A Brazilian Deliveroo driver is being hailed as a hero after he stopped a knife attack outside a school in Dublin by smashing the attacker with his helmet.
An unprecedented wave of riots swept through Dublin last night after a knifeman injured three children and two adults in a terrifying attack outside Coláiste Mhuire on Parnell Square on Thursday afternoon.
But before the assailant could do further damage, he was stopped by Caio Benicio, 43, who stepped in to subdue the attacker after watching things unfold from his motorcycle.
‘I saw the guy pulling the teacher, picking up the child. I stopped to see what was happening. I thought it was a normal fight,’ he said in a WhatsApp audio message which has since gone viral.
‘Then the teacher pulled the child, the guy pulled another child and pulled a knife. A five-year-old child!’
‘Man, I threw the bike on the ground and went after the guy,’’ he added. ‘The guy stabbing the girl… I didn’t even think about it. I took my helmet off and hit… which knocked the guy down.
‘I think I managed to knock the guy down with the helmet, I hit him in the head.’
Following Mr Benicio’s intervention, a number of onlookers stepped in to restrain the attacker until the police arrived.
Speaking to The Journal after the attack, the 43-year-old Brazilian said: ‘I have two kids myself, so I had to do something. I did what anyone would do. People were there but they couldn’t step in because he was armed, but I knew I could use my helmet as a weapon.’
But despite the heroics, his thoughts are focused firmly on the five-year-old victim currently in critical condition.
‘I am praying, it’s all I am thinking of. I saw her in the ambulance, she looked so vulnerable, I had to go with gardaí then. I am waiting for news about her. I am hoping,’ he said.
‘If a child didn’t survive, I would always think, I could have been faster. I chose to have surgery on my knee recently, it made me slow to get off the bike, could I have been faster?
‘If all the victims survive, I will be thankful that I was in the right place, at the right time,’ he added.
Mr Benicio came to work in Ireland after his restaurant in Brazil burned down. He hopes his children can one day come over and join him.
He said he was saddened by the chaos which took place on the streets of Dublin last night, which appeared to be driven by an anti-immigrant sentiment.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris last night blamed a ‘lunatic hooligan faction’ for the destruction in the city which saw vehicles torched, shops looted and police attacked as the city became ‘under siege’.
A police source later told the Irish Daily Mail: ‘We have to say fair play to those people who stepped in. They gave that man a good hiding to make sure he wasn’t going to get up and hurt more people, but I can tell you now that they saved lives.’
Responding to last night’s violence, Ireland’s Justice Minister Helen McEntee said: ‘This afternoon innocent young children were brutally attacked with their carer and I want to be very clear the person responsible will be held accountable and brought to justice.’
She continued: ‘I also want to be very clear there’s a group of people, thugs, criminals, who are using this appalling attack to sow division and wreak havoc in our city centre. I’ve spoken with the Garda Commissioner and every force possible is being used by the gardaí to restore order to this city.
‘There will be arrests, people will be put in prison and order will be restored in this city.
‘This will not be tolerated.’
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