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Man detained after shoppers stabbed

PUBLISHED: 03:53 27 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

FOUR shoppers were stabbed by a man armed with a screwdriver after he began attacking people in the centre of a Suffolk town.

Three of those assaulted needed hospital treatment after the drama unfolded in Bury St Edmunds town centre on Saturday afternoon.

FOUR shoppers were stabbed by a man armed with a screwdriver after he began attacking people in the centre of a Suffolk town.

Three of those assaulted needed hospital treatment after the drama unfolded in Bury St Edmunds town centre on Saturday afternoon.

And just minutes after that, armed police were called to an unconnected incident nearby in which a man was allegedly threatened with a handgun.

Last night, police said a 27-year-old man arrested in connection with the stabbings had been transferred to a unit in Middlesex for a 28-day psychiatric assessment.

An "apparently random" series of attacks had been launched on shoppers in Bury St Edmunds at around 1.15pm on Saturday.

The first victim was Mike Rayson, a 46-year-old from Bury, who was stabbed in the back of the shoulder as he walked along Kings Road with his wife.

"This man just walked up and stabbed me in the shoulder," he said. "Then he went towards my wife but she pushed him away.

"He just came up, stabbed me and walked off. At first I didn't realise he had stabbed me. My wife was worried that he had stuck me with a syringe – it was frightening. He just casually walked up and stabbed me," he said.

The couple then carried on towards St Andrew's Street South where they told a street warden what had happened.

However, Mr Rayson's attacker had walked through the car park and on to St Andrew's Street South where he stabbed two more victims before being forced to the ground by an American passer-by, who is also believed to have been injured in the incident.

Emma Witcherley, 27, who works at Jennifer Florist shop, on the corner of Central Walk, said she saw a man armed with a 6ins screwdriver attacking people.

"Then there was this American man who picked him up and threw him against the shop window. It was a shock - there was a loud bang.

"The man fell to the floor and the American pinned him down. We were worried about the people who had been hurt and called the police."

Jill Newton, manageress of the florists, then went outside to help restrain the man.

"He was shouting and kicking on the floor, the screwdriver was by the door," she said.

The three injured men and the American were all then taken into the shop and treated by ambulance crews before being taken to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance also attended, landing in the car park of the Royal Mail sorting office just yards away.

A police spokeswoman said: "At least four people were assaulted, with three receiving hospital treatment, in apparently random assaults. None of the victims are believed to have life-threatening

injuries."

However, one of the victims – a 56-year-old man – was being kept in hospital yesterday for ongoing treatment.

A man was later arrested and questioned by detectives, before being transferred yesterday to the unit in Middlesex for psychiatric assessment.

In the second incident in Bury on Saturday, armed police were called to reports of a man being threatened with a handgun.

It happened at around 1.30pm when police were called to No 46 – an information and support centre for young people in St Andrew's Street South.

Members of Suffolk police's special armed response unit attended the scene and two people were taken into custody.

A police spokesman said: "Just after 1.30pm police received a report of a male being threatened with a handgun in Bury town centre.

"Firearms officers were deployed and after inquiries two men were taken into custody."

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