‘Smiling’ knifeman who stabbed 5 shoppers with £1.50 blade in random attack

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A "smiling" knifeman who stabbed five people in a "random" shopping centre has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Raphael Chevelleau darted around the Arndale in Manchester causing "widespread panic" as he lashed out at shoppers with a blade.

CCTV footage picked up the 43-year-old buying a £1.50 weapon before stabbing four women and a man in the terrifying shopping centre rampage.

A victim who was out shopping with her husband, said: "The man was smiling a wide cheesy smile as he did it. Shop shutters were coming down swiftly and there was panic."

Crowds ran for their lives as the attacker targeted random victims – a man in his 50s before four women – aged between 19 and 49.

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

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

Chevelleau was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday having previously pleaded guilty to three counts of wounding with intent and two of attempted wounding.

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But as he suffers from a schizophrenic illness which has been resistant to treatment, the attacker will not go to jail.

Instead Chevelleau was handed an indeterminate hospital order which will keep him in a secure hospital until the Home Office approves his release.

The court heard how the 43-year-old was admitted to hospital in 2006 for psychiatric reasons, while his mother said he was diagnosed in prison with schizophrenia when he was 21.

Following his arrest, Chevelleau who lived alone, told police "this was for my people" and "I was going to stab my ex-girlfriend but I couldn't be bothered to travel".

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One shop worker "thought I am going to die" after being stabbed in the back while a new mum pushing a pram was also attacked, the court heard today.

Police confirmed that luckily none of the stabbings resulted in life-threatening of the injuries but the victims have all been offered support for psychological harm.

Det Ch Insp Clare Devlin said: "The shock, fright, and pain – both mentally and physically – that Raphael Chevelleau inflicted on the five victims that day cannot be understated, and I'm sure the majority of those who were in the city centre that day vividly remember how they felt when these attacks were taking place."

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  • Crime
  • Knife Crime
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