Wakeley church terror: Family of teen accused of stabbing attack moves out of home

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Remy Varga
The Nightly
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The family of a teenager who allegedly stabbed a priest has moved out of their family home due to fears of reprisal attacks. 
The family of a teenager who allegedly stabbed a priest has moved out of their family home due to fears of reprisal attacks.  Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

The family of a teenager who allegedly stabbed a bishop and a priest during a religiously motivated terror attack at a church in Sydney’s west that triggered a riot has moved out of their family home due to fears of reprisal attacks.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb on Wednesday asked the public to respect the family’s privacy after the attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel at the Assyrian orthodox Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley on Monday night.

“I am aware that the family did seek to move elsewhere – they don’t want to be the centre of attention here and nor should they,” Webb told the ABC on Wednesday.

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“They’ve made a decision to move for the time being.”

Vision of the attack shows someone in a black hoodie approach the pulpit before drawing a knife above his head and repeatedly stabbing Bishop Emmanuel.

The screams of parishioners as they pull the attacker away can be heard on the footage as well as the thud of the knife making contact.

The attack triggered a riot as hundreds of worshippers descended on the church on Monday night after seeing the attack on a live stream of the sermon.

The riot squad battled to protect the church as worshippers attacked police vehicles, shattering windows and slashing tyres along Welcome Street.

Rioters outside the church.
Rioters outside the church. Credit: 7NEWS

Commissioner Webb said police could start arresting rioters as early as Wednesday as investigators worked on identifying people caught on CCTV and police body cam footage.

“When I was at the police station yesterday they had some clear indications of whom some of those individuals were and they can expect a knock at the door,” she said.

Ms Webb said investigators believed people not associated with Christ The Good Shepherd Church turned up on Monday night.

There have been calls for calm after a 16-year-old boy allegedly stabbed a bishop during an evening sermon.
There have been calls for calm after a 16-year-old boy allegedly stabbed a bishop during an evening sermon. Credit: Supplied

Community leaders were reportedly worried about the 16-year-old’s “extreme religious views” before the attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, which security agencies have designated a terror attack.

An audio message shared to WhatsApp groups in the hours after the attack — which happened as the bishop delivered a sermon that was being live-streamed around the world — of a man who claimed to have prayed with the teen earlier in the day appears to confirm that concern.

The man reportedly says, “Sadly, sadly, sadly, that kid we prayed Dhuhr (prayer) with today,” the man said. “These kids have been poisoned by a monster ... this kid has been poisoned.”

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