A security guard and a member of the public who tried to tackle the Manchester shopping centre knifeman in a bid to prevent him injuring more people have been praised for their bravery.
The pair tried to stop the man as he slashed wildly at shoppers in the Arndale centre on Friday, it emerged yesterday.
Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: “One member of staff from the Arndale and one member of the public intervened in the attack, and we’d like to praise and thank them for their bravery.”
Bev Hughes, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester said: "In particular a member of public and a member of the security staff did show enormous bravery in responding to the situation.
"Equally, there was a paramedic lady, off duty, who came down and helped the security staff here to support the victim."
It came as it emerged that a teenager from Northern Ireland on a “girly weekend” in Manchester was among the four people who suffered severe wounds after the man went on the rampage.
Chloe McCurk, 19, from Glengormley, County Antrim, was said by friends to be “on the mend” after a suspect slashed wildly at her before being caught and pinned to the ground by police officers.
She is understood to have had surgery, although her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
During the attack a 59-year-old man sustained stab wounds to his hand and palm, a 19-year-old woman sustained stab wounds to her arm and armpit, which required surgery. She remains in hospital but her injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
A 19-year-old woman sustained a cut to her elbow, a 33-year-old woman sustained a cut to her stomach and 43-year-old woman was physically involved in the incident but did not have any visible injuries.
A 40-year-old, from Manchester, was initially arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of an act of terrorism, but was later assessed by specialist doctors and compulsorily detained under the Mental Health Act.
He was considered unfit to be kept in custody and has now been transferred to mental health detention and police will now decide with Crown Prosecution Service officials whether he is in a position to face charges.
Forensics officers searched an address overnight in the Rochdale Road area in the north of the city where the man is thought to have lived for around 12 months. Officers said on Saturday the investigation would continue to establish whether there were any political or ideological motives behind the attack.
It is understood that none has been found so far and mental health is being closely considered as a contributing factor in the attack.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: "We don’t believe there was a political or religious motive but we will have to wait and see. Mental health becomes a bigger issue all the time, and when you combine mental health with the carrying of weapons it’s a volatile mix.
"If there is a mental health [issue], and I say if, because it’s still early days, what was the treatment, was it sufficiently connected between NHS and police?"
GMP added that there was not thought to be any wider threat to the communities of Greater Manchester and that the suspected attacker is believed to have acted alone.
Ellen Da Conceicao, who was with Ms McGurk at the time, posted on Facebook about her shock at what happened inside the Arndale.
She said: “All we wanted to do was come over to Manchester for a girly weekend, but instead the first shopping centre we step into this happens. We’re all so shook and can’t for the life of us understand how someone could be so low to do this to our Chloe and other victims.
Miss De Conceicao added: "I can’t get that man’s face and knife out of my head and probably won’t for a very long time. Chloe is on the mend and she thanks everyone for her support.
"We haven't left her side and we should hopefully be home within the next few days after interviewing etc for everyone asking. Thank you all for the support, we all appreciate it."
DUP councillor Alison Bennington, who represents Glengormley, told the Belfast Telegraph that Miss McCurk had just arrived in Manchester when she was caught up in the rampage. She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a horrific incident. My heart goes out to her — and to the other people who have been injured.”
One of the victims of the attack was knifed in the back and stomach, two suffered hand injuries and one was stabbed in the lag.
Among the victims was a Ghanaian woman who was thought to be having a coffee in Starbucks with a friend while on a break from work at the nearby Marks & Spencer store. She is said to have been slashed several times by the man, who was reported to have been screaming racial slurs towards an Arndale worker who was also black
He said the first to intervene were two unarmed police community support officers who had been nearby, and who tried to confront the attacker who then chased them with a knife as they called for assistance.
He added: “Other officers both armed and unarmed quickly responded and within five minutes he was challenged and detained by armed officers on Market Street outside the Arndale Centre.
“We do not know the motivation for this terrible attack. It appears random, is certainly brutal and of course extremely frightening for anyone who witnessed it.”
ACC Jackson said the incident was “bound to bring back memories of the awful events” of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, in which 22 people were killed when Salman Abedi set off a bomb after an Ariana Grande concert.