Manchester terror suspect detained under mental health act

Manchester terror suspect detained under mental health act

Police at the scene early on New Year's Day. Image: Getty

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The terror suspect who was arrested after a "frenzied" New Year's Eve stabbing which left three people hurt has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the 25 year-old, who is being held on suspicion of attempted murder, has been assessed by specialist medical staff. Police are searching his home.

A spokesman said: "The counter-terrorism investigation remains ongoing.

"There is nothing to suggest the involvement of other people in this attack, but confirming this remains a main priority for the investigation."


'How he came to these beliefs'

Police guard the entrance to Manchester Victoria station after the incident. Image: Getty

Dr Evan Lawrence, Senior Lecturer and expert in terrorism at the University of Central Lancashire, joined Mike Graham on talkRADIO and said the police would be exploring multiple avenues before a decision would be made on whether to charge the man.

“What we can assume at this point is this man is someone who’s been radicalised, and has mental health issues, from what we’ve seen,” said Dr Lawrence.

“The police are treating it as a terrorist attack, until further notice. I think the combination of those three things gives a pretty clear picture of what happened, but beyond that the police are being very tight-lipped with the information they have.”

She added that it was likely they would be looking into the suspect’s background and his activities leading up to the attack.

“[They will look into] is mental status - whether he was aware of what he was doing will play a large part,” she said.

“They will be looking at what he’s looked at and how he’s come to these beliefs.

“At this point they’ll be looking at who he’s been in contact with and his medical background as well.”


Police 'retaining an open mind'

Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson had said the suspect lived in the Cheetham Hill area of the city, and his address was still being searched on Tuesday night.

He said a couple aged in their 50s suffered multiple stab wounds, which are serious but not life-threatening, in the "random" attack.

A British Transport Police officer was also injured as officers on patrol confronted the attacker with Tasers and pepper spray.

The suspect was heard to shout "Allah" and "Long live the Caliphate" during the incident at the station, which is next to Manchester Arena where suicide bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people on May 22 2017.

Mr Jackson said: "There is wide reporting in the press about what the attacker allegedly said during the incident and because of this we want to be clear, we are treating this as a terrorism investigation.

"However it's really important to stress we are retaining an open mind in relation to the motivation for this attack."

GMP Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "I know that the events of last night will have affected many people and caused concern.

"That the incident happened so close to the scene of the terrorist attack on May 22 2017 makes it even more dreadful."

Mr Jackson said police have recovered two knives, but do not yet know if both were used in the attack.