Sydney siege survivors speak on TV
Updated: 2015-02-09 14:15
A hostage runs towards a police officer outside Lindt cafe, where other hostages were held, in Martin Place in central Sydney in this December 15, 2014 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]
SYDNEY - Fourteen of 16 survivors of the Sydney siege told of the drama and fear which gripped them during the 16 hours they were held as hostages by a gunman at a local cafe.
They spoke on rival television network programs -- aired at the same time on Sunday night after being paid to tell their stories -- and revealed what actually happened after shotgun wielding Man Haron Monis took them hostage in the Lindt cafe in the city's CBD on Dec 15 last year.
The gunman told them he also had a bomb in his backpack. No bomb existed -- but police and hostages didn't know that until after they shot him dead shortly after 2 am on Dec 16.
Most spoke of harrowing events and terrifying incidents, but one hostage, Marcia Mikhael, questioned the police tactics and the refusal of authorities to negotiate via telephone with Monis during the siege.
The Westpac bank executive told the Seven Network that she hung up on a policeman after Monis ordered her to call and demand Prime Minister Tony Abbott speak to him.
She and other hostages -- 11 of whom managed to escape at different stages of the siege -- said on camera they believed they were going to be killed, and couldn't understand why police were not negotiating with Monis.
"I actually lost it when someone (police) told me the prime minister was a very busy man and he can't come to the phone," Mikhael told the Seven Network.
"I yelled at him and I just couldn't believe it... I think I actually said that 'I don't care what (Abbott) is doing right now, whether he's walking his dog or he's you know playing golf with his mates, I'm sure there's nothing more important happening in Australia right now than this, and the lives of the people in this cafe.'"
"And then I hung up."
"It was then that I knew that there was not going to be any negotiation and we were just left there. No-one was coming for us, I knew that. They weren't going to come. So that's when I lost hope," she added.