Man who threatened to behead police intends to convert to Judaism, court told – Sydney Morning Herald

Posted By on December 1, 2019

Pender, who took ice before the police confrontation, wrote a letter of apology to the magistrate on Thursday.

His sentencing hearing in the NSW Supreme Court was played a phone call made by Pender while he was on remand in mid-2017, several weeks after the Surry Hills incident.

In the call, Pender told a woman he knew: "Guess what I'm going to do when I get out? Blow up a train. I'm gearing myself up for martyrdom, to become a martyr."

The woman repeatedly told him to "stop" and said authorities would end up cutting the call, but Pender said, "no they won't, they're not even listening to the call".

"The cops are going to die, people are going to die," he said. "It's going to be beautiful. F---ing beautiful. I'm ready ... Allahu Akbar, f--- you all, you're all dead."

Later in the call he advised the woman to cut someone's head off. "I want you to," he said. "Like I'm going to cut heads off when I get out". He ended by saying: "Allahu Akbar, I love you, bye".

Defence barrister Jo Gallagher said the comments were made after Pender missed one of his regular injections of an antipsychotic medication and in the context of him previously having delusions and auditory hallucinations.

She said Pender had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had psychotic episodes during which he carried a knife. Ms Gallagher said one report from Justice Health detailed him hallucinating the phrase "kill kill kill, murder" and having delusions of a demonic prophecy.

Ms Gallagher said the phone call should not be taken into account in sentencing.

Prosecutor Patricia McDonald SC argued the comments in the call were not bravado and were consistent with the radical views Pender had been expressing over a period of about two years.

Ms McDonald said Pender adhered to radical Islam from at least October 2015, when he made a Facebook post which referenced martyrdom and "the first droplet of blood in the river that will follow".

Blake Nicolas Pender.Credit:Facebook

Giving evidence, Pender said he converted to Islam in 2015 and gave up his Islamic faith "a long time ago" but he doesn't recall when. He said he asked staff at Goulburn Supermax for the Torah about five or six weeks ago, when he became interested in converting to Hasidic Judaism.

Asked about the tattoo of a cross under his right eye, Pender agreed he was at one time interested in Christianity.

Justice Ian Harrison said "people who tell police on the streets of Surry Hills that they're going to cut their heads off aren't people we come across regularly".

Pender will be sentenced on December 18.

Georgina Mitchell is a court reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Man who threatened to behead police intends to convert to Judaism, court told - Sydney Morning Herald

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