Police probe whether toxic web ‘radicalised’ stab teen

Alex Mitchell |

A student has been released from hospital after being stabbed at the University of Sydney.
A student has been released from hospital after being stabbed at the University of Sydney.

A terrorism investigation into a teenager accused of stabbing a university student is entering its third day as police raise fears a toxic internet radicalised the boy.

No charges have been laid against the 14-year-old boy who remains under arrest after the attack at the University of Sydney campus in Camperdown on Tuesday.

The boy was dressed in military-style cadet fatigues when he walked on to the grounds and allegedly stabbed a 22-year-old student in the neck with a kitchen knife.

Police say the attack was random.

Counter terrorism police are investigating the stabbing and have said they do not believe the boy was motivated for religious reasons.

However, one theory behind the stabbing lays the blame at the door of a toxic internet with police fearing access to extreme violent content online radicalised the teen.

 NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley revealed the 14-year-old was charged over another incident in 2023, but the case was dismissed in court.

NSW Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley
Yasmin Catley called for support for families whose children had been radicalised online. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

She did not state what charges he had faced, but said he had been engaging with a program run by the Community and Justice department.

“We have to make sure that we wrap services and support around these kids who are being radicalised online and their families,” Ms Catley said on Wednesday.

“To parents, to carers, if you’re a coach of a kid or if you’re their teacher, if you see behaviour that changes, then say something, come forward and let us know, because we cannot help if we do not know.”

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil responded to reports the teenager had been in a deradicalisation program.

“I’m confident these programs do have some effect, but we need to stay really focused on making sure that we’re attacking the problem with everything we’ve got,” Ms O’Neil said.

Police were awaiting the outcome of a mental health assessment on the boy.

The student who was stabbed was released from hospital on Wednesday with reports emerging that while he has been allowed home, the attack could have been fatal.