A man has been arrested after allegedly attacking a woman with an axe while she was working at a beauty parlour in a major Melbourne shopping centre.
Police cordoned off shops around the scene at Fountain Gate shopping centre in Narre Warren, in Melbourne’s south-east.
Police believe the man and the woman are known to each other.
The woman’s employer said she suffered upper body injuries and was so badly beaten she could not speak after the attack, which happened just after 10am.
The mother of two, believed to be in her 30s, was taken to the Alfred Hospital in a serious but stable condition.
News of the attack spread quickly through the shopping centre, with shocked customers fearing the woman had been killed.
Naomi, a cafe worker, said she saw the woman lying on the floor with blood on her head.
“It makes me feel sick. Everyone feels sick,” she said.
Tamar Klein, a store assistant, said there was fear and confusion as two girls ran screaming from the shop where the attack occurred.
“One of them was screaming ‘Had an axe! Had an axe!’ So we didn’t know what was going on,” she said.
“These days you imagine if it is a terror attack. You don’t know if it is between two people or if they will hurt more people.”
‘We’ll do everything we can to make sure she gets better’
Hasan Zaman, the owner of the beauty parlour where the woman worked, said staff called security and police as soon as the attack happened.
He said it could have been even worse if the woman had not been at work.
“It was lucky it was in the shopping centre, we could take immediate action,” he said.
“We’ll be doing everything we can as a company, employer and my employees, to be beside her and make sure she gets better.