Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson named as Sydney siege victims
Johnson’s family released a statement to Channel 9’s Ben Fordham on Tuesday.
“We are so proud of our beautiful boy Tori, gone from this earth but forever in our memories as the most amazing life partner, son and brother we could ever wish for,” it read.
“We feel heartfelt sorrow for the family of Katrina Dawson.
“We’d like to thank not only our friends and loved ones for their support, but the people of Sydney; Australia and those around the world for reaching out with their thoughts and prayers.
The family expressed their “deepest gratitude” to the police, armed forces and paramedics for the efforts during the siege, and asked the media for privacy.
Johnson had worked at the Lindt cafe for more than two years, and had previously worked in other cafes in Sydney and in the US. He had worked at the Martin Place cafe since 2012.
He moved back to Australia in 2004 after a three-year stint overseas, working at hotels in the US and the Maldives, his LinkedIn profile showed.
He studied hospitality business management at Washington State University in 2002 and 2003, and held a diploma of hotel management.
Peter Manettas, from Nicks Restaurant and Bar group, where Johnson
worked for more than six years, told Guardian Australia he “always put everyone else first”.
“He was a leader. He was a very selfless person, he always put his staff before anything else,” Manettas said.
He said Johnson was close to his family, and maintained close ties with many of his former co-workers when he left to work for Lindt.
“Family was very, very important to Tori,” Manettas said.
“A day wouldn’t go by in the period that he was working with us that
he would not mention his family.”
“Everyone is deeply saddened ... our deepest sympathies go out to Tori’s
family. It’s a very, very sad day.”
Another former colleague, Tony Manno, who worked with Johnson at Sydney’s Adria Rybar & Grill, told the ABC he was shattered to hear the news.
“Tori was a great guy, a good guy to be around,” he said. “He got on really well with all the staff.
Lindt Australia chief executive Steve Loane released a statement about Tori Johnson on the Lindt Chocolate Cafe Australia Facebook page.
“Tori had been with us at Lindt for just over two years and he was a great ambassador for our company and the store that he managed, which he cared about passionately,” Loane said.
“He was a dedicated professional who always built a great rapport with his customers and was much loved by the Lindt team. By nature he was a perfectionist and he had a genuine passion for the hospitality industry and people.
“He was a really important part of our management team in Australia and his loss is absolutely tragic. Our thoughts are with his family and we will do all that we can to provide ongoing support and help for them during this very difficult time.
“We also wish to express our deepest condolences to the family of Katrina Dawson, another tragic loss.”
Dawson, a 38-year-old mother of three, was with fellow barrister Julie Taylor buying a coffee in the Lindt cafe when the gunman attacked.
Taylor and Dawson practised in the Eight Selborne chambers not far from the Lindt cafe.
Three members of chambers were held hostage in the cafe, according to a statement from the New South Wales Bar Association early on Tuesday. It is believed Taylor was forced to appear in one of the propaganda videos made by the gunman during the siege. The videos were released onto social media early on Tuesday.
Dawson was a highly regarded commercial barrister whose areas of practise included banking and insolvency law, commercial competition and consumer law, Corporations Law, Equity and Property.
She was the sister of prominent media barrister Sandy Dawson, and the daughter of McKinsey executive and a sculptor. Sandy Dawson recently represented Fairfax Media in its defamation case against the treasurer, Joe Hockey.
Katrina Dawson completed a law degree at the University of Sydney and a Masters in law at the University of NSW.
She was married to Paul Smith, a partner at Mallesons, whom she met while completing her clerkship at the firm.
A friend of Dawson’s told the Australian Financial Review: “I can’t even believe it is her. Just that face, the dimples, the eyes – she was just unforgettable
“I remember thinking how capable she always seemed, balancing a career
and her kids.”
“One time we met for coffee and her two kids were bouncing all over her, drinking their baby chinos and decorating her plate with salt and pepper. But she was just so relaxed and doting on them.”
Fairfax Media reported that Dawson had three children aged under 10 – two girls and a boy. The youngest, a girl, is four years old.
Dawson attended Ascham – a private girls school in Sydney’s east. She topped the state in the Higher School Certificate in 1994, with a TER of 100, and topped her bar exams, Fairfax Media reported.
The NSW Bar Association released a statement on Tuesday morning: “It is with a heavy heart and deep sorrow that I must inform members of the New South Wales Bar Association that Katrina Dawson, of 8 Selborne Chambers, passed away in the early hours of this morning. Katrina, together with two other members of the NSW Bar, were held as hostages during the incident at the Lindt Cafe in Phillip Street, Sydney, yesterday.
“Katrina was one of our best and brightest barristers who will be greatly missed by her colleagues and friends at the NSW Bar. She was a devoted mother of three children, and a valued member of her floor and of our bar community. Our thoughts are with her family at this time, including her brother, Sandy Dawson of Banco Chambers.”
In addition to her commercial practice, Katrina Dawson was a volunteer legal worker in Redfern.
Today the Redfern Legal Centre tweeted: “We mourn the loss of Katrina
Dawson today, who contributed to the community in many ways including
volunteering at RLC for many years. She’s remembered as one of our best
volunteers who was well liked by all. Our thoughts are with her
family, friends and colleagues today.”