Sydney siege victim ‘killed by police bullet fragments’

One of the two hostages who died in a siege at a central Sydney café in December was killed by police bullet fragments, an inquest heard today.

Katrina Dawson was one of two people who died during the incident in which a lone gunman took 18 people hostage at the Lindt café, which was later stormed by police.

“Ms Dawson was struck by six fragments of a police bullet or bullets which ricocheted from hard surfaces into her body,” Jeremy Gormly, a lawyer for the coroner, was quoted as saying by local media at the start of the inquest.

Café manager Tori Johnston died at the hands of the gunman, Man Haron Monis, he said.

Gormly said Monis told Johnston to kneel and then “simply shot him without further notice or warning in the back of the head”.

The shooting prompted police to storm the café, he said. Monis was shot and killed in the process, ending the 17-hour siege on December 16, the inquest heard.

The inquest was set up to determine how the hostages died, how police handled the crisis and the motivation of the gunman, a self-styled Iranian-born Muslim cleric who sought political asylum in Australia in the mid-1990s and went on to become a citizen.

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