Lindt Cafe gunman Man Haron Monis was a dangerous psychopath who attached himself to extremist religion only to further his own selfish, ruthless, callous and anti-social interests, an inquest has heard.
The hostage-taking killer was a danger from the moment he drew a sawn-off shotgun and detained 18 people in the Martin Place cafe on December 14, 2015, psychiatrist Dr Jonathan Phillips said as he was questioned about the mind, attitudes and behaviour of Monis.
“I believe he was prepared to kill … and I believe he was prepared to die as well,” he told the NSW coroner’s inquest into the siege.
Dr Phillips said Monis didn’t have a psychiatric illness, rather a complex personality disorder with paranoid, narcissistic and anti-social tendencies.
“This man was, by any definition, a dangerous psychopath,” he said.
He was also a lone wolf terrorist and had an inflated opinion of his talents and capabilities.
Monis had the ability to mimic normal functions while having no empathy or difficulty inflicting immense harm on others and also played mind games with his captives.
Several hostages have told the inquest Monis acted in an apparently kind manner at moments in between the moments of panic and frustration inside the cafe.
He allowed people time to eat and drink and some ailing hostages were allowed to lie on the cafe’s floor.
But this apparent empathy with hostages was false, a charade to confuse those unlucky enough to have been caught in Monis’ perverse and fatal attention-seeking siege, Dr Phillips said.
“Monis constructed and lived in a world where he took no notice of others,” he said.
“Other people merely became objects in his egocentric psychological world.”
Monis’ personality disorders put him at the “epicentre” of a dangerous personality group, with the chance of him harming or killing someone increasing as the siege continued, Dr Phillips said.
“He was losing … the controls he had in the beginning,” he said.
“Each individual hour increased the risk of mayhem and murder.”
The siege lasted for 16 hours and ended when police stormed the cafe after Monis ordered cafe manager Tori Johnson to his knees and shot him at point blank range.
Monis and barrister Katrina Dawson were left dead following a gun fight.
Had the siege dragged on, more hostages would have been killed, Dr Phillips said.
The inquest also heard Monis adopted violent extremism as a means of self-aggrandisement.
He had also posed as a spiritual healer to manipulate female clients into having sex.
That resulted in police laying a raft of charges, including 22 counts of aggravated sexual assault and 14 counts of aggravated indecent assault.
While finding Monis had suffered from anxiety and depression, Dr Phillips said it was no different to what everyone experiences “from time to time”.
Had Monis survived the siege and been prosecuted he would not have been able to use any mental health defences, Dr Phillips said.
Dr Phillips never met Monis but has spent months reviewing 16 volumes of material and working with two people who had previously treated him.
The long-running inquest continues before NSW Coroner Michael Barnes in Sydney.