Knifeman admits attacking couple and police at Manchester Victoria station

A man who launched a frenzied knife attack on police and commuters at Manchester Victoria train station last New Year's Eve has pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted murder.

Mahdi Mohamud shouted "Allahu Akbar" and "long live the caliphate" as he stabbed and slashed at a couple in their 50s who were walking to a tram platform.

James Knox suffered 13 injuries, including a fractured skull, after being knifed in the back, shoulders and head with a fillet knife.

Mohamud then turned on Mr Knox's partner Anna Charlton, who suffered a slash to her forehead that cut down to the bone, and had her right lung punctured.

British Transport Police officers heard a blood-curdling scream and dashed to the scene.

PC Ashleigh Williams and her colleague PC Marsha Selby, along with two tram staff, confronted Mohamud, who "like an animal" was "fixated" on stabbing and slashing, witnesses said.

The 26-year-old was pepper sprayed before PC Tom Wright arrived with Sergeant Lee Valentine seconds later, who shot Mohamud with a Taser.

But the barbs of the 50,000 volt shock gun got stuck in the knifeman's thick coat and failed to paralyse him.

Before the sergeant could reload, Mohamud ran along the blood-spattered platform charging at the officers with his knife.

Sgt Valentine was stabbed in the shoulder before Mohamud was wrestled to the ground and arrested.

A second kitchen knife was found in his waistband.

Describing the attacker, Sgt Valentine said: "The look on his face, not even that of like a madman, just somebody who was just like intent on...he just wasn't there.

"It was just like an animal."

The defendant, a Dutch national from a Somali family who moved to the UK aged nine, was later found to be in possession of a terror publication titled "the seven most lethal ways to strike with a knife".

It is understood Mohamud - an unemployed former university engineering student - had become radicalised online.

Detained under the Mental Health Act the day after the attack, he was later found fit to stand trial.

On Tuesday, Mohamud pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to three counts of attempted murder.

He also admitted one count of the possession of a document or record likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

The court heard Mohamud had left the home he shared with his parents and brothers in Cheetham Hill, Manchester at around 8pm on 31 December.

He walked the mile to the busy city centre train station where he launched the attack, arriving shortly before 9pm.

The station is next to Manchester Arena, the scene of the May 2017 suicide bombing which killed 22 people.

Detectives say Mohamud began planning his attack towards the end of 2017, when he had visited family in Somalia.

He downloaded radical hate material including speeches by Anwar al-Awlaki, the infamous US-born Islamist hate preacher who was killed in a drone strike in 2011 in Yemen.

Mohamud was known to mental health services but was not subject to a care plan at the time of the attack. Some years before he had been sectioned after voluntarily attending a hospital ward.

He had no criminal record and had been an engineering student at university but did not complete his degree and was unemployed and single.

After the attack, then prime minister Theresa May later joined the BTP in commending emergency services.

The four BTP officers and two tram staff all received BTP chief constable's commendations.

Mohamud will be sentenced later.