Police explore terrorist-style ideology linked to alleged stabbing at Sydney Uni

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

The 14-year-old boy who allegedly stabbed a University of Sydney student on Tuesday had previously threatened to carry out a mass shooting less than 12 months ago. Those charges were dropped on mental health grounds.

The New South Wales Joint Counter-Terrorism team are investigating the matter, but New South Wales police say a motive has not been established.

The teenager, who has been described as wearing an Australian Defence Force-style camouflage uniform when he allegedly stabbed the 22-year-old student with a kitchen knife in the neck initially fled the scene on a bus.

While police are exploring potential extremist links, including white supremacy, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton said the suspect’s ideology was unknown.

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“But I would say it is likely to be categorised as mixed and unclear, it’s not religiously motivated,” Walton said at a joint press conference with the Australian Federal Police.

“It is known as a salad bar of ideologies. A lot of these vulnerable people, they’re not linked into one particular ideology.”

As parts of the university campus were blocked off by police, NSW Ambulance paramedics treated the 22-year-old man at the scene. He was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

“We’re very fortunate his injuries are fairly minor, someone being stabbed in the neck can quickly end up in tragedy,” said Walton.

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An email sent to students and staff from the university’s vice chancellor Mark Scott confirmed the victim was a student.

“I am shocked and saddened to inform you that a student in our community was attacked on our Camperdown campus this morning in what police believe is an isolated incident,” he said.

“NSW Police have arrested the alleged attacker and have assured us that there is no ongoing threat to the community.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]brandx.live