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Birmingham stabbings: Man, 27, arrested on suspicion of murder

A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and seven counts of attempted murder following a series of stabbings in Birmingham city centre.

The string of knife attacks left one dead and seven injured in the city centre.

West Midlands Police said the 27-year-old suspect was arrested at an address in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham at around 4am on Monday.

He is being held after a 23-year-old man suffered fatal injuries in one of the knife attacks. A man and a woman, aged 19 and 32, who suffered serious stab wounds, remain in a critical condition in hospital, police said.

Police declared a major incident in response to the rampage which lasted some 90 minutes in the city centre in the early hours of Sunday.

West Midlands Police had launched a massive manhunt for a sole male attacker, and yesterday released CCTV footage of a man they said was wanted on suspicion of murder.

Following the arrest, Birmingham Police Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Graham said: “Officers worked through yesterday and into the early hours of this morning in a bid to trace the man we believe responsible for these terrible crimes.

“We issued CCTV footage of the suspect and had a strong response from the public. I’d like to thank everyone who shared our appeal and who provided information to the investigation.

“One line of inquiry ultimately led us to an address in the Selly Oak area this morning where a man was arrested. Clearly this is a crucial development but our investigation continues.

“We still need to speak to any witnesses who saw what happened who’ve not yet spoken to us, or anyone who may have video footage or photos of the incidents or the attacker.”

Police said they received the first call of the night to Constitution Hill, north of the city centre, just after 12.30am, where a man had received a superficial injury.

This was followed by a further call 20 minutes later to nearby Livery Street, next to Snow Hill railway station. A 19-year-old man was critically injured and a woman was also injured.

An hour later at 1.50am, officers were called to Irving Street, to the south of the city centre, where a man died and another man suffered serious injuries.

Ten minutes later police were called to Hurst Street, in the heart of the city’s Gay Village quarter, where a 32-year-old woman was seriously injured and two men received lesser injuries.

Savvas Sfrantzis, 64, who owns a bar called Mykonos, said he saw the attacker stab one young woman as many as seven times.

He added: “He put the knife in her neck and walked off — she was only young, maybe in her twenties. He didn’t panic, he didn’t look like he was worried. He looked relaxed about what he had done. I was surprised because I thought he would run away but he just walked.”

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, who represents Perry Barr, questioned the police response.

He said: “We’ve got to look at the fact he had two hours to run around the city centre, which has a huge amount of CCTV cameras in place. Both the public and police were put at further risk… How was this man able to go on a two-hour spate?”

Mr Graham said police had declared a major incident at the earliest opportunity and drafted in scores of officers.

West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson added: “There’ll be a full inquiry and debrief as to why and how this happened.”

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.

“Our emergency services are working hard to find whoever is responsible and bring them to justice,” she tweeted.