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So proud of our beautiful boy: Parents of Sydney cafe manager killed in siege

December 16, 2014 09:12 IST
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Image: A man cries as he pays his respect at Martin Place in Sydney. Photograph:  Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Two hostages who have been killed in the 17-hour-long hostage drama at a cafeteria in Sydney were identified as the manager of the Lindt Chocolate cafe and a lawyer.

The 38-year-old lawyer, Katrina Dawson, was a mother of three young children who became the victim of the siege. She was a barrister at Selbourne Chambers and was married to Paul Smith, a partner at Mallesons.

Dawson studied law at Sydney University, where she lived at the women's college as a student. She did her clerkship at Mallesons where she met her husband.

Lindt Chocolate cafe's 34-year-old manager, Tori Johnson, was also killed in the siege operations yesterday. He had worked at the cafe since October 2012 and at a string of other restaurants and hospitality companies around Sydney.

Image: New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione stands in front of flowers left as a sign of respect at Martin Place. Photograph:  Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Johnson's parents released a statement via journalist Ben Fordham, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. "We are so proud of our beautiful boy Tori, gone from this earth but forever in our memories as the most amazing life partner, son and brother we could ever wish for.”

"We feel heartfelt sorrow for the family of Katrina Dawson.”

"We'd like to thank not only our friends and loved ones for their support, but the people of Sydney; Australia and those around the world for reaching out with their thoughts and prayers,” Johnson’s parents said, according to the report.  

Image: New South Wales police officers wear protective masks as they look into Lindt cafe, where a siege had ended earlier in the morning, in central Sydney. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday, "Tragically, there are people in our community ready to engage in politically motivated violence. The events in Martin Place also show that we are ready to deal with these people professionally and with the full force of law."

"Yesterday, Premier Baird showed great steadfastness and Sydneysiders can be proud of their calm during what was a very difficult and testing day," he added thanking New South Wales police and all the other agencies involved for their professionalism and courage.

"Australians should be reassured by the way our law enforcement and security agencies responded to this brush with terrorism," he said.

Image: Women comfort each other at the site of a siege at a Sydney cafe after the siege ended. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

The PM added that there is nothing more Australian than dropping in at the local cafe for a morning coffee and it's tragic beyond words that people going about their everyday business should have been caught up in such a horrific incident.

"Our hearts go out to all of those caught up in this appalling incident and their loved ones. On behalf of all Australians, I extend my sympathy to the families of the two hostages who died overnight," Abbott said. He warned that the country was vulnerable to politically motivated violence.

"These events do demonstrate that even a country as free, as open, as generous and as safe as ours is vulnerable to acts of politically motivated violence. But they also remind us that Australia and Australians are resilient and we are ready to respond," he said.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said, "It's incredibly sad, I've got to say I don't think I could be sadder."

"Having said that, I'm completely proud of our police and what they have done to keep us safe, I've got nothing but praise for them," he said adding he wanted to see the flowers people had left as a tribute to the siege victims. "I've come to have a look at what Sydney's done," he said.

Meanwhile, flags on all Commonwealth and NSW government buildings will be flown at half-mast today in honour of the victims of Sydney siege.

Image: Flowers are left as a sign of respect at Martin Place on Tuesday. Photograph:  Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/Getty Images

According to NSW premier Mike Baird, flags will fly at half-mast today on NSW government buildings to honour those who tragically lost their lives in the siege at Lindt cafe.

Westpac also confirmed on Tuesday that four of its employees were among the 17 hostages being held at Martin Place. All four were reportedly safe with one undergoing medical treatment for what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries.

The killed gunman was identified as 50 year old an Man Haron Monis, who arrived in Australia as a refugee from Iran in 1996. Police fired stun grenades and shots as they stormed the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney's commercial district after 2:30 am local time Tuesday (9 pm IST Monday) and later declared that the siege was over.

Two Indian nationals -- Vishwakant Ankit Reddy and Pushpendu Ghosh -- were among the hostages involved when Monis began his siege. However, Reddy, an Infosys employee in his mid-30s, and Ghosh, whose details were not known, escaped safely.

With inputs from PTI


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