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A man slit his own throat with a Stanley knife in a busy branch of Woolworths and bled to death in front of horrified staff.
The shocking scenes happened on Thursday as the store in the centre of Penzance, Cornwall, was packed with shoppers.
Witnesses said the 23-year-old local man had been seen stalking the streets and threatening passers-by. He then went into the shop and made for the hardware section where the grabbed the knife and began brandishing it at terrified customers.
Staff managed to guide families away from the man and out of the shop. They then tried to reason with him while a 999 call was made.
But the man then turned the knife on himself and slashed at his neck. He died minutes later after cutting a major artery.
A South West Ambulance spokeswoman said: "There was no way this man could have been saved. These types of blades for DIY work might be small but they are very sharp.
The horrifying incident started just after 3pm when the man walked into the shop.
Terrified staff saw he was carrying the knife and could see he was distressed, and they started to clear people out.
But before anyone could prevent him the man, said to be in his twenties or thirties, started slashing himself with the blade.
The concept of "mental health" in our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs of the system and does so without showing signs of stress.