'A BIT WEIRD': Friends describe Sydney knifeman

 

School friends and neighbours of the man accused of unleashing "terrifying carnage" in a stabbing rampage in Sydney's CBD have described him as a quiet loner who "didn't have many friends."

Mert Ney, 21, of Marayong near Blacktown in Sydney's west, spent Tuesday night under police guard at Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick.

He is expected to face charges over the incident which left one woman dead and another injured.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller described the man as a "lone actor" and said early inquiries found he may have held some concerning ideologies, but the incident was not terror related.

"Information was found on him that would suggest he had some ideologies related to terrorism, but he has no links to terrorism … he has no apparent links to terror organisations," he said.

Those who knew him at school described him as a loner who was a "bit weird".

"He was always posting about converting [to Islam] and stuff like that," one man who wished to remain anonymous told The Daily Mail.

"[But] I didn't expect him to go this far."

An injured woman is taken by ambulance from Hotel CBD at the corner of King and York Street in Sydney, Tuesday, August 13, 2019.
An injured woman is taken by ambulance from Hotel CBD at the corner of King and York Street in Sydney, Tuesday, August 13, 2019. AAP Image - Dean Lewins

Another school friend said he had spoken about going to a festival last week.

"He just had a vibe, he was just an odd person - he didn't have many friends," he said.

Reen Elomari, a friend of Mr Ney's from Marayong Public School, said he "was not much of a talker".

"I always used to see him roam around the streets alone. I would see him around my house. I'd see him maybe a couple of times (at the shops at Westpoint), just alone," Ms Elomari told the publication.

Mr Fuller said the alleged knifeman was carrying a thumb drive that contained information related to terrorism ideology, but police are not treating the attack as a terrorist incident.

Information was reportedly found relating to mass casualties around the world, including those in North America and New Zealand.

However Mr Fuller said it was "much too early to draw a conclusion on a consistent type of ideology".

Anxiety medication was found on the ground near where the suspect was being arrested, 7 News reports.

On Tuesday, Mr Fuller described the "terrifying carnage" as the attacker terrorised bystanders and stabbed a 41-year-old woman in the back.

The suspect was detained by the public using a milk crate.
The suspect was detained by the public using a milk crate. Channel 7

"Three members of the public who can only be described as highest order heroes, have engaged this 21-year-old man and have placed him essentially under arrest, even though he was branching a large butchers knife and was clearly dangerous," he said.

"A number of other emergency services were in the vicinity and responded shortly after, and police put this individual in custody.

"In the next 30 minutes an expanded crime scene unfortunately identified a 21-year-old woman … deceased.

"All the available information we have at hand would link these two crimes."

Mr Fuller said the accused was known to police but his history was "unremarkable" compared to the crimes he allegedly committed.

 

He also confirmed the attacker has a history of mental illness.

The suspect is believed to live with his mother and sister at a home in Marayong.

A neighbour told Nine News that he "kept to himself" and was "a real quiet guy".

Nine's crime reporter, Simon Bouda, revealed on A Current Affair that the accused was arrested in April and charged with possessing a knife.

He was reportedly put on a conditional release order when he faced court in June.

"I understand that part of that conditional release order was he had to check himself into a mental health facility but he recently absconded from there," Mr Bouda said.

WOMAN FOUND WITH THROAT SLIT

The unidentified 21-year-old woman, reportedly a sex worker, was found dead inside a residence on Clarence St, Wynyard at around 3.15pm. There have been multiple reports she was found with her throat slit.

Her body wasn't found until about an hour after members of the public chased down the offender. A second female victim, 41, is being treated for a stab wound to her back,

Mr Fuller said the suspectwas at the residential facility on Clarency Street for "a business purpose".

A women is taken by ambulance from Hotel CBD at the corner of King and York Street in Sydney, Tuesday, August 13, 2019. A police operation is underway in Sydney's CBD with multiple police, fire and ambulance vehicles racing to the scene amid reports of a stabbing.
A women is taken by ambulance from Hotel CBD at the corner of King and York Street in Sydney, Tuesday, August 13, 2019. A police operation is underway in Sydney's CBD with multiple police, fire and ambulance vehicles racing to the scene amid reports of a stabbing. AAP Image - Dean Lewins

Earlier, King St and Clarence St in Sydney's Wynyard were under lockdown.

