Sydney siege inquest: Monis complained to remaining hostages 'should have shot white shirt man'

Natasha Christian

The gunman responsible for the Sydney siege told hostages he ‘should have shot’ one of the hostages who escaped.

The inquest into the Lindt Café siege continued today with Jarrod Morton-Hoffman taking the stand again.

During his evidence, he explained how Man Monis referred to hostage Stefan Balafoutis as ‘white shirt man’.

Stefan Balafoutis escaped the hostage situation, which angered Man Monis. Photo: AAP

“(Monis) didn’t like him,” Mr Morton-Hoffman said about Mr Balafoutis.

“He showed similar aggression as he had towards Tori (Johnson – who was killed by Monis).”

Mr Balafoutis managed to escape the hostage situation, a move that enraged Monis.

During the inquest Mr Morton-Hoffman said Monis told the remaining hostages: “White shirt always had his eyes open, I should have shot him when I had the chance.”

Counsel assisting Jeremy Gormly told the inquest Monis said he thought Mr Balafoutis was ‘unreasonable’ and that he felt bad for not shooting him.


On Wednesday the inquest heard Man Monis told a lewd joke about the size of his penis as he held hostages inside the Lind Café, an inquest has heard.

Jarrod Morton-Hoffman, 20, one of the staff held hostage told the inquest Monis wanted to go to the toilet but he couldn’t leave the hostages unguarded.

Instead he decided to urinate into a bottle.

An inquest has heard Man Monis told inappropriate jokes to hostages during Sydney siege. Photo: Yahoo7

Mr Morton-Hoffman claimed when Monis was handed a bottle, he made an inappropriate joke.

He said Monis told the hostages the bottle was ‘too small’.

Mr Morton-Hoffman said that by Monis’ tone it was ‘both observation and a joke’.

Jarrod Morton-Hoffman was just 19 when he was held hostage by Man Monis during the Lindt Cafe siege. Photo: 7News

Monis was handed another bottle with a larger neck and the gunman held it under a table while he urinated, Mr Morton-Hoffman said.

He said another café employee, Fiona Ma, emptied the bottle.

Both Mr Moreton-Hoffman and Ms Ma fled from the café minutes before police stormed it in the early hours of December 16, 2014.

This ended the 17-hour siege after Monis shot dead the café manager Tori Johnson.

Barrister Katrina Dawson died after being hit by the fragment of a police bullet.


Mr Morton-Hoffman told the inquest how he thought about locking Monis in a freezer during the Lindt Café siege.

He said Monis told him that he wanted to smoke a cigarette but feared he would set off smoke alarms or activate sprinklers.

“I thought this was an opportunity to lure him into the freezer,” he said.

Morton-Hoffman told the inquest he thought about locking Monis in a freezer.

“The roof is about 2m tall and quite easy to reach. We could possibly convince him to go into freezer where he could Gladwrap the sprinkler in there and we could close the door with him inside.

“We figured if he released rounds (from the) shotgun it would most likely kill him and not go through the door (because it was strong metal).

He said it was also suggested that he blew his smoke into a bottle.

“One of us went and got a bottle for him, and he’s smoked into the bottle.

Mr Morton-Hoffman said he capped the bottle and put it in the sink.

He told police about it later as he feared they would think it was an explosive.


On Tuesday during the inquest Morton-Hoffman has revealed he attempted to pass on coded messages to police about what was happening inside the Lindt Cafe.

Mr Morton-Hoffman - the first hostage to give evidence at the inquest into the December 2014 siege by Man Haron Monis - was not supposed to be at work that day, but had covered a shift for a colleague.

The then-19-year-old would come to play an instrumental part in Monis' plot, making calls to media and police to pass on the gunman's demands.

During one call, played at the inquest on Tuesday, Mr Morton-Hoffman pleads with police to move away from the building.

He was worried someone would die if he "screwed up".

"He's talking to me right now, saying can police go away right now or I'm going to shoot the lady in front of me," he says in the call to police.

He said Monis had "freaked out" after noticing a police officer behind a ballistic shield and pointed his shotgun at hostage Louisa Hope.

Still, even as Monis stood over him during the calls, Morton-Hoffman was trying to pass on coded messages to police.

