A 20-year-old man taken into custody on Tuesday afternoon following the stabbing of two women in Sydney, Australia, has been named by police as Mert Ney. He said to be Australian born and of Turkish Cypriot heritage.
Ney was apprehended by three passers-by on Wynyard Street, in the city centre, who carried out a citizen’s arrest, pinning him down on the street using a milk crate and two chairs until police arrived. The men, two of them from Manchester, Britain, have been hailed as “heroes” by the police and public.
Ney is suspected of stabbing two women.
One woman, named as 41-year-old Linda Bo, was taken to hospital in a stable condition with a stab wound in her back. She had been attacked by Hotel CBD.
Police then discovered the body of another victim, identified as 24-year-old Michaela Dunn, in a block of flats on Clarence Street. She had suffered deep cuts to her neck and throat. Police have said she was a sex worker and was known to Ney.
Passer-by captures Mert Ney with knife in the middle of Sydney
— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) August 13, 2019
Before being apprehended, the suspect had run around the streets waving a large knife. He was filmed jumping on the bonnet and roof of a Mercedes, asking to be shot “in the head”, and also heard yelling “Allahu Ekber” [God is the greatest).
Police are not treating the incident as terrorism, stating that their initial enquires have shown no links to terrorist organisations, but the suspect does have some ‘ideologies in relation to terrorism’.
According to New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, Ney was found carrying a USB stick containing material “about other crimes of mass casualties and mass deaths around the world”.
Ney is the middle child of three siblings and was living with his mother on Percy Street, Marayong, at the time of the attack. He has a history of mental health and drug abuse, and has also been homeless countless times.
He attended Blacktown Boys High School and Marayong Public School. His peers told local press that he was a “loner” and “odd”, but had not shown any signs of radicalisation or violence when he was younger. However, recently he had shown interest in Islam.
Last Wednesday, 7 August, Ney was treated at the emergency room at Blacktown Hospital for a suspected drug overdose. The following morning, he walked out of the hospital, and police were notified.
According to court documents, the young man appeared in court in June. He pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon – knuckledusters – without a permit. He was sentenced to a nine months conditional release order on the condition he didn’t commit another offence and that he sought help for his mental health.
Outside the family home in Sydney’s west, reporters spoke to Ney’s sister, who appeared visibly distressed. She told them that she didn’t want to visit her brother in hospital and described the attack as “despicable”.
“In the past week it’s obvious it’s, like, steep descent into insanity I guess.”
“We thought he was a threat to himself,” she added.
When asked what she wanted to say, the young woman said, “mostly I just want to say sorry to the (victim) — she was, like, younger than me.”
Main image, top: Mert Ney after being arrested, Sydney city centre, 13 August 2019. Photo © Kartik Lad / Twitter