12/10/2019 12:23 BST

Manchester Knife Attack Appears To Be 'Mental Health-Related', Mayor Says

Andy Burnham described the incident as 'deeply distressing'.

A knife attack in a Manchester shopping centre which left five people wounded appears to have been “more mental health-related” than politically or religiously motivated, the city’s mayor said. 

Three people are recovering from stab wounds after a man armed with a large knife lunged at shoppers on Friday morning.

A 40-year-old man from the Greater Manchester area was detained five minutes after he began lunging at shoppers with a large knife on Monday morning, on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of an act of terrorism.

It was revealed on Friday evening that he had been detained under the Mental Health Act. 

Counter-terrorism officers continue to lead the investigation and are keeping an open mind about the reasons for the attack, but it is understood no political, religious or ideological motivation has so far been uncovered. 

Police have searched the man’s address in Manchester as part of their inquiries.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham held a press conference on Saturday in the reopened Arndale, close to the scene where less than 24 hours earlier the man had caused terror amongst the public.

He described the incident as “deeply distressing”, not only for those “caught up in it,”  but for everybody across the area. 

He continued: “As the city returns to normality this morning, Greater Manchester is doing what it always does – which is to respond in a considered way, providing support to those who need it, prosecuting those responsible, and of course learning any lessons that may need to be learned.

“We think first this morning of those recovering from their injuries and I am sure I speak for everybody in Greater Manchester in wishing them a very, very speedy recovery indeed.”

Burnham said the incident appeared to be isolated, and said it was “business as usual” as of Saturday morning. 

“It is important not to jump to conclusions,” he added, “but what I can say is that at this stage, it would appear to be more mental health-related than politically or religiously motivated – but of course we need to allow the police to conduct their full inquiries and we keep an open mind on that until that work is complete.”