'The light of our life': Family tribute as Birmingham stabbing victim Jacob Billington, 23, is named

The man who died in yesterday’s stabbings in Birmingham has been described as "the light of our life" by his family.

Jacob Billington was stabbed to death in Birmingham
Jacob Billington was stabbed to death in Birmingham

Jacob Billington, 23, was stabbed in Irving Street as he was out with school friends from Liverpool visiting one of their group who is studying in Birmingham.

Another friend, also 23, was seriously injured and remains in hospital in a critical condition.

This morning a 27-year-old Birmingham man was arrested at his home address in Selly Oak. He remains in custody on suspicion of murder and seven counts of attempted murder.

Three other people, two men and a woman, were arrested from the same address on suspicion of assisting an offender.

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Jacob’s family have spoken of their loss, saying: “Jacob was the light of our life and we have been devastated by his loss.

“He was a funny, caring and wonderful person who was loved by every single person he met. He lit up every room with his boundless energy and witty humour and the loss of such a special person will be felt by all who knew him for years to come.

“We ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time.”

Major incident

Another man, aged 30 stabbed in Livery Street and a 22-year-old woman, attacked in Hurst Street, remain critically injured in hospital. Four others, three men and a woman were also injured.

The force declared a major incident after eight victims were stabbed during a rampage spanning some 90 minutes in the city centre in the early hours of Sunday.

Police launched a massive manhunt for a sole male attacker on Sunday and released CCTV footage of a man they said was wanted on suspicion of murder.

Emergency services at the scene in Birmingham. Pic: SnapperSK

But the force is also facing criticism of their response to the attacks, including why the attacker was allowed to wander the city for as long as he did.

Chief Superintendent Steve Graham said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with Jacob’s family and friends after receiving such shocking news, particularly for those who were sharing their night out with him. It’s utterly shocking that a friends’ reunion should end so brutally.

“Equally the families of the other victims have been left devastated by the events of Sunday morning and we are working hard to discover what led to the apparently random attacks. We have no suggestion that the motive was either racial, homophobic or gang-related.”

Detectives are still appealing for anyone with information or camera footage to contact them via Live Chat on the website west-midlands.police.uk between 8am and midnight or call 101 anytime. Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Photos or video can be uploaded to a dedicated web page for the operation mipp.police.uk/operation/20HQ19G54-PO1

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