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Homeless deaths: People 'coming to terms with what they saw'

Wayne Busst and Ian Watson-Gladwish were stabbed in the centre of Birmingham Credit: West Midlands Police

West Midlands Police say witnesses to the killing of two Big Issue sellers are still coming to terms with that they saw.

Superintendent Danny Long says:

"The murder of Wayne and Ian had a significant impact on everyone who lives, works and visits Birmingham particularly homeless people and vendors.

"I have been overwhelmed by the support that has been given to this investigation by those who were in Union Street on that afternoon; many people tried to help Wayne and Ian and are still coming to terms with what they witnessed. They are a credit to the city of Birmingham."

Big Issue deaths: Witnesses 'shocked to the core'

A double murder of this nature is extraordinarily rare. It is even more unusual for such a brutal crime to take place in a packed shopping area with so many witnesses.

Those people were shocked to the core and were literally queuing up to talk to officers, tell us what they saw and generally get our major investigation off to a good start. These people made a commitment to help the investigation which they saw through to the end when they gave evidence in court.

– Detective Sergeant Mike Griffiths, from Force CID


Police: 'We'll never know why he killed' Big Issue sellers

This was a truly horrific case in which two men died following a random and senseless attack. Sadly, they were victims of circumstance.

"Their work as street vendors led them to becoming acquainted with John Ward and whilst we’ll never really know why he killed Wayne and Ian, the chilling reality is that because of his mental illness, anyone could have been a target on that day. He was and still is an extremely dangerous man.

– Detective Sergeant Mike Griffiths, from Force CID

Big Issue sellers' killer 'in city for less than 24 hours'

Wayne Busst and Ian Watson-Gladwish were stabbed in the centre of Birmingham Credit: West Midlands Police

Police have revealed John Ward, who admitted killing two Big Issue sellers in Birmingham, had been in the city for less than 24 hours before the stabbings.

West Midlands Police say Wayne Busst and Ian Watson-Gladwish became acquainted with Ward, who had arrived on a train from Euston the previous night.

John Ward is said to have purchased a large kitchen knife from the Morrisons supermarket on Hagley Road, Birmingham.

CCTV captured the three men spending hours together wandering around the city centre before Ward launched what was described as a "frenzied" attack, stabbing Wayne Busst in the chest.

He then stabbed Ian Watson-Gladwish and knocked him backwards onto the steps of Sainsbury's before running through Union Passage.

Video: Killer of Big Issue sellers cleans bloodied hands

West Midlands Police have released video footage of the man who killed two Big Issue sellers cleaning blood from his hands, arms and shoes following the stabbings.

John Ward ran into the Odeon on New Street, Birmingham, where he approached a member of staff and asked her for water and tissues.

Police say they arrived at the cinema within minutes and immediately arrested him. A search around the area found the murder weapon in an alleyway nearby.

Man sentenced to life for killing Big Issue sellers

John Ward, 23, will serve a minimum of 12 years in prison Credit: West Midlands Police

A homeless man has been sentenced to life behind bars after admitting stabbing to death two men in front of shoppers in the centre of Birmingham.

Ian Gladwish, 31, and Wayne Busst, 32, who were also homeless, were stabbed in Union Street on 11 January.

John Ward, 23, who has paranoid schizophrenia, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court this morning.

He will serve a minimum of 12 years before being considered for parole and has been given a hospital order to remain in Ashworth Hospital for treatment.