The 'highest order heroes' who apprehended the Sydney CBD knifeman with a milk crate


A small group of bystanders have been hailed as 'heroes' after stepping in to stop a man wielding a knife in Sydney's CBD with a milkcrate and chairs.

As Sydney continues to reel from a brutal stabbing attack on Tuesday, a group of residents have been dubbed "heroes" for apprehending the knifeman.

The situation began just after lunchtime when a man was seen on the streets of the CBD after allegedly stabbing a woman. 

aLee Cuthbert, Paul O'Shaughnessy and Alex Roberts.
Lee Cuthbert, Paul O'Shaughnessy and Alex Roberts.
SBS News

Briton Paul O'Shaughnessy, 37, told reporters he and his brother Luke, 30, were working in their office nearby when they heard the commotion.

"Luke, my brother popped his head out [the window] and said ... 'there's a guy holding a knife, he's just jumped on a bonnet, you can see blood, mate come on', he said 'this is it'."

The pair were joined by several others who ran to the scene, where another man was trying to subdue the knifeman with a chair.

"There was one guy already tussling with him and then my brother went straight over to him and gripped him and we pinned him down," Mr O'Shaughnessy said.

"We put a plastic crate over him, over his head ... We restrained him and then the rest was just waiting for police I suppose."

Asked if the man was yelling religious terms, Mr O'Shaughnessy said: "I don't want to put my name to that kind of thing".

"I'm a religious guy myself, I'm Christian, I'm proud of it, but it doesn't define me, everyone has a different faith, but that is radicalism, that's not faith."

The man being arrested.
The man being arrested.
Samantha Hutchison

Video footage from the scene shows a number of men in pursuit of the alleged knifeman.

One of those men, Jamie Ingram, said he didn't think of his own safety.

"I followed him up York St trying to get him to focus on me rather than anyone else," he told the Nine Network.

"There are lots of pedestrians there, and I didn't want him to sort of lash out at them. I wasn't scared, just wasn't really focused on that. I was just focused on what I was doing."

Superintendent Gavin Wood of NSW Police hailed the group as "heroes".

"They were brave and I can only use that word seriously. They were significantly brave people," he said.

"To approach a person with [this] mindset ... with clear evidence of a stabbing previously, these people are heroes."

He said the group was assisting police with their ongoing investigation. 

Police confirmed later on Tuesday that a 21-year-old man from the western Sydney suburb of  Marayong was in custody after the incident.

A 41-year-old woman had been taken to hospital in a stable condition with a stab wound to her back.

A police spokesperson also confirmed that the body of a second unidentified woman, 21, had been found inside a unit on Clarence St.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the men were heroes "of the highest order".

"Three members of the public, who can only be described as heroes of the highest order, have engaged this 21-year-old man and have placed him essentially under arrest even though he was brandishing a large butchers knife and was clearly dangerous," he told reporters on Tuesday night.

Seven Network cameraman Paul Walker - who filmed the 21-year-old man being detained - said the man was "full of blood".

"The guy with the knife just kept running and stopping and running and stopping," he told reporters.

"Someone grabbed a milk crate and smacked it over his head."

Witness David Vaux said events unfolded very quickly.

"He was held very securely and I don't think he was in a state to basically breathe," he told reporters.

"It's an extraordinary response by the public and just demonstrates that people are prepared to do the right thing if called upon."

If you are struggling mentally contact Lifeline crisis support and suicide prevention on 13 11 14 or visit

- with additional reporting from AAP

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