Living in a digital age, it’s rare not to see footage of major incidents online almost as soon as they’ve happened – and it was no different for the Sydney stabbing horror on Tuesday. Several bystanders and reporters managed to capture the moment a man began jumping on top of cars, allegedly brandishing a knife and shouting “Allahu Akbar” before being tackled down by a group of heroes.
However, while the videos help Aussies across the world to truly understand what happened on their doorstep, Waleed Aly has now claimed broadcasting clips like it shouldn’t be allowed. In fact, he said they could leave many people traumatised.
Speaking on Tuesday night’s The Project, the hosts of the show discussed the impressive amount of videos that were shared online – showing the huge power of the internet. However, Waleed claimed they’ll do more harm than good.
“It must obviously help with investigations and stuff, but seeing it all unfold… I don’t know… I feel like we are being traumatised by watching it. I’m not sure that trauma helps us in any way,” he admitted.
His co-hosts were left momentarily speechless, with Carrie half nodding while the others didn’t comment on their thoughts either way. Meanwhile, the hosts also praised the heroes who stepped in to chase down the alleged knifeman, using chairs and a milk crate to keep him trapped until police could intervene.
Waleed admitted he wouldn’t have been able to step in himself, adding: “I tried to imagine myself in it and I don’t think there is any chance of me approaching, I reckon… You don’t know until you’re in [the situation] but I can’t imagine myself doing it.”
It comes after Clarence Street and the surrounding area in the CBD was completely shut down on Tuesday afternoon after a woman’s body was found in a unit nearby, just moments after a man – named as 21-year-old Mert Ney – was arrested amid reports he was carrying a butcher’s knife in the street. He was also accused of stabbing another woman in the back, who was later taken to hospital.
However, Paul O’Shaughnessy, Luke O’Shaughnessy, Lee Cuthbert and Alex Roberts all rushed to stop the alleged knifeman in his tracks and managed to tackle him down and pin him to the ground using a milk crate and chairs. They have since recalled the moment they jumped into action on camera, in an interview with multiple reporters.
Paul admitted it was his brother Luke who first saw the alleged knifeman, who was wearing a blood-soaked top, jump onto a car and begin shouting around 2pm. He told reporters, in a video shared by 7 News: “We were like ‘wow, what’s going on here’.”
“So immediately, we just got the troops and said, ‘Right, let’s go and see if we can help’,” he said, before adding: “Obviously, he’s wielding a knife. I don’t know whether it’s an instinct thing or what, but we was like, ‘Right, we’ve just got to try and restrain this guy from doing any more’.”
Paul went on: “My brother, he was the hero. He got a grip of him, along with another guy we don’t know, and put a crate on his head. He was just mumbling religious things.”
While he admitted he was feeling “very rattled”, he shared his pride in his brother’s quick thinking and subsequent actions. Now, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has praised the heroic efforts, telling reporters in a televised press conference that the men were “heroes of the highest order”.
He went on to say they had searched the alleged attacker and his home, and found information on a thumb drive “about other crimes of mass casualties and mass deaths around the world”.
“Information was found on him that would suggest he had some ideologies related to terrorism, but he has no links to terrorism … he has no apparent links to terror organisations,” Fuller added.