CAUTION: Please be wary that this recording may distress some listeners. 

the coronial inquestSydney SiegeMartin Place

Counsel assisting the inquest Jeremy Gormly SC played the first call that Lindt Cafe manager Tori Johnson made to NSW Police. He was forced to call 000 by Man Haron Monis (then unknown to the hostages and police), and was made to read out a scripted note that Monis had prepared. 

Gormly made note that Monis was incredibly sensitive and secretive about his identity; he never used his name during the siege, and when operators used his name in a negotiation call at around 4:50pm, he immediately hung up the phone. 

Johnson’s call to 000 lasted about 12 minutes, and was made at 9:44am. He remains completely calm throughout the phone call, repeating the woman on the other end that he has to read the entire letter, and has a gun in front of him. He remains calm even at the start of the phone call, despite the operator debating with him over his exact location. 

The handwritten note that Johnson was forced to read was later found at the site of the siege. It said this:

“Australia is under attack by the Islamic State. There are three bombs in three different locations: Martin Place, Circular Quay and George St. 

I want to contact other brothers and ask them NOT to explode the other two bombs but I can’t contact because they don’t carry phone with them. They have radio with them.

The plan is to request Tony Abbott to call them or me and to have a debate while it is broadcast live on ABC national radio. 

So that’s why they have radio. And the best way to contact them is by my voice message to announce that they should not explode the bombs. They listen to me anything I tell them. The device played inside the radio is another way of exploding the bombs.”

Counsel for Johnson’s family fought for the audio not to be played, due to the distress it would cause the family, but NSW State Coroner Michael Barnes said that as much evidence as possible should be revealed in public. 

While Tori Johnson passed away on the day of the devastating 17-hour siege, his heroic calmness – you can even hear him giving other hostages directions while giving information to the 000 operator as well as taking interruptions from Monis – likely saved the lives of other hostages. 

Gormly said that Tori’s calmness was impressive:

“It is quite significant to listen to the way Tori managed the call. He did it with a calmness and command that was really impressive.”

Again, this audio may be distressing for some people to listen to. Please take caution before proceeding:

Source: ABC

Photo: Cole Bennets / Getty.