'Smiling' knifeman who injured 5 people in random attack in Manchester detained in hospital

17 January 2022, 17:30 | Updated: 17 January 2022, 18:43

Raphael Chevelleau went on a stabbing rampage at Arndale shopping centre in 2019
Raphael Chevelleau went on a stabbing rampage at Arndale shopping centre in 2019. Picture: Alamy/Greater Manchester Police

By Daisy Stephens

A knife-wielding assailant who randomly attacked five people in Manchester's Arndale shopping centre has been given an indefinite hospital order.

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Shoppers ran for their lives and dived for cover as Raphael Chevelleau, 43, wounded three people and attempted to wound two others when he dashed through the centre on October 11 2019.

On Monday, he was sentenced to a hospital order under the Mental Health Act at Manchester Crown Court, a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said.

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During the sentencing hearing, which began on Friday, the court was told Chevelleau bought a kitchen knife on the morning of the attack from Blackley Pound Store near his flat in Rochdale Road, Blackley, then caught a bus into the city.

He entered the Arndale at about 11.05am and shortly afterwards he went into a baby-change room, where he unwrapped the knife packaging and left with the stainless steel chef's blade in his jacket pocket.

"With no warning he broke into a run, wielding the knife, and randomly stabbed five members of the public," said Andrew Ford, prosecuting.

"He caused widespread fear and panic among the general public visiting the Arndale Centre that day and a sense of pandemonium as people fled."

One of his victims, a 35-year-old woman walking with her husband, said he had a "wide cheesy smile" as he attacked her.

He also targeted a 45-year-old woman pushing her baby in a pram - who had a lucky escape as the knife came close to her ribs - a 21-year-old woman from Ireland, a 61-year-old engineer and a 52-year-old department store worker.

Chevelleau ran out of the centre and dumped the knife in a waste bin after the incident which lasted just one minute and 27 seconds.

As police approached he shouted: "I'm doing this for my people, it's political. I don't like this Government. I don't like black people, I don't like white people, I don't like Asian people.

"This is because of the way I have been treated."

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Chevelleau pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three counts of wounding with intent and two counts of attempted wounding.

The regular cannabis user suffers from a schizophrenic illness which has been resistant to treatment, the court heard.

Nick Price, head of the CPS Counter-Terrorism Division, said: "This was a shocking and unprovoked attack and our thoughts remain with the victims and those directly affected by the actions of Chevelleau.

"I am pleased that he has taken responsibility for his actions through his guilty pleas and that the victims and other witnesses who have provided statements were not required to give evidence in court.

"The sentence imposed by the court today reflects the seriousness of Chevelleau's actions and the level of danger he poses to the public."