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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Sophie Zeldin-O'Neill

Teen arrested on suspicion of murder after student stabbed in Manchester

Luke O'Connor
Luke O'Connor died in hospital after he was attacked near a halls of residence on Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield, at about 2am on 26 October. Photograph: Courtesy of O'Connor family

A teenager has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of student Luke O’Connor, who was stabbed to death in south Manchester.

O’Connor, 19, a Manchester Metropolitan University student, died in hospital after he was attacked near a large halls of residence on Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield, at about 2am on Wednesday 26 October.

A 19-year-old man was detained in the area on Friday evening and is being questioned.

The Manchester Evening News reported the student was on his way home from a party when police believe he came across his alleged attacker, whom Greater Manchester police believe he did not know.

In relation to Saturday’s arrest, GMP said on Twitter: “We detained the suspect in the Fallowfield area of the city last night. We’re not currently looking for anyone else & patrols remain in the area.”

Supt Helen Critchley, of City of Manchester South district, said: “The arrest of a 19-year-old suspect on Friday night is an important step in our investigation which is moving at pace.

“Since the tragic killing of Luke our investigation team has made significant progress as we do all we can to get justice for Luke’s family who we are continuing to support at this devastating time.

“There are still a number of inquiries being conducted to establish what happened in the early hours of Wednesday, but what is clear is that this was a senseless and needless loss of a promising young life that has shocked our student community and we are doing all we can to support them too.”

O’Connor’s family released a statement saying the second-year business management student loved music and football and supported Liverpool, adding he was “truly one of a kind, whose presence would light up any room”.

In a joint statement on Thursday, they said: “Our hearts yearn for the loss of Luke; we are truly devastated by this tragedy. Luke was loved by so many people, and he knew how much he was loved in return.

“He loved the freedom of student living and studying and was loving life in Manchester. Luke was the youngest of three boys in our family and was a gentle giant with big hopes and dreams for the future.

“His biggest dream was to travel the world, but now Luke will never be able to fulfil that dream.”

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) said its thoughts were with O’Connor’s family and friends.

“We will be contacting them to offer our help and support,” it said in a statement. “This will be a terrible shock to our whole community, and we will be arranging for professionally trained counselling staff to support any students and staff who are affected by the incident.”

Police patrols around Fallowfield and other student areas would be increased, the university said, with additional patrols between 7pm and 3am each night until the end of the month.

Letitia Jones, the president of MMU students’ union, said: “The university are supporting everyone affected – if this has affected you deeply, please contact the counselling, mental health and wellbeing service.”

Police are asking that any information or footage be shared with them by calling 0161 856 6777.

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