Home Siege Lindt Café Inquest, Part 33: The Three Doors

Lindt Café Inquest, Part 33: The Three Doors


lindt-cafeMain door in middle. Philip Street on your left. The black doors are near girl in white jersey. On right, after 4th window, alcove, steps up to firewell.

by Mary W Maxwell

On December 15, 2014, as soon as I heard about the siege in Sydney – with no details such as the identity of Monis – I assumed it was a staged affair. But I certainly did not assume that any hostages or low-level police were “in on the joke.”

I do now.

A central aspect of the official story is that Monis was able to keep 18 people under his control on the basis that he threatened to shoot them. Granted, I myself may have gone to pieces if faced with such a scare, I don’t know. But 18 is a large number of people, and 16 hours is a long time to control them. Fact: there were three easy-to-use exits.

To state my new thesis: the siege story is unbelievable for two reasons related to doors. One, the hostages were able to escape; they were not physically “locked up.” Two, the police could have entered the French doors after Elly Chen opened them at 4.30pm. And they could have entered the main door with a swipe card (which I allege they were in possession of).

The Location of the Lindt Café

I will describe the three doors, based partly on my own “field research.”

Lindt Café is smack on the corner of two streets, Philip Street and Martin Place. There is an unusual feature of Martin Place; it slopes dramatically. A street on a hill.

Please pretend you have just had your coffee as a customer in the Lindt Café, and you walk out the main door. Your feet are on Philip St. Look to your right.

Go on down that way for a minute, on Philip Street. Hugging the Lindt Café building, on your right, you would pass a few of its windows, but you can’t see much through them as they are covered (permanently, I think) with big advertisements for chocolate candy.


The Fire Exit, aka the Flying-out Door

Soon you come to two black doors.  The first one I will call the Flying-out door. If you were able to pass through that door you’d be in the Lindt Café, but only in the candy-sales area. (You could proceed further in, to get to the tables-and-chairs area.)

The other black door, immediately after that black door, is a double-door fire exit. It’s operated from inside by pressing a bar – the standard type of legally mandated fire exit.

I now realize I made a mistake in saying, previously, that Paolo Vassalo exited from the “fire door.” I now think that fire door serves only the upstairs occupants of the building!  Having now watched Channel 9’s footage of the siege, I see that Paolo “flew out” the first black door, which is why I am calling it the flying-out door.

On Channel Nine’s video we see him escaping, at around 3.30pm, with real force!

He literally bumps into cops who are standing outside the fire door. Note: the fire door and the Fly-out door are adjacent to each other, both are black. The architect probably did it that way so the Flying-out door can act as the Lindt’s private goods-delivery door, in addition to being a fire escape.

I Retract My Claim

By way of apology, I now say that when I looked at the video a week ago, and saw cops standing there, I mentioned that cops were huddled outside a door that “they could easily have entered.” The door was indeed standing open. (On the video you can actually read the words on the inside of the fire door “Do not obstruct.”).

I  WRONGLY deduced that cops were able to simply enter that door and find themselves in the Lindt Café. Had they entered it, they would (I think) have found themselves at the bottom of stairs that lead up to higher floors, unrelated to Lindt. So it was never a way to get in and neutralize hostage-taker Monis.

I now ask: could they have entered the fly-out door? Possibly, but only if it was standing open. After Paolo flies out of there it appears (on video) to slam shut. I don’t know that it locked when he ran away, but because of theft, I assume Lindt Café would not leave such a door routinely unlocked.

Anyway, persons inside the café, including me on the day I went there (in September, 2016), could use that black door to “escape.”  It’s not locked from inside.

The proof of the pudding is that one employee, Paolo Vassalo, did make his way out to Philip Street by that means. Oddly, he’s the only one of the total of 12 escaping hostages who used that door.

