian and with dark curly hair.
‘He wasn’t looking in great shape – it was fast.
‘A whole lot of guys just came down on top of him and laid him down’.
A barrister named Marco, who was working at Batch Café, on York Street, watched in horror as the chaos unfolded.
‘He was trying to smash a driver side window of a random car with the knife. He was unsuccessful.
‘People were chasing him by that stage. There was fireys chasing him with axes and he went around the corner.
As many as six people were stabbed during the incident on Tuesday. Emergency crews rushed to help the victims
A woman on a stretcher is being taken away in an ambulance from the scene of a stabbing in Sydney
A person can be seen being hauled into an ambulance after the chaos in Sydney on Tuesday
The area has been blocked off by police while investigations continue on Tuesday afternoon
Adrian Papaianni was walking along Clarence Street when when he suddenly heard terrified screams.
‘There were a stack of people running down Barrack Place saying that there was a guy with a knife,’ he told news.com.au.
‘I ran into the Woolworths and people inside got them to shut the glass doors. I was feeling OK until I saw a mother crying with her baby in her hands, trying to get into the Woolies.
‘Police started arriving about a minute later and started to chase him.’
Uber driver Leon Baghani said the assailant, clutching a knife, jumped on the hood and then the roof of his Mercedes as he was driving an elderly couple on the street where the violence occurred.
‘For a second, I thought maybe he’s wearing a vest of some sort and he’s going to detonate himself,’ Baghani told Ten Network television. ‘So I quickly accelerated and made a left turn and made sure that he came off the roof of the car.’
Bystanders were told to after a man appeared in the street with a knife
He also told 2GB: ‘I was next to a fire truck in York Street and he jumped on the bonnet of my car. He crashed across the bonnet and had a knife in his hand.
‘There was blood on his shirt. People had their phones out and there was a police’.
A woman at the scene told Daily Mail Australia: ‘A crazy man is running around Wynyard with a knife stabbing people.
‘My work colleague’s boyfriend was standing right next to the guy who was stabbed. Has the world gone mad?’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described the incident as ‘deeply disturbing’ while commending the bravery over the bystanders who stepped in to help.
‘The violent attack that took place in Sydney this afternoon is deeply concerning. The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and were able to able to restrain him,’ he shared on Twitter.
‘The motivation for this attack has not yet been determined as Police are continuing with their enquiries. Any further offical information will be provided by the New South Wales Police, who are keeping us appraised through our agencies, including details of casualties.’
Officers were seen walking into the Grace Hotel and speaking with patrons, while others stood guard
A woman was found with a stab wound near The Grace Hotel on Tuesday afternoon
Dramatic picture taken by a tourist in the back seat of a cab shows knifeman carrying a 30cm blade as a businessman attempts to bring him to the ground with a chair
By Hannah Moore For Daily Mail Australia
A gripping photograph shows the moment a brave onlooker holding a wicker chair prepared himself to restrain a crazed knifeman in Sydney.
The man can be seen outside the Grace Hotel on the corner of Clarence Street and King Street, as the knifeman, believed to be about 25, clutches his knife tightly.
Pictured: The moment a brave onlooker prepares to restrain a crazed knifeman on a city road
The picture was taken by tech worker Ayusha, who was on holiday in Sydney.
‘We just came across the guy with a knife on the street,’ she captioned the image. ‘Apparently he had some blood on his shirt. We are all safe in the car.’
The knifeman was seen jumping on top of a black Mercedes shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar’ and brandishing his weapon moments before the businessman ran towards him with a chair.
‘Oi,’ the businessman yelled, ready with his chair.
‘Shoot me, shoot me in the f***ing head,’ the knifeman yelled as he stormed through the intersection.