Sydney siege hostage Marcia Mikhael has recounted her anger that police negotiators could not meet the demands of gunman Man Monis.
Ms Mikhael spoke to negotiators during the siege and was asked by Monis to get then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the phone.
“I didn’t understand why it was so difficult for the prime minister to get on the phone,” she told the inquest.
“I was told, ‘Sorry Marcia, the prime minister is a very busy man'”.
“I’m sorry but you don’t tell someone who has a gun at their head that. I’m going to feel like I’m a piece of nothing and I’m going to die. Just pick up the phone.”
Ms Mikhael said she had initially thought she was involved in a TV prank during the initial moments of what became a fatal 17-hour ordeal.
She and two colleagues didn’t have time to drink their morning coffees before Monis pulled a sawn-off shotgun from a blue bag and ordered staff to lock the cafe’s doors on December 15, 2014.
After pulling the gun from the bag, Monis said no one was to leave, Ms Mikhael told the inquest into the siege.
“I thought Channel Seven was going to come out of the kitchen and say ‘prank’,” she said.
As the day went on she realised Monis didn’t plan on leaving alive.
“I thought he had a plan to die,” Ms Mikhael told an inquest on Tuesday.
While brandishing a shotgun Monis ordered people to leave their mobile phones on a table and arranged the hostages to stand at windows around the cafe.
Ms Mikhael said she thought Monis had done this to give himself protection and prove the siege was serious.
Ms Mikhael was moved near the front doors where she stood looking out of the cafe, terrified of the scene unfolding behind her.
“I was frozen in fear,” she said.
As she stood at the doors Senior Constable Paul Withers, the first officer to arrive, managed to catch her attention without alerting Monis.
He gestured to Ms Mikhael and encouraged her to calm her breathing, which she said helped her cope.
“I would like to thank him,” Ms Mikhael said.
Ms Mikhael, was one of 18 people held hostage by Monis for 17 hours with the siege ending in the deaths of cafe manager Tori Johnson, barrister Katrina Dawson and Monis.
Lindt siege end ‘like being in firework’
The final, chaotic moments of the Lindt Cafe siege with guns being fired and flash grenades exploding was
like being inside a firework, hostage Ms Mikhael said.
Ms Mikhael was one of the last captives inside the Sydney cafe and kept her eyes on gunman Man Haron Monis while hiding under tables not far from fellow hostage Katrina Dawson as the 17-hour siege moved towards its violent end.
They had taken cover after the final group to escape the December 14 siege had successfully fled.
Monis, who had shot at the fleeing captives, reloaded his gun and ordered cafe manager Tori Johnson to “come over here right now”, Ms Mikhael told the coronial inquest on Tuesday.
She was lying on her stomach and couldn’t see what happened next – as Monis executed Mr Johnson at point-blank range.
She said police stormed the building soon after.
“There were shots being fired from inside and outside, the sound of little grenades,” she said.
“It was like being inside a firework.”
Officers and Monis were shooting at each other and Ms Mikhael was trying to block out the noise by placing her hands over her ears.
She said it was “the most horrible thing”.
While lying under the tables, Ms Mikhael felt a pain in both legs and realised she had been shot.
She tried to move closer to cover and curled into the fetal position, trying to avoid becoming a target again.
Ms Mikhael said she spent about seven minutes under the tables and described the final minutes of the siege as a “blur”.
After police had stormed the building and killed Monis, two officers carried Ms Mikhael out of the cafe with bullet wounds in both her legs.
“They had to step over Monis and half his head was blown out,” she said.
The inquest is expected to continue for another six weeks.