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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Emily Atkinson and Tara Cobham

Cornwall stabbings: Everything we know as tributes paid to rubgy player killed near nightclub


A murder investigation has been launched after a “kind-hearted” rugby player was killed and seven others injured in a stabbing outside a Cornwall nightclub.

Michael Allen, 35, from Liskeard, has been named locally as the victim in an outbreak of violence near the Eclipse Nightclub in Bodmin, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

At least seven others were taken to hospital after the incident suffering stab wounds with injuries ranging from ‘serious’ to ‘minor,’ although none were described as life-threatening.

Michael Allen, 35, from Liskeard, was stabbed to death in Bodmin, while at least seven other were injured (PA Media)

Devon and Cornwall Police have since launched a murder investigation and arrested a 24-year-old man from Bodmin on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

As the police probe continues, family, friends and teammates have paid tribute to the “absolute legend” and “kind-hearted” Mr Allen, who lived in Bodmin and was a popular player at the local rugby club Bodmin RFC.

Here is everything we know about the incident so far:

What happened?

Devon and Cornwall Police were called at 3.15am on Sunday to Castle Canyke Road following a report of “a serious altercation”.

The force then received further reports that someone was in possession of a knife and that multiple people had suffered stab wounds.

A victim in his 30s was pronounced dead at the scene. He was later named locally as 33-year-old Michael Allen. His next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialised officers.

At least seven other men and women were injured and rushed to hospital, but none were said to be in a life-threatening condition.

The force confirmed that some of those caught up in the incident had been in the Eclipse nightclub earlier in the evening, but it said the attack itself happened outside.

Pictures taken on Monday show a police cordon that remains around the scene outside Eclipse nightclub.

A man in his 30s was pronounced dead at the scene outside Eclipse nightclub in Bodmin (Google Maps)

What do we know about the victims?

Tributes to the “absolute legend” and “kind-hearted” rugby player Mr Allen have poured in from family, friends and teammates.

Alongside a request for privacy, his family has today paid the following tribute: “Mike was simply a much-loved son, brother, grandson, and uncle who loved his dogs.”

A friend said: “You were a great funny guy Michael Allen, an absolute legend, heart of gold. Rest in peace big man absolutely gutted.”

Another took to social media to write of her devastation and pay tribute to her “kind-hearted” friend, whose nickname was ‘Chabel’.

Michael Allen, 35, has been named locally as the victim in an outbreak of violence near the Eclipse Nightclub in Bodmin, in the early hours of Sunday morning (Supplied)

A third wrote of her sadness on Facebook, describing Mr Allen as “such a lovely, bubbly lad”.

A family member wrote: “What a horrible world we live in, Michael, love you always cuz. He really was the kindest, most gentle man. He will be very missed.”

The Hole in the Wall, Bodmin, held a minute’s silence for Mr Allen on Sunday evening as it was a pub he used to go to often, especially with his teammates.

Licensee Stephen Hall told The Independent that, while he did not know Mr Allen personally, he frequently saw the rugby player in the pub and many pubgoers knew him.

“There’s a lot of shock and emotion about what happened in the early hours,” Mr Hall said. “It affects the town greatly - but, more importantly, it affects the family and friends.”

Tributes to the “absolute legend” and “kind-hearted” rugby player Mr Allen have poured in from family, friends and teammates (SWNS)

Alongside a picture of him playing rugby, fellow Bodmin RFC player Ollie Brooks wrote: “It was a pleasure Chabel. Fly high brother. Mike Allen [heart].” Similarly, Lachlan Blacklaw paid tribute to his teammate, writing: “It was a pleasure Chabel. Never Forgotten Brother. Run hard forever. Mike Allen [heart].”

Bodmin RFC announced on social media on Monday afternoon: “It is with great sadness that we can now announce the passing of our player and friend Mike Allen (Chabel).

“Mike came to the club earlier this season and quickly became a big part of our squad. His humour and kindness has left a mark on us all and we will miss him dearly.

“Our thoughts are with Mike’s family at this devastating time.

“There is a memorial set up outside the rugby club where people are welcome to come to pay their respects and lay flowers.

“Fly high brother.”

Helston RFC also paid tribute to the sports player, posting: “The thoughts of everyone here at Helston RFC are with Bodmin RFC today. The tragic loss of Mike Allen will be felt by all. Our condolences to his family, friends and club.”

Lankelly Fowey Rugby Club wrote of how “deeply saddened” the whole club is to hear of Mr Allen’s passing. “All of us at Lankelly RFC are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Chabel (Mike Allen),” it wrote. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the entire Bodmin RFC community during this difficult time. Please accept our heartfelt condolences and know that we stand with you in this time of mourning. Bodmin RFC.”

A tribute site has been set up at Bodmin Rugby Club, where people can gather to remember Mr Allen. Local officers will be there to help support the community. The community hub will run from 4-6pm on Monday and then twice daily from 10am-midday and 4-6pm for the next week.

What have the police said?

The force announced, alongside news of the man’s death, that a murder investigation had been launched.

A 24-year-old man from Bodmin has been arrested on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He remains in police custody at this time.

No one else is being sought in connection with the incident, with the police describing it as “isolated”.

Devon and Cornwall Police announced a murder investigation has been launched (SWNS)

Supt Rob Youngman said it was not currently known what the relationship was between the arrested man and the victim and they were still trying to establish a motive.

He said: "At this moment in time we are working to continue to understand the motivation behind this incident. The relationship, if any, between those involved is not clear at this stage.

"We believe some members of the group who were injured had been in Eclipse nightclub. They were then outside in Castle Canyke Road when the incident happened."

Previously, Detective Inspector Ilona Rosson, from the major crime investigation team, urged anyone with information that may assist their investigation to come forward and report it but implored the public to refrain from speculation.

She said: “At this time we are treating this as an isolated matter and we are not seeking anyone else in connection to this incident.

“This is a live and active police investigation, and I would urge people not to speculate on social media but if you have information which may assist us, please report it.”

East Cornwall local Policing superintendent Rob Youngman expressed his sympathies for the victim’s family.

He said in a statement: “Understandably, this incident will have an impact on the local community, and our thoughts are with the families of the victims.”

He added: “Anyone who has not yet been spoken to by officers, and has any information which may assist our investigation, please get in touch. This could include any relevant dashcam, doorbell and CCTV footage from the area of Victoria Square and along Castle Canyke Road.”

How has the local community reacted?

Cornwall councillor Leigh Frost said the attack in his ward was “shocking and devastating” for Bodmin.

He told BBC News: “Bodmin is a small town and it’s not rife with crime, it’s quite a friendly place. We are a strong community and we will pull together and get through this together.

“My thoughts are with everyone involved, the victim and his family.

“I also praise the emergency services for responding so quickly and the police for ensuring there is a full investigation.”

Scott Mann, MP for North Cornwall, shared his own upset at the “truly horrific news”.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and the family of the victims,” he wrote on Twitter.

Residents also took to social media to share their disdain at the attack, with one Twitter user stating: “Such sad news from Bodmin today. My thoughts are with everyone affected by this.”

What is happening at the scene now?

Officers remain at the scene near the Eclipse Nightclub in Bodmin on Monday after the tragic incident. Investigators wearing white suits have also been photographed in the area.

Anyone who has witnessed the incident or has any information, including footage that could help with enquiries, is urged to contact police via the Major Incident Public Portal.

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