The Main Entrance

Now reverse your trip: walk back to the main door, by hugging the café building, this time with it on your left. You’re headed for the glass door at corner of Philip St and Martin Place (which automatically slides open). Before you actually go in, I ask you to peek down Martin Place, so you will understand that it is very sloping.

OK, now go in. A waitress will seat you.  You order coffee, drink it, and leave. How leave? By those same, main-entrance glass doors. They open magically as you approach them, just like department store doors.

But just before you exit, please glance to your right and see the big green button on the wall. If people are still in the Café after hours, and management locks the door to prevent new customers coming in, anyone inside can press the green button and the doors will magically open.

During the siege, a total of only two hostages used that green button: John O’Brien (the 82 year-old) and Stefan Balafoutis (a lawyer).  They went out together at 3.30pm, seconds before Paolo flew out. (Possibly he was imitating their successful get-away.)

It strikes me that Paolo was never in the loop, by the way. And according to Officer A’s testimony on July 25, 2016, Paolo said “You gotta go in. He’s going to kill everybody in there.” (For the record: I also feel sure Officer A is “innocent.”)

Walking Down Martin Place

So out you go, out the main door. Again, your feet are on Philip Street — but even the shortest turn to your left will cause you to be on the sloping Martin Place. Down the slope you walk now.

You are hugging the Café building on your left. You can count several windows.  Can you see through them to gawk at the customers inside? Not easily, because they are high up. The deeper you walk down Martin Place, the higher those windows get. (Hostages hung a banner in those windows.)

OK. After four windows you come to a large alcove that includes a side-entrance to the Café. Or, should I say, you come to an entrance to all the offices in that building. A big, formal entry, typical of office buildings.

You need to walk up a few stone steps, and then you enter sliding glass doors, by the magic method to access the foyer.

(As will be mentioned later, police Team Charlie stormed in here at 2.15am. It is confusing but they call this the red door. There is nothing red about it, it’s a code by which cops indicate the four side of any offender’s stronghold as “red, green, white, and black.”)

The So-Called Red Door or Firewell, with French Doors

You are now in the lobby. Some call it the lift lobby, as there are two large elevators there. My guess is that the only Lindt customers who are likely to enter the Café from this area (rather than the main entrance) are ones who work on higher floors of that building. Many are lawyers.

Pretend you are looking straight ahead about to enter the lift (with the stone steps and glass door now behind you.) But then you think, nah, I won’t go up to my office yet; I’ll have coffee. So which way do you turn to enter Lindt Café? Why, left of course.

(I believe, from seeing a video of the lift lobby, that the glass French doors on the left are mimicked by glass door on the right side of the lobby, leading into the premises of another tenant. I didn’t actually notice it the day I was there. For the moment, pretend that “Giuseppe the Tailor” is in there.)

You walk into Lindt. To do so, you need not turn any handle. Nor is anything going to slide magically open for you. Rather, it is a pair of swinging doors and you just push either one. I call them French doors as they have several panes of glass in them.

Once again, you drink coffee. (Sorry, that’s a lot of coffee.) And now you want to leave. Easy. All I did to leave, was lean my shoulder gently on the French door and instantly found myself back out in the lift lobby.

Oh, but since there’s no handle, how does management lock it at night? As far as I could tell, there is only a large brass slip lock at the top of the door, which employees can push up into the frame of the door to prevent it swinging open.

Two waitresses used this door to escape at 4.30 pm: Elly Chen and Jaein Bay, nicknamed April. They say they did pull that slip lock down, and then ran out to Martin Place. (Note: a CCTV camera exists in the ceiling of that firewell, so there must be a record of their escape.)

Much later, in the wee hours — at 2.03am — more hostages escaped through those French doors. Namely, Jarrod Morton-Hoffman, Joel Herat, Julie Taylor, Harriet Denny, Viswakanth Ankireddy, Puspendhu Ghosh, and Fiona Ma.

monis-firesThe escape at 2.03 am

(That totals 12 escapees, leaving only six inside, two of whom died. The four who survived are: Selina Win Pe, Louisa Hope and her mother Robyn Hope, and Marcia Mikhael.)

