British police team to start review of Lindt Cafe siege ahead of final inquest hearings

UK experts to investigate police management of Martin Place siegeASIO received warnings on Monis days before Sydney siege, inquest told


Five senior British police officers begin work this week reviewing the actions of NSW police during the deadly Lindt Cafe siege, ahead of the inquest’s final hearings.

The British team, which recently landed in Sydney, will examine witness statements, forensic evidence and CCTV footage before reporting to State Coroner Michael Barnes.

The adequacy of the police response is one of the final questions to be addressed by the inquest into the deaths of cafe manager Tori Johnson, patron Katrina Dawson and gunman Man Haron Monis.

The British team’s lead investigator, Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, serves as the head of armed policing in Britain. Last year he called for elite armed police units to protect landmarks and infrastructure after the January terror attacks in Paris.

In response to debate about whether British officers should use a “shoot to kill” strategy during terrorist attacks, Mr Chesterman described the idea as a distraction.

“We do not shoot to kill, we shoot to stop the threat, but inevitably this is highly likely to prove fatal,” he told the London Telegraph two weeks ago.

In March last year, Mr Chesterman retweeted a BBC story titled “Is hindsight always a benefit in law?” that had been written after a fatal force inquiry.

“The clinical setting of a courtroom, far removed from the pressure-laden environment in which that decision was made,” Mr Chesterman wrote, quoting the article.

NSW police stormed the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place about 2.14am on December 16, 2014, firing 22 bullets.

The rush came after a 17-hour stand-off during which Monis forced hostages to hold up Islamic flags and make videos announcing his demands of authorities.

Mr Johnson was executed by Monis, who was killed by police fire. Ms Dawson died after she was struck by a stray police bullet.

The Herald has previously reported there were tensions over strategy among police on the night of the siege.

Mr Barnes asked the chief coroner of England and Wales to identify British law enforcement experts who could assist the NSW inquest.

Other members of the team include Chief Superintendent Steve Whitton, Temporary Chief Superintendent Kerrin Smith, Chief Inspector Trevor Clar and Inspector Nigel Kefford.

​Some of the reviewers are expected to give evidence before the inquest.

Eight weeks have been set aside for its final hearings, which will include testimony from hostages, witnesses and emergency services.