Thursday, September 24, 2020
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CCTV issued in hunt for Birmingham attack suspect

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Media captionPolice are looking for this man after an attacker killed one victim and wounded seven other people

Footage of a man suspected of killing one person and injuring seven others in a spate of stabbings across Birmingham city centre has been released.

The attacks in the early hours sparked a massive police manhunt for the suspect.

A 23-year-old man was killed in Irving Street at 01:50 BST, West Midlands Police said. A man and a woman, aged 19 and 32, suffered critical injuries.

Five other people, aged between 23 and 33, were also hurt.

They were taken to hospital and so far two have been discharged.

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West Midlands Police

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The public are urged to remain vigilant and not to approach the man pictured

The CCTV footage shows a man wearing a baseball cap and a dark hoodie with white drawstrings.

Also wearing dark-coloured trousers and shoes, he can be seen standing and walking on a street corner.

“At this stage we believe that the attacks were random and we have no indication of a motive,” said Ch Supt Steve Graham, who urged the public to remain vigilant.

“We are appealing for anyone who recognises the man in the footage to contact us urgently. If you see him, please do not approach him, but dial 999 immediately.”

‘Impact on the city’

West Midlands Police were first called to Constitution Hill where a man sustained a superficial injury just after 00:30 BST, then to Livery Street 20 minutes later, where the 19-year-old man was critically injured and a woman was also hurt.

An hour later at 01:50 BST, police were sent to Irving Street, where the 23-year-old died and another man suffered serious injuries.

Ten minutes later, they were called to Hurst Street where the 32-year-old woman was critically injured and two men suffered lesser injuries.

The stabbings do not appear to be terrorism related or gang related, police said.

Mr Graham added: “We do not underestimate the impact that these incidents have had on the city of Birmingham today.

“We declared this a major incident at the earliest opportunity and we have drafted in scores of officers to help with the investigation and patrol the city to reassure residents and visitors that we are doing all we can to apprehend the person responsible.”

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PA Media

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A cordon remains in place at the scenes of the stabbings

Multiple witnesses saw the attacks, including Nikita Denton who was out celebrating her 29th birthday and helped stop one of the women bleeding in the street.

Another, restaurant owner Savvas Sfrantzis, described seeing the attacker walk calmly away after stabbing a woman repeatedly.

“I looked at him, facing him, and I can see he had a blade, small, not very big, and he was stabbing her in the neck.

“He was like very cold and he wasn’t panicking and he wasn’t reacting or anything. After he stabbed her between five and seven times… he walked off as if nothing has happened.”

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Media captionNikita Denton told the BBC the victim she helped was alone and in a state of shock

Officers have recovered a knife from a drain but Mr Graham said it was “way too early” to say if it was connected to the case.

At an earlier press conference he was asked how the knifeman was able to move through the city centre for more than two hours without being caught.

Mr Graham said the suspect’s route through the city was “relatively unusual”.

He added: “There was no suggestion people had seen him running out, area searches were being made at the time, unfortunately the subject wasn’t caught.”

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PA Media

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Areas of the city centre have been cordoned off

The force’s police and crime commissioner David Jamieson labelled the assaults “disturbing”, with the violence unfolding as revellers had been enjoying the night.

Julia Robinson, from the Southside Business Improvement District, said businesses were in “shock” and had worked through the night to provide police with CCTV footage from the area.

West Midlands Police said extras officers had “flooded” the city centre and forensic experts had examined four scenes.

A heavy police presence remained throughout the day, with armed officers, patrols, riot vans and squad cars visible.

Were you in the area? Did you witness what happened? Share your experiences by emailing [email protected].

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