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American tourist's stab nightmare

PUBLISHED: 11:26 06 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 March 2010

THREE men are being questioned by detectives after an American tourist was stabbed in Ipswich. Officers said the 26-year-old has told them he was in the St Helens Street area of the town when he asked three men for directions.

THREE men were being questioned by detectives today after an American tourist was stabbed in Ipswich.

Officers said the 26-year-old victim told them he was in the St Helen's Street area of the town when he asked three men for directions.

But instead of helping the man, his attackers turned on him, assaulting the tourist as he tried to stop them robbing him.

He tried to escape but his assailants are believed to have caught up with him in the car park of Marshall's, the Vauxhall dealer, on the corner of Palmerston Road and St Helen's Street.

Linda Walne and her husband Richard, of Palmerston Road, heard shouting just before 11pm yesterday.

"We just heard somebody screaming," said Mrs Walne. "My husband looked out of the window and saw some people in the car park. We heard somebody say 'Where are you'?"

One of her neighbours, who did not wish to be named, said she and her husband heard the attack, but believed it was just high-spirited youngsters.

"We heard a group of kids shouting," she said. "They came down the road and ran into the car park. One did shout 'help' but it sounded like kids larking about.

They all ran off. It was almost as though they were together. If we had thought it was someone in danger we obviously would have called the police."

The American victim managed to escape from his attackers after he had received stab or slash wounds to his back.

He managed to get to the Water Lily public house in St Helen's Street to raise the alarm.

Police were interviewing the staff at the pub this morning to help build a fuller picture of last night's events.

The man was taken to Ipswich Hospital where he was treated for his injuries and kept in overnight.

Officers have not released the victim's name but today said they did not believe his injuries were life threatening.

His condition was described as "comfortable" by Steve Henry, a spokesman for Suffolk police.

Residents said part of St Helen's Street was taped off as a crime scene, and officers began house-to-house inquiries.

Shift worker Daniel Knight was returning home from work around 11.

"The police had cordoned off the roads leading up to St Helen's Street. There were plain clothes police and uniformed police and the helicopter was buzzing around.

"Later on they started walking around with torches and then they cordoned off Palmerston Road," said the 24-year-old, who lives in St Helen's Street.

Mr Knight said he believed police were combing the area until around 3am.

Shortly after the assault was reported, three men were arrested by police.

Although their ages have not been revealed, police have said all three were arrested in Ipswich and are now in custody at the town's police station in Civic Drive.

Two of the men are being held on suspicion of robbery. The other has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.

Detectives are now asking the public for their help.

"We are appealing for any witnesses to the assault or anyone who may have seen or come into contact with the victim before the attack to contact us," said Mr Henry.

If you can help, telephone Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555111.

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