Critically injured detective John Breda briefly opened his eyes, smiled and squeezed his wife’s hand on Monday before being placed back under heavy sedation as infection becomes the decorated investigator’s new enemy.
As the mental state of his attacker Nick Newman, himself shot dead by two police officers after the attack in the Maroubra pub on Friday, was being placed under the microscope, family and friends of Detective Sergeant Breda were becoming “cautiously optimistic” about his condition.
After receiving dozens of blood transfusions and undergoing several lengthy operations, Detective Sergeant Breda remained in a serious but stable condition with surgeons so concerned about infection they placed the officer back under heavy sedation, intubating him to assist in his slow recovery.
Police sources also reported how Detective Sergeant Breda remained conscious after being stabbed to help guide two pubgoers to keep pressure on his wounds as they waited for paramedics.
“If it wasn’t for their actions in keeping that pressure, and the fact the paramedics got there so quickly, we would be looking at an entirely different story,” the source said.
The attack occurred after Child Abuse Squad detectives arrived at the Junction Hotel at Maroubra on Friday afternoon after receiving information Newman was inside.
The 33-year-old is believed to have known he was wanted by police regarding a series of child sex charges.
He had not been issued with an interim apprehended violence order, which was briefly mentioned in Penrith Local Court last Wednesday.
An arrest warrant was issued on the same day over charges including six counts of aggravated sexual assault, one count of intentionally choking and one count of indecent assault after detectives became aware Newman was actively avoiding them.
He had not been charged with any of the offences and had no history of violence.
But Newman’s mental state at the time of the stabbing and shooting remains unclear.
He had a history of taking medication for depression but it was unknown whether he was taking it while running from police.
He was seen to have had two beers at the pub before police arrived. Toxicology tests, which would determine whether Newman was under the influence of any substances, are still several weeks away.
Together with several partners, the Penrith man had set up the business Strategic Threat Solutions, which sold combat gear and spruiked being able to provide “knowledge, gear and skill sets to individuals in order to better equip them against any potential threat that they may encounter”.
Strategic Threat Solutions announced on its Facebook page on Monday that it would cease trading “for the time being” and confirmed it had stood Newman down before his death.
“As by now people are aware that a former member of STS was involved in a serious incident on Day in Sydney,” the statement said.
“Prior to the incident the team was made aware and contacted by police about that member and the investigation, STS stood that team member down pending the police investigation and assisted police with their inquiries.”