What about a Swipe Card To Enter the Three Doors?

I have now finished talking about modes of escape. The other topic is : which entries could police have used to capture Monis?

I am not sure about the black fly-out door. It appears (from videos) to have a metal handle on the outside, and therefore probably a key-operated lock, no electronic stuff.  If you are in Sydney please check and I will correct that if I’m wrong.

I do make the safe guess that the Main Entrance has a swipe card, for the simple reason that it has the green button, which is electronic in nature. I also venture to guess that Paul Vassalo would have normally carried the swipe card for that door in his wallet.

He arrived at the Café before 7am each day, to receive trays of muffins delivered by bakeries. How would he get in, if the manager happened to be late? Swipe cards are standard today.

Also Jarrod, a waiter, said in a reenactment on TV, that during the siege he went into the manager’s office and took a swipe card, with the idea maybe of pushing it under a door so police could use it. He never got around to doing that, however.

When he escaped at 2.03am, I suppose he could have handed it over but possibly he was too distressed to remember it.

It worries me that since Paolo Vassalo got out at 3.30pm (less than 6 hours into the 16 hour siege) police could have discussed swipe cards with him. They kept Paolo in their care (at hospital) till 7pm.

I feel the public must demand an explanation from police as to why this man, who knew the inside of the café intimately, did not provide a breakthrough in the siege by giving them his swipe card, and/or advise them about other ingresses.

As it finally happened, one team of police, known as Alpha, did storm in through the main entrance, after Tori Johnson was killed at 2.13am or so.

I believe they should have used a swipe card. Instead, they “breached” the glass door. I am stuck with the conclusion that this dramatic entry was for show, not for practical necessity. Correct me if I’m wrong.

The Firewell and “the Tailor Shop”

Now back to the Lift Lobby. Unfortunately, the Inquest usually refers to it as “the firewell.” No problem, just remember that it has nothing to do with the fire exit on Philip St (labeled by me as the flyout door).  This one, involving French doors, is on Martin Place.

Let’s talk about Giuseppe the Tailor, who (fictionally) occupies a shop that you can enter from the lift lobby. The police sketch of the lobby indicates that “Giuseppe’s” shop has French doors, too. I mean it’s not a fiction that someone works in there; I am trying to make it visual with a name.

I argue that during the day the police could have stationed themselves in the tailor shop. What was stopping them? At Giuseppe’s they would have been able to decide when to rush into the café and save the people.

(I acknowledge the fact that individual cops are not allowed to use initiative. I envision the boss being there, telling them when to hop to it.)

Getting Out

When Elly and April escaped at 3.30pm, they ran through this lift lobby. I assume that since it was business hours, they did not encounter a locked glass door. If they did, they would probably have realized that a sort of green button (actually it’s black) was available. Since they were employees of the café, they must have been told about such things.

Jarrod, however, shows us, in a TV reenactment, that when he led a group of several hostages out this firewell at 2.03am – with Monis coming after them and firing a warning shot upwards – he, Jarrod, did encounter a locked glass door. (I mean the outer one, after he traversed the French doors).

He tried to pry it open with his fingers, but then used the black button to get out, with 5 others. Fiona Ma exited a bit later. (I don’t know why she delayed.)

Getting In

As far as I can see on a video that was played in court, Team Charlie did not have to do any breaching to get through the firewell’s sliding glass door at 2.13am.  Thus I postulate that they had a swipe card and used it. (Recall that it was locked a few minutes earlier when Jarrod black-buttoned his way out.)

Jarrod does not mention that he was the source of the swipe card, so it is my belief that the police had one.  Don’t police or the Fire Department have such cards for every building?

The video of Team Charlie’s storming in through the firewell did not entail any breaching of the French doors. They sure made noise with flash bangs, but I’m guessing that their actual march into the Café was unimpeded.

