14 Apr 2024

Bondi stabbing: Man who fought off attacker with bollard says he 'really wanted to stop him'

11:12 pm on 14 April 2024
A man with a bollard faces off against a man armed with a knife at Bondi Westfield in Sydney.

Damien Geurot used a shopping centre bollard to try to stop knifeman Joel Cauchi from killing more people. Photo: Screenshot

The man who faced down a murderer with a shopping centre bollard has described looking into the "empty eyes" of the killer.

Joel Cauchi, 40, killed six people and seriously injured many more during a stabbing rampage at Westfield Bondi Junction in Sydney on Saturday.

The Queensland man was shot dead by police, who have since said he had known mental health issues.

Videos shot inside the mall showed some people running in terror from Cauchi, while others tried to stop his attack.

One video showed a man blocking the top of an escalator, brandishing a bollard at Cauchi as he slowly approached.

7News has identified the man with a bollard as Damien Geurot, who was heading to the gym with his friend Silas Despreaux when the attack unfolded.

Geurot told 7News the pair heard someone screaming "there's a man stabbing people". They ran to see what was happening before catching sight of Cauchi.

That was when they grabbed the bollard, Geurot said.

"We just saw him coming ... we were thinking, 'We need to try and stop him'."

Cauchi tried to come up the escalator and Geurot fended him off with the bollard.

He said when he came face-to-face with the killer, he was looking into "empty eyes".

Cauchi "wasn't there", Geurot told 7News.

"We tried to throw the bollard. We really wanted to stop him."

NSW Police have identified Queensland man Joel Cauchi as the attacker who stabbed multiple people at Sydney's Westfield Bondi Junction on 13 April, 2024.

Joel Cauchi had been diagnosed with a mental illness when he was 17. He had recently moved to Sydney. Photo: Supplied / Facebook

Geurot then helped to lead police inspector Amy Scott towards the attacker and she shot him dead.

Geurot told 7News he was not a hero and Scott deserved that title instead.

"We just did what we did," he said, referring to himself and Despreaux.

Five of the six stabbing victims had been identified as of Sunday night.

They were new mum Ashlee Good, security guard Faraz Ahmed Tahir, architect and mum of two Jade Young, artist and designer Pikria Darchia, and young e-commerce assistant Dawn Singleton.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (C) stands with New South Wales Premier Chris Minns (4th R) and other officials as they prepare to leave flowers outside the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping mall in Sydney on April 14, 2024, the day after a 40-year-old knifeman with mental illness roamed the packed shopping centre killing six people and seriously wounding a dozen others. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese, along with other officials, lays flowers outside Westfield Bondi Junction on Sunday. Photo: AFP/David Gray

Good's nine-month-old daughter, who was stabbed alongside her, remained in hospital on Sunday night after undergoing surgery. Her family said she was doing well.

Geurot told 7News he saw people being stabbed in front of him, including one girl on a balcony.

"She was just walking, she didn't do anything."

Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese acknowledged the everyday people - like Geurot - who had tried to stop Cauchi.

"We ... see the footage of ordinary Australians putting themselves in harm's way in order to help their fellow citizens," he said.

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