Bondi Junction Westfield stabbing: Joel Cauchi’s dad lashes out at reporters

EXCLUSIVE

The father of the deranged knifeman who stabbed six people to death and injured at least 12 more with a 30cm hunting knife has lashed out in a bitter doorstep spray.

Westfield Bondi Junction knifeman Joel Cauchi’s father, Andrew, unloaded in a furious outburst outside the family home in Toowoomba, south-east Queensland, on Monday morning.

He blasted media for their lack of compassion before tending to the flock of hundreds of pigeons he cares for in the backyard of the home he shares with wife, Michele.

‘How do you think I feel? How’s your sensitivity,’ he said.

‘I felt alright until you got here.’ 

Joel Cauchi’s father, Andrew (pictured), lashed out at reporters for their lack of ‘sensitivity’

Joel Cauchi (pictured) killed five women and one man with a 30cm hunting knife at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday afternoon

Joel Cauchi (pictured) killed five women and one man with a 30cm hunting knife at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday afternoon

Joel's parents, Andrew and Michele (pictured), described Saturday's events as 'truly horrific'

Joel’s parents, Andrew and Michele (pictured), described Saturday’s events as ‘truly horrific’

It comes as Joel’s former friends and classmates remember his sharp sense of humour at school while others described him as ‘a bit weird … with compulsions’.

Joel, 40, was fatally shot by a lone policewoman after going on a stabbing rampage at Westfield Bondi Junction shortly before 4pm on Saturday. 

His ‘very religious’ parents on Sunday described the attack as ‘truly horrific’. 

Melissa Hornig claims she was friends with Joel during their school years and graduated from Harristown State High School together in 2000.

‘He was a really nice kid, I was friends at school with him. You wouldn’t recognise him from school. He doesn’t look anything like his Year 12 picture,’ she said.

‘But things happen in life, you end up a monster.’ 

Another school friend, Layne, said he remembered Joel as humorous and witty.

‘At school socials, this guy had a sharp sense of humour – he was known for his cutting satire,’ he said.

Another woman who said she went to the same church as Joel admitted spotting alarming red flags after meeting him for a couple dates. 

‘I went on a few coffee dates with him, but he had compulsions,’ Lulu Eve posted on social media.

‘It was a bit weird so I stopped messaging him, then he said he was moving away. I’m in shock.’ 

Dan Luxford knew Joel from playing inline hockey with him at the city’s Skatehaven skating rink, which has since closed.

‘He always wandered around talking to himself. Definitely some mental health issues,’ he said.

Andrew Cauchi (pictured) has been described as 'very religious' and is known around Toowoomba for breeding 700 pigeons

Andrew Cauchi (pictured) has been described as ‘very religious’ and is known around Toowoomba for breeding 700 pigeons

Former classmates of Joel Cauchi (pictured)  had differing accounts of him, with some recalling his sharp wit while others described him as 'a bit weird'

Former classmates of Joel Cauchi (pictured)  had differing accounts of him, with some recalling his sharp wit while others described him as ‘a bit weird’

Five women and one man were killed in Saturday's stabbing and at least another 12 were injured, including a nine-month-old baby (pictured, emergency services at the scene)

Five women and one man were killed in Saturday’s stabbing and at least another 12 were injured, including a nine-month-old baby (pictured, emergency services at the scene)

Cauchi’s parents, both in their 70s, are well-known locally for looking after around 700 pigeons at their home.

On Monday morning, Mr Cauchi was happy to talk with reporters about his pets, discussing how the different breeds he keeps are let out every day.

‘Yes, the pigeons always come home,’ he said.

Dressed in black shorts, a faded pink t-shirt and a black hat, Mr Cauchi filled ice-cream containers with water from a back yard tap.

He then picked up a long pole with a supermarket bag on the end of it and began twirling it around in the air to make the pigeons fly off.

When the birds returned, he filled trays with grain as the pigeons clustered around and pecked at the food.

Mr Cauchi broke out into song as he watched on, belting out the Roy Orbison classic Blue Bayou in a strong voice that echoed around the local homes.

The family’s ramshackle yard with vegetables and clusters of dahlias is cluttered with boats, cars and antique industrial metal signs.

Mr Cauchi, who regularly gets deliveries of grain for his pigeon collection, has warned neighbours to beware of the rats, mice and snakes attracted to the grain stores.

The Cauchis have lived in the Toowoomba suburb of Rockville for 46 years and last saw their son just a few short months ago when the 40-year-old came for Christmas, but according to neighbours he did not show his face outside during the visit.  

A neighbour who has shared a street with the family for 30 years visited Mrs Cauchi for about an hour on Sunday while a man, believed to be a family member, helped Mr Cauchi with his pigeon coops.

Another neighbour, Carol, told Daily Mail Australia Joel was due back home this week to help him reduce the number of pigeons he keeps in aviaries at the back of the property, after he received noise and odour complaints.

