For more than 16 hours in Channel 7's Sydney newsroom directly across the road from the Lindt Café on Martin Pl, a sniper kept watch on Man Haron Monis as he terrorised his captives.
Acting as another pair of eyes for the sniper was cameraman Greg Parker, whose pictures guided police throughout the ordeal.
Monday started like any other day for Mr Parker. One of his producers had just walked into the office, a Lindt hot chocolate in hand.
Within minutes of the attack, Mr Parker had set up three cameras, including one with a powerful 600mm lens. He trained them on the coffee shop's windows and fed the pictures back to police headquarters.
Here, he recalls the intense experience, which culminated in the sudden, fiery storming of the café by police around 2am yesterday morning, to 7News reporter Glenn Connley.
"For me one of the hardest things to see was there three women forced to hold that flag up against the glass, and then another image of a poor guy in obvious distress with the muzzle of a shotgun in frame being pointed at his head. That was the first time we'd seen a clear, threatening pose that it was a gun pointed at a bloke's head, who was in a very passive stance up against the glass.
"We knew we were getting something pretty remarkable in what we could see with that lens on the camera, and the sniper concurred and said could we stay there and keep sweeping and give him continuous information of what we were seeing behind the glass. They were suitably impressed with what we were getting from our camera and straight up said, 'Can you stay? Can you keep that shot up for us?'
"The guys back in police command were then asking for specific shots. So we put on Kevlar vests and relocated as they needed them to be. Specifically that window that they called 'window four', where the flag was being held up, was where the gunman was continually positioning himself and putting hostages between himself and the window, and himself and the door. It was genuinely horrible. In 20 years it's very rare to come across such upsetting footage, and there's nothing you can do.
"For a really long time it was just him and I for five or six hours making small talk, and to be honest the situation kept us pretty busy because we were both looking for any opportunity that was going to effect a positive outcome. We continually were sort of blown away at just how sad the situation was as it went on and on. We both were just praying that these people were going to get out.
"Every time hostages escaped we were cheering, high-fiving almost. It was awesome to see. But then the longer it went on, the lights went off – signs weren't looking good. And the scene was getting worse by the hour.
"We continually saw him moving, almost shoving them [while] walking behind – [in a] really intimidating, angry kind of threatening manner. It was just horrible to see. You could see him communicating, especially after those guys escaped. He became quite agitated. He was grabbing the hostages and moving them and continually keeping them between the window and himself, it seemed.
"We heard a shot, [police] confirmed 'hostage down, window two'. Six seconds later we saw the special forces guys breach. It was pretty loud, pretty frightening – it's like nothing I've ever seen before, ever.
"The moment he crossed the line of taking down a hostage, it was a forced action from police. In my mind and probably anyone else's seeing it, they weren't going to sit around and wait for another hostage to have that same fate.
"The thing that probably keeps going through my mind the most is probably just that look of anguish on those faces of those people being forced to stand in that window. But matched with that the sheer courage of those police officers and the non-stop stories and info I was getting from the sniper… and then to see the way they went in with no fear for their own safety to get people out… I'm never going to forget that."
source: newshub archive