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'I didn't think he'd go this far': School friends of Sydney knifeman say he recently converted to Islam and was an 'odd person with no friends'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 5 days ago Lauren Ferri and Charlie Coe and Hannah Moore and Daniel Piotrowski for Daily Mail Australia
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Friends of the Sydney knifeman responsible for a rampage through the city centre say he recently converted to Islam and was an 'odd person'.

Mert Ney, 21, was arrested after he was subdued by heroic bystanders about 2pm using chairs and milk crates in Wynyard Street, after he allegedly killed a woman, 21, believed to be a sex worker, and stabbed multiple people. 

The knifeman was seen on the corner of King and Clarence Street on Tuesday afternoon, wielding a large blade and calling on someone to shoot him.

A man was in the same class as Ney at Blacktown Boys High School said he was shocked at reports he was behind the attacks.  

'I always thought he was a bit weird and he was always posting about converting [to Islam] and stuff like that,' the man, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

'[But] I didn't expect him to go this far.' 

a view of a city street: Stunned onlookers were scene frozen in the street as the man with a knife began his stabbing rampage through the streets © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Stunned onlookers were scene frozen in the street as the man with a knife began his stabbing rampage through the streets a car driving on a city street: A man with a knife (left) can be seen walking towards a bystander (right) who was forced to use a chair to protect himself © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A man with a knife (left) can be seen walking towards a bystander (right) who was forced to use a chair to protect himself

While the friend claims Ney was recently converted, the 21-year-old is understood to have fled from a mental health facility before the rampage.  

Ney's Facebook page has since been deleted, but another school friend claims to have spoken to him just last week.

The friend said he spoke to the knifeman last week and said he had planned to attend a music festival. 

'He just had a vibe, he was just an odd person - he didn't have many friends,' he said. 

Ney grew up in a weatherboard home in Marayong, near Blacktown, the middle sibling of two siblings and the son of Turkish-Cypriot parents.

'He was not much of a talker,' said Reen Elomari, who went to Marayong Public School with him. 

'He always used to walk fast, not many friends, never used to say anything.' 

'I always used to see him roam around the streets alone. I would see him around my house. I'd see him maybe a couple of times (at the shops at Westpoint), just alone'.

One of his sisters would play hot potato in the front yard of one of Ms Elomari's relatives, but the shy boy refused to participate and would stand there with his arms crossed.

'He'd say, 'time to go home',' she recalled.

But she and family members said they never would have anticipated the violence and were stunned when Facebook began lighting up with reports of the identity of the accused knifeman.

Another neighbour, Jenny Threadgold, said he was believed to have mental health problems and reports have claimed he had recently absconded from a treatment facility in recent days.

a person standing in a room: Ney, 21, grew up in a weatherboard home (pictured) in Marayong, near Blacktown, the middle sibling of two siblings and the son of Turkish-Cypriot parents

Ney, 21, grew up in a weatherboard home (pictured) in Marayong, near Blacktown, the middle sibling of two siblings and the son of Turkish-Cypriot parents
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Police have said Ney had previously been pinged for a series of minor crimes but nothing that compares to this. 

According to The Daily Telegraph, Ney was had a charge dismissed by a magistrate in June.

He was caught with knuckledusters but was dismissed under a Section 10 without conviction in Blacktown Local Court. 

HOW THE SYDNEY CBD HOMICIDE AND STABBING UNFOLDED: 

* 2pm: Police receive calls about a man armed with a knife and wearing a balaclava wandering York Street in Sydney's CBD.

* Officers arrive to find a 41-year-old woman suffering a stab wound at the Hotel CBD on the corner of King and York Streets.

* A short time later, three members of the public detain the 21-year-old attacker, before he's arrested by police.

* 3.15pm: The body of a 21-year-old woman is found in a Clarence Street unit.

* Police investigate whether the body is linked to the earlier stabbing.

* 5.30pm: NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller confirms the two crimes are linked and reveals the alleged attacker - 21-year-old Mert Ney - has a history of mental health issues.

* Police say the Marayong man has no links to terrorist organisations but does have some 'ideologies in relation to terrorism'.

* Ney was allegedly carrying material 'about other crimes of mass casualties and mass deaths around the world', the commissioner says.

