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Sydney shopping centre attack: ‘Bollard Man’ Damien Guerot who confronted killer given Australian residency | World News

Frenchman Damien Guerot earned the nickname “Bollard Man” on social media after footage of him facing up to the attacker emerged. He’s now been made an Australian permanent resident.


A French construction worker who confronted the Sydney mall attacker has been made an Australian permanent resident as a reward for his “extraordinary bravery”.

Damien Guerot, 31, used a bollard to ward off killer Joel Cauchi, 40, at the Westfield Bondi Junction Shopping Centre last Saturday.

Cauchi stabbed six people to death and injured 12 others, including a nine-month-old baby, before he was shot dead by a police officer.

Mr Guerot was seen on CCTV at the top of an escalator with a plastic bollard, confronting Cauchi who was standing a few metres lower, and keeping people on his floor safe.



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Damien Guerot was rewarded for his bravery. Pic: Channel 7 via AP

His actions quickly earned him the nickname “Bollard Man” on social media and on Thursday his Australian work visa – due to expire in July – was replaced with an invitation to settle in the country.

He was also seen running with a plastic chair towards Cauchi behind police inspector Amy Scott and was there along with work colleague and fellow French national Silas Despreaux when she shot the knifeman.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Mr Guerot told Nine Network News, adding he had mixed emotions.

“How can I be also happy when… many people and families… are very sad for their loss?”

‘Bollard Man’ confronts knifeman

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told Mr Guerot through a news conference on Monday: “You are welcome to stay for as long as you like.”

He has also praised Mr Guerot’s “extraordinary bravery”.

The Frenchman’s lawyer Belinda Robertson said Mr Guerot had been told the prime minister did not have the power to grant citizenship, but his new status was confirmed on Thursday.

Mr Despreaux had also chased Cauchi and threw a barrier post at the killer, but didn’t seem to appear on footage.

He said he doesn’t think the pair “realise what happened”, adding “we just keep doing our life, same as before”.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised their heroism, describing them as “true heroes” in a post on social media.

Among the other people who helped that day was Pakistani security guard Muhammad Taha, who was stabbed in the stomach when he confronted Cauchi.



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Joel Cauchi killed six people before being shot dead

Mr Taha holds a temporary visa which is due to expire within weeks, but Mr Albanese said his administration will “certainly” consider his citizenship.

“It just shows extraordinary courage,” he said of Mr Taha’s actions.

“That’s the sort of courage that we want to say thank you to, frankly.”

Speaking from his hospital bed, Mr Taha said he believed he deserved “recognition and consideration for citizenship” and said other guards should get the same offer.

The only male killed in Saturday’s attack was a mall security guard, Pakistani refugee Faraz Tahir.



Image:
Faraz Tahir. Pic: Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia

Read more:
Joel Cauchi’s parents ‘extremely sorry’ after son kills six people
Who is the ‘hero’ police officer who single-handedly stopped Cauchi?

Immigration and citizenship minister Andrew Giles did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Westfield Bondi Junction was opened to the public on Thursday for the first time since the mass stabbing, but shops remained shut for a “community reflection day”.

The attack is not a criminal investigation, but police are gathering evidence to present to a coroner around the circumstances of the deaths, with five of those killed being women.

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