By Susy Hodges – London, England
At a press conference on Sunday, police said they believed the stabbing incidents were linked and the security forces were hunting for one suspect in relation to the attacks.
The motive for the stabbings is not yet known, but police said there was no indication it was terror-related and nor did they think it was a hate crime. They also said the stabbings do not appear to be connected to gang violence.
In terms of the casualties, one man died and two of the seven people who were stabbed were in hospital in a critical condition. The five others received less serious injuries.
The violence broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning in an area of Birmingham where there are many clubs and bars frequented by young people at night.
Initial reports from witnesses in the area said the violence appeared to have begun first as a mass brawl between large groups of people. One girl who worked at one of the clubs said she heard a lot of commotion and went outside and found multiple people having fist fights.
Police said what later emerged and became clearer was that as people left clubs and bars in Birmingham to go home there was a series of stabbings in the centre of the city over a two-hour period carried out by a man who apparently attacked people at random.
They have appealed for witnesses to come forward and help them in their investigation.
Birmingham’s police chief said whilst low-level violence on a Saturday night in the city is not uncommon he said he felt it was almost inevitable there could be a rise in violence owing to the psychological effect of the lockdown triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially on young males.
He said there was now a lot of pent up frustration among young people as a result of the restrictions on their movements, and this frustration was being exacerbated by worry and uncertainty about their jobs and their future, as a result of the damage to the economy caused by the pandemic.