If so, why didn’t their boss arrange for them to do it much earlier? They could have waltzed over from Giuseppe’s, after 4.30pm.

Surprisingly, even when Monis gave his first warning shot at 2.03am, the police declined to burst in. Team Charlie was stationed on Martin Place, down the hill towards Elizabeth St.

Team Alpha, with Shieldie, waited for action down in the vehicle bay on Philip St, a short way past the fly-out door.

I supposed I will be hated for saying that the drama was not “real,” but if you can give me a better interpretation of the egresses and ingresses, please do.

If you can’t, then God help us all.

Here is the Channel 9 video. See Paolo fly out at 1.38 minutes:

Mary W Maxwell has just completed a book entitled “Inquest.”


Photo credit: resources2.news.com.au


  1. The fact that Tony Abbott would not speak by phone to Mr Monis to have the hostages released speaks volumes. Someone in authority appears to have wanted some deaths. Throughout we are told several times that negotiators were busy, but I have seen nowhere any communications between negotiators and the hostage taker or even with the hostages.

    One of the news people even insinuated that this should not be looked on as an isolated event in Australian life, for the future.

    • https://crimesofempire.com/2014/12/17/multiple-smoking-guns-expose-sydney-siege-as-a-big-lie/

      A reader has just privately sent me the above link as he did not want to post disinformation. I have now read it and cannot particularly fault it. Still, it seems odd to me that any amateur journo could publish so much evidence against the siege – within 24 hours of the event.

      I’ve expressed much doubt at Gumshoe about the numerous videos that show the Marathon bombing to be a hoax. While I myself feel 100% certain that the Marathon thing was a set-up, I got most of that from the court case (search gumshoe for “Cheryl Dean”).

      Note: the FBI leader Deslauriers quit a few months after the Marathon. Likewise, NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione quit soon after the “siege.”

      Anyway re the above link, I somewhat suspect that as soon as a psy-op takes place – e.g. the siege, or the Marathon, or dozens of others – some “amateurs” are poised to come in quickly to spread doubt. A little too quickly in my opinion. I think they are on the payroll. If their Youtube items get boosted by being early, other investigators who may have something worthwhile to say will only get a few hits.

      • Mary, you are always thinking of angles that would not have occurred to me. It’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to this site. You are very detail oriented and leave no stone unturned. I like your tendency to be cautious in your posts. Spreading disinformation can be quite harmful in many ways and you seem to be acutely aware of that.

  2. Interestly Tim Roy Ex SAS in a recent interview on Pedos Down Under Radio #1 on Youtube said to Fiona Barnett that the SAS could have been used, and would have brought this to an end very quickly with only Monis loosing his life

    • And the SAS have been noted as doing exercises around the CBS for years. Why? If they are not to be indulged with some real stuff.
      One wonders if the nsw police were set up to fail?

        • My feeling is that the “Five Eyes +” are linked in more ways than one (so to speak!) All these incidents have the same finger of contrivance and counterfeit to them, not to mention timing. Note also signature ‘elimination’ of assigned ‘terrorist’, even if unnecessary, has become the unwritten norm. If only we knew the relatively small cohort that is directing this thing, but clearly it has clout and co-operation in all of the states affected, and that should worry all of us. Hopefully all is not yet lost.

  3. Readers of this may be interested in the following and similar: http://veaterecosan.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=paris These events, I believe, have to be seen as local examples of an internationally coordinated whole, with a singular transparent purpose, centred on activity in the Middle East. As a result of the intervention of Russia, this has not exactly gone according to plan but is proceeding nevertheless. So the “ISIS” fabrication has now morphed into the contrived regenerated “Russian threat” and potential “Cold (or Hot!) War” that is echoed from all the US satellites and acolytes.

