Barrister Julie Taylor suffered through the 16-and-a-half hour Sydney siege tragedy next to her best friend Katrina Dawson.
Ms Taylor, 35, who is in the early months of pregnancy, has paid tribute to her “closest friend” who died during the ordeal, and to cafe manager Tori Johnson.
It has been reported that Ms Dawson shielded her pregnant friend from harm.
“Although words cannot describe the events of the last few days and the feelings that I have towards the survivors and victims of the Martin Place siege, there are a few things that I would like to say,” Ms Taylor said in a statement released on Friday afternoon.
“Katrina Dawson was the most wonderful person I have ever met. She was my closest friend, a role model and confidant. Her bravery and strength was, and continues to be, a comfort and inspiration for me. She invested every moment of her life in her friends and family, and will be greatly missed by everyone who has known her. My thoughts and sympathy are with her family, whom I have come to know and love.
“I would like to pay tribute to Tori Johnson. Although our acquaintance was forged under the worst imaginable circumstances, I feel privileged to have known you and I will always remember you as a kind, considerate, level-headed and courageous person. It was clear to me how much you loved your family, and how much compassion you had for everyone you met. I am grateful that you were with me throughout our ordeal.
“To the other hostages, thank you for the support and consideration that you gave to me throughout our time together. I will always be grateful to you.
“Thank you to the police, ambulance staff and health professionals at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, who helped us throughout 15 and 16 December and afterwards.
“It is difficult to be positive at a time like this, but there are two things which provide comfort to me.
“The first is the overwhelming display of public support for everyone involved in this crisis, including me. My own visit to the Memorial at Martin Place gave me a strength for the coming weeks which I thought that I might not have, as have the messages and kindnesses that have been sent to me by everyone I know and many people I don’t. It is good to know that none of us is alone.
“Finally, my husband and I have been told that our unborn baby is healthy and unharmed by this crisis. If all goes well, and there is no reason to think that it won’t, we will give birth to a precious baby in a few months. Although it is an emotional time, we are trying to focus on keeping ourselves healthy so that can occur.
“I thank members of the media for their respect of our privacy in this difficult time, and ask that you continue to do so.’’