Police said Mert Ney attacked the woman and shouted an Arabic phrase that means “God is great.” Investigators seized a phone and a flash drive, which they said contained information about recent attacks in the United States and New Zealand.
“Information found on him would suggest he had some ideologies in relation to terrorism, but he has no links to terrorism,” New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said. “There is no current intelligence on him and he has no other apparent links to other terrorist organizations.”
Fuller said Ney has a history of mental health issues and had recently escaped from a psychiatric institution. Authorities believe he attacked at random and had no accomplices.
“No doubt in coming days investigators will be looking at not just the last couple of days, but the last six to 12 months of his life,” the commissioner said.
Officials said Ney killed a 21-year-old woman during the “terrifying carnage,” and a 41-year-old woman was hospitalized with stab wounds in her back.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted concern for the “violent attack.”
Police praised three British workers who intervened and subdued the assailant.