We’re not heroes, say 'brave' Manchester brothers who detained Sydney stabbing suspect

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie

A British man hailed as a "hero" for tackling a suspected knifeman in Sydney alongside his brother has said he is "proud" of their instinctive response.

Paul O'Shaughnessy and his younger brother Luke, both originally from Bury in Greater Manchester, chased after a man wielding a large blade as he ran through the streets of the Australian city centre.

Police said the suspect - a 21-year-old man from Maryong in New South Wales - attempted to stab several people during the incident, leaving one woman injured.

Another woman was found dead in a building nearby. Police were investigating if the earlier stabbing at a hotel on the corner of Clarence and King streets was linked to the street attacks.

Mr O'Shaughnessy denied he and his sibling are heroes – despite police and the country’s prime minister commending them for helping to tackle the suspect.

Paul, a father-of-two who has lived in Sydney for 11 years, said he is not a hero but "my brother is".

He added: "I'm proud to be here and just to do that. Just to make sure that he is restrained.

"It wasn't just me, it was my brother as well, he's a bit bigger than me. So he got a grip of him and so did the other guy. Just proud of the other guy, proud of my brother."

He then explained how they chased after the man with a knife and "put a crate on his head" to keep him pinned to the ground until police officers arrived.

Brother Luke, 30, told PA: “I just wanted to make sure he couldn’t hurt anyone else.

“We’ve talked before about what we would do when we hear about these things happening around the world.

“We’re the kind of guys who ask questions later and act on instinct.”

He added: “If it happened again I would do it again and act quicker.”

Paul O'Shaughnessy talks about stopping the suspect in Sydney. Credit: AP

Luke said the pair spoke of the danger they were running into as they jumped into the lift to go and help.

“I heard a massive commotion outside,” he told PA.

“I shouted ‘Paul, let’s go there’s a man with a knife’. As we came down in the lift I said ‘seriously, he’s covered in blood’.

“We came out onto King Street and ran from there all the way round trying to chase him.

“Eventually we caught up with him and I just apprehended him and pinned him down."

A third man who ran to the scene, Lee Cuthbert, was also working in the area when he heard the man attempting to stab several people outside, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Cuthbert told the Australian paper: "We had a window open to get some air in and then we just heard the commotion … we looked out and saw him on top of a car, wielding a knife, and we all just kind of reacted from there.

"We just tried to get down as quick as we could.

"You don’t think, you just kind of react really, it was surreal, very, very surreal.

"We all kind of chased, worked together, but it was Luke who was the real hero.

"He pursued him the hardest and managed to get a grip of him."

His mother, Joanne, who lives in Chadderton, Greater Manchester, said: "He is a very brave lad and I am very proud of him. I have managed to speak to him and he said what happened was madness.

"Lee is very shaken up. For all they knew it could have been more than one person or it could have been a suicide bomber.

"They just did not know what they were dealing with."

  • Police not treating attacker as terror suspect

Footage posted online shows the suspect standing on a vehicle roof, holding a knife aloft and shouting, before being taken down by bystanders, including the brothers, who trapped him using chairs.

Police and witnesses said the knife-wielding man yelled "Allahu akbar", or "God is great", and attempted to stab several people in the Australian city before being arrested.

Although the incident is not being treated as terror-related, the suspected knifeman was described by police as a "lone actor" who may have some terrorist ideologies.

Police are investigating after a man tried to stab multiple people in Sydney. Credit: AP

"Information was found on him [the suspect] that would suggest he had some ideologies related to terrorism," New South Wales (NSW) Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.

Adding: "But he has no apparent links to other terrorist organisations."

Police added that the body of a woman was "found inside a unit on Clarence Street, Sydney, about 3.15pm [6.15am BST] today.

"Officers from Sydney City Police area command are on the scene and will conduct inquiries into whether the incident is linked to an earlier stabbing at a hotel on the corner of Clarence and King streets."

Police are still investigating the circumstances around the stabbing. Credit: AP
  • Australian leaders praise 'brave' people who ran to stop knifeman

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison praised the "brave" people who tackled the knifeman.

He posted on Twitter: "The violent attack that took place in Sydney this afternoon is deeply concerning.

"The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and able to restrain him.

"The motivation for this attack has not yet been determined as police are continuing with their enquiries.

"Our thoughts are with all of those who have been impacted by this violent attack.”

NSW Police Superintendent Gavin Wood, speaking to reporters near the scene, said: "A number of members of the public actually physically restrained the offender.

"And I want to acknowledge those people, those members of the public who got involved.

"They are brave, and I can only use that word seriously.

"They are significantly brave people.

"They approached the person… with clear evidence of a stabbing previously.

"These people are heroes, and I want to acknowledge that."