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Tony Abbott questions why 'disturbed' killer Man Haron Monis was still at large

By PA Reporters

Australia's prime minister has questioned why someone with such a "long and chequered history" as Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis was at large in the community.

Tony Abbott conceded that even if the 50-year-old had been on a watch list, officials might not have been able to prevent the bloody hostage crisis that unfolded over 16 hours in the centre of the city and claimed two innocent lives.

Mr Abbott has told local reporters that Monis was well known to the Australian Federal Police but was not on a terror watch list.

"How can someone who has had such a long and chequered history not be on the appropriate watch lists and how can someone like that be entirely at large in the community?" Mr Abbott asked.

"These are questions that we need to look at carefully and calmly and methodically to learn the right lessons and to act upon them. That's what we'll be doing in the days and weeks ahead." But he added: "Could it have been prevented?

"Even if this individual, this sick and disturbed individual, had been front and centre on our watch lists, even if this individual had been monitored 24 hours a day, it's quite likely - certainly possible - that this incident could have taken place."

And Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that an attack carried out by a lone extremist similar to the Sydney siege is "much more difficult to prevent" than an organised plot.

He said the threat faced by the UK includes the possibility of "random attacks that could happen at any moment", as he praised the bravery of the hostages.

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