Joel Cauchi: Police spoke to Bondi Junction Westfield killer months before the attack

Queensland police have revealed the Queensland man responsible for the deaths of six people and the hospitalization of 12 others had been in contact with state authorities just five months before Saturday’s attack.

Queensland government agencies will work with the NSW Police-led investigation into the circumstances surrounding the horrific stabbing of Joel Cauchi at Bondi Junction Westfield at 3.30pm on Saturday.

While Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Roger Lowe confirmed that 40-year-old Cauchi had never been arrested or charged by Queensland authorities, he said the man’s last contact with police was in December 2023, where he was checked by the police on the street.

This refers to an “intelligence collection report” where an officer can record someone exhibiting “some unusual behavior,” he said.

Commissioner Cauchi also confirmed that police responded to an event “in early 2023” involving Cauchi and his family, but no charges have been filed.

“That will be a subject of investigation, but he has never been charged with any offense relating to knives or found to be in possession of knives in a way that is unlawful and would warrant prosecution,” he said.

Joel Cauchi went on a massive rampage at the busy Bondi Junction Westfield in Sydney on Saturday evening. Image: Twitter

Commissioner Lowe also revealed that Cauchi had been diagnosed with a mental illness at the age of 17, but had been treated “over the years” before his mental health apparently deteriorated in recent years.

Queensland Health data says Cauchi last came into contact with the public health system “more than a decade ago” but his care was “transferred to a private sector psychiatrist in 2012”.

“He’s had contact with police, which would be the most contact we’ve had with him especially in the last four to five years,” he said.

‘During that contact we are aware that this person has psychological problems.’

Queensland officers have been in contact with Cauchi’s family, who have been cooperating with police, but the family said they have not had regular contact with the man.

Police said Cauchi was unemployed and of no fixed address, and had lived in Brisbane, Kangaroo Point, Carrina, the Gold Coast and with his family in southern Queensland before moving to Sydney.

“It is my understanding that the last contact with the family was in March,” Commissioner Lowe said.

“As far as phone calls or texts, he would regularly text his mother with an update on where he was.”

Joel Cauchi was shot and killed downtown on Saturday.

Joel Cauchi was shot and killed downtown on Saturday.

Qld and NSW will work together

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb provided an update on Sunday morning, confirming Queensland Police will continue to provide NSW Police with investigations. She said police in both NSW and Queensland were aware of him for “mental health issues”.

She said NSW investigators may need information from various Queensland agencies, such as Queensland Health, to obtain information.

“That means we are working with the Queensland Government and other Queensland authorities,” she said.

NSW Premier Chris Minns, who returned from a family holiday in Japan on Sunday, also said Queensland Premier Steven Miles had agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

“The Premier of Queensland has contacted me and opened up all the resources of the Queensland Government to this investigation, and it appears we will need them. So that’s very encouraging information,” he said.

Mr Minns said the attack had been horrific and NSW was mourning.

‘We will recover. “It’s going to be a very difficult few days and I’m sure those families have been through hell, but there are eight million people in this state who have their backs,” he said.

“Everyone is grieving over this and they’re not alone.”

He also praised “ordinary members of the public” for their instinctive courage, as well as the actions of paramedics, doctors and heroic NSW Police Inspector Amy Scott, who was the first officer on the scene and shot Cauchi when he tried to attack her.

NSW Premier Chris Minns, the attack had been horrific and NSW was sad.

NSW Premier Chris Minns, the attack had been horrific and NSW was sad.

Eight dedicated mental health support officers will be available to people in Bondi from about 2pm on Sunday, with NSW Health Minister Ryan Park urging people to take advantage of the services.

Staff will be uniformed and clearly visible.

“There will be dedicated support officers on site. “We are increasing support on our mental health system and we are providing mental health support to those frontline responders,” he said.

‘I don’t want people to suffer from this tragedy. These are traumatic scenes that people would have witnessed both outside and inside the center yesterday and please get in touch.”

Ms Webb said police would remain at the large-scale crime scene for several days, ‘if not weeks’.

As a result, Bondi Junction Westfield will remain closed for the coming days, but cars stranded in the car park during the initial investigation will be gradually moved.

“So this will be an active investigation for many days and perhaps weeks as we identify not only the movements of the perpetrator, not just yesterday, but the hours, the days, the weeks, his life, leading up to yesterday and it will it takes some time to work with the families,” she said.

A family contact person has been appointed for each family affected by the attack.