Police hunting a man who stabbed three teenage girls as they got off a bus today raided a house as the search for the attacker continued.
Shocked passers-by had to use their hands and towels to stem the blood from terrified Kirsty Edwards, 17, Charlotte Teague, 14, and Sophie Hyne, 15, after the “sustained and frenzied attack” yesterday in Bridport, Dorset.
A police spokesman said Kirsty was on holiday from Staffordshire visiting Charlotte and Sophie, who are both from Bridport. They had been to an amusement arcade in nearby Weymouth before catching the number 31 bus back home.
All three are still in hospital, with Charlotte in intensive care, and all are in a stable condition.
Today police said the man responsible was “highly dangerous”.
After the raid on a house in Alexandra Road, Bridport, at midday, Chief Inspector Nick Maton said: “Following a police inquiry, a member of the public provided us with information. The person we were seeking was not at home and inquiries continue.”
Police said there was some sort of argument between the man and the girls on the bus before all got off.
Earlier people told how they helped the girls, who were screaming for help, after the attack at 5.51pm.
Helen Choudhury, 53, who owns the Taj Mahal restaurant in front of the bus stop, ran to help.
She said: “We came down and saw it happen. The girls were out here along the pavement. I just gave them tissues, towels and water and I tried to offer a chair but the poor girl couldn’t sit in a chair, she was in too much pain.
“One of them, her stomach was pierced on the right side, had two ladies holding her and putting pressure with their hands on the wound. She couldn’t sit down because she was really in so much pain. She was crying.
“One girl was sitting on the ground. She had blood coming from her nose. The ambulance came five minutes later.”
Witness Sue Matthews was sitting on the bus and rushed to help one of the girls, who had a stomach wound.
“I held the tea towel over the girl’s tummy,” she said.
Ms Matthews, who works as a secretary at Dorchester Hospital, in Dorchester, said: “I just saw him (the attacker) lashing out. He was punching them. I didn’t actually see a weapon. He was about 19 or 20. He just looked like a student really, he was clean-shaven.
“They (the girls and their attacker) weren’t sat together on the bus. He was sat on the bus in front of the girls, on the opposite side to me. I don’t think they spoke. It was a jam-packed bus.”
Mrs Choudhury said the girls had celebrated their birthdays in her restaurant before and she had seen them in town.
She said the girl with the stab wounds to her stomach was “shaking” “terrified” and added: “I’m shaking remembering her.
“She couldn’t go back or forward, she was just in that much pain.”
She added: “This is a very peaceful place. We have been trading here for 24 years and have never seen anything like this.”
Officers sealed off the East Street area while the search was carried out for the attacker, described as a man in his early 20s with dark hair.
He was wearing a dark-coloured bomber-style jacket, dark tracksuit bottoms, a dark baseball cap and light-coloured trainers.
The First National bus the girls and the man were on was also closed off for forensic examinations to be carried out.
A police spokesman added that Kirsty had managed to contact police by telephone immediately after the attack.
Chief Inspector Maton said on the bus back to Bridport they struck up a conversation with a 20-year-old man whom they did not know, and a dispute ensued. The man then followed the girls off the bus and Mr Maton said a “sustained and frenzied attack” followed.
Mr Maton said: “This male is still believed to be in possession of a knife and is considered to be highly dangerous. The public should under no circumstances approach this male.”
He said the motive was unclear and added: “We know there was an altercation on the bus, we don’t know what the substance of that altercation was, but the suspect decided to follow the three girls off the bus.
“The victims reported feeling they were punched and then seeing they had puncture wounds.”
Police are reviewing CCTV footage from Bridport town centre for clues. Officers will also be at the scene at 5pm tonight in a hunt for witnesses to the attack.