Man sentenced as heroic members of public praised for actions during machete attack

The heroic actions of members of the public have been praised after a man who attacked several people with a machete was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.

Sean O’Brien, aged 34, of Liverpool, has been sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to an indefinite hospital order.

On Thursday, 11 August 2022, officers received a report at 5.35pm that a man was walking towards the junction with Priory Road and onto Ince Avenue in Anfield, shouting at people and carrying what was described as a machete.

The man assaulted four people in the area – three men aged 20, 40, and 48 and a 62-year-old woman who were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Several people bravely intervened during the incident to stop others from being attacked before O’Brien was detained by officers on Stanley Park and arrested on suspicion of four counts of attempted murder.

O’Brien was released under investigation to allow further enquiries to be carried out but was further detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act where he remained until his sentencing today.

Detective Sergeant Lee Egerton said, “I would like to praise and thank the members of the public and our officers who acted very bravely in what can only be described as an extremely frightening and dangerous situation.

“When our Armed Response Officers arrived at the scene members of the public were seen shielding and protecting an injured woman from further harm from O’Brien.

“Just before this attack, Bar Manager Carl Baines at the Arkles Pub saw O’Brien attempting to attack a young boy outside the premises.

Carl grabbed the boy and took him into the pub, locking him and the other customers inside for safety. 

“Carl then chased O’Brien along Utting Avenue, shouting at other members of the public to get away. He then saw O’Brien attack a woman and along with other men moved the victim to the other side of the road and began to administer vital first aid while on the phone to police.

“Another man, Bobby Wilcox, was cycling home from work when he heard people shouting and saw O’Brien attack a man at the bus stop with a machete. 

“He then rode on and warned others to keep away and told shop keepers to lock their doors. The man who was attacked at the bus stop, Liam Fennelly, bravely stayed in the area with others despite multiple injuries and also assisted in helping the injured woman who was attacked by O’Brien.

“Earlier last year this outstanding act of bravery was celebrated at the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) annual Police Public Bravery Awards in November.

“Chief Constable Serena Kennedy awarded Bar Manager Carl Baines, Liam Fennelly and Bobby Wilcox with a silver award for their heroism during the attacks.

“The award commended their heroic actions and of our officers who also intervened which ensured that this incident was able to be dealt with swiftly and without any further injuries in our community during such a frightening attack.” 

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Carl Baines, Bobby Wilcox, and Liam Fennelly, with Chief Constable of the NPCC Gavin Stephens and Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Serena Kennedy