Police Investigating If Bondi Junction Killer Was Targeting Women: ‘Obvious Line Of Inquiry’

CONTENT WARNING: This article involves distressing content.

NSW Police will be investigating if Joel Cauchi — the man who fatally stabbed six people and injured a further 12 people at Bondi Junction Westfield on Saturday — was targeting women.

On Saturday, 40-year-old Cauchi killed five women and one man, and injured a further nine women, two men and a nine-month-old baby in what has been described as a “horrific act of violence”.

On Sunday, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb confirmed police would be investigating if Cauchi was specifically targeting women, saying it was an “obvious line of inquiry”.

“Many people have looked at the video footage that has come out over the past day and are wondering, do you believe this man was targeting women?” a reporter asked Webb at a press conference on Sunday.

She responded: “That’s been reported to me as well, and obviously that will be an obvious line of inquiry. And that’s concerning, but that will form part of the investigation. I mean, anyone seeing that footage can see that for themselves.”

However, the commissioner did not label the incident as an “act of terrorism”.

“I think that’s stretching it in terms of a definition and it’s really too early to say ‘yes,’” Webb said.

Earlier, a NSW Police spokesperson said they did not believe Cauchi was motivated by any political ideology, but that he was potentially having a mental health episode.

He was “known to police” in Queensland but hadn’t been arrested or criminally convicted in the last “four to five years”, according to Queensland Police’s Acting Assistant Commissioner Roger Lowe.

Lowe also revealed that Cauchi was “diagnosed with mental illness at age 17” and has received treatment in the past. He did not specify Cauchi’s diagnosis.

“We have people in our society who suffer from mental health,” Lowe said per the publication.

“They go about their days without trouble, without causing these types of crimes. Mental health in society is not a crime and we do not run an intelligence regime on persons who suffer from mental health.

“There would only be an exchange of information if a person were to present such a security risk in society, that would we would need to monitor that behaviour.”

The Guardian Australia reports that Cauchi had an “interest” in knives, but had never been charged with an offence relating to carrying or possessing a knife.

Police said Cauchi’s family contacted authorities after they saw footage of the incident. The family have also shared their condolences to the victims’ family and friends.

Police added that the family have shared a message of support to Amy Scott, the officer who shot Cauchi dead after he lunged at her with a knife.

Three of the female victims have been identified as Ashlee Good, 38, Dawn Singleton, 25, and Jade Young.

Image source: Getty Images / Lisa Maree Williams and The Sydney Morning Herald, Supplied.