Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis was reported to the National Security Hotline five years before he held a cafe full of staff and customers hostage under the cloak of terror, an inquest has heard.
He was reported by the family of his girlfriend who was “madly in love” with him, the inquest heard, but the family took the action over his secrecy, the ABC reported.
A cousin of a girlfriend of Monis told the coroner the future gunman was secretive with the family and always refused to have his photo taken even at Christmas.
His former partner could not be identified for legal reasons, according to Sky News.
She said he appeared to have money and was “very generous” but vague about where he worked.
He told the family he was an accountant and said he worked in the city, but would not say where.
The witness said her cousin was his mouthpiece and would step in when she thought the family was not respecting his privacy.
“We had no doubt my cousin was madly in love with this man,” she told the court.
“He was rarely forthcoming with any direct or detailed answers.
“We knew there was something wrong.”
The witness said in 2010 the family phoned the National Security Hotline and were advised Monis “wasn’t a threat”.
“We couldn’t put our finger on what all the hiding was,” she said.
On December 15, 2014, Monis began holding hostages at the Sydney Lindt Cafe at Martin Place. The siege lasted 17 hours and caused three deaths including his own.
According to a report on the siege concluded in January, ASIO had decided Monis was not a threat after an investigation in 2008-09, but he was “the subject of Joint Counter Terrorism Team discussions on numerous occasions between 2008 and 2014”, the report said.
In 2014 the hotline took a total of 18 calls about Monis, all related to “offensive” material on his Facebook page, the report said.
The inquest continues.
– with ABC