'It was pure instinct': Hero Deliveroo driver tells of moment he took down Dublin knife attacker

24 November 2023, 09:22 | Updated: 24 November 2023, 10:03

A hero Deliveroo driver has told of the moment he took down the Dublin knife attacker
A hero Deliveroo driver has told of the moment he took down the Dublin knife attacker. Picture: GoFundMe/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

A hero Deliveroo driver has told of the moment he took down the Dublin knife attacker who injured three children.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

At around 1.20pm on Thursday, a man in his 50s began attacking children with "a large knife" in Dublin's Parnell Square.

Three children - two girls and a boy aged six or under - were hurt in the stabbing.

Another woman in her 30s was also seriously injured after putting herself between the attacker and his targets.

Caio Benicio, 43, was another member of the public who stepped in, jumping off his moped and battering the knifeman with his helmet.

Read more: Buses and police car set on fire in 'far-right' riot erupts Dublin after 3 children among 5 hurt in knife attack

Read more: Riot breaks out in Dublin after three children injured in knife frenzy near school as police blame far-right 'hooligans'

Bus and car on fire in Dublin riots after knife attack

A police source told the Irish Daily Mail: "We have to say fair play to those people who stepped in.

"They gave that man a good hiding to make sure he wasn't going to get up and hurt more people, but I can tell you now that they saved lives."

Recalling the incident, Mr Benicio said in a voice message to his friends: "I saw the guy pulling the teacher, picking up the child.

"I stopped to see what was happening, I thought it was a normal fight. But then, the attacker pulled a knife.

"Man, I threw the bike on the ground and went after the guy... I didn't even think about it.

"I took off my helmet and hit the helmet on his head, which knocked the guy down."

The delivery driver went on to say he had acted on "pure instinct".

"I didn't even make a decision, it was pure instinct, and it was all over in seconds," he told The Journal.

"He fell to the ground, I didn't see where knife went, and other people stepped in."

Mr Benicio said his thoughts were with the five-year-old girl, adding: "I saw her in the ambulance, she looked so vulnerable. I had to go with gardai then. I am waiting for news about her. I am hoping."

The Brazil-born 43-year-old came to Ireland to find work and said he hoped his children would eventually be able to join him.

Police at the scene
Police at the scene. Picture: Alamy

The incident sparked riots across Dublin, which saw vehicles torched, shops looted and police attacked.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris blamed a 'lunatic far-right faction' for the destruction and refused to rule out the possibility that the initial stabbing attack was terror-related.

Addressing the riots, Mr Benicio said it made him sad due to the anti-immigrant sentiments.

"It looks like they hate immigrants. Well I am an immigrant, and I did what I could to try and save that little girl," he said.

A Garda spokesman said: "Preliminary indications are that a male attacked a number of people on Parnell Square East.

"Five casualties have been taken to hospitals in the Dublin Region. These casualties include three young children, an adult female and an adult male.

"One girl aged five has sustained serious injuries and is currently receiving emergency medical treatment in CHI Temple Street.

"A boy aged five and a girl aged six years, who received less serious injuries were brought to CHI Crumlin for treatment. The boy has since been discharged from CHI Crumlin.

"An Garda Síochána is providing support to the children's parents."The adult female in her 30s is being treated for serious injuries at the Mater Hospital.

"An adult male in his 50s is also being treated for serious injuries at a hospital in the Dublin Region.

"The scene remains sealed off at this time and a technical examination of the scene is ongoing.

"An incident room has been established at Mountjoy Garda Station and a Senior Investigating Officer has been appointed.

"An Garda Síochána is following a definite line of inquiry. The male in his 50s is a person of interest in this investigation. An Garda Síochána is not looking for any other person at this time."