Bondi Junction stabbing survivor reveals chilling two words uttered by attacker

Liya Barko said she locked eyes with killer Joel Cauchi just moments before he critically injured her.

Bondi Junction stabbing survivor Liya Barko after being released from hospital (left). Liya Barko in hospital (right).

A woman who miraculously survived the stabbing attack at Bondi Junction Westfield last month has revealed the chilling two words mass murderer Joel Cauchi uttered to her after plunging a large knife into her side.

Liya Barko said she fatefully crossed paths with the killer on the afternoon of April 13 after popping into the shops following her first volleyball class.

“He just looked at me and he decided in that moment, and then I look at my hand, and I was bleeding,” the 35-year-old told 9News, adding it all happened so fast she didn’t even see the 30cm knife Cauchi used to pierce her ribs.

The 40-year-old attacker then held his gaze with Barko and said “catch you”.

As Cauchi headed off to continue his rampage, ultimately killing six people, including five women and a male security guard, Barko said another shopper — a man in a green T-shirt — rushed over, pulled her into a store and began working to save her life.

“When you are on the floor, you’re bleeding, you can see everyone’s expression and some of them were crying, they were scared...for their lives also,” she told the publication, adding she would love to see her hero again and give him a “hug”.

A person looks at floral tributes left at the entrance to Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre after the attack.
Cauchi murdered six people in the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, including five women and a male security guard. Source: AAP

Barko nearly lost her life after the weapon pierced her stomach and liver — narrowly missing her heart, according to a GoFundMe created by her friends. “The surgeons battled not just to save her life but to prevent lasting neurological damage, as her brain was starved of oxygen for a critical period,” it states.

Speaking to 9News, Barko said she woke up in hospital after several days to find a beaming doctor standing over her, noting his infectious energy helped her survive the trauma.

“He was so happy, I have never seen someone really so happy,” the 35-year-old student from Argentina said. “I thought like okay, if I die right now, I'll just destroy his shift. So I can’t die right now because he's just so happy.”

She was released from hospital one week ago, but admitted she is still plagued by one question: “Why?”

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