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Chaotic, confused life of a killer

AAP logoAAP 17/08/2016

THE BIZARRE LIFE OF MAN HARON MONIS

Before examining the chaotic 17 hours of the deadly 2014 Lindt Cafe siege, coroner Michael Barnes delved into gunman Man Haron Monis's bizarre, secretive past in a search for clues as to what led the one-time Iranian refugee down his dark path.

IRAN:

* What evidence there is of Monis's life in Iran is confusing. By different accounts he was a businessman, a cleric, a member of Tehran's wealthy elite or a government agent.

* A witness who knew Monis in Tehran in 1992 told the inquest Monis was a businessman, who lived with his wife and two daughters in a large apartment in a wealthy part of the city. When the witness - whose name was protected - hurt himself, Monis got him into an exclusive private hospital by producing an ID card that left the guard at the gate looking "a little scared".

* When Monis fled Iran in 1996 and claimed asylum in Australia he claimed to be a poet. There have been repeated accusations he fled with $US200,000 from a travel agency where he worked.

AUSTRALIA:

* Monis found work as a security guard in western Sydney in 1996. His boss told the inquest Monis claimed to be the son-in-law of a powerful Iranian ruler. Monis donned Muslim clerical robes. A cabbie who met him said Monis got basic prayers wrong and the so-called sheik was "full of it".

* Monis set up his own spiritual healing business in Sydney in the early 2000s. He would eventually be charged with 43 counts of sexual assault of his clients.

* Witnesses at the inquest used "odd", "manipulative", "difficult", "evil" to describe Monis. Sydney woman Amanda Morsy was 20 when courted by Monis, 39, for six months in 2003. Saying he was "Michael Hayson" from Romania, Monis wore western clothes, drank alcohol and did not mention religion. He gave gifts of gold jewellery and drove a series of prestige cars despite having no obvious source of wealth.

* Monis went by 31 names during his life, from Michael Hayson to Mohammad Hassan Manteghi Bouroujerdi. Witnesses painted a picture of a manipulative and deluded outsider: he was a self-described "peace activist" and a wannabe biker who was rejected by Rebels bikies.

* Monis was charged in 2009 with sending offensive letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers. He wanted lawyer Nazir Daawar - a former United Nations official in Afghanistan - to defend him but was enraged when the solicitor urged him to plead guilty. Dr Daawar described Monis as "a smarty guy, but a very evil smart guy". If he'd known Monis was in the Lindt Cafe, he said, "I would call police to shoot him on the head and no negotiation".

* A social worker who spoke to Monis in 2012 described him as an attention-seeking, self-important manipulator. "He was a hero in his own story," she said.

* David Cohen, a lawyer who represented Monis in 2013, said Monis believed he was brighter than anyone else. "He wasn't Mensa material but he wasn't dumb either - he was highly manipulative and he knew the system," Mr Cohen said.

* Psychiatrists who saw Monis in 2010 made different diagnoses. Dr Kristen Barrett said he had delusional fears of being watched in his home. "My impression was that he had chronic schizophrenia," she said. Dr Daniel Murray testified he saw no signs of schizophrenia or fears of being watched in Monis, raising the possibility "there is some manipulation going on".

* ASIO received 18 complaints about Monis days before the siege and decided he was not a threat, the inquest heard.

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