Rotherham machete attack: Police launch murder investigation after shopkeeper is hacked to death


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The Independent Online

A murder investigation is underway after a shopkeeper was hacked to death with a machete and another man was seriously injured in Rotherham.

Witnesses spoke of a blood-splattered man carrying a large knife running through the streets after the attack, which happened at about 2pm.

Police said officers pursued a suspect and detained him in a Tesco car park about half a mile away from the shop where the incident took place.

The shopkeeper, who was married with three children, was fatally injured in the Bismillah Food Store on Grosvenor Road, which is not far from the local police headquarters.

A police spokeswoman said the injured man was “in a serious condition in hospital”, but added his wounds were not believed to be life-threatening.

“There is a large police presence is in the area and this will remain in place to reassure residents,” the police said in a statement.

It is thought that the attack was an “isolated incident”, rather than a random targeting of strangers.

Police said the attack followed “sightings of a man brandishing a machete in Eastwood and Rotherham town centre”.

Local councillor Jahangir Akhtar said the Bismillah Food Store was well known in the area as it was once of the first to start selling halal meat in the 1980s.

“I've just come from the mosque where the family are sitting. There's hundreds of people in the mosque,” he said.

“He was a wonderful, wonderful young man. He was lovely. It's so sad honestly, so tragic.”

He said the dead man was in his early 40s and married with three children, with the eldest aged 16.

Mr Akhtar said he believed the alleged attacker had previously worked in the shop.

Omar Mehban, a local Conservative spokesman who works in banking, said the victim was a family friend.

“This is such a shock and I feel really deeply for his family,” he said.

“He should be celebrating Eid tomorrow with his wife and kids - instead they are faced with this.

”He was such a wonderful person, always courteous and kind. All the times I went in his shop, I can never recall him not smiling. It's absolutely devastating.“

Mr Mehban did not witness the stabbing incident or surrounding events.

Others on Twitter reported seeing a knifeman running through Rotherham covered in blood.

Richard Cattley wrote: ”A man has just ran past me in Rotherham town centre wielding a machete covered in blood shouting move!! Police everywhere!

“All I saw him run past me with knife in hand shouting move adjacent to where the buildings are being knocked down opp market.”

Tesco said in a statement that it was co-operating with detectives.

“This is a matter for the police and we are supporting them with their investigation,” it said.

Police said a 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and was being held in police custody.