'Smiling' knifeman went on stabbing-spree in Arndale with weapon he bought for £1.50, court hears

A "smiling" knifeman stabbed five people in a shopping centre in Manchester with a weapon he bought for £1.50, a court heard

Raphael Chevelleau, of Blackley, hid the knife - that he bought at a store close to his flat on Rochadale Road - 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 detained by Greater Manchester Police officers, searched, and then taken to custody.

CCTV shows the moment Chevelleau buys a knife for £1.50 before stabbing five people. Credit: GMP

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

GMP officers arrest the defendant. Credit: GMP

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."

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

The defendant appeared at the hearing via videolink from Ashworth high security hospital.

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

Sentencing is expected on Monday 17 January 2022.