Suspect arrested on suspicion of terrorism after three stabbed in Manchester

Scene of terror at Arndale Centre as man armed with large knife lunges at shoppers

Five people were stabbed at a shopping mall in Manchester. Video uploaded to social media shows police officers pinning down a man to the ground at the scene. Video: Reuters/John Greenhalgh

 

A man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences, Greater Manchester Police have said, after three people were stabbed at a Manchester shopping centre on Friday.

Police were called to the Arndale Centre at 11.15am on Friday to reports of a stabbing. The 41-year-old suspect was detained and three people were taken to hospital with stab injuries and two others were hurt.

Witnesses described a scene of terror as shoppers, some with injuries, sought refuge in stores.

Officers from Counter Terrorism Police North West were called in to investigate, and at about 3.15pm, Greater Manchester Police assistant chief constable Russ Jackson said the suspect had been arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of an act of terrorism.

He added that investigators did not believe anyone else to be involved in the attack.

The suspect was first arrested on suspicion of a serious assault, the force said.

Mr Jackson said the suspect had been armed with a large knife as he entered the Exchange Court of the shopping centre where he “lunged” at shoppers.

He said the first to intervene were two unarmed police community support officers who had been nearby, and who tried to confront the attacker, who then chased them with a knife as they called for assistance.

He added: “Other officers both armed and unarmed quickly responded and within five minutes he was challenged and detained by armed officers on Market Street outside the Arndale Centre.

“We do not know the motivation for this terrible attack. It appears random, is certainly brutal and of course extremely frightening for anyone who witnessed it.”

Police and forensic officers outside the Arndale Centre in Manchester after a stabbing incident. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Police and forensic officers outside the Arndale Centre in Manchester after a stabbing incident. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Mr Jackson said the incident was “bound to bring back memories of the awful events of 2017” – when 22 people were killed in the Manchester Arena bombing.

He added: “Although the injuries are nasty, we are told that, thankfully, none are life-threatening.”

He said the force had increased patrols in the area, but added: “We do not believe there is a wider threat at this time and we are hoping to return the city to normality by tomorrow morning.”

Mr Jackson called on anyone who may have been present to send any images or footage they have taken to the GMP website.

One shop worker, who gave his name only as Jordan (23), told the PA news agency: “A man was running around with a knife lunging at multiple people, one of which came into my store visibly shaken with a small graze.

“Soon after, security staff told all retail staff to close their doors and move the public to the back of the stores.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked by the incident and my thoughts are with the injured and all those affected”.

The Arndale Centre is just a few hundred yards from the Manchester Arena and Victoria railway station — both of which have been the scene of recent terror attacks. – PA