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Saturday May 18, 2024

Sydney knife attacker appears to have targeted women, say police

Five of the six people he killed were women as were the majority of the 12 injured

By Reuters
April 16, 2024
Police patrol in front of the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping mall after a stabbing incident in Sydney on April 13, 2024. — AFP
Police patrol in front of the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping mall after a stabbing incident in Sydney on April 13, 2024. — AFP

SYDNEY: The man who fatally stabbed six people at a mall in Sydney’s beachside suburb of Bondi seems to have targeted women, police said, as the attacker’s father opened up about his son’s long history of mental illness and frustrations with women.

Clad in shorts and an Australian national rugby league jersey, Joel Cauchi, 40, roamed through the busy Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday with a large knife. Five of the six people he killed were women as were the majority of the 12 injured.

He was shot to death by Inspector Amy Scott, who confronted him alone on the fifth floor after a pursuit through the mall. The attacker’s father, Andrew Cauchi, told reporters on Monday he was devastated by the news and said his son had a long history of mental illness and frustrations with women.

“He wanted a girlfriend and he has no social skills and he was frustrated out of his brain,” he said in comments reported by The Australian newspaper. Andrew Cauchi said he had taken five US army knives from Joel when Joel visited him last year as he feared he could get stabbed.

The comments came hours after senior police officers said they were investigating the possibility the attacker had focused on women.“It’s obvious to me, it’s obvious to detectives that seems to be an area of interest that the offender had focused on women and avoided the men,” New South Wales state Police Commissioner Karen Webb told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.