Indefinite hospital order for 'smiling' knifeman who went on stabbing-spree in Arndale

The moment shoppers ran for their lives as knifeman Raphael Chevelleau ran through the Arndale stabbing innocent people.

A paranoid schizophrenic who stabbed five people in a shopping centre in Manchester has been sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.

Raphael Chevelleau, of Blackley, hid a knife - that he bought for £1.50 at a shop close to his flat - in his coat and caught a bus to Shudehill on 11 October 2019.

The court heard how he entered the Arndale at 11:05am and immediately went into the baby-changing room where he unwrapped the knife.

CCTV footage shows the 43-year-old stabbing a man first, before going on to stab four more people - all women - aged between 19 and 49.

Chevelleau disposed of the knife in a bin at the bottom of the Arndale steps and soon after was detained by Greater Manchester Police officers.

During sentencing on Monday, Raphael Chevelleau was described as the "one of the most ill individuals" a doctor had ever treated.

CCTV footage shows the offender running through the shopping centre after stabbing several people. Credit: GMP

Judge Dean said Chevelleau's actions were 'entirely driven' by his paranoid schizophrenia.

Andrew Ford, prosecuting, said: "With no warning he broke into a run, wielding the knife, and randomly stabbed five members of the public.

"He caused widespread fear and panic among the general public visiting the Arndale Centre that day and a sense of pandemonium as people fled.

"Witnesses found it unnerving he was not saying anything. People shouted at him to stop. It had no effect."

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

Chevelleau then moved on to a 35-year-old woman walking with her husband in the centre.

The court heard he ran past them before he returned and swung the knife towards her stomach and grazed her.

Raphael Chevelleau pleaded guilty to stabbing five people in October 2019. Credit: GMP

The woman later recalled Chevelleau had a "wide cheesy smile" as he attacked her.

Chevelleau next targeted a 45-year-old woman pushing her baby in a pram, who had a lucky escape as the knife came close to her ribs.

A 21-year-old woman from Ireland, visiting the city with friends for an 18th birthday celebration, was then attacked as their group sat outside a cafe.

She told the court that people were shouting "everybody run" and a crowd "literally parted" as the defendant was chased by a security guard.

In a statement she said: "The man was looking right through me and looking as if he really wanted to hurt me."

Chevelleau stabbed her right shoulder and right bicep.

Finally, he attacked a 52-year-old woman, a department store worker, as he ran out of the Arndale.

After Chevelleau stabbed her, she recalled: "I couldn't move any more, if he comes back he will kill me. I thought I was finished."

After the stabbing-spree that lasted one minute and 27 seconds, the court heard how Chevelleau dumped his knife in a waste bin.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Superintendent Will Chatterton of Counter Terrorism North West.

As Greater Manchester Police approached, he shouted: "I'm doing this for my people, it's political.

"I don't like this Government. I don't like black people, I don't like white people, I don't like Asian people.

"This is because of the way I have been treated."

Following his arrest at the scene he later told officers in custody: "I was going to stab my ex-girlfriend but I couldn't be bothered to travel there so I took it out on someone in town.

"I'm guilty as sin. I should have done a bank instead."

GMP officers arrest the defendant. Credit: GMP

The court heard how "Natalie" - an ex-girlfriend more than ten years ago - featured heavily in Chevelleu's delusional thinking.

Judge Dean said he was "tormented" by his delusions and that his actions on 11 October 2019 were "entirely driven" by his mental illness.

Chevelleau appeared at the sentencing via videolink from Ashworth high security hospital, where he has been for many months.

He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three counts of wounding with intent and two counts of attempted wounding.

The moment Chevelleau is arrested by police after stabbing-spree. Credit: GMP

Passing sentence, Judge Dean, said Chevelleau has an "established history of serious mental illness", which was diagnosed in his early 20s.

He said: "There is no doubt that Mr Chevelleau requires treatment in a secure hospital and will do so for many years."

The 43-year-old has been sentenced under the Mental Health Act, to be detained at Ashworth secure hospital indefinitely.

The court heard how if he were to be released then Chevelleau would pose a "substantial risk" of causing serious injury or death.

Judge Dean said that if Chevelleau did not suffer from mental health problems, he would have received a life sentence with a minimum term of 15 years.

Armed police outside the Arndale after five people are stabbing. Credit: MEN