In a suspected terror attack, Sergeant Lee Valentine became a victim of knife crime while he tried to tackle the suspect.
On New Year’s Eve, a couple was stabbed at Manchester Victoria railway station. Sgt Valentine and three other British Transport Police (BTP) officers risked their lives to prevent other victims from being attacked.
The couple, aged in their 50s, suffered serious but not life-threatening stab wounds. The man is expected to be discharged soon from the hospital, while his partner might have to stay a little a longer, said Great Manchester Police (GMP).
Sgt Valentine suffered a stab wound over his shoulder and is now recovering at home. He said, “My team and I are grateful to everyone who sent in messages of support – it really does mean the world to us.”
“We had no idea what we were running towards when we heard the screams on New Year’s Eve. When we saw the man wielding a knife, instinct took over and we were able to, in company with travel safe officers from Metrolink, successfully detain the male,” he added.
Police officers confronted the attacker responsible for the terror attack, with Tasers and pepper spray, while the officers were patrolling near Manchester Arena.
Paul Crowther, BTP chief constable, praised his team and said, “This horrific incident underlines the bravery of our officers, who selflessly ran towards danger to help keep the public safe.”
“As the first officers on the scene, their quick-thinking and outstanding response helped to prevent more passengers being hurt and stands as a testament to the force,” he added.
Crowther met Sgt Valentine and other officers and said he was humbled and full of admiration at their tenacity and dedication”.
The suspect has been identified as a 25-year-old man from the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester. He has been detained under the Mental Health Act.
The motive behind the terror attack is still not clear. Though the suspect was filmed shouting “long live the caliphate” and “Allahu akbar”, no terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A spokesperson said, “The investigation has moved at a very fast pace and detectives are increasingly confident that the man acted alone in the final stages of the attack.”
The suspect’s family released a statement, urging the public to avoid “any assumptions, speculations and generalisations” while the investigation continues.
The man may be detained for up to six months for the alleged terror attack, before the “section” is renewed.