Raphael Chevelleau, 43, has been sentenced today for assaulting five people at Manchester Arndale Shopping Centre on 11 October 2019. Chevelleau was sentenced to a hospital order at Manchester Crown Court for three offences of wounding with intent and two offences of attempted wounding. He had armed himself with a knife and launched an unprovoked attack on the five unsuspecting victims, causing stab injuries to four of them.
CCTV footage showed that on day of the incident, Chevelleau bought a knife and took a bus to Manchester city centre, arriving just before 11am. He made his way to the Arndale Centre and once inside, he proceeded to randomly attack the five members of the public causing serious injuries, albeit not life-threatening.
Chevelleau’s behaviour was unprovoked and caused widespread fear and panic amongst the public and staff at the Arndale Centre that day. Police swiftly attended the scene and detained Chevelleau, who was subsequently admitted to Ashworth High Security Hospital.
The investigation resulted in extensive enquiries including expert evidence from psychiatrists who confirmed that Chevelleau was responsible for his actions, notwithstanding a previous diagnosis of schizophrenia. The police and CPS worked together to ascertain if there was any terrorist connection to the offences and ultimately concluded there was not. Chevelleau pleaded guilty to all of the offences.
Nick Price, Head of the CPS Counter-Terrorism Division, said: “This was a shocking and unprovoked attack and our thoughts remain with the victims and those directly affected by the actions of Chevelleau. I am pleased that he has taken responsibility for his actions through his guilty pleas and that the victims and other witnesses who have provided statements were not required to give evidence in court.
“The sentence imposed by the court today reflects the seriousness of Chevelleau’s actions and the level of danger he poses to the public.”
Reporting a the time said, Police have praised members of the public who helped emergency services treat injured victims following an attack at Manchester’s Ardnale Shopping Centre yesterday.
Witnesses said a knifeman screamed “I’m going to f*** you up” before carrying out random attacks – stabbing three people.
The stabbings happened at around 11.15am yesterday and the whole area was cordoned off.
Three people – 19-year-old Chloe McGurk from Belfast, who was visiting Manchester with friends for a ‘girly weekend’, another 19-year-old woman and a man in his 50s – were stabbed before being taken to hospital.
The force tweeted earlier this afternoon: “A number of members of the public assisted emergency services treating the injured victims at the #Arndale yesterday and we want to publically thank them for their assistance. We want to continue to urge people with information to contact police on 0161 856 0394.”
The Arndale shopping centre is open as usual today but there is an increased police presence around the city. A 40-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences following the incident. Forensic spent around five hours searching the house of the alleged attacker.
Neighbours on Rochdale Road said they immediately recognised the suspect when footage of his arrest by armed officers began circulating on social media. This morning police confirmed a search had been carried out at an undisclosed location in Manchester where the suspected attacker had previously lived. He’s thought to have lived at the property for about 12 months. The investigation is now being led by counter terrorism police.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: “The investigation will be continued by counter terrorism officers and an open mind is being kept in relation to any motive and of course the man is considered unfit to be kept in custody and has now been transferred to mental health detention.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told the Manchester Evening News he wished the victims a ‘speedy recovery’ and said he was prepared to authorise greater use of police stop and search powers in a bid to tackle knife crime.
He said: “The investigation is ongoing but it appears to be an isolated incident.