Shoppers ran for their lives as a smiling knifeman sprinted through a mall hacking at people in a terrifying random stabbing spree, a court heard.
The city’s crown court heard there was ‘a sense of pandemonium’ as people dived into shops for cover when Chevelleau ran at them with a ‘wide cheesy smile’ on his face.
One woman who was stabbed in the arm and back as she fled said: ‘I couldn’t move any more, if he comes back, he will kill me. I thought I was finished.’
Chevelleau pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three counts of wounding with intent and two counts of attempted wounding.
He appeared at the hearing via videolink from Ashworth high security hospital and is expected to be sentenced on Monday.
Chevelleau bought a kitchen knife on the morning of the attacks from Blackley Pound Store near his flat in Rochdale Road before catching a bus into the city.
He entered the Arndale at about 11.05am and shortly after went into a baby-change room, where he unwrapped the knife packaging and left with the stainless-steel chef’s knife in his jacket pocket.
Andrew Ford, prosecuting, said: ‘With no warning he broke into a run, wielding the knife, and randomly stabbed five members of the public.
‘He caused widespread fear and panic among the general public visiting the Arndale Centre that day and a sense of pandemonium as people fled.
‘Witnesses found it unnerving he was not saying anything. People shouted at him to stop. It had no effect.’
His first victim was a 61-year-old engineer, who Chevelleau stabbed in the back.
The defendant swiftly moved on to a 35-year-old woman walking with her husband in the centre.
He ran past them before he returned and swung the knife towards her stomach and grazed her. The woman later recalled Chevelleau had a ‘wide cheesy smile’ as he attacked her.
Chevelleau next targeted a 45-year-old woman pushing her baby in a pram, who had a lucky escape as the knife came close to her ribs.
A 21-year-old woman from Ireland, visiting the city with friends for an 18th birthday celebration, was then attacked as their group sat outside a Starbucks cafe with suitcases in tow.
She told the court that people were shouting ‘everybody run’ and a crowd ‘literally parted’ as the defendant was chased by a security guard.
In a statement she said: ‘The man was looking right through me and looking as if he really wanted to hurt me.’
Chevelleau grabbed her and stabbed her right shoulder and right bicep.
He attacked his final victim, a 52-year-old female department store worker, as he ran out of the Arndale.
She said she joined others ‘running for their lives’ and felt an impact on her left arm and back as she grabbed a railing down steps.
The woman took refuge in the Arndale after Chevelleau stabbed her and recalled: ‘I couldn’t move any more, if he comes back, he will kill me. I thought I was finished.’
Mr Ford said only the layers of her clothing, including a bubble coat, meant she was not more seriously wounded.
Chevelleau dumped the knife in a waste bin in the street after his violent spree lasting just one minute and 27 seconds.
As 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.
‘This is because of the way I have been treated.’
Following his arrest at the scene he later told officers in custody: ‘I was going to stab my ex-girlfriend, but I couldn’t be bothered to travel there so I took it out on someone in town.
‘I’m guilty as sin. I should have done a bank instead.’
Mr Ford said several uninjured eyewitnesses were ‘very badly affected’ by the incident, as they suffered shock, stress, confusion, and anger.
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