On a roof in Tighes Hill: Sydney stabbing suspect keeps police at bay in Newcastle | video, photos

Superintendent John Gralton, Newcastle City LAC Commander addressed the media at Waratah Police Station on Wednesday morning regarding the stand-off.

Superintendent Gralton said after the lengthy stand off, police arrested the 27-year-old man and took him into custody after he was assessed by paramedics.

It is believed the man will be able to assist inquiries regarding triple stabbing in Sydney and armed robberies, police pursuits and stolen cars in Newcastle. 

Police confirmed the man did resist arrest and was arrested with a knife in his possession. 

“There was very little conversation with the man,” Superintendent Gralton said.

“He failed to negotiate.”

After the 17-hour stand-off, the man was arrested inside the premises. 

“I’m very proud of the police efforts on this particular efforts and the local police, our Sydney counterparts and Fire and Rescue NSW,” he said.

“It resolved peacefully which is fantastic, and importantly, no members of the community, police or emergency services were injured.”

Superintendent Gralton said the community’s safety was paramount to police during the siege, and the most important course of action was to lock down the area ensuring the offender was contained.

“We kept the community as safe as we possibly could during this operation and that was what was at the forefront in our minds,” he said.

He was charged with a range of offences including: 

  • Five counts of robbery armed with offensive weapon,
  • Three counts of cause grievous bodily harm to person with intent,
  • Two counts of dishonestly obtain property by deception,
  • Two counts of drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous,
  • Break, enter, and steal,
  • Take & drive conveyance without consent of owner,
  • Aggravated break and enter and commit serious indictable offence while armed,
  • Stalk/intimidate intend fear physical harm,
  • Drive whilst disqualified,
  • Enter enclosed land without lawful excuse,
  • Steal property in dwelling, and
  • Use offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention.

EARLIER:

ONE of Newcastle’s busiest roads was brought to a standstill on Tuesday as a man suspected of a triple stabbing and two armed robberies in the same night held police at bay in a siege that lasted hours.

The Wallsend man was perched on the roof of a Tighes Hill townhouse and refused to come down, prompting police to evacuate neighbours and close Maitland Road near Hunter TAFE about noon.

He was wanted by police for questioning in connection with a random stabbing of three people at a Sydney gym on Monday night. He was also suspected of armed robberies at two Newcastle service stations within hours of the alleged stabbing.

In an unusual twist, the man was driving an allegedly stolen black BMW belonging to Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver, whose daughter Maddie was held hostage as part of an extortion attempt in 2011. The BMW was reportedly stolen from a Sydney car wash on Monday night and found by police in Tighes Hill the next day.

As police impounded the BMW, the Wallsend man was alleged to have taken another car owned by the occupants of the Tighes Hill townhouse, who police described as “associates” of him, but stressed they had no connection to the triple stabbing and armed robberies.

A police pursuit through Hamilton South on Tuesday morning was allegedly started by the Wallsend man.

He was allegedly speeding in a school zone. He initially pulled over, but allegedly sped off and triggered the pursuit. 

Police said inquiries in Hamilton South led them back to the Henry Street townhouse.

“When we’ve approached the premises, he’s obviously seen us and jumped out the window,” crime manager Detective Inspector Peter Mahon said on Tuesday afternoon.

“All we can do is sit it out. We’ll negotiate with him as long as it takes.”

At 10pm on Tuesday, the man was still on the roof and Maitland Road was still shut, 10 hours after it was closed.

He could be seen at various points throughout the day sitting on the roof gazing at the sky, as residents who were evacuated from the row of townhouses became increasingly agitated as the siege dragged on.

Shirtless, the man was also seen jumping from roof to roof, before lying down and spending much of the afternoon on a section of roof not visible by the public.

Contracted traffic controllers arrived on Maitland Road late in the evening and were on stand-by for a night shift.

Police arrested a man after the stand-off at about 4.45am on Wednesday, March 22 and he was taken into custody. He was assessed by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to Newcastle Police Station. 

Detectives from the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad’s Strike Force Fleet are expected to speak with him as they believe he may be able to assist with their inquiries.

The investigation of the triple stabbing in Brookvale, In Sydney’s northern suburbs, and armed robberies at Newcastle service stations was being led by the State Crime Command.

Police began hunting an “agitated and aggressive man” after three men were stabbed at the Plus Fitness gym at Brookvale about 8pm on Monday. 

About 9.45pm, a man fitting the same description allegedly committed two service station robberies on Maitland Road at Sandgate.

CCTV footage of the first of the service station robberies shows a man behind the counter, as a terrified shop attendant and a customer watch on.

The vision shows a man struggling to wrench a cash register draw open with a knife before he begins to kick it.

The cash register is eventually broken free before the man runs off and gets back in a car.

About 10 or 15 minutes later, around 10pm, police allege that a man placed two chocolates on the service station counter before jumping on top of it and producing a knife.

Police said that the service station attendant complied, and handed over an amount of money before the man ran from the store and got back into his vehicle. There were no injuries at either of the robberies. However, one of the men attacked in the Brookvale gym required emergency surgery, after reportedly being stabbed eight times in the neck and ear.

All three stabbing victims were released from hospital on Tuesday.