An employee from Clarence St Cyclery which sits below the apartments, was forced to close as the crime scene was set up. The staff member told news.com.au he saw the man run past.

"There's something going on upstairs," he said. "They've had a whole lot of top brass police go up there."

Police are seen during a police operation at the corner of King and York Street in Sydney, Tuesday, August 13, 2019.
Police are seen during a police operation at the corner of King and York Street in Sydney, Tuesday, August 13, 2019. AAP Image - Dean Lewins

The Clarence St Cyclery employee said he'd also seen a number of riot squad police run upstairs.

An ambulance and police were seen outside the residential building on Tuesday where the attack is believed to have taken place. Police sent home staff from neighbouring businesses without explanation.

"They wouldn't tell us what's going on," one staff member told news.com.au.

Police confirmed earlier on Tuesday another woman, 41, was stabbed in the back and was taken to St Vincent's Hospital in a stable condition.

She hasn't required surgery and is expected to stay in the Darlinghurst hospital overnight.

It's believed the woman was stabbed inside Hotel CBD, on the corner of York and King streets, which police say remains an active crime scene.

Another woman was also seen walking into The Rocks Police Station with what appeared to be wounds to her hands, but police later confirmed she was not a victim.

ATTACKER'S OUTBURST: 'SHOOT ME IN THE FACE'

Video obtained by 7 News showed the man yelling "Allahu Akbar!" as he jumped on the hood and roof of a Mercedes, before he is confronted by a man with a chair.

He then began screaming, "Shoot me in the f*****g face."

Multiple people are then seen pinning him down with a milk crate on his head and two chairs holding his body down. He has blood on his hands.

Other video then shows a group of citizens, including firefighters, arresting the alleged offender.

"He stabbed a chick in broad daylight," a man can be heard saying on the video. "He stabbed her. He came running through the street."

"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," Mr Morrison said.

"The motivation for this attack has not yet been determined as police are continuing with their inquiries.

"Any further official information will be provided by the New South Wales police, who are keeping us appraised through our agencies, including details of casualties."

MAN TRIED TO STAB 'MULTIPLE PEOPLE'

NSW Police Superintendent Gavin Wood said the offender attempted to stab a number of other people during his rampage. He added the threat had now been "negated".

"That male offender, which we will be alleging is responsible for the stabbing, is now in custody," Supt Wood said.

"All I can conclusively say is that male offender was on his own and there was no person complicit at this stage."

Supt Wood said the knifeman's motivations were unknown, but the attack appeared to be "unprovoked".

"We don't know the causation or the rationale for his actions today," he said.

Police emphasised the investigation was "in its infancy".

Adrian Papaianni was leaving his office on Clarence St when he heard people screaming.

"There were a stack of people running down Barrack Place saying that there was a guy with a knife," Mr Papaianni 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."

A woman named Alexandra, who works in customer service on Kent St, told news.com.au she was walking towards York St about 1.55pm when she ran into a male friend who had overheard someone yelling "he has a knife".

He told her there were "a lot of people running towards them".

Alexandra said three groups of uniformed and undercover police then ran from behind her saying "he's gone into Woolworths".

The police were running towards the Woolworths Metro supermarket on York St, she said.

Alexandra said concrete barriers had been erected on Clarence St.

An Uber driver who was on King St near the Grace Hotel told 2GB Radio he saw the terrifying incident unfold.

"Next thing I see this guy jumping over the car, over the bonnet … he had a knife in his hand," the man said.

"He had a bit of blood on his shirt.

"There were police, people with their phone out, there were fireys trying to contain him."

Witnesses say a fireman from a truck that happened to be at the scene leapt out with an axe in a bid to apprehend the man.

A NSW Fire and Rescue spokesman confirmed a crew was in the area and assisted police.

 

UPDATE 5pm: A woman is dead and another has been taken to hospital after a bloodied man with a knife went on a stabbing rampage in Sydney CBD, jumping on a car and taunting witnesses.

Police confirmed the deceased woman was found dead inside a residence on Clarence St, Wynyard at around 3.15pm, Nine News reported.

It has been confirmed the death is related to the earlier CBD stabbing.

There have been multiple reports she was found with her throat slit.

Multiple news outlets are reporting the accused knifeman's name is Mert Nay, of Marayong, near Blacktown in Sydney's west.

