Bondi Junction attack: NSW police identify 40-year-old man behind mass stabbing as Joel Cauchi

Dan Jervis-Bardy and Taylor Renouf
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Police have revealed the attacker was 40-year-old Queensland man Joel Cauchi.
Police have revealed the attacker was 40-year-old Queensland man Joel Cauchi. Credit: The West Australian

The Queensland man who went on a murderous stabbing rampage that killed six people in Sydney’s Bondi Junction had a fixation with knives and once put a callout to meet up with people “who shoot guns, including handguns”.

Chilling details about Joel Cauchi’s past are emerging as authorities and the public reel from the Westfield shopping centre attack that has shocked the nation.

Armed with a large hunting knife and wearing an Australian Kangaroos rugby league jersey, the Queensland man murdered six people and injured a dozen others – including a nine-month-old baby – before he was gunned down by NSW police officer Amy Scott on Saturday afternoon.

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After hours of frenzied online speculation about the killer’s identity and motive, Cauchi was unmasked by NSW assistant commissioner Anthony Cooke at a press conference on Sunday morning.

Assistant commissioner Cooke said there was no evidence to suggest Cauchi’s stabbing spree was ideologically motivated.

Instead, he pointed to the man’s mental health challenges.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said authorities had briefed him on the “mental health dimension” to a violent attack he described as “unspeakable” and “beyond comprehension”.

Police have named Joel Cauchi as the Bondi stabber.
Police have named Joel Cauchi as the Bondi stabber. Credit: Joel Cauchi/Facebook

Cauchi, who grew up in Toowoomba in regional Queensland, was reportedly diagnosed with schizophrenia in his final year of high school in 2000 but was off his medication.

He was fixated with knives, so much so his parents had to confiscate the implements, according to reports.

One neighbour described him as ‘disturbed’, the Daily Telegraph reported.

A woman who reportedly dated Cauchi described him as a “recluse” who had “chronic OCD”.

The West has uncovered a Facebook post from December 6, 2020, in which Cauchi put to a callout to people interested in guns.

“Hi I am looking for groups of people who shoot guns, including handguns, to meet up with, chat with and get to know. Please send me a DM if you can help me out! I live in Brisbane by the way,” he wrote.

Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Roger Lowe said Cauchi had never been arrested or charged with a crime in the State but was known to local authorities because of his mental health problems.

Asked about the man’s alleged fixation with knives, Assistant Commissioner Lowe said authorities were aware of an “event” last year which was under investigation.

He said Cauchi had been living an “itinerant lifestyle”, sleeping in vehicles and backpackers hostels while moving around south-east Queensland.

Queensland authorities last made contact with him during a “street check” on the Gold Coast in December, the police chief said.

The killer’s Facebook profile picture shows him at the beach in a wetsuit, posing with a blue long board.

Just five days before his stabbing spree, Cauchi put a callout on Facebook looking for surfing buddies.

“Hi. I am surfing Bondi this afternoon if anyone wants to meet for a surf!” he posted to the 6000 members of a Facebook group for beginner surfers on Monday, April 8.

Cauchi went to high school at Harristown State School in Toowoomba, according to his Facebook account, and was an online English tutor.

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