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Easter Sunday siege brings Southbank to a stand-still

16 Apr 2015

Easter Sunday siege brings Southbank to a stand-still Image

Shockwaves were sent through Southbank late on Easter Sunday after a man allegedly held a woman hostage for about eight hours inside the Ludlow Bar and Restaurant at Riverside Quay.

It is alleged that 35-year-old Abijath Desikan, a former chef at the restaurant, entered the premises armed with a knife shortly before 10pm on Easter Sunday.

After entering, it is alleged he had barricaded himself in a storeroom and took a female staff member hostage.

The 27-year-old female employee was released at approximately 5.30am on Easter Monday after police negotiators spoke with Desikan.

Desikan was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital under guard for precautionary assessment after being tasered by police.

Police described Desikan as a “disgruntled former employee,” who had been employed by the restaurant only a week before.

“He was fairly disgruntled about some employment issues with the restaurant and I believe he was recently working at the restaurant,” acting Inspector Travis McCarthy said.

“He’s made his way into a storeroom at the rear of the restaurant and at that time there was a female known to him also in that room.”

“At that point he was approached by another staff member who happened to see the knife and, as a result, the staff started to self-evacuate the restaurant and they’ve immediately called police.”

Police praised staff for doing a “really good job” in evacuating patrons and alerting police so quickly.

Police said the female employee involved in the incident was not physically harmed, but had been “traumatised” by the experience.

“Obviously it’s a fairly traumatic experience for her, she’s in a room with a male who was in there for a while with a knife,” Inspector McCarthy said.

“Although the evidence suggests at this stage that no direct threats were made to her, it’s fairly traumatising over a long period of time.”

Following the incident, Desikan was charged by police with armed robbery, false imprisonment and assault with a weapon and appeared in custody at a filing hearing on April 7.

He was remanded to appear at a committal mention on June 30.

Red Rock Leisure, which owns Ludlow Bar and Restaurant, released a statement on thanking police and its staff.

“We would like to pay tribute to our staff for their wonderful efforts and extend our gratitude to Victoria Police for their professional response and patience,” the statement said.

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