Andrew (pictured) and Michele Cauchi, both in their 70s, are known around town for housing 700 pigeons

Andrew (pictured) and Michele Cauchi, both in their 70s, are known around town for housing 700 pigeons

Joel was reportedly due back at his family's home this week to help relocate some of their pigeons (pictured)

Joel was reportedly due back at his family’s home this week to help relocate some of their pigeons (pictured)

Several former classmates of Joel's recalled visiting the family's home (pictured) in Rockville, Toowoomba

Several former classmates of Joel’s recalled visiting the family’s home (pictured) in Rockville, Toowoomba

However, Carol said she did not see how Mr Cauchi could carry out the task of removing hundreds of pigeons now that his son was dead.

Five women and one man were killed during Joel’s stabbing frenzy and at least 12 more were injured, including a nine-month-old baby.

His parents learnt about the horror when they recognised their son from footage on TV and made a frantic phone call to police, but by that stage it was too late.  

Joel was schizophrenic and police are treating the horrific attack as mental-health related.

The Cauchis said in their statement they have ‘no issues’ with the actions of the New South Wales Police officer who killed their son. 

‘We are absolutely devastated by the traumatic events that occurred in Sydney yesterday,’ they said.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims and those still undergoing treatment at this time.

‘Joel’s actions were truly horrific, and we are still trying to comprehend what has happened.

‘He has battled with mental health issues since he was a teenager.

‘We are in contact with both the New South Wales Police Force and Queensland Police Service and have no issues with the Police Officer who shot our son as she was only doing her job to protect others and we hope she is coping alright.’

Carol and another neighbour described Andrew Cauchi as ‘very religious’, noting he has worshipped at a number of Toowoomba churches since parting ways with the Catholic faith after expressing his disgust with priests sexually assaulting children.

‘He loves those birds (his pigeons). He often takes his shirt off and lies on his back and looks up at the sky while waving around a stick which makes the pigeons stir up and fly about,’ one neighbour said.

One Redditor who claimed to be in Joel’s ‘close circle of friends’ in high school gave a very different account of Mr Cauchi.

One of Joel's former friends described his mother (pictured) as 'the sweetest thing ever'

One of Joel’s former friends described his mother (pictured) as ‘the sweetest thing ever’

Andrew Cauchi (pictured) reportedly left the Catholic church several years ago due to his disgust at allegations of priests sexually assaulting children

Andrew Cauchi (pictured) reportedly left the Catholic church several years ago due to his disgust at allegations of priests sexually assaulting children

Joel's father (pictured) and mother were photographed outside their Toowoomba home on Sunday

Joel’s father (pictured) and mother were photographed outside their Toowoomba home on Sunday

‘His mum was the sweetest thing ever but dad was prone to outbursts of anger and borderline abusive, although it probably wouldn’t have been labelled that way back in the mid 90s,’ they wrote.

‘[Joel] was one of those ones at school that was shy, always a bit on the weird side, but whenever he did something it was always full-tilt.

‘In hindsight, he probably didn’t regulate that well. He dropped off the radar after school, to my knowledge he didn’t maintain any friendships with his circle of school friends.’

The writer added Saturday’s attack was a ‘bloody tragedy’.

‘It might be misplaced empathy but the Joel I knew would not have been himself, not in command of his actions while he attacked people,’ they said.

‘If there’s a lesson, it’s that mental illness is a b**ch and we shouldn’t muck around with it.’

Mr Cauchi often referred to son Joel as ‘a backpacker who travels to Melbourne’.

Carol said: ‘He told me that his son was a well-behaved boy who got a bus pass so he could travel around.

‘At one point the son came back home with some other backpackers to help weed the yard. Andrew just loves gardening.’

It is unclear whether Mr and Mrs Cauchi knew of their son’s double-life as a male escort.

Joel offered his sexual services online as recently as mid 2023, describing himself as ‘athletic [and] good looking’.

He offered ‘closed door’ services to both men and women, among other options too graphic to publish.

On Sunday, Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Roger Lowe said police had learned of Joel’s dire living arrangements from his family.

In recent weeks the 40-year-old had been sleeping in a car or at a backpacker’s hostel.

Although he was not in regular contact with his parents, he did ‘text his mother with an update as to where he was’, Assistant Commissioner Lowe said.

On Sunday night, the neighbour who visited Mrs Cauchi said ‘have a bit of compassion’ to the media when she left.

Five of the six victims killed in the horrific stabbing rampage have been identified so far. 

They include bride-to-be Dawn Singleton, 25, architect Jade Young, 47, security guard Faraz Tahir, 30 and artist Pikria Darchia, 55.

Five of the six victims killed in the horrific stabbing rampage have been identified so far (pictured, Joel during the attack)

Five of the six victims killed in the horrific stabbing rampage have been identified so far (pictured, Joel during the attack)

A baby and two other stabbing victims are fighting for life in critical condition, while around a dozen were left injured by Joel's (pictured) rampage

A baby and two other stabbing victims are fighting for life in critical condition, while around a dozen were left injured by Joel’s (pictured) rampage

Mother-of-one Ashlee Good, 38, died in hospital from her injuries after trying to save her nine-month-old child who had also been stabbed. 

The little girl is currently in intensive care. Two other stabbing victims are fighting for life in critical condition, while around a dozen were left injured by Joel’s rampage.  

One more female victim, who is believed to be from overseas, has not yet been identified.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk