Martin Place hostage John O'Brien talks of his escape
HE IS an 83-year-old who outran a crazed gunman 30 years his junior, fleeing the clutches of Man Horan Monis and the Lindt Chocolate Cafe and into the protection of waiting police on Monday.
John O'Brien said he popped into the Lindt cafe to grab a coffee after an appointment with his doctor but found himself held captive at the will of a violent gunman.
Mr O'Brien was the first hostage in the Martin Place siege to escape.
"I have never felt so much relief in my life as when I turned that corner and saw the armed police waiting for me," he said, reading from a statement.
"I'm so grateful to be home with my lovely wife Maureen.
"And we'd both like to thank the media who have remained respectful and to everyone in Australia for their kindness and support.
"Your thoughts and prayers mean a great deal."
Wearing a blue jacket, Mr O'Brien sprinted from the cafe's side door at 4pm Sydney time, about six hours after being taken hostage and nine hours before armed police stormed the premises.
SYDNEY SIEGE: Latest Coverage
- Siege survivor Harriette Denny's tears for her slain boss
- Sydney siege footage shows sniper on roof opposite cafe
- Slain cafe manager's local relatives recount siege ordeal
- What love looks like: victims' families grieve at siege site
- 'Your mum has been shot': siege phone call to family
- Coast family's relief as daughter runs from siege
- HOW IT HAPPENED: Cafe manager killed while wrestling gun from madman
- 90,000 sign petition to toughen up bail laws after siege
- Martin Place hostage John O'Brien talks of his escape
- Sydney siege: Murdoch criticised over congratulations tweet
Mr O'Brien thanked those officers who saved his life, and paid homage to Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, the two killed during the siege.
An investigation will examine whether the two were killed by Monis, or in the crossfire.
There is also growing anger at revelations that Monis was on bail at the time of the siege, charged with a range of violent offences including as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.
After a 17-hour standoff, police responded to a burst of gunfire in the Sydney cafe at 2am Sydney time on Tuesday.
Heavily armed and using flash grenades, the siege was forcibly ended.