The accused knifeman who allegedly killed a woman in a Sydney CBD unit before going on a stabbing rampage had been reported missing by his family and had been in a safe house the night before the attack.
Mert Ney, 20, was detained by members of the public after stabbing a woman in the back with a butcher’s knife at the Hotel CBD and trying to attack others as he wandered through the city’s streets.
Ney is also accused of killing a 24-year-old woman, believed to be a sex worker, in a Clarence Street apartment before the rampage began.
Her body was found when police were called to the building just after 3pm, about 45 minutes after Hotel CBD stabbing.
Police have revealed Ney spoke to the woman on the phone before he went to the unit for an appointment with the woman about 1.30pm.
Ney was seen on CCTV leaving the building about 1.50pm.
Ney is under police guard at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and has undergone surgery for a knee laceration.
He is expected to be charged with murder and serious assault when he is medically fit to speak with police, but could also face terror charges.
The 41-year-old woman who was stabbed remains at St Vincent’s Hospital in a stable condition.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller today said Ney had been reported missing by his family.
“They had concerns for his welfare,” Mr Fuller said today.
“Police had taken a report for that and a report around a domestic violence situation.
“He was on the system as ‘keep a look out for him’ for both of those things.
“So from our perspective, again, that is not unusual in terms of what we see day in and day out in some houses across New South Wales.
“(But) that is not a common theme for someone to then take the next step of coming into the streets of Sydney with a knife and killing people and threatening to kill people.”
POLICE PROBE MOTIVE
Mr Fuller said the rampage was not yet being treated as a terrorist incident but Ney had “some ideologies in relation to terrorism”.
Extremist material, including references to the Christchurch mosque shootings, was discovered on a USB drive belonging to Ney.
“Counter-terrorism (officers) are looking at the thumb drive,” Mr Fuller said today.
“I mean, just having some footage saved on a USB drive is not a leap far enough for me to say that this is a terrorist incident.
“But obviously, it’s extremely concerning and it is the starting point of a long-term investigation.”
The violent material is understood to have include references to the recent Christchurch mosque shootings and US gun violence.
Detectives have launched Strike Force Lalchere to investigate the incident.
Their inquiries will also be supported by the Terrorism Investigation Squad.
Police today revised the ages of Ney and the alleged murder victim, after initially saying both were 21.
ATTACKER CHARGED OVER WEAPON
A Current Affair last night revealed Ney, who has a history of mental health issues, was charged with weapons offences earlier this year.
Court documents show police seized a knuckleduster from Ney’s Marayong home on April 5.
Ney faced court in June and was put on a nine-month conditional release order.
Part of those conditions included checking himself into a mental health facility, where it’s understood Ney had recently absconded from.
Ney also sought treatment for drug issues at Blacktown Hospital and was spoken to by police over a domestic violence incident involving his sister.
Counter-terrorism expert Greg Barton urged people not to assume the attack was terror-related.
“It’s an understandable response and the fact that we have video of him yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’, he comes from a non-religious Turkish family background, people jump to that conclusion,” he told Today.
“But the people who very bravely responded were quick to point out they weren’t jumping to that conclusion and it does look much more like a mental health (or a) drugs problem (or an) unhappy, messed-up life, a sad loner rather than somebody who was motivated by extremist ideas.
“The police will check it out very thoroughly.”
Mr Barton said other terror attacks can trigger other violence, even if the ideology of the attackers are not shared.
“We have seen men who are very angry,” he said.
“That is an increasing problem. Terrorist attacks can inspire other people to act even though they don’t share the ideology.
“Incident response is very critical and what we saw here is the brave response by bystanders who didn’t just stand around but who didn’t just stand around but who acted.
“They probably saved many other lives being lost, although sadly one life was lost before they could move in.”
Police spent the night at Ney’s Marayong home, which he shared with his mother and sister.
The home has been sealed off and forensic police raided the property.
A neighbour, Joel, said Ney didn’t interact often with other residents.
“Quiet guy, keeps to himself,” he told 9News.
“I hit him up about something last week and (there was) only a few words said.
“That was it, just a real quiet guy.”
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