* Detectives conduct a thorough search of Ney's western Sydney home.

Police were called to his family home in Marayong after reports of 'concern for welfare' and seized the weapons. 

According to court documents, the 21-year-old pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon without a permit.

He was sentenced to a nine months conditional release order on the condition he didn't commit another offence.

The conditions also outlined that Ney was to seek help for his mental health.

Just last Wednesday, August 7, he attended the emergency room at Blacktown Hospital while suffering from a drug overdose. 

The following morning, Ney walked out of the hospital through the ambulance doors, and police were notified.

Police were on the search for Ney in relation to a domestic violence issue that was reported involving his sister. 

As of 8.30pm Tuesday evening, police had taped off the family home but it was unclear whether they will raid the property. 

Investigators do not believe it is a terror-related incident, and said the alleged attacker did not have links to any terrorist organisations - despite witnesses reporting the attacker was muttering religious slogans including 'Allahu Akbar'.

But NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said they found information on the man including a USB stick 'suggesting he had some ideologies related to terrorism'. 

The thumb drive allegedly also referenced mass shootings in New Zealand and the USA - including March's Christchurch terror attack. 

Commissioner Fuller added the suspect had been known to police, although his prior history did not compare to his alleged actions in the heart of Sydney's CBD. 

The alleged attacker is believed to have acted at random, and is expected to be charged later on Tuesday evening. 

A woman, second left, is led out of a building on Clarence Street by police after a man allegedly stabbed a woman inside © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A woman, second left, is led out of a building on Clarence Street by police after a man allegedly stabbed a woman inside

Police added a third woman also presented herself to a police station and had her hand wrapped in a scarf, but authorities suspect she may have only been a witness. 

It is believed the woman who died in the attack was a sex worker and was known to Ney.

Medication was also found close to the alleged attacker, identified as a drug used to combat anti-anxiety called antinex, Channel Seven reported.

A spokesman for the city's St Vincent hospital said the 41-year-old woman injured in Ney's alleged attack was in a stable condition.

Dramatic footage showed the man, wearing a grey hooded jumper and holding a large knife, jumping on top of a Mercedes while screaming 'shoot me in the head'.

Brave witnesses were able to tackle the man and pin his head down with a milk crate until police arrived and arrested him as hundreds of workers gathered.

In other footage, the alleged attacker was seen running down the pavement and at one point kicked a parked bicycle at a member of the public. 

'Do you know how many people you just stabbed, you dog? You just stabbed a chick, mate, in broad daylight,' one of the men was heard screaming during the arrest. 

WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT THE SYDNEY CBD STABBING: 

SUPERINTENDENT GAVIN WOOD: 'A number of members of the public physically restrained the offender. They were significantly brave people. To approach a person with a mindset (that) this person did, with clear evidence of a stabbing previously, these people are heroes.'

WITNESS PAUL O'SHAUGHNESSY: 'My brother, he was the hero. He got a grip of him, along with another guy we don't know, and put a crate on his head. He was just mumbling religious things.'

@JACKHUDDO ON TWITTER: 'So insane! A random dude just started stabbing people in the city right outside where we were having lunch.'

WITNESS DAVID VAUX ON THE ABC: 'I was walking towards Wynyard Park and this man came running around the corner ... and then came about five or six other men chasing him.'

'They were armed with crowbars and one man had an axe and another man who was fireman, I think, had some firefighting implement and also then a man with a news camera on his shoulder.'

PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON ON TWITTER: 'The violent attack that took place in Sydney this afternoon is deeply concerning. The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and were able to able to restrain him.'

FEDERAL LABOR LEADER ANTHONY ALBANESE: 'The details aren't fully known yet but we congratulate the NSW Police on the work that they've done and amazingly brave bystanders who took action to apprehend this man.'

'Very scary visuals, the fact that people were putting their own lives on the line by taking action was an act of incredible bravery and I certainly pay tribute to them.'

NSW POLICE COMMISSIONER MICK FULLER: 'All the evidence we have at hand would link these two crimes (the killing and stabbing).'

'There was certainly information found on him about other crimes of mass casualties and mass deaths around the world.'

