The storming of Lindt Cafe through the ‘lift lobby’
By Mary W Maxwell
A reader named Ben paid me this compliment in the Comments to my November 2, 2016 article entitled “Lindt Café Inquest, Part 33: The Three Doors.”
“Mary, you are always thinking of angles that would not have occurred to me. You leave no stone unturned. I like your tendency to be cautious in your posts. Spreading disinformation can be quite harmful and you seem to be acutely aware of that.”
Oopsies. It seems my depiction of the Café doors was a bit too fanciful. I now must offer some corrections. The new data has galvanized me.
First, a very minor correction. I described the French doors (so-called because of glass panes in them) as having only a bolt at the top. That is the bolt that hostage Jaien Bay said on a video interview by MSM that she pulled down in order to escape at 4.30 (with Elly Chen, her fellow waitress) during the December 15, 2014 siege. The large metal bolt sticks into the top of the doorframe.
Yesterday, when I was in Sydney for Amirah Droudis’ sentencing, I visited the Café to check on the French doors. Was I right to say it has only one bolt on each door at the top? Yes. (There is also a bolt at the bottom, but no matching hole in the marble floor to receive it, so valueless as a lock.)
The Jordan Library
OK, so no shame on me there. Now I go out into the lift lobby to check on the tenant opposite the café. I had creatively named that tenant as “Giuseppe the Tailor, in my November 2 Gumshoe article.
Quel surprise. The tenant is a law chambers with a set of French doors that you can easily see through. I saw books all over the walls. Then I noted the name “Jordan Library.”
Whew! The police were admittedly stationed in there during the siege. They said so in one of the first Inquest hearings I attended. They said the library is on Elizabeth St. Sure, its main door may be on Elizabeth St (a street parallel to Philip St), but a side door of that library is right there smack dab in “our” lift lobby.
So what’s all the nonsense about snipers hoping to shoot Monis from upstairs in the Westpac building? Any sniper worth his/her salt could have operated from Giuseppe’s, oops I mean the Jordan Library.
Also, please recall that at 2.03am on December 16, 2014 – for no apparent provocation – six hostages ran to safety out the easy-to-open French doors. Monis chased after them by going into the lift lobby and firing a shot over their heads.
Did the cops waiting in the library not see him? Are they blind?
Is the whole story false, as to Monis’ warning shot?
Everything You Wanted To Know about the Lift Lobby But Didn’t Think To Ask
For the sake of discussing every aspect of the lift lobby, let’s look at a photo.
As you gaze forward in this lift lobby you see 3 lifts, one of which – top right – is open. At your back is the glass door to Martin Place (not shown). On your right are two green pillars. Between them is the set of glass doors to Jordan Library. Please also look beyond the further green pillar on the right, to see a metal door.
Now cast your eyes to the left side of this photo. The top green pillar partially obstructs your view of the “corresponding” metal door (I am suggesting that the two sides of this lift lobby are twinned.) Next, between the pillars you see what I have been calling the French doors that lead into the Lindt Café. I think I can see a waitress in there. I’m assuming this picture was taken during the siege, from the CCTV camera in the ceiling.
And now, on the nearer side of the French doors, we see a cop, possibly using the green pillar to conceal himself from Monis.
I want to mention that silly metal door (near the left elevator) just to eliminate it as meaningful to the siege story. When I inspected it yesterday, I saw that it’s a bluff door. From inside the café you can see that it has been gyprocked up.
Naturally the Lindt business needs a lot of space for coffee machines, etc. Of course it may be that on the day of the siege it had not yet been blocked, but frankly I consider it irrelevant.
The Stairs to the Toilet
And now to a different matter which has also got my goat. In an earlier Gumshoe article, I said that I had been wondering why the female hostages, who were allowed to go up a flight of stairs in the café to use the toilet, did not escape into the offices of other tenants.
Months ago I walked up those stairs and saw that there is no articulation to any other tenant premises. The staircase is a dead end. I did notice something else up there, but did not consider it worth discussing at the time.
It is a small office room, with a double door. Probably it is where the employees leave their personal belongings during the day. If so, they must all have a key to it.
I did not try the double door to that office, months ago, but I could see through a slit between the two doors that there were desks in there. It seemed to me at the time that if any of the girls hid in there, the gunman could have shot his way in and killed them.
But when I looked at the stairs again yesterday, I had the thought that if Monis went upstairs to chase after missing hostages he’d be required to leave others downstairs “unguarded” in the café. They would surely have escaped!
Did the hostages have the brains to figure out that it would be safe, for that reason, to barricade themselves in that office? Two girls were pregnant (Harriet and Julie), yet neither escaped till 17 hours after the siege began. Weren’t they desperate for any mode of saving their baby’s life?
That’s all I will say about “the stairs problem.”
Oh wait. Pardon me for being rude but if at any time on December 15 Monis had received “the call of nature,” he would have had to go downstairs to the men’s loo, abandoning his guarding of 18 hostages.
Recapping the Corrections
I have more to say about doors, including a correction of my theory about the “fly-out door” used by Paolo Vassalo to escape at 3.37pm. But Dee McLachlan is going to deal with that in a separate article.
For now I recap what was said above:
- The French door has only one workable lock – at the top.
- The lift foyer has what looks like another metal door into café but it has been blocked off inside by gyprock.
- The lift foyer has a tenant, not engaging in sartorial pursuits but in law books. (It is part of a law chambers.)
- Amazingly, the Inquest has noted that NSW police stationed themselves here during the siege “in the Jordan Library.”
- The stairway up to ladies’ toilet leads also to a small locked office with a double door and a slit between the doors allows partial viewing into it. (You can see desks.)
- To have chased the girls up there would have cost Monis the control of all other hostages.
In sum, but now I am only offering my opinion: the use of the Jordan Library by police undermines the whole story of Monis’s fearsomeness.
It makes hay of the idea that those ever-so-dedicated snipers in the Westpac building wanted to shoot Monis, but were prevented by such things as the thickness of window glass.
It makes a joke of the police statement that they did not know (upon hearing a noise at 2.06am) that it was Monis firing a warning shot. “It may have been a door slamming.”
The entire story – and sorry to say the entire Inquest “investigation” of it — is now starting to anger me.
Today, December 1, 2016, I claim the Lindt Café siege had to have been an inside job. I now speculate that loads of people were in on the deal.
Come on, cops, hostages, politicians, and lawyers, I have just accused you of something dreadful. Take me on. Show up my ignorance and my recklessness.
I’ll be waiting. You can contact me through Gumshoe or at my email address below.
— Mary W Maxwell is in a fury. Calm her down, or stir her up further, at: email@example.com