Sydney police arrest man after attacks that leave woman dead

Members of public intervene after second victim stabbed and injured in the street

A man armed with a knife was restrained in Sydney's central business district by members of the public after stabbing a woman, police have said. Video: Reuters


A man who stabbed a woman in downtown Sydney on Tuesday had earlier killed another woman whose body was found in a nearby apartment, police believe.

The man was restrained by members of the public after he attacked and injured the second woman in the street. She was taken to hospital with a stab wound in her back.

The 21-year-old man, whom police did not name, was carrying a knife and a computer thumb drive containing information about deadly attacks in North America and New Zealand, police said. But he did not appear to be acting for any terrorist groups and the attack was not being treated as terrorism, they added.

“At the end of the day, it’s a horrendous crime and he should pay for that,” New South Wales state police commissioner Mick Fuller told reporters.

The stabbing victim, aged 41, was in a stable condition in hospital, police said. A 21-year-old woman was found dead in an apartment building near the scene of the knife attack. Police did not say how she died but said the man was responsible for both attacks. There was no apparent link between the two women.

Police were investigating a home about 32km west of the city, where the young man lived with his parents.

The man was in custody and expected to be charged with homicide, assault and, depending on the outcome of the investigation, potential terrorism offences, Mr Fuller said.

The incident brought downtown traffic to a halt in Australia’s biggest city. Video images on Twitter showed a young man running across an intersection and jumping on to a car hood, yelling and waving what appeared to be a long-bladed knife.

The man fell to the ground when the car moved and he was confronted by a person holding a chair, the video showed. It was unclear what the man was shouting.

Other footage showed the man pinned to the ground by several people holding two chairs and a milk crate on top of him.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison praised those who stopped the assailant. “The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and were able to ... restrain him,” he said.

A woman who answered the telephone at a Subway sandwich shop near the scene said, “We saw the person with a knife over there bleeding.

“The cops are here and they blocked the road right now, so we can’t go outside. They said, ‘It’s a crime scene, you can’t come out’.’”

State police minister David Elliott also praised the people who restrained the man.

“This is how Sydneysiders respond,” he said. “If you want to behave in this sort of manner, if you want to put life and property at risk, it’s not just the police who will respond.” – Reuters