NSW POLICE MINISTER DAVID ELLIOTT: 'If you want to behave in this sort of manner ... be aware, it's not just the police that'll respond, it's the citizens, it's the firies, it's the ambos, it's anybody else who thinks their city is going to be given that sort of disrespect.'

On Tuesday evening police praised civilians, fire fighters and ambulance staff for preventing 'what could have been a much worse situation'.

NSW Police said the woman's body was found in the unit on Clarence Street at 3.15pm, with a witness saying it was found on the building's fourth floor. 

Moments before the attacker was arrested, another woman was found inside the Hotel CBD with a stab wound. She was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

A painter working on a mural near where the man was arrested witnessed him charging down the street with a 'big kitchen knife' with five or six people in close pursuit.

Witness Jess Warren, 28, said she was was having lunch at the Regiment CBD cafe when the knife man was finally arrested.

She told Daily Mail Australia fire and rescue workers wielding an axe and a crowbar, and a few civilians, two brandishing chairs, had given chase before finally restraining him.

'One of the guys who was chasing pushed him in the back, then as he was falling the firies got him in the legs, and then they pinned him down with the chairs,' she said.

'Then they just sat on him until the cops came.'

'People couldn't believe it, then everyone started standing on their chairs to see over the crowd.'

Ivan, 25, arrived home from work just before 6pm and was told by police he would be locked out of his apartment building for 'a few hours'.

'I've lived here since March... I've seen police out the front maybe once, but nothing like this.'

The city worker told Daily Mail Australia he had never seen the knife man in his building before, and todays events had come as 'a big surprise'.

'I was just acting on instinct': Hero bystander recounts the moment he pinned crazed knifeman to the ground using a MILK CRATE after stabbing a woman and attacking others in Sydney's CBD 

A heroic bystander managed to stop a blood-soaked man who allegedly went on a stabbing rampage at Sydney's Wynyard train station on Tuesday just after 2pm.

A man wearing a grey hoodie covered in blood and wielding a large knife could be seen yelling in the street as hundreds of people fled for their lives.

Luke O'Shaughnessy who watched as the incident unfolded, managed to subdue the crazed attacker by putting a milk crate over his head.

'It was terrifying mate, it was really bad,' his brother Paul told Daily Mail Australia.

a couple of people posing for the camera: A heroic bystander has managed to stop a blood-soaked man who allegedly went on a stabbing rampage at Sydney's Wynyard train station on Tuesday just after 2pm © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A heroic bystander has managed to stop a blood-soaked man who allegedly went on a stabbing rampage at Sydney's Wynyard train station on Tuesday just after 2pm

'I was just acting on instinct really. We all just kind of followed suit and just did what we could'.

'Obviously there's something clearly wrong with him, he didn't look normal or anything like that'.

'It was an intense moment. I've got a lot of emotion running high as well. It was pretty scary stuff'.

Paul O'Shaughnessy, who owns a recruitment company on nearby King Street, said they heard 'a big kerfuffle and shouting'.

'Luke, my brother, popped his head out and said 'what's going on? There's a guy holding a knife',' he said.

a person standing in front of water: Luke O'Shaughnessy chased the attacker and managed to pin him to the ground © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Luke O'Shaughnessy chased the attacker and managed to pin him to the ground Footage showed the attacker being pinned to the ground by hero bystanders carrying milk crates © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Footage showed the attacker being pinned to the ground by hero bystanders carrying milk crates
The Transport Management Centre urged motorists to avoid King Street - south of the city's Wynyard Station - following the alleged attack on Tuesday afternoon © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Transport Management Centre urged motorists to avoid King Street - south of the city's Wynyard Station - following the alleged attack on Tuesday afternoon

Another woman, who asked not to be named, said police had told her it would be 'a couple of hours' until she could go home.

'I just walked here from my office, and they're not letting anyone in,' she said.

'Maybe I will just head back there. I'll have to call my [real estate] agent in case they tell him something.'

Witness Megan Hales said there was a group of people running away from the knife man but it wasn't clear if he was chasing after them, or running away from the group that was trying to stop him.

'At that point there were people chasing him down the street trying to stop him,' Ms Hales, who was at work on Wynyard Street, said.

