The family of a terror suspect arrested over a “frenzied” knife attack in Manchester has said their “thoughts and prayers” are with the three victims.
The suspect, 25, was detained under the Mental Health Act on Tuesday after being arrested at the city’s Victoria railway station on New Year’s Eve.
In a statement, his family said they were “eternally grateful for the swift response from the emergency services”.
They added that they would not be making any further comment.
A man and woman in their 50s, who suffered face and stomach injuries in the attack, remain in hospital, while a British Transport Police sergeant, who sustained knife wounds to his shoulder, has since been discharged.
A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said a “counter-terrorism investigation remains ongoing” and officers were searching the suspect’s home in Cheetham Hill.
“There is nothing to suggest the involvement of other people in this attack, but confirming this remains a main priority for the investigation,” he said.
Speaking through a solicitor, the man’s family said they were also grateful for “the comfort given to those affected by fellow Mancunians and citizens”.
Detention under the Mental Health Act
- People detained under the Mental Health Act need urgent treatment and are at risk of harm to themselves or others
- Police officers can take someone who they believe is in need of immediate care or control to a place of safety (a hospital or, sometimes, a police station) and detain them under Section 136 of the act
- The detained person is then assessed by an approved mental health professional and a doctor and can be held for up to 72 hours – during which time a decision will be made as to whether further detention (of up to six months) under the act is necessary
- Detention under the act means someone can be medically treated against their will, but protects them from being questioned by police, as they are deemed unfit for interview
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, former GMP Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said the use of the Mental Health Act to detain the suspect did not stop it “from being a terror attack, particularly for the people involved”.
“The big question is why would somebody who has got a mental illness be inspired or incited… to carry out an attack,” he said.
“What we know is that people who perhaps have an existing problem in their lives… are particularly vulnerable to be targeted, to be radicalised, and that is why there is much closer working between police and the mental health agencies [while] always respecting patient confidentiality.”