Parents of Sydney stabber apologise and say 'monster' son 'may have killed women because he wanted a girlfriend'

15 April 2024, 12:29

Joel Cauchi killed six people in a stabbing attack in Sydney
Joel Cauchi killed six people in a stabbing attack in Sydney. Picture: Facebook/Alamy

By Kit Heren

The family of a man who killed six people in a stabbing frenzy in Sydney say that he may have targeted women because he wanted a girlfriend.

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Cauchi's father Andrew Cauchi said he was "heartbroken" and "very sorry" for his son's six victims in the Westfield shopping centre attack in Bondi, five of whom were women.

Speaking outside his home, Cauchi said he had made himself "a servant" to his 40-year-old schizophrenic son when he learned he was mentally ill.

He added: "He's my son. And I'm loving a monster - to you, he's a monster. To me, he was a very sick boy."

Mr Cauchi said his son, who was shot dead after the attack, may have attacked women because "he wanted a girlfriend".

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi.
The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi. Picture: Facebook

He added: "He's got no social skills and he was frustrated out of his brain."

Police have said that it is "obvious" that Cauchi was targeting women.

Cauchi's mother Lisa said: "This is a parents' absolute nightmare, when they have a child with mental illness, that something like this could happen.

"And my heart goes out to the people our son has hurt. If he was in his right mind, he would be absolutely devastated at what he's done.

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"But he obviously was not in his right mind. He's somehow, had been triggered into a psychosis and he'd lost touch with reality."

It comes after the sixth victim in the attack was named as Yixuan Cheng, a 25-year-old economics student from China at the University of Sydney.

The other five victims were named earlier as Dawn Singleton, 25, Ashlee Good, 38, Jade Young, 47, Pikria Darchia, 55, and Faraz Tahir.

New South Wales police commissioner Karen Webb said: "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.

"Five of the deceased are women and the majority of victims in hospital are also women."

Ashlee Good was named as one of the victims, who as attacked protecting her baby.
Ashlee Good was named as one of the victims, who as attacked protecting her baby. Picture: Supplied

Cauchi, a surfer and English tutor from Queensland, was killed by officer Amy Scott after he raised a knife towards her.

Ms Singleton, a Communications graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, was the daughter of well-known entrepreneur John Singleton.

Ms Good was attacked by Cauchi while trying to save her nine-month-old baby but tragically died later in hospital.

Dawn Singleton was also named as a victim.
Dawn Singleton was also named as a victim. Picture: LinkedIn

Her family said in a statement on Sunday: “Today we are reeling from the terrible loss of Ashlee, a beautiful mother, daughter, sister, partner, friend, all-round outstanding human, and so much more.

"We appreciate the well wishes and thoughts of members of the Australian public who have expressed an outpouring of love for Ashlee and our baby girl."

Security guard Faraz Tahir was named as victim.
Security guard Faraz Tahir was named as victim. Picture: Facebook

Ms Young worked as an architect in Sydney, Ms Darchia was an artist, and Mr Tahir was a security guard at the shopping centre.

The Australian Pakistani National Association paid tribute to Mr Tahir as “courageous” on social media.

Cauchi was already known to police in New South Wales and Queensland before the attack for mental-health-related matters.

Mum-of-two Jade Young worked as an architect in Sydney.
Mum-of-two Jade Young worked as an architect in Sydney. Picture: NSW Police

Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said following the incident that Cauchi was “very clearly” suffering from mental health issues.

Mr Cooke said: “We know that shortly after coming to Sydney, he took possession of a storage facility that has been identified.

“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.”

Cauchi's family earlier issued a statement via Queensland Police as they said his actions were “truly horrific” and confirmed he had a long history of suffering with his mental health.

They 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.”

Pikria Darchia was named as the fifth victim.
Pikria Darchia was named as the fifth victim. Picture: NSW Police

The family of Ms Good also provided an update on her baby who had to be operated on following the attack.

They said in a statement on Sunday: “We can report that after hours of surgery yesterday, our baby is currently doing well. We are so grateful for the expert care and attention of the medical team at Sydney Children's Hospital.

"To the two men who held and cared for our baby when Ashlee could not - words cannot express our gratitude."

Inspector Scott was praised for her courageous behaviour on Saturday.

She was the first responder on the scene during the attack and shot Cauchi dead after he threatened her with a knife.

Members of the public have since visited the area to pay tribute with flowers to those who lost their lives or have been affected by the attack.

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