A massive manhunt is under way for a lone knifeman who went on a 90-minute rampage in Birmingham city centre overnight, killing a man and injuring seven other people.
West Midlands Police declared a major incident after being called to reports of a stabbing just after midnight on Sunday, before more calls came in of further attacks.
Detectives are now racing to catch a male suspect who managed to evade capture last night, with “significant resources” now deployed, said senior police officers.
Police have since released CCTV footage of a man they want to speak to in relation to the stabbings.
Chief Superintendent Steve Graham, of West Midlands Police, said the incidents appeared to be “random”, with “no suggestion” the night’s events were linked to terrorism.
- Manhunt for knifeman after fatal stabbing spree in Birmingham.He said: “A man has tragically died.
“Another man and a woman have suffered serious injuries and five others have also been injured, although their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.”
In the footage released by police, a man is shown wearing a dark-coloured peaked hat and zip-up hoodie with white drawstrings.Also wearing dark-coloured trousers and shoes, he can be seen standing and walking on a street corner.
The force’s police and crime commissioner David Jamieson labelled the assaults “disturbing”, with the violence enfolding as revellers had been enjoying the night.
Speaking at a press conference at the force’s headquarters, itself only yards from where the initial attacks unfolded, Mr Graham said there was also nothing suggesting it was a hate crime or connected to city gang violence.
He also moved to end speculation the violence was linked to people “squabbling over tables”.
On Twitter, Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked the emergency services.
He tweeted: “All my thoughts are with those affected by the terrible incident in Birmingham last night.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel also said “all her thoughts” were with people affected by the “shocking incident” in the city.
Savvas Sfrantzis, who owns Mykonos bar and grill in Hurst Street, said he witnessed a woman being repeatedly stabbed, just across the street, after he was alerted by her screams.
He said: “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 described how the attacker was “so cold”, walking calmly away and “smirking”, while other bar staff bravely tried to follow him.
David Nash, a bar manager at The Village Inn, The Nightingale Inn and The Loft Lounge, said he came within 10 metres of a hooded suspect, spotted running from the scene of the stabbings, in Hurst Street.
He said: “I was on the street around 2.20am and we heard somebody shout down the street ‘stop him, he’s just stabbed somebody’.
“Initially it was a guy with a black hoodie on with the hood pulled up over his head, who was walking relatively casually.
“As soon as somebody shouted ‘stop him’ that’s when he ran off into the area of Sherlock Street.”
Mr Nash said the person was “calm” and walking unhurriedly, until someone shouted the alarm.