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As Sydney shares its sorrow, stabbing’s youngest victim gives reason for hope

As police expand their investigation into a Sydney shopping centre stabbing massacre, a baby girl critically injured in the carnage is showing signs of recovery.

Apr 16, 2024, updated Apr 16, 2024
A makeshift memorial outside the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre in tribute to the victims of the Bondi Junction stabbing spree, Sydney, Monday, April 15, 2024. Sydney is mourning six people who were stabbed to death in a violent rampage at the Bondi Junction shopping centre. (AAP Image/Flavio Brancaleone) NO ARCHIVING

A makeshift memorial outside the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre in tribute to the victims of the Bondi Junction stabbing spree, Sydney, Monday, April 15, 2024. Sydney is mourning six people who were stabbed to death in a violent rampage at the Bondi Junction shopping centre. (AAP Image/Flavio Brancaleone) NO ARCHIVING

Five women – including the baby’s mother, 38-year-old osteopath mother Ashlee Good – and a man were killed by knife-wielding Joel Cauchi in the rampage at Bondi Junction Westfield on Saturday.

Cauchi seemingly singled out women in the attack but authorities are yet to pinpoint a motive for the nation’s worst massacre in recent years.

Cauchi was shot dead after killing Ms Good, along with Dawn Singleton, 25, Jade Young, 47, Pikria Darchia, 55, Yixuan Cheng, 27, and 30-year-old Faraz Tahir.

Seven people including the baby girl remained in hospital on Monday night, when the Sydney Opera House lit up with a black ribbon as a tribute to those affected.

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said the condition of the baby girl had improved.

“Pleasingly, We have seen the nine-month-old baby in the children’s hospital at Randwick have her condition downgraded from critical to serious,” Mr Park told the ABC.

“We hope to have her on a ward over the next few days.”

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said detectives would go to Queensland to talk to Cauchi’s family, associates and friends to get “insight into the offender and what he might have been thinking”.

“He had a fascination with knives, we’ve been told that. What else was on his mind we really don’t know.”

Cauchi, 40, whose family say lived with mental ill health including schizophrenia for decades, moved to Sydney from Queensland in March.

“He wanted a girlfriend and he has no social skills and he was frustrated out of his brain,” the killer’s father Andrew Cauchi said.

NSW Premier Chris Minns, who has announced a special coronial inquiry to examine the circumstances of Cauchi’s “horrifying, vile act”, concedes a motive might never be known.

Hundreds of people were forced to flee the busy east Sydney site during the terrifying attack, vision of which was widely circulated on social media.

Authorities have praised the bravery of the police inspector who shot Cauchi dead as well several shoppers who confronted him during the ordeal.

A permanent memorial is being considered near the shopping centre, where a floral tribute has grown and mental health support is being offered.

As the nation reflected on the terror of Saturday, police on Monday night responded to another stabbing in western Sydney, where four people were injured by a man during a live-streamed church service.

Victims were treated by ambulance officers for non-life threatening injuries and one man was arrested.

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