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Coast family's relief as daughter runs from siege

RUN TO SAFETY: Harriette DennySydney cafe.
RUN TO SAFETY: Harriette DennySydney cafe. PETER PARKS

ROB Denny felt enormous relief as the grainy images of his daughter Harriette running frantically from the Lindt Chocolat Cafe flooded his lounge room.

Harriette, 30, was working as a barista when gunman Man Haron Monis stormed the cafe, inflicting unimaginable horror.

Harriette Denny at a happier time
Harriette Denny at a happier time Contributed

After 17 agonising hours praying for the safe release of all hostages, it appeared at 2am yesterday that Mr Denny's wishes were about to come true.

But moments later, as shots echoed out and fatalities were confirmed, the Sunshine Coast businessman's heart sank.

He knew in that moment that other families would be grieving the loss of loved ones.

"I saw her on TV running out of the building at 2am," he said.

"She was one of the group of six out with her hands in the air in the Lindt uniform.

"We had been watching all day, trying to get as much information as we could.

"When I first saw her running I wanted to see the image again, because I wanted to make sure it was her but that image was not shown again because the next thing that happened was the shooting.

"We are very relieved she is alive but we won't be celebrating.

"It is not time to celebrate. Harriette has lost a valued friend and work colleague.

"Our hearts go out to his family and also to the family of the lady who lost her life."

It has been revealed there were 17 hostages in total.

Tori Johnson reportedly died during a heroic final standoff with the gunman.

Sunshine Coast Daily front page, Tuesday December 17
Sunshine Coast Daily front page, Tuesday December 17

Katrina Dawson, a 38-year-old barrister and mother, was killed when police stormed the cafe as she tried to protect a pregnant friend and colleague.

Mr Denny, the owner of the Hidden Bean Coffee Shop and Fusion on Ocean Restaurant in Maroochydore, said he had been able to speak with his daughter a few times yesterday.

 

But he has been unable to discuss the details of the ordeal.

"She is distressed and shaken but okay," he said.

"She is being supported by her Sydney-based partner.

"Harriette is a strong, fun and caring person who would have helped out anyone.

"She really cares about her colleagues. Her workmates were a unit, like another family."

A hostage runs to safety from the siege at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place where three people including two hostages, lost their lives.
A hostage runs to safety from the siege at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place where three people including two hostages, lost their lives. PETER PARKS

Harriette's former employers at Augello's at Mooloolaba praised her calm nature.

Owner Simon Best recalled a loyal employee who could remain friendly and calm even on the busiest of nights.
 

She left the restaurant in early 2013 to move south.

"Harriette was with me for five years and she was one of the best workers I've had," Mr Best said.

"She could do anything.

"She is so nice and when the stress of the restaurant arose, she maintained her decorum and cool in any situation.

"As soon as I saw the silhouette of the person in the window come up on the news, I knew it was her.

"I confirmed with her family and watched for updates after that.

"It's a big relief to know she is safe, I can't even imagine what her family was going through."

 

Mr Denny said he would like to thank all those who sent the family their kind thoughts and prayers.

They closed the Maroochydore coffee shop on Monday and yesterday.

"Our family members monitored the situation throughout the night and we were physically and mentally exhausted,'' Mr Denny said."

"Our coffee shop and restaurant is a family affair."

Mr Denny said he would open today and "looked forward to returning to some degree of normality".

"We look forward to seeing once again all our wonderful and loyal regulars."

Topics:  crime editors picks martin place police sydney siege



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