Armed police have arrested a 28-year-old man after a pregnant mother-of-two was stabbed repeatedly while dropping her children at school in a village in Wales on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old woman, named in reports as Andreea Pintilli, was rushed to hospital following the “targeted attack” in Aberfan, and was placed under the protection of firearms officers.
On Tuesday evening, South Wales Police said they had arrested a man in the village of Troed-y-rhiw, around 1.5 miles from the scene, on suspicion of attempted murder. It followed a seven-hour manhunt.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was seen being led away from a terraced property by police officers shortly before 4pm after an hour-long standoff.
In a statement outside Merthyr Tydfil Police Station, Chief Inspector Rob Miles said: “He is known to the victim and is currently in police custody. It was a targeted attack.”
Police said village schools had “activated their lockdown procedures” following the attack, which happened shortly after 9am.
The woman, understood to be 37 weeks pregnant, was said to have been stabbed repeatedly in the back by a male assailant who fled the scene when residents came outside after hearing her screams. Her injuries were not life-threatening, and her child is also believed to be unharmed.
Kira Terret, who has lived on the street for six years, interrupted the assailant as he launched his attack.
Ms Terret, still visibly upset, said: “He knocked her to the floor, stabbed her twice in the back and then proceeded to go for her again but she moved. She was pregnant and she was protecting her baby. “
She said she began shouting at the man, who turned and ran off down the street. She added: “The woman was just screaming hysterically. She was petrified.
“This is a quiet village, nothing happens. She was screaming hysterically. She was screaming ‘he has stabbed me. He’s going to kill me’.”
In the immediate aftermath of the stabbing, the village was engulfed in rumours that left local school pupils petrified, she said, adding: “My boy is terrified. The rumours that were going round were terrifying. At one point one school had the pupils under the tables.”
She praised the emergency services for their quick response, adding: “He had every intention of killing that poor girl”.
Another resident, Katie Roberts, a veterinary nurse, said she saw the woman being stabbed “repeatedly” after hearing screaming outside her house.
“I just darted out of the house and he ran off. My partner saw the suspect loitering outside our house for like half an hour beforehand,” she said.
At the end of the school day, police stood guard outside the gates and pupils were not allowed to walk home by themselves.
A police spokesman said: “Local schools activated their lockdown protocols to keep pupils safe, and neighbourhood officers remained in the area to ensure pupils were able to leave school safely at their normal time. This was done as a precaution, and schools will be open as normal tomorrow.”
Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, said his thoughts were with the people of Aberfan.
The mining village, located in the Taff Valley, was the site of the catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip on Oct 21 1966. The sudden cascade of slurry down the mountainside from the tip, which overlooked the village, engulfed Pantglas Junior School and a row of houses, killing 116 children and 28 adults.
Gareth Jones, a local resident and one of the few children to survive the catastrophe, said: “The air ambulance landed behind the Aberfan disaster memorial gardens. This is the most police activity we’ve had in the village since that dreadful day.”
06:07 PM GMT
That's all for our live coverage
That concludes our live coverage of this incident, thank you for following.
You can check the Telegraph’s home page for more updates.
05:59 PM GMT
'Real sense of shock to local community'
Chief Inspector Rob Miles said: “I appreciate there will be a real sense of shock to the local community with the attack having happened in broad daylight.
“Local schools activated a lockdown protocol to keep people safe.
“Neighbourhood officers have been in the area to ensure pupils have been able to leave school safely at the normal time.
“This was done as a precaution, schools will open tomorrow as normal.
“This was a targeted attack. The woman remains in hospital with injuries which are not believed to be life threatening at this time.
“I want to thank the local community and partners for their patience and support through today’s polices operation to trace and arrest the suspect.”
05:53 PM GMT
Stabbing was 'targeted attack'
Chief Inspector Rob Miles, at a press conference hosted 3.5 miles from the incident, said the perpetrator was “known to the victim” and had carried out a “targeted attack”.
He confirmed the victim, a 29 year-old-woman was recovering from non-life threatening injuries and that the alleged assailant, a 28-year-old man, who is now in police custody, was “local to the area”.
The several schools that were placed into lockdown will reopen as usual on Wednesday morning, he added.
04:32 PM GMT
Man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder
A 28-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following the stabbing of a 29-year-old woman in Aberfan on Tuesday morning, South Wales Police said.
03:58 PM GMT
Mark Drakeford: Our thoughts are with the people of Aberfan
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has said his thoughts are with the people of Aberfan.
Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies mentioned the incident in the Senedd on Tuesday, saying his thoughts were with the village.
Mr Drakeford said: “Can I echo what the leader of the opposition said about the events that are unfolding in Aberfan? I was grateful for the briefing I received earlier in the day from Dawn Bowden, the constituency member.
“Events continue to unfold and for the moment our thoughts are with people caught up in them and there will be more, no doubt, that we will learn.”
03:23 PM GMT
Neighbours rushed to victim's aid after hearing dog walker scream
Neighbours rushed to the woman’s aid after she was attacked and wrapped her in a towel until an ambulance arrived.
Lynne Terrett, from Merthyr Tydfil, said her daughter, Kira Terrett, was walking her dog near her home in Aberfan when she saw the attack.
She said her daughter looked around after she heard the sound of the woman running towards her.
”(The woman) fell, my daughter screamed and people came out from everywhere.”
She said the knifeman fled. “If she had not screamed, people would not have gone out,” she added.
01:57 PM GMT
Large cordon in place in village
A large cordon has been set up on the corner of Moy Road and Coronation Place in the village, reports Will Bolton, our Crime Correspondent.
Forensics officers are currently in attendance.
01:56 PM GMT
Aberfan school hit by tragic landslide almost 60 years ago
Aberfan suffered the worst mining-related disaster in British history in October 1966, tragically engulfing a junior school and killing 144 people.
More than 100 children from Pantglas Junior School died in the catastrophe, which was caused when a build up of water within a colliery spoil tip caused it to suddenly slide downhill as a slurry.
01:44 PM GMT
Tight-knit community will have "serious concern", MP says
Aberfan is a “close-knit community” that will have “serious concern” following the stabbing of a 29-year-old woman, the MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney has said.
Labour MP Gerald Jones told Sky News on Tuesday: “Aberfan is a very close knit, tight community.
“The community centre and the schools are very close by, hence the reason why police are keen for people not to go to the area.
“The community centre has closed its doors for the moment, and the schools have locked down as well because they are in very close proximity to Moy Road.
“The community, as I said, is a very tight-knit community so there is, undoubtedly, serious concern within the community.”
He added that he had been assured by police that they were dealing with the incident “as quickly and effectively as they can”.
01:34 PM GMT
A spokesman for South Wales Police said: “South Wales Police were called just before 9.10am this morning with a report that a 29-year-old woman had been stabbed on Moy Road, Aberfan, Merthyr
“The suspect left the scene immediately after the incident and enquiries are ongoing to find him. A search of the immediate area is being carried out by armed officers.
“Local schools have activated their lockdown protocols to keep pupils safe whilst the incident is ongoing.
“We continue to request that people avoid the area so that we can effectively deal with this incident.
“The woman has been taken to hospital with injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening at this time. “
01:33 PM GMT
Welcome to our live coverage of this incident.