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MX News Update 2024

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Bondi Junction stabs emotional reunion of survivor with mystery hero: ‘So glad you’re alive’

A woman who was almost killed in the stabbing at Bondi Junction Westfield last month has thanked the stranger in a green T-shirt who helped her to safety during an emotional reunion.

Liya Barko fatefully crossed paths with murderer Joel Cauchi on the afternoon of April 13 after walking into the shops after her first volleyball lesson. The 35-year-old student from Argentina said their eyes met briefly before he plunged the 30cm knife into her side and said the words “catch you”.

Bondi Junction stabs survivor Liya Barko after being released from hospital (left).  Liya Barko in hospital (right).Bondi Junction stabs survivor Liya Barko after being released from hospital (left).  Liya Barko in hospital (right).

Bondi Junction stabbing survivor Liya Barko was seriously injured in the attack and was only released from hospital a week ago. Source: 9News

Barko told 9News earlier this week that as Cauchi fled to continue his rampage, which ultimately left six people dead, another customer — a tall man in a brightly colored T-shirt — rushed toward her, ushering her into a store pulled and started working to save her life. .

“I would like to see him again, at least give him a hug,” she said of her mysterious hero. On Wednesday she was finally allowed to do that.

The man, identified by 9News as former soldier Wayne Tolver Banks, and Barko couldn’t contain their excitement during their embrace, which was filmed by the publication.

“Oh my God,” Barko exclaimed when she first saw Banks, who asked her how she was doing.

“Good! Good! Yes, I remember you, you were so tall,” she replied.

“I’m so glad you’re alive,” an obviously relieved Banks said as they took each other’s hands.

Banks recalled that during the disaster, mass murderer Cauchi looked him in the eye and shook his head, implying he would not attack the man, before charging at Barko and stabbing her in the ribs, puncturing her stomach and liver.

“I looked at you when I saw the man stabbing you and I immediately said to myself, I have to help you… I didn’t want you to die,” Banks told Barko.

A person looks at flower arrangements left at the entrance to the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping center after the attack. A person looks at flower arrangements left at the entrance to the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping center after the attack.

Cauchi killed six people at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, including five women and a male security guard. Source: AAP

“I knew exactly what I had to do to take control of the situation and the area and take care of her,” continued the former soldier, who credited his previous training for his quick response.

The pair, Banks’ wife and other shoppers then took refuge in a store, where the 35-year-old student said she thought she was going to die.

“Your wife, she was the person who started shaking me when I started saying ‘I want to give up’… she’s the one who (said to me) ‘You’re doing very well,'” said Barko, who described her now lifelong friend as her “angel.”

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