Five people were attacked by a knife attacker in a shopping center, the court told


A court heard that a knife-wielding assailant caused “widespread panic” in Manchester’s Arendelle shopping centre, as he randomly attacked five people.

Shopkeepers fled for their lives and dived for cover as Rafael Chevaleau, 43, attempted to injure three people and injure two others as he dashed through the mall.

Chevaleau had earlier bought a kitchen knife from the Blakely Pound store near his flat in Blakely’s Rochdale Road on the morning of October 11, 2019, before catching a bus into town.

Manchester Crown Court heard that he entered Arundel at around 11.05 and went to a baby-change room shortly after, where he opened the knife packaging and put the stainless steel chef’s knife in his jacket pocket.

Prosecutor Andrew Ford said: “Without warning he broke into a run, wielding a knife, and randomly stabbed five members of the public.

“It caused widespread fear and panic among the general public who visited the Arundel Center that day, and a sense of epidemic when people fled.

There was widespread fear and panic, the court heard (Peter Byrne/PA) , PA Archive

“Witnesses found that he was not saying anything.

“People shouted for him to stop. It didn’t work.”

His first victim was a 61-year-old engineer who was stabbed in the back by Chevaleau.

The defendant swiftly moved to the 35-year-old woman walking with her husband at the centre.

The court heard that he ran after them before returning and turned the knife towards her stomach and grazed her.

The woman later recalled that Chevaleau had a “wide cheeky smile” while attacking her.

Chevaleau then targeted a 45-year-old woman who was pushing her baby into the pram, who was lucky as the knife came close to her ribs.

A 21-year-old Irish woman, on her way to town with friends for an 18th birthday celebration, was attacked when her group sat with suitcases outside a Starbucks cafe.

She told the court that people were chanting “Sab log bhago” and the crowd “literally split” as the defendant was chased by a security guard.

A police officer and ambulance outside the Arundel Center in Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA) , PA Archive