Wakeley church stabbing: Parents of charged teen speak out about history of violence and mental state

Max Corstorphan
The Nightly
Parents of charged teen speak out about history of violence and mental state.
Parents of charged teen speak out about history of violence and mental state. Credit: Unknown/X formerly Twitter

The parents of the 16-year-old allegedly involved in the Sydney stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel have made their first public statement, revealing their son’s history of violence, enduring mental health struggles, and the possibility he is on the autism spectrum.

New information about the alleged perpetrator’s movements in the days before the incident has been revealed, including that he was grieving the death of a close friend, and that in the hours before the attack he had gone missing from the family home and frantic calls from his concerned parents went unanswered.

Concern worsened when the mother of the teen received a call from a friend asking if her son was at home and if he was alright.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

“I felt something wasn’t right,” the boy’s mother told ABC Investigations in their first public statement since the attack during a live-streamed service at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley.

“I said, ‘Please tell me what’s been happening. Did you hear about anything?’‘

The mother revealed she was sent a video of the incident being shared online and was shocked when she first witnessed its contents.

“When I saw him, I threw the phone,” she said. “I couldn’t move.”

In an interview set to air on ABC’s 7.30 program Monday evening, the parents of the boy tearfully expressed their gratitude for Bishop Emmanuel’s survival after the stabbing, and conveyed their appreciation to the police for safeguarding their son during the subsequent riot.

An investigation for the interview revealed a history marked by severe behavioural problems, online interactions with extremists, and police suspicions of connections to a former Islamic State member known for influencing young terrorists.

Currently in custody, the teen faces potential life imprisonment if found guilty of terrorism charges, although his parents adamantly deny their son is a terrorist.

Instead, they describe him as troubled and paint a picture of his tumultuous life, citing severe anger issues, long-standing mental health struggles, and suspicions he may be on the autism spectrum.

His parents sought professional help when he was just 13, leading to his first encounter with a psychologist who recommended a psychiatric evaluation for autism.

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 24-06-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 24 June 202424 June 2024

What a climate change. Albo takes punt on this once pro-nuclear Liberal to lead his renewable energy battle.