A knifeman who stabbed eight people at random – killing one – as he roamed Birmingham city centre “looked relaxed” after knifing a woman in the neck, a witness says.
Shaken witnesses gave chilling and terrifying accounts of the attacks and the assailant, saying he “looked like he didn’t care”, appeared calm and was “slowly” and “casually” walking around as police and paramedics raced to multiple scenes.
Police have launched a manhunt for the knifeman and started a murder investigation after a man was killed and seven other people were injured. Most of the mass stabbing victims are believed to be in their 20s.
Bar owner Savvas Sfrantzis, 64, told how he watched the knifeman stab a woman in the neck in Hurst Street – one of at least four scenes – before calmly walking off.
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He told the Sun: “He put the knife in her neck and walked off. She was only young, maybe in her 20s.
“He didn’t panic, he didn’t look like he was worried. He looked relaxed about what he had done.
“He looked like he didn’t care for anything. I was surprised because I thought he would run away but he just walked.”
The attacker ran off when someone yelled at him, Mr Sfrantzis added.
West Midlands Police said a man was killed and seven other people were injured, two of them critically, during a rampage that lasted between 12.30am and 2.20am.
Police believe the stabbings were random, and say there is nothing to suggest they were a hate crime, act of terrorism or linked to gangs.
Over a two-hour period, the attacker stabbed eight people at at least four different scenes while roaming around the city centre.
Cal Eden, co-owner of Eden Bar in Gay Village, told Mirror Online that security guards locked the venue’s doors as the incident unfolded nearby.
He said CCTV footage from the bar showed a possible suspect walking past the venue.
Mr Eden said the footage was shown to police, and officers confirmed the man in the video matched the description of a suspect.
He said: “It was really frigtening. First, we just didn’t have any idea what was going on. We’re at the bottom of the street, and we saw police cars, ambulances and a police helicopter.
“It was car after car after car.
“Then our doorman he saw somebody on our CCTV, the guy who allegedly did it. He slowly, casually walked past Eden, and then he stopped in the corner.
“There’s a bin there. He walks there and carries on, slowly, casually, past one of the other venues.
“The description [of the suspect] is him, the police came and confirmed it.”
A police spokesperson said: “We’re trawling through CCTV images, and will release any images which may help our investigation as soon as we can.”
Police were first called to a report of a stabbing in Constitution Hill, north of the city centre, at about 12.30am, and then received reports of additional stabbings in the area.
Chief Superintendent Steve Graham said the suspect worked north-to-south as he went towards Livery and Barwick streets in the Snow Hill area, and then Irving Street and finally Hurst Street at about 2.20am.
A major incident was declared in the aftermath.
Mr Graham said there is “absolutely no suggestion” that the stabbings were “terror-related”, with the attacks on victims appearing to be “random”.
He said no arrests have been made and police are looking for one male suspect, with “significant resources” being put into tracing him.
“Already we’ve got people going down drains, we’ve got that level of detailed searches taking place which will hopefully reassure the people that we are doing everything we can do to trace the offender,” said Mr Graham.
He added that a number of descriptions had come in of the suspect but police are not releasing any details at this time and asked the public to come forward with any information or footage they may have.
Mr Graham said there is no known connection between the victims in the four linked incidents and that extra officers have been deployed in Birmingham.
Two people who were critically injured are still being treated, he said.
He added that there is “absolutely no suggestion” that guns were involved in the incident, and there is no evidence that it was motivated by hate towards any particular group, nor gang-related.
Mr Graham also said there is no evidence to show that it was related to “people squabbling over tables” in the city centre.
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.
“Our emergency services are working hard to find whoever is responsible and bring them to justice,” she tweeted.
West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) said it sent a large number of resources in response to the stabbings, including 14 ambulances.
A team of St John Ambulance volunteers at the SafeSpace project at the Arcadian venue were also involved in treating casualties.
Seven patients were treated by ambulance staff – five of whom were taken to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
Three of the five taken to the major trauma centre had critical injuries and one man was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, WMAS said.
The ambulance service said an eighth patient with minor injuries did not receive ambulance treatment.
West Midlands Police said the incidents took place between 12.30am and 2.20am.
The force said officers are still at scenes across the city, including Livery Street, Irving Street and Hurst Street.
Forensic officers could be seen searching streets in the city centre on Sunday morning.
Mr Graham said in an earlier statement: “The events during the early hours of this morning are tragic, shocking and understandably frightening.
“Please be assured that we are doing absolutely everything we can to find whoever was responsible and try to understand what exactly happened.”