    • Hello, Mr Veater. I clicked on your blogspot and chose one arricle to read — the London 7-7 bombing. You sure keep your facts clear and no nonsense. I had never known this bit that you reported about the relevant inquest:

      “The fact that there has never been a full Public Inquiry into this one of the most serious terrorist incidents the country has ever known and that the inquest held in 2010/11 under Lady Justice Hallett was a shambles of a closed affair. Rather amazingly the inquest did not confirm that Hussain, Khan, Lindsay, or Tanweer died and puts the number of dead at 52. Is this official and inadvertent recognition that no suicide bombers were present or indeed perished on 7 July, 2005? (9)”

      As an admirer of the English nation I am applalled at the way things are going up there. I’ve even heard that they might privatize the police. We’d better exhume Sir Edward Coke and put him to work. Or Tom Paine (who I took to be a Yank when I was growing up, but who is as English as afternoon tea).

      Glad your daughter survived the 7-7 event.

      • Thanks for this response Mary. I like your assessment of poor old Thom Paine – aptly named I think, as he was certainly a ‘pain’ to the British establishment at the time and of course hounded out of the country, convicted in absentia of treason, a capital offence. His location and writings are synonymous with both the American and French Revolutions, from which neither have recovered! He managed to survive ‘the terror’ (just) and returned to the US – France and America now being united by a common foe – where he died in 1809, not it should be said a very popular hero, having upset the prevailing Christian ethos with his deist views. Sorry to replicate what no doubt you are fully aware but it nice to be reminded of our heroes sometimes don’t you think?
        “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection. … The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. … If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

        • Your comment sent me to amazon — well, actually I go to abebooks.com — where Keene’s book “Tom Paine — a Political Life” is selling for one dollar. That’s a pity, it is a GREAT book.

          Wow what a quote:
          “If there must be trouble let it be in my day….” Yay trouble!
          BRING IT ON.

  4. Australia’s aristocracy has disarmed the population/outlawed self-defence because it fears an overthrow.The manoeuvre has been carried out on the basis of a purported terrorist threat. Any report that detracts from either matter should be taken as counter-intelligence.

  5. I would explain the behaviour of the siege “victims” on the basis that a disarmed society is one that’s been taught that any form of self-preservation is taboo. If you’ve never made any sort of consciensious stand against said engineering( and lets face it, that’s more common than not) you’re bound to think & act like a goose when the shit hits the fan.

    • I think you are absolutely right Berry. I was (three of us were) held at gunpoint in the Botswana wilds in the middle of the night when filming lions 25 plus years ago. 20 armed military (and drunk) personnel thought we were poachers. And they had permission to shoot poachers on sight.
      We were driven away and they had guns pointing at us for about an hour. I recall us:
      1. Trying to explain humbly who were that we were filmmakers. (we had left the permit at camp)
      2. After they became more aggressive, we tried being defiant and challenged them and their authority. That didn’t work after some arguing.
      3. I was thinking of optional escape constantly — weighing up whether we had a better chance with them or the lions.
      4. Then we tried to BEFRIEND them. That helped.
      5. Then we offered to help them, that we were on the same side (against poachers) etc…
      6. The ranger who was with us, was trying to work out how to secretly alert someone on the CB radio…

      As we were driven away – I remember sitting in the back of the land rover with a gun pointing at my chest. I politely asked the man – and moved the nozzle of the gun away.
      When we finally arrived back at camp we were able to produce the permit. And they put their guns away.
      We knew that a few months earlier a poaching unit had shot a tourist by mistake – then dressed the poor guy in combat clothes. But the coroner did find that the shirt had no holes … whereas the chest had several bullet holes.
      No one went to jail.

      My point: the three of us were faced with 20 armed trigger happy soldiers… and we were independently and actively trying various methods to alleviate our predicament.

      In the café—there was one guy and a heap of hostages. I really think we have been dumbed down in being able to look after ourselves in the nanny state.
      I do know that I would have tried everything over the hours… from befriending Monis as a survival tactic to get the better of him etc.

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