Inquest hears Sydney Siege gunman a sexually-deviant conman

AN INQUEST into last year's Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney has heard Man Haron Monis described as a deranged, sexually-deviant conman with a sense of self-importance far above his true post in life.

The gunman was shot dead after taking staff and customers hostage at the Martin Place cafe in December. Cafe manager Tori Johnson  and lawyer Katrina Dawson were killed during the attack.

Yesterday's coronial inquest beginning heard Monis duped vulnerable women into believing he was a spiritual healer, only to take their money and sexually abuse them.

He was on bail facing 43 counts of sexual abuse when he died - charges counsel assisting the coroner, Jeremy Gormly, said would almost certainly been proven if they made it to court.

Monis had at least 500 clients between 2002 and 2007, using ethnic newspapers in Sydney to advertise his perverted ruse.

During initial consultations with women, he would confirm they were victims of a curse or black magic, then tell them to undress while he left the room.

The inquest heard he return with a bowl of water and a paintbrush, using it to paint areas of their naked body in preparation for his sexual advances, which ranged from indecent touching to full penetration.

If met with rejection, he would assure his victims sexual energy was necessary to overcome black magic, or even threaten to impose his own curses upon them if they did not submit.

The inquest was given a detailed biography of Monis's life leading up to the siege. It will continue for the next two weeks, and be held in several segments over the coming year. -APN NEWSDESK