Arrest made over triple stabbing
POLICE have a man in custody facing charges over a knife attack on three men inside the Coffs Harbour Hotel on Wednesday night.
The accused, aged in his 20s, was arrested by detectives in a Coffs Harbour street late yesterday.
Police say they're confident they have got their man, identifying him using hotel security vision.
It will alleged he was found in possession of a pocket knife, which will be tested to see if it was the blade used in the triple hotel stabbing.
The alleged offender spent most of the day on the run, suspected of stabbing a 34-year-old man in the chest with a short bladed knife.
Police say he then slashed two other men, aged 27 and 23, who tried to hold him back before he fled into Grafton Street.
The incident happened in the hotel’s poker machine room about 6.10pm last night.
Coffs Clarence Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay commended the detectives working on the case over the arrest.
"Detectives attached to the Coffs Harbour Police Station worked solidly on the case throughout the day, we are extremely pleased it has led to an arrest so quickly," Inspt. Lindsay said.
"It will be alleged he still had the weapon used in the stabbing on him.
"The accused was found with a pocket knife in his possession and (last night) forensic testing was underway to build the case against him.
"A substantial amount of forensic evidence has been seized," he said.
Closed circuit security vision showed the suspect walk into the hotel’s gaming room and exchange words with the 34-year-old man, as he was seated in front of a poker machine.
The offender is then seen to produce the knife and stab the man in the upper chest after he rose from his seat.
The two other men intervened in the altercation and were injured while attempting to restrain the armed man.
Ambulance officers treated the 27-year-old for a laceration to his right hip, while the 23-year-old suffered a cut to his chest.
Witnesses said the offender fled through the side door onto Grafton Street before running across the Pacific Highway.
Police established a crime scene and all three stabbing victims were later treated at Coffs Harbour Hospital.
Coffs Harbour Hotel publican Marty Phillips said bar staff only served the suspect one drink prior to the attack.
"It was a random attack that happened by chance in our hotel," Mr Phillips said.
The incident is yet another blow to the Coffs Hotel’s reputation, which in November was lifted from a list of the State’s most violent pubs.
"It’s another headache for us. We do our best to provide a safe environment for our patrons but this was just a one-off incident and we can only hope he gets his just desserts when he is dealt with by the courts," he said.