19/12/2014 11:51 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Pregnant Sydney Siege Survivor Says Unborn Baby Is Healthy

-/Eight Selborne Chambers

A pregnant hostage in the Sydney siege says her unborn baby is 'healthy and unharmed' despite their ordeal.

Barrister Julie Taylor (pictured right) was one of 18 people held at gunpoint for 16 hours in the Lindt café by Islamic cleric Man Haron Monis earlier this week.

She was rescued when armed police stormed the café at 2am on Tuesday morning but despite the terror, Julie, 35, told local media: "My husband and I have been told that our unborn baby is healthy and unharmed by this crisis.

"If all goes well, and there is no reason to think it won't, we will give birth to a precious baby in a few months."

However, Julie's relief is overshadowed by grief for her friend and colleague Katrina Dawson (pictured left), who died after hostages staged an escape.

Julie and Katrina had popped into the café together when the gunman struck.

Julie said: "Katrina Dawson was the most wonderful person I have ever met. She was my closest friend, a role model and confidant.

"Her bravery and strength was, and continues to be, a comfort and inspiration for me. She invested every moment of her life in her friends and family, and will be greatly missed by everyone who has known her.

"My thoughts and sympathy are with her family, whom I have come to know and love."

Julie also paid tribute to Tori Johnson, the café manager who was the other victim of the siege.

She said: "Although our acquaintance was forged under the worst imaginable circumstances, I feel privileged to have known you and I will always remember you as a kind, considerate, level-headed and courageous person.

"It was clear to me how much you loved your family and how much compassion you had for everyone you met."

Tens of thousands of posies and handwritten messages have been placed at three sites across Martin Place, in what has been dubbed 'Sydney's floral heart'.

Among the messages was a note written by Katrina's youngest daughter, Sasha, which said simply: "I love you mum. Love Sasha."