Birmingham stabbings: Family pays tribute to ‘funny and wonderful’ Jacob Billington, 23, killed in knife attack


The man killed during a spate of knife attacks in Birmingham on Sunday has been named as Jacob Billington.

The 23-year-old was out with school friends when he was fatally stabbed in the city centre.

Mr Billington was among eight victims to be targeted during the rampage which left another man and a woman fighting for their lives.

On Monday, his family issued a statement paying tribute to the “caring and wonderful” young man.

It read: “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.”

A 30-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman remain critically injured in hospital, following the attack.

Four others, three men and a woman were also injured.

West Midlands Police launched a major manhunt for the knifeman, later releasing CCTV footage of the suspect.

At around 4am on Monday, a 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and seven counts of attempted murder.

But the force is facing criticism of its response to the attacks, including why the attacker was allowed to wander the city for more than 90 minutes.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson told Times Radio there would be an examination of police performance following Sunday’s stabbings.

Asked whether it seemed extraordinary that an attacker could go on a rampage for two hours in Britain’s second city, he said: “It does, and that is a question I will be asking once a person is in custody, then we need to reflect on the whole incident.

“What we want to know, the police will look at this closely, we want to know that, if something similar happened again, how we avoid it if we can.

“Yes there will be questions asked, there will be, if you like, debriefings on the whole thing and if necessary we will have to look at any different approach we take to policing.

“Everything will be done, there will be a thorough investigation, and we will look for any lessons that need to be learned, we will learn those lessons.

“But as I’ve seen up to now the police have acted very swiftly and very professionally.”

Chief Superintendent Steve Graham said the force’s “thoughts and sympathies are with Jacob’s family and friends.”

He continued: “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.”