A knife-wielding attacker sparked “widespread panic” at Manchester’s Arndale shopping center when he attacked five people indiscriminately, a court heard.
Shoppers ran for their lives and ducked for cover as Raphael Chevelleau, 43, injured three people and attempted to injure two others as he charged through the mall.
Chevelleau bought a kitchen knife from the Blackley Pound store near his home on Rochdale Road, Rochdale, on the morning of 11 October 2019 before catching the bus into town.
Manchester Crown Court heard he entered the Arndale at around 11.05am and shortly after went into a baby changing room where he unwrapped the knife packaging and left with the stainless steel chef’s knife in his jacket pocket.
Andrew Ford, prosecutor, said: “Without warning, he broke into a run, brandished the knife and randomly stabbed five members of the public.
“It caused widespread fear and panic among the public who attended the Arndale Center that day and a sense of chaos as people fled.
“Witnesses found it disturbing that he didn’t say anything.
“People were yelling at him to stop. It had no effect.”
His first victim was a 61-year-old engineer who was stabbed in the back by Chevelleau.
The defendant quickly moved on to a 35-year-old woman who was walking with her husband in the center.
The court heard him run past them before coming back and swinging the knife at her stomach and grazing her.
The woman later recalled that Chevelleau had a “big cheesy smile” as he attacked her.
Next, Chevelleau targeted a 45-year-old woman pushing her baby in a stroller, who happily escaped when the knife got close to her ribs.
A 21-year-old Irish woman visiting the city with friends for an 18th birthday celebration was then attacked as her group sat outside a Starbucks cafe with suitcases in tow.
She told the court that people shouted “everyone run” and a crowd “literally dispersed” as the defendant was chased by a security guard.
In a statement, she said: “The man looked through me and looked like he really wanted to hurt me.”
Chevelleau grabbed her and stabbed her in the right shoulder and bicep.
He attacked his latest victim, a 52-year-old department store worker, as he ran out of the Arndale.
She said she joined others who were “running for their lives” and felt an impact on her left arm and back as she grabbed a banister down the stairs.
She fled to the Arndale after Chevelleau stabbed her and recalled: “I couldn’t move, if he comes back he’ll kill me. I thought I was done.”
Mr Ford said just the layers of her clothing, including a bubble coat, meant she wasn’t more seriously injured.
Chevelleau threw the knife into a trash can on the street after his violent killing spree that lasted just one minute and 27 seconds.
As the 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.
“It’s because of the way I was treated.”
After his arrest at the scene, he later told detained officers, “I wanted to stab my ex-girlfriend, but I didn’t feel like traveling there, so I took it out on someone in town.
“I am guilty as sin. I should have banked instead.”
Mr Ford said a number of uninjured eyewitnesses were “very badly affected” by the incident as they suffered from shock, stress, confusion and anger.