UK police seek motive for Nottingham murders

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British police were questioning a man on suspicion of murder on Wednesday as they sought the motive for a stabbing and van attack in the central English city of Nottingham which left three people dead and another in critical condition.

Two 19-year-olds, a man and a woman who were university students, were found dead on a city center street with stab wounds after police were alerted at about 4 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Tuesday.

Another man, a school caretaker aged in his 50s or 60s, was then also found dead with knife wounds on a road about two miles away. A van, stolen from the caretaker, was then driven at three people, leaving one man critically injured in hospital. After the vehicle was stopped, police used a stun gun to arrest a 31-year-old man, and say they are not looking for any other suspects.

Counter-terrorism officers are helping with the investigation, but Nottinghamshire Police’s Chief Constable Kate Meynell said they were keeping an open mind as to the motive.

“This does not mean that it is currently being treated as a terrorist attack,” Home Secretary Suella Braverman told parliament.

The BBC reported that the suspect was believed to be a migrant of West African origin with a history of mental health issues.

The incident has shocked the city, particularly the student community, with Nottingham home to two universities with more than 50,000 students.

The University of Nottingham students were attacked as they returned home from a post-exam party, the Times reported.

One of the teenage victims, Grace Kumar, had played hockey for England’s Under 18 team, and the other, Barnaby Webber, was said to be a keen cricket player.

Webber’s parents said their son was “a beautiful, brilliant, bright young man, with everything in life to look forward to.”

“Complete devastation is not enough to describe our pain and loss at the senseless murder of our son,” they said in a statement released to the media.

The final victim was named as Ian Coates, a school site manager.

“Ian was a much-loved colleague who always went the extra mile for the benefit of our children and will be greatly missed,” said Ross Middleton, the Executive Headteacher of Huntingdon Academy and Warren Academy.

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