'Taken too soon:' Stabbing victim remembered as government responds to tragedy

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Online she appeared like any other 24-year-old woman: happy, smiling, posing in photographs in sunny travels around the world.

But on Tuesday, Sydney woman Michaela Dunn became the latest face revealing the toll of violence against women in Australia.

Michaela Dunn, whose mother described her as a "beautiful girl from a beautiful family".

Michaela Dunn, whose mother described her as a "beautiful girl from a beautiful family".Credit:Facebook

The former University of Notre Dame graduate, from the inner west, was revealed on Wednesday as the woman who died in Tuesday's violent stabbing rampage in the CBD.

Linda Bo, 41, was also stabbed in the back during the incident and was expected to be released from hospital on Wednesday night.

The violent episode stopped the city in its tracks, prompting urgent reviews in the state government's health and justice portfolios.

Ms Dunn was the sole Sydneysider killed during the "terrifying carnage" allegedly inflicted by western Sydney man Mert Ney, 20, when he ran through the city covered in blood, brandishing a bloody butcher's knife.

Mert Ney, after his arrest on Tuesday.

Mert Ney, after his arrest on Tuesday.Credit:Seven News

"A true delight to know," and "a whole individual who will be missed and mourned," were just some of the ways friends and community member remembered the young woman in the aftermath of her shock death.

On Wednesday her mother Joanne Dunn described her daughter as well travelled and loving, from a beautiful family in Sydney's suburbs, while a statement shared by police requested "privacy at this difficult time".

Ms Dunn had recently travelled to the US and Sri Lanka, according to her social media accounts.

Ms Dunn was a former student of Rosebank College in Five Dock, where she was one of four social justice captains, graduating in 2012. She then went on to study marketing and public relations at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney.

On Wednesday NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said investigations into Ms Dunn's death and communications with her family were "raw and extremely new."

Police will allege Mr Ney stabbed Ms Dunn in a residential apartment in Clarence House, where her body was found, which is now being investigated by detectives from the homicide squad under Strike Force Lalchere.

Commissioner Fuller confirmed the two were in phone contact with one another in the lead-up to the stabbing attack, before Mr Ney met her at the apartment.

The Herald understands she was working at the apartment as a sex worker, however Commissioner Fuller said police were still confirming the purpose of the "phone contact ... and the visit."

It was after this visit it is alleged Mr Ney ran down Clarence, King and York streets, stabbing Ms Bo in the back, before being crash tackled in a dramatic citizen's arrest.

As he ran through the streets Mr Ney screamed terrorist slogans, while he was also found to have a phone and USB stick containing files relating to recent mass killings, including the mosque shootings in New Zealand this year.

Police have acknowledged that though the 20-year-old had "terrorist ideologies," the incident is not considered a terrorist event.

It has since been revealed Mr Ney, from Maryong in Sydney's west, had been listed as a missing person by his family following a "domestic violence situation", which prompted a police "concern for welfare report", in the days leading up to the alleged stabbings.

Court documents have also confirmed Mr Ney appeared at Blacktown Local Court on June 24 for possessing or using a prohibited weapon - knuckledusters - without a permit.

He pleaded guilty to the charge and was convicted and sentenced to conditional release order for nine months, expiring on March 23, 2020.

Commissioner Fuller confirmed Mr Ney had recently "self-admitted himself [to a facility] following a medical issue" prompting subsequent mental health assessments.

"His history is not remarkable. He has some low-level issues around theft, malicious damage. He had some low-level domestic violence issues link back to his family ... they were being investigated."

Mr Ney remained under police guard at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital with minor injuries on Wednesday evening.

"I can only describe what would have been terrifying carnage around that area," said Commissioner Mick Fuller.

"I can only describe what would have been terrifying carnage around that area," said Commissioner Mick Fuller.Credit:AAP

On Wednesday Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor announced a government review into all aspects of Mr Ney's care in the state's health system.

"As with any critical incident, NSW Health will be reviewing all aspects of the care and treatment of the alleged perpetrator," they said.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman also confirmed that the Department of Communities and Justice has been "considering options to better connect people with mental health and cognitive impairment who come into contact with the criminal justice system."

.On Wednesday it was revealed Mr Ney, a former student of Blacktown Boys High, had recently been living in emergency accommodation in a group home run by the non-denominational Christian organisation Providential Homes.

One of the residents told Nine News that Mr Ney had slept at the home the night before the attack and had disclosed to her that he had recently been discharged from hospital.

"He said, 'My mum recently kicked me out, I'm homeless ... And the next day we wake up and see him on the news," the resident said, adding that he also rambled about a USB and left early on Tuesday morning.

The Blacktown property was one of two raided by investigators, along with the family home in Maryong, where his mother and 24-year-old sister Yazel Ney live.

Ms Ney and her mother arrived home at the property to a waiting media pack on Wednesday, before the 24-year-old walked media to a nearby park to give a lengthy statement about her brother.

Mert Ney's sister, Yazel and mother outside the family home.

Mert Ney's sister, Yazel and mother outside the family home.Credit:Renee Nowytarger

"Where do you want me to start?" she said.

"In the past week it is obvious that there has been a steep descent into insanity. He absconded from ... hospital. We thought he was a threat to himself."

Ms Ney said she was "shocked, angry, disgusted" and "sorry a million times" for her brother's alleged victims, speaking directly to the family of Ms Dunn.

"I just want to say sorry, she was younger than me ... she could have been ... going out within a few hours to ... go shopping with her mum...she can't do that now can she?"

Among those most touched by Ms Dunn's death was her childhood friend Joan Westenberg, who described the 24-year-old as "a true delight to know."

"I am angry that male violence has taken another victim ... she deserved to be safe while she worked. Her job does not make her a lurid story. She was a person and she is now gone," she said.

"Selfishly I am so angry that the victim is a young woman I deeply respected and cared about. The violence in this country cannot continue. It cannot."

The young woman's death has also "devastated" the Australian sex worker community, according to a coalition of peak bodies.

A teddy bear and rose left on the steps of Clarence House after Michaela Dunn was killed there on Tuesday.

A teddy bear and rose left on the steps of Clarence House after Michaela Dunn was killed there on Tuesday. Credit:Sally Rawsthorne

In a joint statement, Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association and Sex Workers Outreach Project of NSW described Ms Dunn as "a woman, a community member, and a whole individual who will be missed and mourned."

"There is significant stigma and discrimination experienced by sex workers and too often our identities, lives and experiences are reduced to our occupation."

Outside Clarence House on Wednesday a lone stuffed teddy bear and a single red rose were left by the door, in memory of the young Sydney woman.

"Taken too soon," read a small card.

❏ Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636; National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732.