Bondi Junction stabbings: Candlelight vigil to be held at Bondi Beach to honour victims of devastating attack

The Nightly
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Flower tributes and condolence messages are seen at the edge of Westfield Bondi Junction during a day of reflection on April 18, 2024, in Bondi Junction, Australia.
Flower tributes and condolence messages are seen at the edge of Westfield Bondi Junction during a day of reflection on April 18, 2024, in Bondi Junction, Australia. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

A candlelight vigil will be held at Bondi Beach Sunday night to remember the victims of the stabbing rampage at Bondi Junction last weekend.

Speaking on Saturday exactly one week after the horrific attack which claimed six lives, NSW Premier Chris Minns said the event would be an opportunity for those attending to lean on one another during what had been a terrible week for the city.

“I think if we can stand together during these difficult periods, we can send a message that there’s far more good people in this city than there are bad actors and than there is evil,” he said.

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NSW Premier Chris Minns said the event would be an opportunity for those attending to lean on one another during what had been a terrible week for the city.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said the event would be an opportunity for those attending to lean on one another during what had been a terrible week for the city. Credit: 7NEWS/supplied

Customers returned to the normally bustling shopping mecca on Saturday, marking exactly a week since Australia’s worst mass killing in years.

The centre is operating with an increased police and security presence with guards in stab-proof vests to patrol each floor.

Queensland man Joel Cauchi, 40, a long-time sufferer of mental health problems, was shot dead at the scene by police after carrying out the country’s worst mass killing in recent years.

Mr Minns also revealed on Saturday that a coronial inquiry into the attack would focus heavily on the adequacy of NSW’s mental health funding and support.

Bolstered by up to $18 million in extra funding, the inquiry will look at the police response, as well as the killer’s interactions with NSW and Queensland agencies.

Mr Minns said he expected the inquiry would provide insight into whether the $2.7 billion spent by the state government on mental health each year - about half the amount spent on the NSW Police Force - was sufficient or being appropriately channelled.

“We have to answer the question as to whether that money is going in the right areas and is being spent most effectively,” he said.

“I need to do that with evidence and I’m confident that coronial inquiry will help direct the government’s policy changes.”

Mr Minns said he had spoken to Muhammad Taha, a security guard stabbed in the stomach while confronting Cauchi.

The Pakistani national was wounded while trying to help his colleague, Faraz Tahir, one of six people killed in the attack.

Flower tributes are seen at the edge of Westfield Bondi Junction during a day of reflection on April 18, 2024 in Bondi Junction, Australia.
Flower tributes are seen at the edge of Westfield Bondi Junction during a day of reflection on April 18, 2024 in Bondi Junction, Australia. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

He remains in hospital recovering from serious injuries. “We owe them a big debt of gratitude,” Mr Minns said.

“He’s told me he’s taken a lot of heart from the fact that many Australians are behind him and wishing him a speedy recovery.”

Mr Taha was with victim Faraz Tahir for his first day on the job and discussing their native Pakistan when the chaos unfolded.

“We were on the floor alone … all of an all of a sudden we heard some noises and people screaming, there were people running,” Mr Taha told Nine News on Friday night.

“We didn’t (know) about the attacker, we didn’t know how many were dead or what was going on. People were running away in the opposite direction.

“I tried to defend myself, I tried to use my hands and somehow he managed to stab me in the stomach.

“I didn’t notice I was stabbed, I was just looking after Faraz. I tried to help him.”

Six people remain in hospital, including a nine-month-old baby girl whose mother, Ashlee Good, 38, died from injuries sustained in the attack.

NSW Police continue to probe what motivated Cauchi to carry out the massacre and the likelihood he targeted women, the majority of the victims.

Work Health and Safety Minister Sophie Cotsis said mental health counsellors would remain at the shopping centre as long as needed.

Psychological health and safety support for businesses with fewer than 200 employees would also be available through a free advice service and mental health training.

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