A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following a stabbing in Chester earlier this week, which detectives suspect may have been a homophobic attack.

The 35-year-old man from Chester was attacked and stabbed in the chest in the City Walls area at about 9:20pm on Monday.

He was rushed to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, where he is currently in a serious but stable condition.

In the early hours of Thursday, detectives arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder at an address in Station Road, Ellesmere Port.

The area where the stabbing took place is a well-known meeting place for gay people, and police said that an anti-gay attack was a “possible motive.”

Detective Inspector Helen Spooner said: “While it is too early to say for sure that this is a hate crime, we do know that the area where this attack happened is a well-known place that the gay community frequent, so we have to consider this as a possible motive.

“I must stress that I am keeping an open mind and there could be another motive behind the assault, but my priority at this stage is finding the man responsible for this vicious attack and ensuring the public know what has happened so they can be aware of their own safety.”

She added: “I am particularly keen to trace a group of people near to Iceland that were close to where the incident happened and may have vital information that could prove key to my investigation.”

Detectives issued a description of the suspect seen running off along the City Walls following the attack.

He was described as white, in his early 20s, of slim build and was wearing dark clothing.

Police have since stepped up patrols following the incident, and are urging anyone who can provide any more information about the attack to come forward.

Chief Inspector Richard Rees said: “This is clearly a very serious and concerning incident but I want to reassure the community of Chester that this is an isolated attack and we have, and will continue to step up patrols in the area so that anyone that has any concerns or information can speak to an officer.

“I would always encourage people to continue to follow basic safety advice and be aware of your surroundings and always tell someone where you are going and when you are due to be back.”

A 57-year-old man arrested in connection with the incident is no longer a suspect under the investigation.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident 994 of October 21, or to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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