A man was stabbed while shopping at Bicester Village.Not as serious as the Oxford Street attack, admittedly...
The 22-year-old was stabbed in the buttock with what police believe was a knife.... but enough to land him in the nearest hospital - probably quite a lengthy and uncomfortable ambulance journey, given the miles of stationary traffic in all directions and the site of the wound.
The attack took place at 3.50pm, in a short alleyway at the centre of the shopping village; the alleyway leads to the toilets and, with 30,000 shoppers visiting the retail park that day, there was almost certainly a substantial queue of potential witnesses.
Sure enough, the police have a clear description of those responsible:
Police believe the attackers were four or five black men in their late teens to early 20s wearing black clothing.So we have a public stabbing - albeit a relatively minor one - involving a group of men on the busiest day Bicester Village has ever seen. Even allowing for the fatal attack in London the same day, one might have thought this merited more than a few paragraphs in a local paper.
It was presumably the Oxford Street events that led police to add this statement:
"We have no reason to believe at this stage that the incident is connected to the retail industry or involved any kind of dispute over shopping or goods".I have to admit I'm slightly baffled here - after all, there aren't many other reasons for being at an out-of-town shopping village on Boxing Day afternoon, unless, of course, you are retailing a little something on your own account.
I suspect the low-key response to this incident is a fair indication that the stabbing was a little internal difficulty within the group and highly unlikely to affect outsiders and passers-by; one comment suggests it is a standard method of settling an issue of 'respect' - or, presumably, a lack of it.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that events like this are not uncommon on the street - or even in school playgrounds - in Britain's cities, and the phenomenon is rapidly spreading to smaller towns. One might, however, have thought that a sanitised pseudo-American shopping street, awash with bright lights and security cameras, would be free from this kind of thing.
That it is not is something we should find very worrying indeed.