THE man charged with starting the fire at the Lismore cathedral was classified as a 'missing person' by police the day before he was tasered and arrested.

On Friday night, NSW Police appealed for public assistance to locate a man missing in the area.

"Stephen Luke, aged 45, was reported missing to police by a friend on Sunday, 6 September 2020," the media release said.

"He has not made contact with friends or family members since that time, which police believe is out of character for him."

The man was described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 185-190cm tall, of a large build, with blond hair and brown eyes.

"Family and police hold serious concerns for his welfare and urge anyone who sees Stephen to come forward," police said at the time.

The media release included an image of Mr Luke:


Stephen Luke.
Stephen Luke.


Earlier that Friday, Lismore woke up to news that their beloved cathedral was on fire, and the event was classified as 'suspicious' by police later.

On Saturday morning, shop owners and Lismore residents were shocked by the arrest of the man, who was allegedly armed with a knife.

Police used tasers to subdue the man.

He was later that day charged with a string of offences, including alleged carjacking, theft and fraud offences in both the Griffith and Dubbo regions.

A NSW Police spokeswoman confirm the man had been reported as missing.

"Inquiries in relation to the investigations (...) were continuing at the time," she said.

"As he is now before the courts, we are not in a position to provide any further information."