Knife-wielding man held over Cork cinema attack

A man has been arrested following a massive garda manhunt in a Cork suburb after late-night cinema-goers were terrorised by a knife-wielding suspect.

The dramatic incident unfolded in the car park outside the multiscreen cinema in the Mahon Point shopping centre just after 11pm on Friday. It is understood a man confronted a group of people who had just left the cinema, and demanded cash.

When they refused to hand over money, a 19-year-old man, who it is understood is from Carrigaline, was assaulted. He was struck a number of times in the face and about the head but did not require hospital treatment.

However, within seconds, the assailant produced a knife and ran into the shopping centre. While the retail units were closed, the cinema was open and hundreds of cinema-goers were terrified as the man ran along the aisles, shouting and kicking over seats and bins.

Eyewitnesses ed gardaí immediately, with initial reports suggesting the man was armed with a machete. A massive garda response was triggered, with uniformed garda units from Blackrock and Anglesea Street dispatched to the scene, backed up by members of the armed Regional Support Unit, armed detective units, and the Divisional Garda Dog Unit.

They converged on the shopping centre within minutes but the suspect had fled through the Tesco entrance of the shopping centre, and escaped on foot into a local housing estate alongside St Michael’s Cemetery.

Gardaí spoke to eyewitness and viewed internal CCTV footage, and a detailed description of the suspect was circulated. They also established the suspect was armed with a six-inch knife, and not a machete as was initially feared. A garda manhunt was mounted and within half an hour, a 24-year-old man was arrested on Skehard Rd for alleged public order incidents.

A garda spokesman said he was due in court on Saturday in connection with the execution of two outstanding bench warrants. But he said investigations are ongoing in relation to an alleged earlier assault in the car park of Mahon Point Shopping Centre.

Meanwhile, investigations are under way to establish the cause of a blaze which resulted in extensive damage to a derelict building in the Horgan’s Quay area of the city on Friday night.