Claim arrested teenager was ‘poisoned by a monster’ before Wakeley church stabbing

A man, who says he prayed with the teenager who’s been charged with stabbing a bishop at an Orthodox Christian church, claims the boy had been “poisoned by a monster”.

A 16-year-old was arrested on Monday night after allegedly stabbing Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and Father Isaac Royel while the former was delivering a sermon at Wakeley’s Christ the Good Shepherd Church, in Western Sydney.

The sermon was being livestreamed on the internet at the time.

The alleged assailant was restrained by churchgoers and then taken into custody. He remains under police guard in hospital.

Video footage from inside the church showed him telling bystanders Bishop Emmanuel had sworn at his prophet.

“If he didn’t swear at my prophet I wouldn’t be here. If he didn’t involve himself in my religion I wouldn’t be here,” the boy said in Arabic.

Police Commissioner Karen Webb designated the incident “terror related”. An investigation is being led by the New South Wales Joint Counter Terrorism Team, whose members include the NSW Police, Australian Federal Police and ASIO.

The Daily Telegraph reports investigators are trying to determine whether the suspect was encouraged to perpetrate the attack, and if so, by whom.

The newspaper also reports that a man, who has not been identified, mentioned the 15-year-old in an audio message sent via WhatsApp in the hours after the attack.

“Sadly, sadly, sadly, that kid we prayed with today. These kids have been poisoned by a monster,” the man said in the audio message.

“This kid has been poisoned.”

He proceeded to identify the boy by name.

Residents left ‘cleaning up blood’

Residents were left repairing damage to their homes and even cleaning up blood on Tuesday morning following the stabbing.

Police allege the 16-year-old male stabbed Bishop Emmanuel at about 7pm – with an angry mob forming shortly afterwards in protest.

On Tuesday morning, smashed cars, shoes, bricks, pieces of wood and glass were left strewn across the usually quiet residential street as multiple council street cleaners worked to clean up the aftermath.

Residents Catarina and Steve Williams, who have lived in the area for 26 years, said they realised the seriousness of the situation when the riot squad was brought in.

“[The police] told us to stay in and lock the doors,” Catarina said.

“I said, ‘What happened, you were here to protect us?’ I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Grandmother of two and local resident Lina Davis, 73, said she had family members ringing all night concerned for her safety.

“I kept saying, ‘It’s OK, I am safe,’” she recalled.

“When I saw what they had done to the police cars and that this morning, there was no need for that. It is absolutely disgusting.”

One resident handed over a bloodied towel to police on Tuesday morning after one of those involved in the brawl jumped over his back fence.

“He jumped over and was bleeding from his head and my sister just gave him a towel for it,” he said.

“He said he jumped as he was just trying to get away from it all.”

Commissioner Webb said more arrests would be made in the coming days, targeting those involved in the mob.

Police were seen taking multiple shoes, glasses, and a piece of a Taser on the street into evidence, and were also seen dusting a number of vehicles for fingerprints in the church car park.

One resident was left inspecting damage to his metal fence and repairing his garden following the aftermath.

“I was at work when it all happened,” he said.

“But it’s like, well, what can you do?”

Another home in the street had visible damage to its garden bed, where wooden retaining features had been ripped off.

Resident Van Lee said he and his wife were quick to lock their gate after they heard screaming at the church.

“It was very loud, my wife was very scared,” he said.

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