Sydney church attack: Teen accused of stabbing bishop was 'poisoned by a monster', man praying with him says

  • 17/04/2024

The teenager who allegedly stabbed a bishop and injured others at a Sydney church on Monday night was "poisoned by a monster", a man praying with the boy says. 

The 16-year-old was arrested after allegedly stabbing Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and Father Isaac Royel at Wakeley's Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Western Sydney. 

Video footage shows the boy, wearing the black hoodie, lunge at the bishop during the service, which was being livestreamed at the time. 

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said the attack was being investigated as a "terrorist act"

The teenager is known to police but not on any terror watchlist. 

"He wasn't known to us from a terrorism point of view, he was not on any terror watchlist... This is the first time this individual has come to our attention in this manner," Webb said. 

She is speaking with Australia's counterterrorism team about the stabbing. 

New claims reveal the teenager was mentally "poisoned" about religion in the lead up to the stabbing, according to The Daily Telegraph

"Sadly, sadly, sadly, that kid we prayed Dhuhr (prayer) with today… These kids have been poisoned by a monster," the man praying with him said in an audio message on WhatsApp in the hours after the attack.  

"This kid has been poisoned." 

The man identified the alleged offender by name. It's understood he is Islamic. 

Video from inside the church as he was being detained by police showed the teenager telling angry churchgoers in Arabic that the bishop swore at his prophet. 

The news outlet said it roughly translates to: "If he didn't swear at my Prophet I wouldn't be here. If he didn't involve himself in my religion I wouldn't be here." 

Webb on Tuesday said it's alleged the attacker made "certain comments" that were "centred around religion" when approaching the priest. 

The comments, along with the boy's history, will be part of the police's investigation. The Daily Telegraph said police would also look into if the teen was encouraged to carry out the attack. 

Following the stabbing, the boy was taken by police to a secure area of the church. 

This sparked an angry gathering of church supporters outside the building. Police used shields to protect themselves from protesting crowds. 

The stabbing came just days after six people were stabbed to death in a Sydney mall - a separate incident. The attacker, 40-year-old Joel Cauchi, was also shot dead by police after lunging at an officer in the Bondi Junction Westfield mall.