Police detain man under Mental Health Act following Arndale Centre attack

11 October 2019, 12:02

By Sylvia DeLuca

Police have detained a man under the Mental Health Act following an attack in the Arndale Centre in Manchester where four people were injured.

Counter-terror police are leading the investigation following stabbings at the shopping centre on Friday.

Emergency services said a 19-year-old woman was taken to hospital with stab wounds.

Another woman was also taken to hospital with stab injuries.

Both their conditions are described as stable.

A man in his 50s has also been taken to hospital with stab wounds.

A fourth victim – a woman in her 40s - who was not stabbed – has been assessed and did not need to go to hospital following assessment by paramedics.

Greater Manchester Police have said the man who was arrested on suspicion of committing a terrorism offence, has now been assessed by specialist doctors and compulsorily detained under the Mental Health Act.

Police said the investigation will continue in order to "fully understand the motives behind the attack."

Officers said is not believed to be any wider threat to the communities of Greater Manchester and the attacker is believed to have acted alone.

Ambulances are at the scene in Manchester
Ambulances are at the scene in Manchester. Picture: Global's Newsroom

A man in his 40s was earlier arrested on suspicion of serious assault. He has been taken to custody for questioning.

In an update, Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson from Greater Manchester Police has said the man held over the series of stabbings has been arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of an act of terrorism.

"We do not know the motivation for this terrible attack. It appears random. It's certainly brutal and of course extremely frightening for anyone who witnessed it," he said.

"This is bound to bring back memories of the awful event of 2017," he added.

Police said they do not believe anyone else is involved in the attack, other than the man that has been arrested.

They say there will be increased patrols including armed controls in the city centre this weekend.

Forensic officers in Manchester where the attack took place
Forensic officers in Manchester where the attack took place. Picture: Global's Newsroom

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson described how two unarmed policy community support officers attempted to confront the attacker, who "began lunging and attacking people with a knife".

The attacker then chased them with a knife as they called for urgent assistance.

The man attacked people around him, injuring five people.

Within five minutes the attacker was contained by armed and unarmed officers, who responded very quickly.

Social media posts showed a large number of officers were at the scene and a suspect was being Tasered.

A patient was being treated by paramedics at a Starbucks cafe in the centre of the shopping centre.

Footage posted to social media showed police officers running through the shopping centre and several emergency services vehicles parked outside.

North West Ambulance Service said ambulances were called to the scene at 11.17am.

The shopping centre has been evacuated and locked down by police.

Trams have also stopped operating at Exchange Square, outside the shopping centre entrance.

People outside the shopping centre in Manchester
People outside the shopping centre in Manchester. Picture: Global's Newsroom

A shop worker said: "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."

Freddie Houlder, 22, described chaotic scenes inside the Arndale to the Manchester Evening News.

Police are at the scene in Manchester
Police are at the scene in Manchester. Picture: Twitter/kevnewbold

He told the paper: “I was in Office about 10 meters away from where someone potentially got stabbed.

“I was in the shop, a woman came in really quickly.

“She had been grazed by a knife, they locked the doors, they evacuated the shop 15 minutes after.

“They put curtains around where people have been stabbed.

“The woman was standing outside the shop. They caught the guy. She burst into tears, she was so lucky she was wearing a thick jacket.

“He was running around going for as many people as possible.”

Officers from Counter Terrorism Police North West are leading the investigation
Officers from Counter Terrorism Police North West are leading the investigation. Picture: Global's Newsroom

The paper also said it is believed that a man was stabbed in the back and stomach and was the most seriously injured.

Two women were stabbed in the hand.

Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes, said: "I want to praise Greater Manchester's emergency services for their swift and professional action.

"Our thoughts are with the five people injured. The scene has been secured and all emergency services are engaged in ensuring public safety - the investigation is ongoing."

David Allinson, Centre Director, Manchester Arndale, said: “A serious incident has taken place at Manchester Arndale this morning.“The centre has been evacuated while police investigate the incident.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting incident number 1055 of 11/10/2019, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.