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Two of the people stabbed to death on a night-out rampage that left three dead and three injured were students.
The victims are understood to have lived in the same halls of residence and had been on the way home from a night out when they were killed on Ilkeston Road.
The pair are understood to have died on the street close to student halls in Lenton, Nottingham.
Speaking to the Mirror, a friend of the male victim said: “He was a friend of mine. He was just walking home from a club like we all do. They just got unlucky.
“They were just five minutes from home and both got stabbed by some random guy."
The friend said both students were first years at the University of Nottingham.
Witnesses at the scene of the city centre incident said they heard "blood-curdling screams" at around 4am.
The unnamed witness said: "Being a hot night, I had the window open and I just heard some awful, blood-curdling screams.
"It's often quite busy with people coming back from town and you get the usual boyfriend-girlfriend arguments, so I thought it was something like that."
They added that the attacker appeared to calmly walk away from the scene.
The third victim is understood to have been in their 60s.
Police are understood to be keeping an open mind about the investigation and the motives for the attack however have added that they believe no other suspects are at large.
An anonymous witness said they saw a "black guy dressed all in black with a hood and rucksack grappling with some people".
"She was screaming 'Help!' I just wish I'd shouted something out of the window to unnerve the assailant," he said.
He added: "I saw him stab the lad first and then the woman. It was repeated stabbing – four or five times. The lad collapsed in the middle of the road."
Counter-terror officers were later seen taking two women into police vans from an address on Ilkeston Road following a raid by armed police at the property.
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