Members of public feared potential terror attack as knifeman randomly slashed people during horrific ten minute stabbing spree


A knifeman who caused terror in the city center as he randomly stabbed homeless people has been handed a 23 year sentence.

Kieran McLoughlin, 32, slashed four men to the face, and another to the back while in full view of a busy Metrolink stop, during a 10 minute spree across Piccadilly Gardens and Market Street.

The senseless stabbings caused panic, with fears that the seemingly random knife attacks could have been a terrorist attack.

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They were actually targeted attacks against vulnerable men who were begging on the streets.

McLoughlin was Tasered by police at Market Street tram stop, when members of the public had confronted him after his final stabbing.

After being arrested, McLoughlin claimed to not have issued with homeless people, but said they ‘should be getting off their a*** to do work’.

A judge described the attacks as a ‘short but vicious campaign of cruel, cold, calculated, and targeted violence’.

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Now McLoughlin, who refused to attend his sentencing hearing, has been sentenced to 18 years in jail, and given an extra five year period on license when he is released.

All five victims were on the streets at about 6pm on Sunday, January 12 last year.

Manchester Crown Court heard the first attack happened on Parker Street near Piccadilly bus station, as he attacked a man who was standing begging.

McLoughlin slashed him to the face, causing a 15cm wound.

He then calmly walked towards Greggs on Market Street, where two homeless men were sat.

Blood poured from one of their faces after McLoughlin slashed one of them.

McLoughlin then moved towards Primark, where another man called Tommy Dennison was sat.

Before stabbing him, he snatched a cup which another homeless man had been using to collect money, and said ‘payback’s ab****’.

As he slowed down and pretended to give Mr Dennison some money, McLoughlin also slashed him to the face.

After his order, Mr Dennison, then 52, told the MEN that he needed 18 stitches.

Tommy Dennison

McLoughlin then slashed another homeless man to the face, who was sat leaning against a bin near Debenhams.

After his fourth knife attack, McLoughlin walked onto the Market Street tram stop, and sat down on a bench for a few seconds.

In full view of the busy tram stop, McLoughlin then jumped down and stabbed a fifth homeless man, this time to the back.

He then climbed back onto the stop, and got on a tram.

But a group of young men crowded around him, and a member of the public filmed him.

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Police stopped the tram from leaving, and moments later plain clothes officers took McLoughlin to the ground and Tasered him.

Forensics officers working at the scene of the first stabbing near Piccadilly bus station

Prosecuting, Andy Evans said the stabbings caused ‘fear and panic’ within the city.

“This incident took place at a time of heightened fear and security following a terrorist atrocity in the city two years earlier,” he said.

“The victims were highly vulnerable, homeless men begging, all attacked without warning, the majority whilst looking in the other direction.

“There was clear targeting of homeless men.

“The wounds caused were shocking, and were caused in full view of the hundreds of people, including children, present at the scene.”

After being arrested, McLoughlin said it was a case of mistaken identity and claimed he didn’t have any issues with homeless people.

“It’s not about the homeless, I don’t like Spice, I don’t like anything like that,” he said.

Police responding on Market Street

“I don’t like any drugs, people that take drugs or people that’s off on s*** around me.”

He said homeless people ‘should be getting off their a*** to do work’.

McLoughlin said he had been ‘chilling’ with friends and smoking cannabis prior to the stabbings, but claimed he was ‘sober as a judge’.

A jury saw through his lies, and found him guilty of five counts of wounding with intent following a trial nearly a year ago.

“Kieran McLoughlin embarked on what was a short but vicious campaign of cruel, cold, calculated, and targeted violence against these five vulnerable men, a campaign that was as motiveless and mindless as it was malicious and malignant,” Judge Timothy Smith said.

“There was clearly some wider impact on the public, who were justifiably concerned for their own safety in what was reported as random knife attacks, all happening at a time of heightened fears for terrorist attacks.”

McLoughlin, who has 115 previous offenses in Ireland, and a further 25 in the UK, has shown no remorse for his crimes, the judge added.

Defending, Paul Treble said McLoughlin was living a chaotic lifestyle, and had mental health problems.

But the judge said they played no part in his offending, and were not serious enough to warrant him being detained in hospital rather than prison.

McLoughlin will have to serve two-thirds of the 18 year sentence before the Parole Board decides whether it is safe to release him.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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