Gunman Behind Sydney Siege Has Long Criminal Record

The gunman who seized tens of hostages, placing Sydney’s CBD into lockdown is no stranger to the NSW police or the judiciary.

Self-described cleric, Man Haron Monis, 50, first came to attention of police when he penned poisonous letters to the family of dead Australian soldiers seven years ago according to news report.

Iranian born Muslim cleric, Sheik Haron, who is named in court papers as Man Haron Monis, has been named as the hostage taker at Lindt Chocolat Cafe at Martin Place in Sydney, Dec, 15, 2014.  He is pictured here at a court appearance in Sydney in 2010.   STEPHEN COOPER/NEWSPIX/REX, AP
Iranian born Muslim cleric, Sheik Haron, who is named in court papers as Man Haron Monis, has been named as the hostage taker at Lindt Chocolat Cafe at Martin Place in Sydney, Dec, 15, 2014.
He is pictured here at a court appearance in Sydney in 2010.
STEPHEN COOPER/NEWSPIX/REX, AP

Born in Iran, Man Haron Monis sought asylum and moved to Australia in 1996.

Claiming to be well educated when it comes to astrology, numerology and black magic, Monis placed advertisements in newspapers, luring women to a premises in western Sydney where he alleged sexually assaulted them. Monis was facing criminal charges of more than 50 counts of indecent and sexual assault.

From 2007 to 2009, Monis penned insulting letters to families of Australian soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan and Indonesia. He said the letters were “flower basket” or “condolence card” and he disagreed with Australia’s decision to deploy troops to Afghanistan.

Monis, along with his current wife, were also allegedly involved in the murder of his ex-wife, who died from multiple stab wounds. Her body was set alight and found in a stairwell in April. Monis was granted bail in December last year, despite the severity of his alleged crime.

CBSNews reports, two hostages who were killed – a 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman – were caught in crossfire, or shot by their captor. Among the four wounded was a police officer shot in the face.

One of the victims was Sydney lawyer and mother-of-three Katrina Dawson.

“Katrina was one of our best and brightest barristers who will be greatly missed by her colleagues and friends” Jane Needham, president of the New South Wales Bar Association, said in a statement.

The second victim, store manager Tori Johnson, 34, is being hailed as a hero — he was killed as he tried to wrestle a gun from the suspect.

The two hostages killed in the Sydney standoff. CBS NEWS
The two hostages killed in the Sydney standoff. CBS NEWS

Monis also had a Website on which he said the charges against him were politically motivated and compared himself to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Police stormed the cafe after hearing gunshots. Monis and two hostages were killed.