A senior NSW police officer in charge of handling the Lindt Siege has revealed she was following a direction from a superior when she went home at 10pm while Man Monis and his hostages were still inside the café.
Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn told the Lindt Siege Inquest that Commissioner Andrew Scipione had told her to go home but she said she had remained ‘acutely interested’ in what was going on.
Messages between Deputy Commissioner Burn and Commissioner Scipione revealed the pair discussing the need to source new equipment after the hostage situation was resolved before the senior officer offered a cheery sign off.
“See you bright and early in the morning,” Commissioner Scipione wrote.
By the next morning, three people were dead.
The explosive text messages from the chief of NSW Police to his deputy about equipment issues in the critical final hours of the fatal Sydney Lindt Cafe siege were revealed to Catherine Burn's 'shock'
Details of the text, sent by Commissioner Andrew Scipione to deputy Cath Burn, came to light on Tuesday in a shock development at an inquest into the December 2014 stand-off.
- Siege victim Katrina Dawson suffered at least seven gunshot wounds
- Lindt Cafe manager's tragic final texts to loved ones revealed
The text, which Ms Burn said she received and converted to an email that she sent to herself at 10.37pm on the night of the siege, centres on improving police equipment.
"Catherine, I have had a quick chance to talk to the SSG [Specialist Services Group] team that were forward tonight and it has become apparent that we should be preparing a fresh bid for new equipment that is necessary," the text, read aloud by Ms Burn to the inquest, said.
"Can you please make sure we get some advice from Mal as to new electronic images/audio/intelligence equipment that we may need for the future.
"I will need this soon in order to make sure we are appropriately prepared for the future. I'm happy to discuss in the morning.
Thanks again for your hard work today, see you bright and early in the morning. Regards, Andrew."
The email only came to light last night.
Boulten: "Did you say anything to set aspirational timelines for the resolution of the siege?"— Samantha Brett (@samanthabrett) August 16, 2016
Burn: "I don't believe so." @7NewsSydney
2/2 Boulten: "You don't think it was necessary?"— Samantha Brett (@samanthabrett) August 16, 2016
Burn: "That is not a decision I could have made." @7NewsSydney
"It was a bit of a shock," Ms Burn said .
During the inquest Ms Burn was asked if she said anything to set aspirational timelines for the resolution of the siege?
“I don’t believe so,” she responded.
“You don't think it was necessary?"
"That is not a decision I could have made,” she replied.
The inquest continues in Sydney.
'Let's move to have it pulled' - Police Commissioner's rush to have video pulled
Shortly before midnight on the night of the deadly Lindt cafe siege, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione emailed several senior police to take down a YouTube video posted by one of the hostages saying "the police were doing nothing".
The clip was uploaded by hostage Marcia Mikhael at the direction of gunman Man Haron Monis, a coronial inquest into the Sydney stand-off has heard.
"Let's move to have it pulled down from YouTube as soon as possible. I'll leave it to you and others," Mr Scipione said in his December 15 email, the inquest was told on Monday.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy, who was among the few officers to receive the email, said it was the only documented request he received from Mr Scipione during the 17-hour siege.
Commander Mark Jenkins and a police public relations officer were also included in the email, to which Mr Jenkins replied "onto it" minutes later.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Jason Downing, put to Mr Loy that pulling the video down was an operational decision that could have potentially frustrated gunman Man Haron Monis and have possible consequences for hostages.
"Did it strike you as unusual that the police commissioner was making the request?" Mr Downing asked.
Mr Loy agreed the decision was best left to Mr Jenkins but said he didn't consider that Mr Scipione was intruding.
"At the time I didn't make the connection that the commissioner would have been interfering," Mr Loy told the inquest.
Later on Monday, Mr Loy said he didn't view the email as a direction from Mr Scipione, adding that moves were already afoot to take the video down.
Mr Loy was managing the emergency response to the Martin Place stand-off, and acting as a conduit between the police operations commander and State Crisis Centre, but told the coroner he played no strategic or operational role.
Early in the siege, Mr Loy had been told an "emergency action" (EA) would be triggered if Monis starting shooting inside the stronghold, sending police storming into the building.
He was never made aware about whether or not this trigger had changed.
Soon after 2am on December 16, Mr Loy received a call from Mr Jenkins, informing him that Monis had fired his sawn-off shotgun as a group of hostages escaped.
Phillip Boulton SC, counsel for the family of slain hostage Katrina Dawson, asked Mr Loy if he thought it was appropriate to send officers inside at that point.
"You didn't say to him (Mr Jenkins) 'You think it's time?', or 'S*** we better do something', or something like that?" Mr Boulton put to the witness.
"No, that wasn't said, no," Mr Loy said.
Mr Loy, Mr Scipione and Deputy Commissioner Cath Burn have all denied giving any key operational guidance, directions or advice during the stand-off.
NSW Coroner Michael Barnes is trying to find out whether any of the trio inappropriately intruded - or failed to interfere when they ought to have - during the siege.