A south-west Sydney student charged over a terrorist stabbing attack in Minto told police as far back as 2013 that he hated Australia because of its involvement with America in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, police documents reveal.
Ihsas Khan, then 19, made the admissions after he went on a bizarre rampage with a large pair of scissors, cutting down Australian flags on homes in his street and then standing on the road staring at one of the homeowners.
Minto ‘act of terror’ ISIS inspired
Police say a man charged with committing a terror attack and attempted murder over a stabbing in Sydney’s west on Saturday was inspired by Islamic State. Ccourtesy ABC News 24
The pharmacy student, who dropped out of university after the incident and was put on psychiatric medication, allegedly stabbed a stranger on Saturday afternoon in a planned yet random attack that police said was inspired by Islamic State.
Wayne Greenhalgh, who was walking his dog through Minto at the time, suffered near-fatal wounds to his hands and body and had to run for his life into a neighbour’s home before Mr Khan tried to smash his way in through a glass door while allegedly shouting “Allah Akbar” and “somebody’s going to die today”.
On Monday, Mr Greenhalgh was talking to people in hospital and was in “good spirits” despite remembering the entire ordeal from the moment Khan pulled a machete from his backpack in the reserve on Ohlfsen Street.
Doctors have managed to salvage all his fingers however he will never be able to work as a cabinet maker again due to tendon damage, a close friend said.
CCTV footage from the nearby home, which operates a salon out of its garage, shows the terrifying moment Mr Khan tried to smash his way in to get to Mr Greenhalgh.
The footage, obtained by A Current Affair, also shows three heroic neighbours trying to force Mr Khan back by swinging a fence paling. He has been charged with committing a terrorist attack and attempted murder.
“Wayne would not have survived if it wasn’t for the neighbours helping and if Wayne wasn’t locked inside the hair dresser salon,” said one witness. “I can’t imagine what would have happened.”
Two years ago, Mr Khan was charged with two counts of larceny and two counts of maliciously damaging property after he used scissors to cut down small Australian flags displayed on the homes of two residents near Ohlfsen Street.
Les King, a 71-year-old Vietnam veteran, said he initially thought naughty children from a nearby school were responsible when three of his flags disappeared.
A month later, after his neighbours had replaced the flags because they saw how upset Mr King was, two flags disappeared again. Across the road, a flag was also stolen from Geoffrey Haines’ house.
The next day, Mr King heard the sound of scissors cutting down a third flag and he ran outside to find Mr Khan. The teenager ran away at first but then returned and stood on the street staring at Mr King’s wife until police arrived.
“I was really pissed off,” Mr King said. “I bled for Australia and the Australian flag and he just goes and takes it.”
Police had to subdue Mr Khan before they found a large pair of scissors in his shorts pocket. When he was interviewed, he told police that he hated Australia.
The charges were dismissed under the Mental Health Act on the condition Mr Khan take psychiatric medication and attend medical appointments.
However, neighbours believe the death of Mr Khan’s mother nine months ago may have exacerbated his anti-social behaviour and mental health issues.
He was living alone since the death and rarely left the house, instead having a stream of visitors arrive at odd hours during the night. Fairfax Media understands he suffers schizophrenia.
Police sources have said they were aware of his past behaviour but the fact he had not been violent meant he wasn’t considered someone they had to watch more carefully.
They have since found extremist material on his computer including a copy of Islamic State’s magazine Dabiq.