Terror on Belfast Metropolitan College's Millfield campus as one student is badly hurt by another in stab frenzy
Students have told of their terror after a stabbing at a Belfast college campus left two men injured, one seriously.
Eyewitnesses described coming face-to-face with the suspect as he was chased through corridors, visibly distressed and soaked in blood, by frantic security staff.
The stabbing, believed to involve students with learning difficulties, took place shortly after 11am yesterday at Belfast Met’s Millfield campus.
A 25-year-old man was rushed to hospital with serious injuries. A 21-year-old man, also injured in the incident, was later arrested by police.
Witnesses said the stabbing took place during a fight in a toilet beside the college’s art department.
Some reports said a teacher had intervened in the dispute.
Students who watched the incident unfold said they were confronted by scenes of horror and pandemonium. One woman described how a blood-spattered man ran past her in the corridor, crying uncontrollably.
“He was distraught,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I was trying to get him to calm down.
“He looked badly injured.”
Another student, Peter Lavery, said one of the injured appeared to have been stabbed in the neck.
He said: “The cubicle opened, and the door came open really fast. You could see the guy on the floor, lying there, blood coming out of what seemed like his neck, because it seemed darker round that area.
“Then the guy who had the knife came running out towards us — I only saw a small type of knife — he came running out with blood all over his hands, so we just ran out of the toilets.”
A third said: “The guy who came out on the stretcher was very bloody.
“The police were searching all the corridors for the weapon.
“There were two ambulances and a lot of police, armed response
unit and stuff like that there. Students are pretty shocked, we just left early, we could feel the atmosphere, it is really tense. Part of building two was evacuated.”
The 25-year-old was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital for surgery. Last night after an operation his condition was said to be critical but stable.
The 21-year-old suspect was taken to the Mater Hospital, but later released. Police confirmed he had been arrested.
Belfast Met principal Marie-Thérèse McGivern said counsellors had been made available to students.
“This was clearly shocking and deeply upsetting for everyone involved,” she said.
“Our absolute priority is to provide our students, staff and the families concerned with the support they need as they seek to recover from what has been a traumatic ordeal.
“Counsellors were on site within 20 minutes of the incident and will remain available for as long as our students and staff need them.
“The college will also continue to liaise closely with the families involved.
“I would like to commend staff for their immediate and instinctive actions in dealing with the incident.”
In a statement, Belfast Met said it was “an isolated incident and unprecedented in the history of the college”.
It said the matter was now the subject of a police investigation and no further comment would be made.
The NUS-USI, a students' representative body, expressed sadness. President Rebecca Hall said: “This is deeply tragic news. My thoughts are with the people that were injured in this incident, and I hope that they make a swift recovery.
“It's extremely shocking and sad to hear that something like this has happened.”
Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said he was deeply concerned by the incident: “My thoughts are with these young people and their families, as well as with the students and staff of Belfast Metropolitan College,” he said. “I have been in touch with the college, which is working closely with the PSNI, who are investigating this incident.
“I am aware that Belfast Metropolitan College is providing counselling and full support to students and staff at this time.”