Police at Christ The Good Shepherd Church
A teenager was arrested after the stabbing at a Sydney church. Image by Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS

False link between bishop’s alleged attacker and old police comments

Ben James April 16, 2024

The person arrested over the alleged stabbing of a Sydney bishop is facing charges in relation to the homicide of a woman.


False. Police comments about the charges relate to a separate incident from 2019.

False links are being made between an attack at a Sydney church and a five-year-old police statement about a person facing an unrelated homicide charge over the death of a woman.

Social media users shared video of an old police press conference, suggesting it followed Monday evening’s attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, Sydney.

The historic police footage circulating on social media in the wake of Monday’s incident says: “At this stage, there would be charges around the homicide of a young woman in her twenties and serious assault charges for the stabbing.”

A screenshot from the Facebook video.
 The video has nothing to do with the alleged church attack. 

In the video, a police officer also says the man was found with a “thumbstick drive that had information on it” and that officers are searching a Western Sydney crime scene. He goes on to say the man is “known to police” and has a “history of mental health”.

“As predicted,” one Facebook user said, alongside the video with the hashtags “#SydneyAttack #GoodShepherdChurch #MarMariEmmanuel #stabbing.”

The video is being shared across social media platforms, with examples here, here and here.

But that press conference has nothing to do with the Wakeley incident.

Instead, it dates back to August 2019 and features then NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller speaking after Mert Ney was arrested for killing Michaela Dunn and stabbing a second woman in Sydney’s CBD.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel (file image)
 Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was attacked during a live-streamed sermon. 

Ney was subsequently jailed for 44 years, with a non-parole period of 33 years. This was later reduced to 40 years, with a non-parole of 30 years.

There are various clues the video is old. Mr Fuller retired from NSW Police in 2022.

Then NSW minister for police and emergency services, David Elliott, can be seen over Mr Fuller’s shoulder. Mr Elliott retired from politics in 2023.

At the time of writing, authorities said the alleged attack at The Good Shepherd Church was being treated as a terrorist incident. Police arrested a teenage boy at the scene. They said the boy was known to them.

A crowd descended on the church following the incident and police struggled to retain control. Several police vehicles were damaged and officers were injured.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Chris Minns are among those to have called for calm in the aftermath of the incident.

The Verdict

The claim that the person arrested over the alleged stabbing of a Sydney bishop is facing charges in relation to the homicide of a woman is false.

The police comments about the charges relate to a separate incident from 2019. The comments relate to Mert Ney, who killed a woman and injured another in a Sydney CBD attack.

False — The claim is inaccurate.

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