Australia was rocked by a rare episode of terrorism on Tuesday, when a tense hostage siege in Sydney came to an end after police rescued hostages from a tenuous situation. As the world follows the fallout of the horrific event, stories of courage are emerging.
Tori Johnson, 34, and Katrina Dawson, 38 below right, were killed during the terrorist siege at Sydney’s Lindt cafe on Monday. Johnson, the cafe manager of two years, tried to wrestle the gun from the hostage-taker before he was shot. And Johnson was actually protecting two people — Dawson, 38, whose children are all under ten, was an attorney in Sydney’s central business district opposite the siege site and died of a heart attack.
One newspaper recounts what happened as she attempted to shield her pregnant friend.
“She had been getting coffee with pregnant Julie Taylor when Man Haron Monis entered the building – and later admirably shielded her friend from bullets,” the paper reported. “It was not clear whether Mrs Dawson was shot or what other injuries, if any, she sustained in the shocking incident.”
“Archbishop Anthony Fisher spoke at a prayer service later on Tuesday of how the two victims were ‘willing to lay down their lives so others might live,” it said.
Taylor, who is recently married, was pictured fleeing the scene with two others 15 minutes before police opened fire, killing the gunman.
However she later learned that her friend Mrs Dawson, a 38-year-old mother of three, had died, reportedly from a heart attack in hospital.
Ms Taylor lives in east Sydney and is a successful barrister in corporate law at the law firm Eight Selborne. She completed a bachelor of civil law at Magdalen College, Oxford and has appeared before the High Court – one of the youngest women to do so.
She is currently in a stable condition in hospital.
During the siege, Ms Taylor was one of the first hostages chosen by Monis to outline his demands in a 44-second speech posted on YouTube.
“I’m Julie Taylor. I’m a barrister in Sydney. This is a message for Tony Abbott,” she said.