"He would tell me what to say, but at the same time I was trying to answer questions without him knowing," he said.

"The words themselves were along the lines of what he wanted to say but the emphasis on which word was my way of trying to answer her question."

Jarrod Morton-Hoffman was 19 when he helped hostages escape Sydney siege by calming and distracting gunman Man Haron Monis.

It was also revealed that in a call to police, at 12.56pm, Mr Morton-Hoffman passed on a demand from Monis for a number of bombs to be removed from the cafe.

"He needs it done fast because he has two bombs and he wants them out of the building," he is heard saying.

Asked by counsel assisting the coroner, Jeremy Gormly SC, what he believed Monis was referring to, Morton-Hoffman said: "I believe Monis might have said to me that he wants, he has these two bombs on him but he doesn't want to blow them up and he needs the police to disarm them ... take them out of the building so that we don't die."

It was confirmed after the siege ended there were no bombs.

Mr Morton-Hoffman was eventually stopped from making calls because Monis decided he was too calm.

"He said the media would respond better to someone who was crying and I guess had the relevant pathos that I didn't exhibit."

Earlier, Mr Morton-Hoffman recalled noticing Monis sitting alone in the cafe on the morning of the siege, and shortly afterwards talking with manager Tori Johnson.

He initially believed the Reserve Bank in Martin Place was being robbed, and shortly afterwards was ordered by Monis to lock the doors to the cafe.

A short time later, Monis pulled out a shotgun and put on a bandanna with Islamic writing on it.

"The danger was inside the cafe, not outside," Mr Morton-Hoffman said.

Sydney woman Katrina Dawson, 38, and 34-year-old cafe manager Tori Johnson were killed in the 16-hour siege. Photos: AAP

Mr Morton-Hoffman also told the inquest he felt Monis did not appear to like Lindt Cafe manager Tori Johnson due to his 'position of authority'.

He said he thought Monis looked like a disgruntled customer when he saw the pair talking before the siege began.

He said Monis used a firm grip while moving hostages around but he was not rough or violent and that the group was told not to speak.

During the hostage crisis, Mr Morton-Hoffman managed to calm Monis on a number of occasions and helped others to escape.

The inquest has heard gunman Monis may have had an accomplice and possibly hopes of escape.

At one point during the siege, Monis questioned Mr Morton-Hoffman about online media reports, which claimed five people had escaped.

Mr Morton-Hoffman managed to convince him that the media had it wrong.

He told the inquest Monis threatened to shoot a 'scared, nervous' Tori Johnson if he was found to be lying about claims that the emergency exit could not be locked.

Mr Morton-Hoffman said Mr Johnson used a fake trip to the toilet to text Lindt management about a side door that was open.

Mr Moreton-Hoffman, who was made in charge of escorting people to the toilet, said he had hoped for longer trips in case Monis opened fire, as he was ‘becoming more volatile’.

The inquest, before NSW coroner Michael Barnes, has heard Mr Morton-Hoffman attempted to bargain with the gunman.

A year after the tragedy, he wrote a piece for the ABC detailing the moment he came face-to-face with Monis.

"For 17 hours, my fellow hostages and I learnt firsthand how powerless it felt to be at the near total mercy of another — to live or die by the decisions of a madman all too eager to play God,” he wrote.

“I was lucky enough to escape largely unharmed. A year on, I still struggle to comprehend the senselessness of it all.”

The sawn-off shotgun used to shoot dead cafe manager Tori Johnston. Photo: Supplied
A knife found inside the Lindt Cafe, with the spilled blood of Man Monis near the tip. Photo: Supplied

During the inquest Mr Moreton-Hoffman said he was trying to plot an escape – he didn’t think he could use the fire door as it was alarmed and he knew how to leave via the main doors but he said it was ‘moderately loud’.

The inquiry heard Mr Moreton-Hoffman noticed Jieun Bae and Elly Chen crawling from under a bench and attempting to unlock bolts on the door about 5pm that afternoon.

He attempted to make noise to cover the sound and the pair quietly opened the door and ran into the arms of police.

The inquest heard Monis did not notice they had fled, he only knew of two other hostages who had escaped earlier.

News break – March 29