Mourners pay tribute to manager, customer killed in Sydney siege

Mourners pay tribute to manager, customer killed in Sydney siege
Katrina Dawson (L) and Tori Johnson were killed after being taken hostage in the siege at Lindt Cafe.

One tried to save her pregnant friend.

The other apparently tried to wrestle the gun from the Iranian gunman Man Haron Monis at Sydney's Lindt Chocolat Cafe on Monday.

Mrs Katrina Dawson, 38, and Mr Tori Johnson, 34-year-old manager of the cafe, were hailed as heroes as Sydney mourned the loss of two innocent lives.

Flowers lined the street along Martin Place where the cafe is situated as mourners led by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott paid tributes to the victims, The Telegraph reported.

Mrs Dawson had been protecting her friend and colleague Julie Taylor, whom she was meeting for a drink. Mrs Dawson's office is across the street, The irony is that she did not like coffee, a close friend of hers told The Age.

"If she hadn't preferred hot chocolate, she might not have been in the Lindt Chocolat Cafe," the friend, known as "Bee" was quoted as saying.

When Mrs Dawson's friends learnt that some hostages had escaped, they did not need television pictures to tell them that Mrs Dawson, known to friends as Tree, would not be among them.

"I knew she wouldn't leave," Bee said. "She wouldn't have escaped if other people were left there. I can't see her doing it."

Reports that she had been shielding her pregnant friend from the gunfire rang true.

"She would have been the one looking after everyone," another friend, Clare, said.


Mrs Dawson, a mother of three children aged eight, five and three, died of a heart attack on the way to hospital.

It was also the day of her mother's birthday.

Mrs Dawson's children were not told on Monday that their mother was being held hostage, The Australian reported.

They were informed of the tragedy yesterday when it was confirmed that Mrs Dawson had died.

Mr Johnson's friends described him yesterday as "a loving, placid and very gentle soul ... a true gentleman".

The manager had worked at the Lindt cafe since October 2012 and, before that, had worked at a host of restaurants in Sydney and the United States, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Mr Johnson's act of kindness during Easter left a lasting mark on one family in Australia.

When Mr Johnson found out that six-year-old Henry Hinchcliff had never eaten an Easter egg, he made sure the child had one.

Henry has a condition called eosinophilic oesophagitis, a rare disease that restricts his diet to less than 50 foods. But chocolate was one of them.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Henry's mother, Mrs Hinchcliff, as saying: "The Lindt 85 per cent is the only one he can have in the world, but they don't make an Easter egg out of it.

"(Mr Johnson) said, 'No problem, we'll make you one'. They made a huge one."

Just before Easter, she and a friend and their children went to Sydney to collect their chocolate.

She added that the eggs were "huge, and really intricate, obviously handmade".

It is understood the cafe manager's partner of 14 years, Mr Thomas Zinn, is being comforted along with the Johnsons at the couple's home.

The Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn would not comment on claims that Mr Johnson was shot when he tried to wrestle the weapon from Monis.

This article was first published on Dec 17, 2014.
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