The Courier-Mail

MONIS HAD A MARTYR WISH

- JANET FIFE-YEOMANS

SYDNEY siege gunman Man Haron Monis told his wife “I want to be a martyr”, the inquest into the Martin Place cafe shootings was told yesterday.

The evidence came from a social worker who had contact with Monis (left) and his wife, Noleen Pal, who was murdered a year later. The social worker, Sylvia Martin, told the inquest that she had thought Monis was a narcissist and “a hero in his own story”.

She gave the inquest an insight into what Ms Pal said it was like to be married to Monis, who was killed by police when the siege was brought to an end after 17 hours on December 16 last year.

Two hostages, Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, were killed in the siege.

“(Ms Pal) represente­d herself as being duped, intimidate­d and emotionall­y blackmaile­d by Monis during their relationsh­ip,” Ms Martin said.

She told the inquest, currently looking into Monis’ background, that Ms Pal told her Monis had said: “I want to be a martyr.”

In her notes of an interview with Ms Pal, Ms Martin had written that Monis had said: “Doing it for Islam. Want become martyr.”

Ms Martin said she had met Monis and Ms Pal around April 2012.

Twelve months later, Ms Pal was murdered, her body found burned. Monis was charged with being an accessory to the murder.

She said that Ms Pal had told her she feared for her life from the selfstyled sheik she had married in 2003 and who had threatened to shoot her.

She had told Ms Martin that Monis had been westernise­d when they first met but after 2007, he became more religious.

The inquest has heard how in stark contrast to his public image in cleric’s robes and a big black beard, Monis had turned up to see Ms Martin looking like a 1930s gangster in a “startling” cream suit with black pinstripes and his beard shaved off.

“It was outstandin­g. It startled me,” Ms Martin said.

One of his lawyers, David Cohen, said: “He looked like he was in a 1930s gangster movie.”

The inquest in Sydney continues.

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