Former footballer helps foil knife attack with links to woman's death

By Mirror: Tuesday, August 13th 2019 at 15:02 GMT +3 | Sports
Paul O'Shaugnessy [Courtesy]

A former footballer has been hailed as a hero for his part in tackling a knife-wielding man in Sydney, Australia.

Paul O'Shaugnessy - formerly of Bury FC between 1999 and 2004 was with brother Luke when they spotted the man brandishing the weapon in the city centre.

The pair, from Bury in Greater Manchester, were on the fourth floor of a nearby office block when they raced down to give chase to the man, who has since been linked to the death of a woman in Sydney.

They eventually caught up with the suspect, hauling him to the floor before restraining him with a milk crate and a chair.

Paul, 37, said: "I didn't even think about it.

"I just thought is my brother going to be OK as we ran towards him."

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"Our values as brothers is we are protectors."

He was with his brother Luke when they spotted the man brandishing the weapon in the city centre [Courtesy]

Both said they were "proud" of their actions, but denied they were heroes - despite police and the country's prime minister commending them for helping to tackle the suspect.

Brother Luke, 30 said: "I just wanted to make sure he couldn't hurt anyone else.

"We've talked before about what we would do when we hear about these things happening around the world.

"We're the kind of guys who ask questions later and act on instinct."

He added: "If it happened again I would do it again and act quicker."

The pair, who run digital talent agency MAP Talent, were in their office on York Street when the drama unfolded at around 3.15pm local time (6.15am BST).

Luke said they spoke of the danger they were running into as they jumped into the lift to go and help.

"I heard a massive commotion outside," he added.

"I shouted 'Paul, let's go there's a man with a knife'. As we came down in the lift I said 'seriously, he's covered in blood'.

"We came out onto King Street and ran from there all the way round trying to chase him.

"Eventually we caught up with him and I just apprehended him and pinned him down.

"He had a knife. It was next to him covered in blood."

Other passers-by also stopped to help, including two firefighters.

The brothers said they kept the attacker detained until the police arrived on scene.

Paul, a father-of-two who has lived in Sydney for 11 years, said he felt it was his way of giving back to a country which had welcomed him with open arms.

"The thing I will reflect on is that I've given something back today by doing what's right and that the British can do Britain proud by coming to another country and doing what they can to help," he said.

Police confirmed they were investigating allegations the suspect yelled "Allahu akbar", or "God is great", but are not treating it as a terror incident.

Police said the suspect - a 21-year-old man from Maryong in New South Wales - attempted to stab several people in the Australian city, at around 6.15am BST (3.15pm local time) before being arrested.

A woman was found dead in a building nearby and police were investigating if the earlier stabbing at a hotel on the corner of Clarence and King streets was linked to the street attacks.

New South Wales Police Superintendent Gavin Wood, speaking to reporters near the scene, praised the men who tackled the suspect, also said to have included Manchester man Lee Cuthbert.

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