Manchester Arndale stabbings: Five hurt as man arrested

Officers with an arrested man Image copyright JOHN GREENHALGH
Image caption The suspect was apprehended by police

Five people have been injured in a stabbing at the Arndale Centre in Manchester, police have said.

A man, 41, is being held on suspicion of terror offences after three people were stabbed and two others were hurt.

The centre was evacuated after the attack at about 11:15 BST, during which police said a man with a large knife “started lunging and attacking people”.

Two police community support officers (PCSOs) tried to confront the attacker before being chased.

Speaking at a press conference, Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said it was a “random” and “brutal” attack.

“The man attacked people around him,” he said.

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

Exchange Square, which was previously closed, has since reopened, the force said.

Image copyright Harrison Maher
Image caption There was a large police presence outside the Arndale shopping centre

In a tweet, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Shocked by the incident in Manchester and my thoughts are with the injured and all those affected.”

ACC Jackson said: “At 11:15 BST this morning, a man entered the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester city centre.

“He was armed with a large knife and, as he entered Exchange Court, began lunging, attacking people with the knife.

“Two unarmed police community support officers were in Exchange Court and attempted to confront the attacker.

“He then chased them with the knife as they were calling for urgent assistance.”

Within five minutes armed officers detained the suspect on Market Street outside the centre, he added.

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Media captionThe attack was ‘random and brutal’, police said

Three people were taken to hospital, a fourth self-presented with a “superficial” injury and a fifth person did not require hospital treatment, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

The force previously said two women, including a 19-year-old, were in a stable condition in hospital, while a man in his 50s was being treated in hospital for stab wounds.

One patient suffered “serious” injuries, North West Ambulance Service said.

A shop worker, who only gave his name as Jordan, 23, said the attack took place on the ground floor.

“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.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Manchester Arndale, which is one of the country’s most popular shopping centres, was temporarily shut after the attack

Freddie Holder, 22, from Market Drayton, Shropshire, said he heard “a load of screams just outside” the shop he was in.

He said a woman then came into the shop and told others “a guy just ran past the shop and tried to stab me”.

He added: “I’m still kind of in shock from it, I’m shaking a little bit… all shops had been locked down just for safety.

“The police arrived extremely quickly, which was very lucky.”

A large number of officers were called to the the scene, one of whom was seen with a Taser.

Police originally said five people had been stabbed but has since clarified the number of people hurt.

A GMP spokesman said the force was “keeping an open mind” about the motivation for the attack.

“Given the location of the incident and its nature officers from Counter Terrorism Police North West are leading the investigation as we determine the circumstances,” he said.

At the scene

By Kaleigh Watterson, BBC News Online

There’s a helicopter hovering up above and various police cars stationed around, with a large cordon set up close to Selfridges.

This should be a busy Friday afternoon of shopping in Manchester, and there’s an eerie atmosphere as the city centre’s largest mall was deserted.

People have gathered around watching the police activity, while others seem to be carrying on with their day.

There has been confusion from some as not everyone’s been told why the Arndale is closed, particularly on busy Market Street where the centre’s doors were closed with no signs put up.

Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Bev Hughes praised the emergency services.

Labour councillor Pat Karney, for Harpurhey and Collyhurst, tweeted: “Armed police on guard. Shocking scenes right out of a movie but real people with injuries.”

Image copyright Dave Hardy

David Allinson, centre director of Manchester Arndale, confirmed the centre had been evacuated but said he was unable to comment further while a police investigation was under way.

Image caption Staff were allowed back into the centre on Friday afternoon

Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said the “incident is under control” and advised people to stay away from the scene.

He also encouraged people not to speculate.

GMP tweeted: “A rendezvous point has been established at Piccadilly Gardens, so you will see a large police presence in this area. Please don’t be alarmed.”

The Arndale Centre is located close to Manchester Arena, where 22 people died in a terror attack in May 2017 when a bomb was detonated at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

The shopping centre was also damaged in a major IRA bomb in 1996.

More than 200 people were injured when the 1,500kg (3,300lb) device left on a lorry on Corporation Street exploded.

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