The man who picked up a chair and kept Sydney's alleged knifeman Mert Ney from hurting other people became known as chair man. He has come forward and told his story on television in Australia.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on August 15, 2019

The hero dubbed the chair man, part of the brave group of men that made a citizen’s arrest on the knifeman Mert Ney after he had allegedly killed one woman and stabbed another in the Sydney CBD, has spoken about his actions for the first time.

Chair man was 64-year-old John Bamford, of Bamford Lawyers in Martin Place, Sydney.

John _Bamford_chair_man_stabbingRead next: Five things about Sydney alleged knifeman Mert Ney

Speaking on TV station Channel 7, Bamford said he was heading to lunch as usual on Tuesday.

“I was walking to have my lunch on a little cafe, and as I went past the hotel, somebody emerged from the side of the building,” Bamford told the Sunrise show.

“He (Mert Ney) popped out into the street, had the knife raised and called out ‘Allahu Akhbar’, so I thought ‘oh, this is a terrorist.”

Without hesitation, Bamford grabbed a wicker chair from a nearby cafe and was the first to approach the man with the knife.

“He said he had a bomb in his bag, but the zip was undone – it didn’t look like he had a bomb to me,” Bamford said.

“You’ve got no option. What am I going to do? Go home and say I was there and I could have done something and I backed away from it.

“There was no option, he was there and I had a chance to get him. I was going to do something about it.”

Bamford added Ney didn’t frighten him and he was conscious of the situation.

Bamford said he was only going public to satisfy the interest in who was the chair man. He said he isn’t a hero.

“I think it’s a bit over-egged, to be honest. We live in a very peaceful community by and large, so when you see something like this arrive on your doorstep, right out of nowhere, you’ve got no choice,” he said.

“I wasn’t really frightened,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on.

“You have to do something about it. That is just the way it is.”

The Daily Telegraph reported that after Ney was arrested, Bamford returned the chair to the cafe.

He then strolled next door to his favourite eatery and sat alone and ate his usual beef and mushroom pie.

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The alleged Sydney CBD knifeman Mert Ney who was detained by citizen’s arrest. Photo: Channel 7

He returned to work the following day.

Bamford is the last of the people known to have pursued Ney and told other members of the public to get out of his way before Ney was cornered in York Street by someone with a chair and then subdued by chairs and milk crates. Four Englishmen Lee Cuthbert, Luke and Paul O’Shaughnessy and Alex Roberts have spoken to the media about their roles in the citizen’s arrest of Ney.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the investigating officers didn’t want to miss any person who may have “acted courageously” during the apprehension.