Sydney stabbing suspect Joel Cauchi identified by police after Bondi mall attack

By and is republished with permission

The knife-wielding man behind a murderous Sydney shopping centre rampage was estranged from his family and lived an itinerant lifestyle.

Joel Cauchi was itinerant and only had sporadic contact with his family. Photo: Supplied / Facebook

Queenslander Joel Cauchi, 40, stabbed six people to death and seriously wounded 12 others in a killing spree at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday afternoon.

He was shot dead by Inspector Amy Scott, with NSW Police confirming there is no evidence to suggest his attack was driven by any motivation or ideology.

“At this stage it will appear related to the mental health of the individual,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke told reporters yesterday.

Cauchi moved to Sydney from Queensland in March and rented a small storage unit.

Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Roger Lowe said Cauchi had been diagnosed with mental illness at 17 and, based on its investigations, his condition had declined in the last few years.

“The man has never been arrested by police in Queensland nor has he been charged with any criminal offence,” Lowe said.

“He has been in contact with the police primarily in the last four to five years would be the most contact we’ve had with them.”

Cauchi had no record of being subject to a domestic violence order, despite most of his victims being women.

Tributes have also been pouring in as victims start to be identified.

Cauchi’s family, with whom he only made periodic contact, reached out to authorities after seeing his image on TV and is helping police.

It is believed he was sleeping in a car and backpack hotels.

“Our understanding from speaking to the family (is) he has been an itinerant,” Lowe said.

CCTV footage in the hours before the attack showed Cauchi, wearing a black backpack, ordering a meal from a Vietnamese restaurant on Oxford Street.

Cauchi had previously set up an online escort profile, which did not feature any explicit images, that described himself as a “athletic good looking 39-year-old guy”.

“Let me gently massage all of your body,” the now-deleted profile read.

Google reviews under the name Joel Cauchi suggest he also frequented a brothel and strip clubs across NSW and Queensland.

His now-deleted Facebook profile stated he grew up in Toowoomba, and studied at Harristown State High School and the University of Southern Queensland.

In a post from his account to a Facebook group in December 2020, Cauchi was looking to meet up with “groups of people who shoot guns, including handguns”.

“Please send me a DM (direct message) if you can help me out! I live in Brisbane by the way,” he wrote.

Cauchi’s social media profile indicated he worked as an online English tutor and he notified another Facebook group of plans to go surfing at Bondi six days before the attack.

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