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Officer injured in Manchester attack: ‘Instinct took over’

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A police officer stabbed in the shoulder during a New Year’s Eve attack in Manchester has said “instinct took over” as he and colleagues ran towards the sound of screaming.

Lee Valentine, a British Transport Police (BTP) sergeant in his 30s, was among four officers on the scene who detained a suspect.

He was one of three people injured at Manchester Victoria station, with a man and a woman in their 50s also suffering serious but not life-threatening stab wounds.

Officers arrest a suspect at Manchester Victoria Station. Pic @Clack_Sam
Image:
Officers arrested a suspect at Manchester Victoria station. Pic @Clack_Sam

Sergeant Valentine, who was treated in hospital but later released, said: “The past 48 hours have been overwhelming.

“My team and I are grateful to everyone who sent in messages of support – it really does mean the world to us.

“We had no idea what we were running towards when we heard the screams on New Year’s Eve.

“When we saw the man wielding a knife, instinct took over and we were able to, in company with Travel Safe Officers from Metrolink, successfully detain the male.”

BTP chief constable Paul Crowther said: “This horrific incident underlines the bravery of our officers, who selflessly ran towards danger to help keep the public safe.

“As the first officers on the scene, their quick-thinking and outstanding response helped to prevent more passengers being hurt and stands as a testament to the force.

“Whilst this incident is an example of policing at its finest it also serves as a dark reminder of policing at its most dangerous.

“In their efforts to detain the suspect, one of our officers suffered a stab injury to his shoulder. I have met with the officer today, along with his colleagues, and I am both humbled and full of admiration at their tenacity and dedication.

“Understandably, incidents of this nature are likely to cause concern, but I would like to reassure the public they are incredibly rare and we have officers on duty throughout the rail network.”

Police were searching  a house where it is believed the suspect had been staying
Image:
Police are searching a house where it is believed the suspect had been staying

The family of the man, 25, arrested following the triple stabbing earlier sent their “thoughts and prayers” to those injured.

In a statement, the arrested man’s family said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were seriously injured, their families and friends.

“We are also eternally grateful for the swift response from the emergency services and the comfort given to those affected by fellow Mancunians and citizens.

“We are acutely aware that many, including within the media, may well have many questions to ask us.

“However, we have been informed by the GMP that there is an active ongoing, terrorist investigation and as such we are limited in what we can say at this stage.

“We do not wish to make any further comment at this time.”

The suspect is being held by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) on suspicion of attempted murder and has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Monday night’s incident – described as a “random” attack by police – is being treated as terror-related.

Police are searching a property in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester in connection with the arrest.

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