The father of a teenage boy stabbed in his chest at the Arndale Center says his son is ‘lucky to be alive’ after being set upon by a gang of strangers.
Emergency services were called to the shopping center in Manchester city center on Friday evening (January 28).
Police officers were seen guarding a cordon inside the Next store.
Witnesses reported seeing crowds of teenagers, before screams were heard.
A boy, now confirmed as being 16-years-old, was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Fortunately, they are not believed to be life-threatening.
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The victim’s horrified father has now spoken.
I have told the Manchester Evening News his son was inside the Arndale with his friends when he was approached by a ‘random’ girl at about 7pm.
“They were just going for a bite to eat and to do shop shopping,” he said.
“A girl asked for directions to a shop and he pointed it out. She went and brought all these lads over. There were about 20 of them.
“They asked if he was being cheeky and he said he had not done anything wrong. It all escalated from there.
“One of them kicked him in the neck then all hell broke loose.
“They went into Next and these other lads ran through the security and set about them again, throwing bottles.
“They cornered them and this lad ran over and stabbed him in the chest.”
The man said he received a phone call informing that his son had been stabbed shortly before 7.30pm.
“It was horrible,” he said.
“That phone call comes and it’s the worst experience of your life.
“The doctor said a millimetre either way and it would’ve hit an artery and we’d have been having a different conversation.
“He’s lucky to be alive.”
The man said his son suffered a stab wound to the chest, but has since been released from hospital after being treated for his injuries.
He has been left ‘shaken’ by what happened.
“At the moment, I don’t think it’s properly sunk in for him,” he added.
“He’s a good kid who was raised well and goes to a good school.
“These were just random lads and girls looking for trouble because of the sounds of it.
“He looks at another group, thinking they are the same, but they are clearly from another walk of life.”
The man says he has been left ‘sickened and saddened’ by the incident and is now afraid to let his son out of his sight.
“When I was growing up, knock a door run was about as much mischief as we saw,” he said.
“You walk past a child in the street and you would not think you’d have to look over your shoulder in case he plunges a knife into you.
“What have they been around to get to that point where they are getting about with knives?
“They obviously aren’t scared of going to jail.
“Something has to be done in schools to portray the message a bit clearer.
“Someone somewhere is going to lose a child and you have to wake up knowing you have killed someone. That’s your conscience that is going to dictate the man you become.
“You look at your family and imagine losing one of them.
“You could be doing that to someone else.”
Images from the scene showed several police vans outside Next, at the junction of Withy Grove and Corporation Street.
Witness also reported seeing an ambulance parked near the scene.
Pictures showed a further two police vehicles parked outside the Exchange Square entrance to the Arndale.
A CSI van was later seen arriving shortly after 9.30pm.
Police described the stabbing as ‘an isolated incident’ and said there was no wider threat to the public.
A tweet on the GMP Manchester City Center page on Friday evening read: “We are currently dealing with a stabbing within the Arndale shopping centre.
“It’s believed to be an isolated incident, with no wider threat to the public.
“If you witnessed or have any video footage, please contact GMP on 101 or live chat, quoting log 2488 01/28/22.”
The MEN have contacted Greater Manchester Police for further information on the incident.
The Arndale and Next have also been approached for comment.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.