Rape victim of Man Monis tells how 'good looks and black magic' earned siege gunman thousands

By Candace Sutton

The first sexual assault victim of Man Monis to speak out Esla (above) says he drank alcohol, flirted and promised to dissolve 'bad spells with black magic'. Photo / Candace Sutton
The first sexual assault victim of Man Monis to speak out Esla (above) says he drank alcohol, flirted and promised to dissolve 'bad spells with black magic'. Photo / Candace Sutton

He was tall, handsome and charming and he promised his sorcerer's skills would solve all their problems.

But Lindt Cafe gunman Man Monis - who at the time drank alcohol, had sex with several women and had "a beautiful BMW or Mercedes" - had strict rules for the women who would become his rape victims.

"He told you to strip, to take off all of my clothes straight away and to lie down," Esla* said, "then he would dip this brush in his 'magic' liquid and paint my body.

"It cost a few hundred [dollars] each time, but then he promised he could get rid of all my problems for $5000.

"And he started suggesting I, you know, do things to myself in front of him to help things along."

In an exclusive interview with news.com.au, Esla has revealed for the first time the sexual assault history at the hands of Man Monis.

She also said one of her friends had a relationship with Monis, which occurred during the time the self-styled sheikh was fathering children with one-time wife and future murder victim, Noleen Hayson Pal.

A 56-year-old Sydney hospitality worker, Esla asked her identity be protected for her family's sake.

She described how Monis, using the name of "Michael", dressed in Western clothes, went out drinking with women and conducted his sham "Spiritual Consultation" business in Sydney's west.

Esla said most of Monis' customers were, like her, women of Indian or Fijian Indian descent.

"I think that was part of it, coming from Fiji you could believe that might be why you were feeling sick, because someone had put a spell on you," she said.

Monis, dressed as a bikie, liked flashy cars, fast motorbikes and the admiration of women. Photo / NSW Coroner
Monis, dressed as a bikie, liked flashy cars, fast motorbikes and the admiration of women. Photo / NSW Coroner

"And he said "someone has done something bad' and he promised he could cure you ... for a lot of money."

The first of the sexual assault victims of Monis to speak publicly, Esla told news.com.au that Monis flirted with vulnerable women and used his good looks to get high-paying customers.

Eventually, police would charge him with more than 40 sexual assault charges.

But Monis was on bail for those charges, and for conspiring to murder his wife - who he had met through his spiritual advising business - when he entered the Lindt cafe in December 2014.

Esla is angry and frustrated that he will never face justice for his crimes.

"I would like to see him in jail and suffering, and facing a court for what he did," she said.
Detectives interviewed seven women who Monis committed acts of indecency and aggravated sexual assaults against between 2002 and 2009.

But Esla, who became Monis' victim in 2002-2003, believes there would have been many more.

"I saw women coming and going at two different locations where he was operating his practice," she said. "It was busy."

As 'Michael', Monis lured vulnerable women to his busy 'spiritual healing' practice in Wentworthville (above) and assaulted them. Photo / Google
As 'Michael', Monis lured vulnerable women to his busy 'spiritual healing' practice in Wentworthville (above) and assaulted them. Photo / Google

Police charged Monis with assaults which entailed massaging women's breasts, rubbing oil into their breasts, rubbing his fingers and penis against their vaginas, attempting or having sexual intercourse without consent, and painting oil or water on their breasts and bodies.

He operated a "healing centre" in Station Street, Wentworthville in western Sydney, luring women with advertisements placed in Fijian, Chinese, Macedonian, Indian and Spanish local newspapers.

Esla said she had been feeling unwell when a friend showed her one of Monis's ads in an Indian newspaper.

"In the ad he said he was a healer and a clairvoyant who practised black magic," she said.

"I went along to Wentworthville and he said he could get rid of the bad spirits.

"He seemed okay, tall and confident. It wasn't too threatening at first, a bit weird, but I just thought this is the ritual he follows.

"He said 'take all your clothes off and lie down' and that he'd put some holy water or oil on me.

"He seemed as if he knew what he was doing, but then he said you will have to do stuff to yourself and I said 'I can't, maybe some people can but I can't'.

Esla returned several times to Monis, at a different 'healing centre' in Burwood. During that time, she made appointments with a woman who had an "Indian sounding" accent, perhaps Monis's then partner Noleen Pal.

Esla realised his black magic sessions trying to scare off the "voodoo" spirit weren't working.

She declined his offer to spend $5000, and eventually went to a doctor who diagnosed depression.

But Esla didn't lose touch with Monis, to whom she had referred a female friend.

"My girlfriend hooked up with him and we all became friends," she said.

"We would go out drinking. It lasted for a while, but my friend wanted a serious relationship and [Monis] started to get a little vague.

"And he was a bit weird. he would say things like, 'if you see me in the street when you aren't with me, don't call me Michael" and things like that.

"And then he painted me with the 'magic' liquid."

"He was a bit dodgy."

In April 2013, Monis's wife, 30-year-old Fijian Indian Noleen Pal was murdered in the block of flats where he was living, in Werrington in far western Sydney.

Later that year, Monis was charged with being an accessory before and after the fact of Ms Pal's murder.

In April 2014, police also charged Monis with the 2002 sexual assault of a woman at his western Sydney spiritual healing business.

The woman, who was 27 at the time, responded to his newspaper ad and twice visited his clinic within a week.

Police say that Monis indecently assaulted her on the first appointment, and indecently and sexually assaulted her a week later.

Detectives appealed for other victims and Esla said they contacted her and took her statement.

"It's yuck when I think about it, but I was so desperate to get healed and it was 10 to 15 minutes for $200 to $300 a time and I thought it was worth trying.

"But he was just taking advantage of people from Fiji who believe there's a spiritual world and sometimes it works.

"He was very clean, tall, nice looking, and dressed sharp. He charmed women and drove a beautiful car."

Monis was granted bail on both the accessory to murder charges over his wife's death, and the sexual assault charges and had been due back in court in February, 2015.

But on December 15, 2014, he entered the Lindt Cafe with a gun.

"I wish he could face a jury for what he did, but at least I didn't go through what those poor people [the Sydney siege hostages] had to.

"But I guess what happened to him [Monis dying in the Sydney siege] that's karma."

- Esla is not her real name*

- news.com.au

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