15 Apr 2024

Joel Cauchi was a 'tormented soul' says his tearful father Andrew after Bondi Junction stabbing

10:28 pm on 15 April 2024
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.

Bondi Junction killer Joel Cauchi. Photo: Supplied / Facebook

By Emily Baker, Peter McCutcheon, and Cindy Wockner, ABC News

The father of Bondi Junction killer Joel Cauchi has tearfully apologised for the actions of his "tormented" son, saying he too would have shot him dead if he was the police officer responding to the tragedy.

Speaking outside his home in Toowoomba, Queensland, Andrew Cauchi said he was "not really" coping with the aftermath of his 40-year-old son's actions.

Andrew Cauchi's son stabbed six people to death and injured several more at Bondi Junction Westfield on Saturday afternoon.

The incident was still under police investigation and will be subject to a coronial inquest.

"He was a tormented soul, tormented, and frustrated, and I'm sorry that he's done this to your children and this nation," Andrew Cauchi, 76, said through tears.

"There's nothing I can say, there is nothing I can say that will take away the pain that my son has caused."

Cauchi's mother, Michele, said her son had been under the care of doctors for about 18 years while receiving treatment for mental illness.

She said he had lived at home until he was 35, at which point he moved to Brisbane and stopped seeing his regular doctor.

She said he had a loving childhood with lots of friends and they had supported his efforts to finish a degree.

Sydney inspector who shot dead a man stabbing people at Bondi Junction Shopping Centre on 13 April 2024.

Inspector Amy Scott at the scene. Photo: SUPPLIED

'A parent's nightmare'

"This is a parent's absolute nightmare when they have a child with mental illness, that something like this would happen, and my heart goes out to the people my son has hurt," Michele Cauchi said.

"If he was in his right mind he would be absolutely devastated at what he has done, but he obviously was not in his right mind, he had been triggered into some kind of psychosis and lost touch with reality."

Andrew Cauchi and his wife tipped off NSW police that they believed their son was the attacker as they saw the event unfold on social media and television news.

"My wife said 'this looks like Joel' when you saw him on the stairway with his head down, and I said it might look like Joel but I'm not going to say it's Joel," Andrew Cauchi said.

"So I watched and watched, and I watched until 3 o'clock in the morning.

"The police then knocked on my door that night to tell us they believe this is Joel, and I said 'you don't have to believe it, you can know it'."

Andrew Cauchi said he held no ill feelings to Inspector Amy Scott, who killed Joel Cauchi at the scene, because she was "doing her job".

"If I was in her uniform, and this wasn't my son … and he runs at me with a knife, I'd have to do the same thing she did," he said.

"We have no ill feelings towards her because she was doing her job and she did a wonderful job, even though it was my son.

"I mean, how I can stand here and say that she did a wonderful job killing my son, I don't know, but she did her job and she did it well."

(240414) -- SYDNEY, April 14, 2024 (Xinhua) -- A woman lays flowers outside the Westfield Shopping Centre at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Australia, April 14, 2024. One Chinese citizen was killed and another wounded in a mass stabbing attack at a Sydney shopping center, the Chinese Consulate General in Sydney said on Sunday. (Xinhua/Ma Ping) (Photo by MA PING / XINHUA / Xinhua via AFP)

Flowers are laid at the mall following the stabbing attack. Photo: AFP

Fixation with knives

Andrew Cauchi said it was approximately January 2023 when his son moved from Brisbane back to Toowoomba, and did so with a number of knives.

When he took those knives from his son, Joel Cauchi called the police on his father.

"I found these US Army combat knives and I said 'Joel you can stay here as long as you like but you are not going to have these in my house', and so I took them off him, knowing that there was going to be pandemonium, but I was willing to put up with it," Andrew Cauchi said.

"He rang the police saying I stole his knives … I said 'look I am not having these in my home, I have given them to a mate to look after them'."

Andrew Cauchi said Joel Cauchi then drove himself across the state border to the NSW town of Tweed Heads and bought another knife, which he said he did not take.

"I had already taken six and it was hassle enough to take those six," Andrew Cauchi said.

Asked why his son needed knives Andrew Cauchi said he was unsure but his wife had her own theory.

"My wife said it was probably for self-protection," he said, before again lamenting his son's actions through tears..

"I wish I knew what was in his bloody head.

"If I knew what was in his head I would have rung the New South Wales police and said 'please pick my son up and do something about him before something goes wrong'," he said.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7) or text 4202

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: free counselling for 5 to 19 years old, online chat 11am-10.30pm 7days/week or free phone 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 11am-11pm Asian Family Services: 0800 862 342 Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm or text 832 Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm. Languages spoken: Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and English.

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If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

This story was originally published by the ABC.

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