Ms Hales described the man as being in his late 20s or early 30s, Caucasian and with dark curly hair.

'He wasn't looking in great shape - it was fast.

'A whole lot of guys just came down on top of him and laid him down'.

A barista named Marco, who was working at Batch Café, on York Street, watched in horror as the chaos unfolded.

Travel chaos as buses are cancelled, roads are closed and trains are delayed following stabbing frenzy in Sydney's CBD

Commuters were left stranded on Tuesday afternoon after a crazed knifeman in the Sydney CBD allegedly sparked a massive police operation. 

Major roads were blocked off, and the main entrance to Wynyard Station was closed as police investigate the stabbing of one woman, and death of a second. 

The alleged knifeman was seen on the corner of King and Clarence Street on Tuesday afternoon, wielding a large knife and calling on someone to shoot him. 

Police blocked off King, Wynyard and Carrington streets just after 2pm. King Street remains closed between Clarence and York, and Clarence Street is closed northbound between Market Street and King Street. 

'He was trying to smash a driver-side window of a random car with the knife. He was unsuccessful.

'People were chasing him by that stage. There was fireys chasing him with axes and he went around the corner.'    

Adrian Papaianni was walking along Clarence Street when when he suddenly heard terrified screams.

'There were a stack of people running down Barrack Place saying that there was a guy with a knife,' he told news.com.au.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Bystanders were told to after a man appeared in the street with a knife © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Bystanders were told to after a man appeared in the street with a knife

'I ran into the Woolworths and people inside got them to shut the glass doors. I was feeling OK until I saw a mother crying with her baby in her hands, trying to get into the Woolies.

'Police started arriving about a minute later and started to chase him.'

An Uber driver said the knifeman jumped on the bonnet of his car with a knife in his hand and blood on his shirt.

He told 2GB: 'I was next to a fire truck in York Street and he jumped on the bonnet of my car. He crashed across the bonnet and had a knife in his hand.

'There was blood on his shirt. People had their phones out and there was a police'.

a group of people walking on a city street: The area has been blocked off by police while investigations continue on Tuesday afternoon © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The area has been blocked off by police while investigations continue on Tuesday afternoon

A woman at the scene told Daily Mail Australia: 'A crazy man is running around Wynyard with a knife stabbing people.

'My work colleague's boyfriend was standing right next to the guy who was stabbed. Has the world gone mad?'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described the incident as 'deeply disturbing' while commending the bravery over the bystanders who stepped in to help.

'The violent attack that took place in Sydney this afternoon is deeply concerning. The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and were able to able to restrain him,' he shared on Twitter.

'The motivation for this attack has not yet been determined as Police are continuing with their enquiries. Any further official information will be provided by the New South Wales Police, who are keeping us appraised through our agencies, including details of casualties.'

a group of people that are standing in the street: Officers were seen walking into the Hotel CBD on King Street and speaking with patrons, while others stood guard © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Officers were seen walking into the Hotel CBD on King Street and speaking with patrons, while others stood guard

A gripping photograph shows the moment a brave onlooker holding a wicker chair prepared himself to restrain a crazed knifeman in the Sydney CBD. 

The man can be seen outside the Hotel CBD on King Street, as the knifeman, believed to be about 25, clutches his knife tightly. 

a car parked on the side of a building: Pictured: The moment a brave onlooker prepares to restrain a crazed knifeman on a city road © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Pictured: The moment a brave onlooker prepares to restrain a crazed knifeman on a city road a group of people in a car: A woman was found with a stab wound near The Hotel CBD on Tuesday afternoon © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A woman was found with a stab wound near The Hotel CBD on Tuesday afternoon

The picture was taken by tech worker Ayusha, who was on holiday in Sydney.  

'We just came across the guy with a knife on the street,' she captioned the image. 'Apparently he had some blood on his shirt. We are all safe in the car.'  

The knifeman was seen jumping on top of a black Mercedes shouting 'Allahu Akhbar' and brandishing his weapon moments before the businessman ran towards him with a chair.

'Oi,' the businessman yelled, ready with his chair. 

'Shoot me, shoot me in the f------ head,' the knifeman yelled as he stormed through the intersection. 

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