Lawyer reveals accused stabber’s defence

The man accused of murdering a sex worker in a Sydney unit before stabbing another woman in the CBD will defend the charges on the grounds of his mental health.

Overnight, NSW police charged 20-year-old Mert Ney with murder following a brutal attack in Sydney's CBD and this morning the accused killer faced court for the first time.

Detectives said Ney has been charged with murder, attempted murder, wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, intentionally choking a person with recklessness, and common assault.

He allegedly killed Michaela Dunn, 24, in a Clarence Street apartment on Tuesday before allegedly stabbing Linda Bo, 41, in the shoulder at the Hotel CBD.

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He was later filmed running through the city streets brandishing a knife before being restrained by onlookers and arrested.

Ney was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for treatment but was released and transferred to Surry Hills Police Station for questioning just after midday on Friday.


Mert Ney being detained by police in Sydney.
Mert Ney being detained by police in Sydney.


Ney appeared before Parramatta Bail Court today, bail was not applied for and was formally refused.

Outside court Ney's lawyer Zemarai Khatiz revealed his client intended to defend the charges.

"He's going through a very difficult situation at this time," he told reporters. "But in relation to the allegations he will be defending the charges on the grounds of mental illness." Investigators have been trying to piece together why Ney, who had a history of mental illness, launched the alleged attack.

Just one week before the alleged attack, police were looking for the 20-year-old after he'd been involved in a confrontation with his family in their Marayong home, in the city's west, just seven days before the tragic events of Tuesday afternoon.

Cops arrived at the house to reports of a disturbance but, by the time they arrived, Ney had fled the scene.

Ney’s sister fronted the media yesterday. Picture: John Feder/The Australian
Ney’s sister fronted the media yesterday. Picture: John Feder/The Australian

But as cops searched for him that week, they were unaware that Ney was living in government emergency housing and could easily have been found.

After the family argument, CCTV footage shows that Ney arrived at the Blacktown Hospital's emergency department at 12.15am on August 7 after suffering a prescription drug overdose.

According to The Australian, a voice can be heard in the footage saying: "Something's not right with this guy."

Melinda Ettery, a patient in the emergency room that day, told the Channel 7 Ney was "loud and boisterous, being rude to nurses and doctors" when he arrived.

Less than two days later Ney went to a local GP and said he was having suicidal thoughts.

Concerned, the doctor called police. However, Ney managed to evade them once again.

Seven News reports that one of Ney's mates sent him a message at this point, telling him: "You are going to get locked up or killed very soon."

Ney replied: "Yah, I wanna die. Tried to kill myself­ in two days. Didn't work."

Police say Ney turned up at Blacktown Hospital again later that day. He was assessed, but left just hours later.

The Australian reports that Ney spent the next three days in emergency ­accommodation at a community house in Blacktown. And, nobody thought to tell cops he was there.



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"We only found out afterwards (after Tuesday's incident) that he had been in emergency ­accommodation," said a police source told the newspaper. "Police were searching for him and we had concerns, but it's still a mystery to us why we didn't get a call."

A teenage couple, Courtney Ridgeway, 19, and Nathan Tgiy, 16, described Ney as "agitated" and "scary" when they stayed in a room next door to his half way house in Blacktown.

They said heard the 20-year-old loudly discussing terrorism on his phone an information he had on USB stick.

"He was talking about terrorism and Allahu Akbar - he loved that word, he was saying it a lot," Ms Ridgeway told 9News.

"I think he had it planned what he was going to do the next day. He just said he had a USB and was researching, studying what was on it."

The next time Ney was seen, he was spotted on CCTV entering the Clarence Street apartment building on Tuesday at 1.30pm and leaving about 20 minutes later, before allegedly stabbing Ms Bo in the back.

A homeless couple told The Daily Telegraph Ney took a knife from a government emergency accommodation home to carry out his alleged crimes.

Yesterday, Ney's sister told reporters outside the family's Marayong home that Ney had been domestically violent in the lead-up to the incident and suffered several mental illnesses.

Michaela Dunn, 24, from Sydney’s inner west was stabbed to death. Picture: Instagram
Michaela Dunn, 24, from Sydney’s inner west was stabbed to death. Picture: Instagram

She said she didn't want to go near him and described his alleged actions as "despicable".

"All the words I can say won't ever bring her back. I want to say I'm really sorry, she was defenceless," said Ney's sister, who asked not to be named.

Police say Ney was carrying a USB stick with information about recent mass casualties in New Zealand and the United States, and could be heard on video footage shouting "Allahu Akbar".

But his sister didn't believe he subscribed to extremist ideology. "All this stuff about extremism, white supremacy, stuff like that, that's news to me ... it was using religion as an excuse," she said.

Police are investigating a USB stick belonging to Ney. Picture: Seven News
Police are investigating a USB stick belonging to Ney. Picture: Seven News


NSW Police have not classed the attack as a terrorist incident and have not identified any links to terrorist organisations.

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