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Sydney stabbing suspect was 'missing person' after previous domestic violence incident

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 6 days ago Lucy Cormack

Video provided by Nine News

Mert Ney had been listed as a missing person by his family following a "domestic violence situation", which prompted a police "concern for welfare report", in the days leading up to Tuesday's fatal stabbing rampage in Sydney's CBD.

Mr Ney, 20, was arrested in dramatic scenes near York St after he allegedly ran through the city covered in blood, brandishing a bloody butcher's knife, stabbing one woman in the back and fatally slashing the throat of another.

"Police had taken a report for a domestic violence situation, so he was on the system [for authorities to] 'keep a look out for him'," said NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Wednesday.

He confirmed that the 20-year-old had recently "self-admitted himself [to a facility] following a medical issue" prompting subsequent mental health assessments.

"Obviously there is an issue around his mental health...and whether he was a lone actor or whether he was involved with something far more sinister....we rely on federal police, ASIO and international partners to assist us in that investigation.

"His history is not remarkable. He has some low-level issues around theft, malicious damage. He had some low-level domestic violence issues link back to his family that, again, were not significant or serious injuries, however they were being investigated."

Court documents have confirmed Mr Ney appeared at Blacktown Local Court on June 24 for possessing or using a prohibited weapon - knuckledusters - without a permit.

He pleaded guilty to the charge and was convicted and sentenced to a conditional release order for 9 months, expiring on March 23, 2020.

Under the terms of the order he was not to "commit any offence", while the weapon was to be "forfeited" to the court.

It is understood the 20-year-old had not threatened anyone with the knuckledusters or used them, but had them in his possession at home.

Search warrants were conducted Tuesday night at Mr Ney's family home in Maryong and at another property, in Blacktown.

Police say he had left the family home and may have been "couchsurfing or homeless for some time", and recently living at the Blacktown property.

a police officer standing in front of a car: Mert Ney, 21, was arrested after the alleged stabbing incident in Sydney's CBD. (Twitter: David Vaux) © Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Mert Ney, 21, was arrested after the alleged stabbing incident in Sydney's CBD. (Twitter: David Vaux) Commissioner Fuller said the joint agency counter-terrorism unit had met since 7am on Wednesday to re-examine Tuesday's events, adding that the investigation was ongoing, but that it was still thought not to be a terrorist-related incident.

"I feel as though what he has on social media, what we may well find in his bedroom will... shine more light on why this crime happened," he said.

"We will also look at his phone and we will do phone triangulations [on his movements on Tuesday afternoon]."

Among items seized by police on Tuesday were Mr Ney's phone and a USB stick, both of which contained files and videos of recent international mass killings, including the recent deadly mosque attack in New Zealand and white supremacist shootings in the US.

Counter-terrorism specialists are currently examining the data.

Mr Ney began terrorising office workers in the CBD around 2pm on Tuesday, before stabbing a woman in the back near a pub on King St.

Prior to that he had visited a residential apartment for a "business" purpose in Clarence House, on Clarence St, where the 24-year-old victim was later found deceased, with her throat slashed.

It is understood the woman was a sex worker and that she and Mr Ney had been in contact with each other on Tuesday.

"We actually have footage of him in the city, we know there was phone contact between him and the 24-year-old victim...it's about finding out what that phone contact was for and what was the purpose of the visit," Commissioner Fuller said.

He confirmed police were in contact with the woman's family.

On Wednesday morning, Mr Ney was at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where he was being treated for leg wounds and other minor injuries. It is expected he could be released by Tuesday afternoon, before he is charged over the alleged murder and stabbing attack.

NSW Police are in contact with Mr Ney's family members.

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