Police have rejected claims by a Lindt cafe siege sniper that a hostage’s life could have been spared had he been allowed to fire.
Mark Davidson was the most senior officer involved in the Sydney Lindt cafe siege on December 15, 2014, when Man Haron Monis stormed the CBD threatening the lives of innocent bystanders with a rifle and claims of a bomb.
The officer, also known as Sierra Three 1, was stationed in the Westpac Building at Martin Place during the 16-hour standoff.
Of the 18 hostages in the cafe, Manis shot and killed Tori Johnson, 34, and Katrina Dawson, 38, was killed by police bullet fragments.
In an explosive interview with 60 Minutes, the former sniper claimed he had a clear shot of the terrorist and could have saved the life of Mr Johnston, but was prevented from firing by higher-ranking officials.
But NSW Police hit back in a statement and rejected Davidson’s explosive claims.
Mark Davidson (pictured) revealed he believes he had a clear shot of the terrorist and saved the life of Mr Johnston, but was prevented from firing by higher-ranking officials
‘It was the case that a shot from Sierra Three 1’s rifle could not penetrate both the window glass in the Westpac building and the window glass in the Lindt Cafe,’ police said.
‘Breaching the Westpac glass, that is creating a hole, and then shooting through it would have taken significant time and generated noise that could have been heard by Monis.’
Five years on from the tragedy, Davidson maintained he had Monis in his sight for 10 minutes, 10 hours into the siege.
‘I could see Monis’ head, you could see the shiny sort of bald scalp and the Islamic black bandana with white writing across the front that went across his forehead,’ Mr Davidson said.
‘I didn’t have doubt it was him but people in the command post did.’
‘I believe Tori was a preventable death.’
Of the 18 hostages in the cafe, Manis shot and killed Tori Johnson (pictured right), 34, and Katrina Dawson (pictured left), 38, was killed by police bullet fragments
Five years on from the tragedy, Davidson maintained he had Monis (pictured) in his sight for 10 minutes, 10 hours into the siege
Despite feeling as though he could have justified unauthorised gunfire at an inquiry, Davidson explained he had minor doubts and chose not to act on his intuition.
‘You’re weighing up shooting someone and if you think you’re not justified then you’re facing murder charges yourself,’ he explained.
‘There was some doubt shooting him then, so I didn’t.’
While Police explained the Coroner found a person believed to be Monis could be seen sitting at a window, snipers could not be certain it was him.
Police also said they believed the sound generated by the bullet could have resulted in Monis detonating the bomb he claimed to hold in his backpack.
Davidson explained he had minor doubts and chose not to act on his intuition (pictured: hostages running at the Lindt cafe siege in Sydney)
Police said they didn’t believe a bullet could have penetrated two windows silently (pictured: broken glass at the Lindt siege)
‘Breaching the glass would have crazed the glass, that is created a network of fine cracks, which would have compromised Sierra Three 1’s ability to see to take the shot.’
Davidson also said in evidence he had ‘no doubt’ his gun was aimed at Monis, but was worried he didn’t have legal justification to take the shot.
The Coroner found snipers could not see whether there were any hostages behind or beside the person thought to be Monis, and firing could have put their lives in danger.
‘The Coroner concluded that the decision not to fire was completely reasonable,’ NSW Police said.
Mr Davidson still visits Lindt Cafe at Martin Place to pay tribute to the cafe manager.
‘I suppose I’m there as a sign of respect… it gives me some comfort,’ he said.
Mr Davidson still visits Lindt Cafe at Martin Place (pictured) to pay tribute to the cafe manager