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Sat, 23 May, 2020

“Then I saw the knife”: Dramatic moment hero security guard knew he had to act

“Then I saw the knife”: Dramatic moment hero security guard knew he had to act

A security guard who put himself on the line by ramming into a FIFO worker who was in a stabbing rampage has spoken out about the incident for the first time.

MCS security guard Clifford Hagart said he tried to restrain Ashley Fildes, 34, who held a knife which he used to attack a policewoman at the South Hedland shopping centre in Western Australia on May 1.

The FIFO worker stabbed five people inside the local shopping centre as well as a man at a nearby motel.

He also injured another in a car at a McDonald's car park before being shot dead by police.

Clifford Hagart and Ashley Fildes.

CCTV footage displays Mr Hagart bravely running head on at Fildes trying to stop his attacker and bring him down.

Mr Hagart said he realised the incident was serious when he saw Fildes trying to stab a female police officer. The action prompted him to react and try to stop the knife-wielder.

“Then I saw the knife, I realised it was something more serious this time,” Mr Hagart explained to The West Australian.

“I thought I saw him stab the female police officer — luckily he missed — but it was at that point I knew I had to try and restrain him.”

Fildes knocked Mr Hagart down, but then the security guard heard gunshots - which is when WA police officers fatally shot Fildes.

WA Premier Mark McGowan and WA Police commissioner Chris Dawson have both commended Mr Hagart for his bravery.

Mr Hagart firmly believes however that stopping Fildes was a “community effort” and that more people should be recognised.

Truck driver Konrad Frost, 39, whose throat was slit by Fildes during the attack has also been regarded as a hero.

Mr Frost said he remembers Fildes approaching Kimberley Abbott and her 14-month-old daughter moments after being stabbed in the neck while shopping.

In an effort to distract Fildes from hurting the mother, Mr Frost yelled after him.

“I remember him swinging at me again but he missed, and that's when I just started yelling at him,” Mr Frost told 9News.

“Yeah, she was the hero...she protected her, even while she was being attacked.”

Mr Frost was flown to Royal Perth Hospital for emergency surgery where he was placed in a coma, and it was the most damaging wound Fildes gave to any of his victims.

The injury was so deep that it took him more than two weeks to start talking and eating again.

Hours before the violent rampage, a distraught relative admitted that Fildes had been in an altercation with his boss..

According to family, he had been suffering from a “deep depression” and a failed marriage.

Following the dispute, a colleague drove Fildes from the worksite and dropped him at the Lodge Motel where he had been staying.

From there, violence ensued.

He chased motel staff and other guests with the knife before stabbing his first victim.

He then moved to a McDonald's car park at the shopping centre where he stabbed a man in a car, before continuing through the mall to Kmart.

Dramatic footage showed Fildes walking through the centre brandishing the large kitchen knife.

The attack ended when Fildes was shot dead by police.

The police union say it was a “textbook” shooting.

Major crime detectives are investigating whether Fildes experienced a psychotic episode.

Fildes' parents said they would not hold any grudges against the police who shot him dead.

A relative told The West Australian that Fildes was a “beautiful, beautiful soul” and the violent rampage was out-of-character.

“He's just not that kind of person. He's just mellow and lovely. I know he had a lot of trauma in his life. The last few years have been really tough for him, but he's not a violent person,” she said.

“There is just no way on this earth that Ashley could do something like this. He doesn't hurt people — he helps people.

“He was deeply depressed but never ever in my wildest dreams would I ever think he would hurt another human being.”