The Daily Telegraph reports the man recently absconded from a mental health facility.

Police are understood to be on the scene at the man's home.

There is a heavy police presence on King St and Clarence St in Wynyard with the CBD in lockdown.

A crime scene has been set up at the Clarence House apartments where the woman was reportedly killed.

An employee from Clarence St Cyclery which sits below the apartments, was forced to close as the crime scene was set up.

An employee from the shop told news.com.au he saw the man run past.

"There's something going on upstairs," he said.

"They've had a whole lot of top brass police go up there."

The Clarence St Cyclery employee said he'd also seen a number of riot squad police run upstairs.

UPDATE 4.30pm: A woman found dead near the scene of a dramatic citizen's arrest in Sydney CBD had her throat cut. 

The Daily Telegraph reports the woman's body was found with her throat slashed. 

Police are continuing to investigate whether the two incidents are connected.

The man is in police custody and allegedly stabbed a woman who was taken to hospital in a stable condition. 

The incident is reportedly not related to terrorism and police are investigating if the man recently absconded from a mental health facility.

NSW Health would not confirm if the man arrested by police had recently escaped from a mental health centre.

"We can't comment at this stage, it's a police matter," a department spokesman said.

 

UPDATE 4.05pm: NSW Police have confirmed a women's body was found in a unit on Clarence St, near the site of the Sydney CBD stabbing. 

Police do not yet know if the two incidents are connected. 

"Officers from Sydney City police area command are on the scene and will conduct inquiries into whether the incident is linked to an earlier stabbing at a hotel on the corner of Clarence and King St," NSW Police told media. 

The body was found about 3.15pm. 

 

UPDATE 3.59pm:  ABC News reports a woman's body has been found near the site of the Sydney CBD stabbing, but it is not yet clear if the two are connected. 

An ABC producer tweeted that a police source told the ABC the woman appeared to have stab wounds. 

 

UPDATE 3:29PM: A WOMAN is in hospital with a stab wound following a dramatic rampage in Sydney this afternoon.

A man has been taken into police custody, after onlookers tackled him to the ground.

Emergency services initially responded to reports a man was walking along York Street, armed with a knife.

 

When police arrived, they found members of the public had detained the man. He has been arrested and taken to Day Street Police Station. 

Police and NSW Ambulance paramedics located a woman inside a hotel, who had a stab wound. She has been taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Citizens' arrest

Video obtained by 7 News shows the man yelling "Akbar!" as he jumps on the hood and roof of a Mercedes, before he is confronted by a man with a chair.

He then began screaming "Shoot me in the f*****g face."

Multiple people are then seen pinning him down with a crate on his head and two chairs holding his body down. He has blood on his hands.

Other video from 7 News then shows a group of citizens, including firefighters, arresting the alleged offender.

"He stabbed a chick in broad daylight," a man can be heard saying on the video.

"He stabbed her. He came running through the street."

A woman named Alexandra, who works in customer service on Kent Street, told news.com.au she was walking towards York Street about 1.55pm when she ran into a male friend who had overheard someone yelling "he has a knife".

He told her there were "a lot of people running towards them".

Alexandra said three groups of uniformed and undercover police then ran from behind her saying "He's gone into Woolworths" among themselves.

The police were running towards the Woolworths Metro supermarket on York Street, she said.

Alexandra said concrete barriers have been erected on Clarence Street.

 

UPDATE 2:50PM: A major police operation is underway in the Sydney CBD, following unconfirmed reports a multiple people have been stabbed.

There is a heavy police presence on King St and Clarence St in Wynyard.

A man has been arrested.

People are being warned to avoid the area.

"Next thing I see this guy jumping over the car, over the bonnet … he had a knife in his hand," the man said.

"He had a bit of blood on his shirt.

"There were police, people with their phone out, there were fireys trying to contain him."

Witnesses say a fireman from a truck that happened to be at the scene leapt out with an axe in a bid to apprehend the man.

A NSW Fire and Rescue spokesman confirmed a crew was in the area and assisted police.

More to come.

INITIAL: A MAJOR police operation is underway in the Sydney CBD, following unconfirmed reports a man with a knife has been arrested.

There is a heavy police presence on King and Clarence St in Wynyard.

People are being warned to avoid the area.

 

Man being dragged by police in Sydney.
Man being dragged by police in Sydney.

         


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