The man who murdered Sydney woman Michaela Dunn before terrorising the city’s streets with a knife has been sentenced to 44 years behind bars, for what a judge described as a “violent, terrifying and chaotic rampage”.
- Mert Ney went on a city rampage after killing Ms Dunn, injuring Lin Bo
- The judge praised a group of bystanders who put themselves at risk by pinning him down
- Justice Peter Johnson took into account Ney’s mental health issues in sentencing
Mert Ney repeatedly stabbed the 24-year-old in a CBD apartment in August 2019, before filming the crime scene on his phone and sending graphic videos to friends on social media.
He then ran through the CBD with a knife, seriously injuring bystander Lin Bo and slashing at members of the public until bystanders pinned him down with a milk crate and chair.
Justice Peter Johnson today sentenced Ney to 44 years in prison with a non-parole period of 33 years.
“This was a cruel, brutal and terrifying attack made for no reason,” he told the NSW Supreme Court.
When Ney arrived in the Clarence Street apartment for a sex work appointment, Ms Dunn asked him several times if he was OK, the court had previously heard.
Justice Johnson today said Ms Dunn was alone and vulnerable with a stranger who met her for the purpose of killing her.
He described Ney’s social media videos as “gruesome and bizarre” and rejected the murderer’s claims that he intended to leave the apartment without paying.
Justice Johnson said the 22-year-old created “bedlam” in the streets, wearing a balaclava to “maximise the fear” in members of the public.
The judge praised the intervening bystanders for placing themselves at risk.
“Despite the offender’s repeated pleas to be killed, he had in fact been captured by a courageous group of citizens who had come together for the single purpose of restraining the offender so as to bring his violent, terrifying and chaotic rampage to an end.”
Despite proclaiming “Allahu Akbar” in both his social media videos and on the streets, Ney denied being motivated by religious extremism and said he was only pretending to be a terrorist in the hope of dying at the hands of police.
While the court also heard Ney was “obsessed” with footage of the Christchurch massacre, Justice Johnson concluded he wasn’t adherent to radical beliefs himself.
The judge said Ney “took on the trappings, gestures and language of a terrorist”.
“It appears he was influenced by the Christchurch terrorist murders and mass killings and had a morbid interest in shootings associated with his descent into the fantasy world of violent interactive games in which he indulged himself for some time,” Justice Johnson said.
The Crown had called for a life sentence to be imposed.
Justice Johnson took into account Ney’s mental health issues and also applied a 10 per cent discount for him pleading guilty.
He said Ney presented as ” a self-centred individual” with concern only for himself.
“The offender is a dangerous man and continues to be a dangerous man,” the judge said.
“The position appears bleak in the extreme with respect to the offender’s prospects of returning to the community and living a lawful life in the future.”
Ney’s earliest release date is August 2052, when he will be 53 years old.
‘I’m really frustrated’
Outside court, Michaela Dunn’s sister Emily said there would always be a permanently empty spot at their dinner table.
She lamented that her child would grow up not knowing how funny and kind her aunty was.
“I’m not angry, because there’s no point being angry, but I’m really, really frustrated,” she said.
“I’m frustrated with the system. There were so many times that could have and should have stopped what happened on the day that Mikki died.”
But Ms Dunn said the family was trying hard to leave the frustration behind and craft their future in a way that would honour her sister.
“We’ll always make space in our lives for an Aperol spritz and some cat photos,” she said.
“We’ll always make time for rich experiences shared with the ones that we love and we’ll always prioritize love and laughter in our families.
“It’s time now for us to try and move forward.”