Family of Sydney attacker 'devastated' by his 'truly horrific' actions

Six people died and 12 others were injured, including a nine-month-old baby, after a series of stabbings at a shopping centre near Bondi Beach, ITV News' Olivia Guthrie reports

The family of the Sydney knife attacker - who killed six people in a stabbing spree at a shopping centre - described his actions as "horrific".

New South Wales Police said they had identified the attacker as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi, of Queensland, and do not think he was motivated by terrorism.

The lone knifeman attacked shoppers on Saturday afternoon at the Westfield shopping centre in the suburb of Bondi Junction in eastern Sydney.

Four women, aged between 20 and 55, and a man who was in his 30s died in the shopping centre and another woman, 38, later died in hospital.

Another 12 people, including a nine-month-old baby, are receiving treatment in hospitals around Sydney for different injuries.

In a statement released through Queensland Police, the Cauchi family said: “We are absolutely devastated by the traumatic events that occurred in Sydney yesterday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims and those still undergoing treatment at this time.

“Joel’s actions were truly horrific, and we are still trying to comprehend what has happened.

“He has battled with mental health issues since he was a teenager.

“We are in contact with both the New South Wales Police Force and Queensland Police Service and have no issues with the police officer who shot our son as she was only doing her job to protect others, and we hope she is coping alright.”

Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said Cauchi is believed to have come to New South Wales last month and that police have spoken to his family, who are co-operating with the investigation.

Joel Cauchi, 40, was shot dead by police after he killed several people in a knife attack. Credit: Facebook via 7News

He said Cauchi had hired a “very small” storage container shortly after arriving in Sydney which police have “worked through”.

He told a press conference: “As I had said last night, there is still to this point nothing that we have, no information we have received, no evidence we have recovered, no intelligence that we have gathered that would suggest that this was driven by any particular motivation, ideology or otherwise.

“We know that the offender in the matter suffers from mental health.

“We are continuing to work through the profiling of the offender but very clearly to us at this stage it would appear that this is related to the mental health of the individual involved.”

At a press conference in Bondi, Commissioner Webb was asked whether Cauchi was targeting women in the attack and said: “That’s been reported to me as well and obviously will be a line of inquiry.

“And that’s concerning, but that will form an obvious part of the investigation.”

A female New South Wales Police inspector has been hailed as a hero after she confronted the attacker on her own and shot him dead as he raised a knife and lunged at her.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hailed the “extraordinary” bravery of those who were at the shopping centre during the attack.

Emergency officers stand by with stretchers outside Westfield Shopping Centre Credit: Rick Rycroft/AP

“We also see the footage of ordinary Australians putting themselves in harm’s way in order to help their fellow citizens,” he said.

“That bravery was quite extraordinary that we saw yesterday, the best of Australians amidst this extraordinary tragedy.”

“These events were witnessed by thousands of people who were there shopping. This is a shopping centre that is very familiar to Sydneysiders, it is very large indeed.

Mr Albanese said he had received condolence messages from leaders across the world, including US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

“I thank them for their thoughts and prayers that we have received at this most difficult time.”

Mr Albanese and New South Wales Premier Chris Minns laid a wreath of flowers in Bondi to pay tribute to those killed, injured and affected by the attack.

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