A FORMER Bury FC footballer and his brother have been hailed heroes after they apprehended a knife-wielding man moments after he allegedly stabbed a woman to death in Australia.

Paul O'Shaughnessy was working in Sydney along with his brother Luke and their friend Lee Cuthbert when they saw a man wielding a large blade running through the streets.

Racing down from their fourth-floor office, the brothers, who grew up in Bury, chased the attacker before tackling him to the ground and helping pin him down with a chair and milk crate.

The former St Gabriel's RC High School pupils said they were "proud" of their actions, but denied they were heroes - despite police and the country's prime minister commending them for helping to tackle the suspect.

A lifelong Bury fan, Paul played more than 70 times as a midfielder with the Shakers between 1999 and 2004.

He said: "I didn't even think about it.

"I just thought is my brother going to be OK as we ran towards him."

He added: "Our values as brothers is we are protectors."

Brother Luke, 30, told PA: "I just wanted to make sure he couldn't hurt anyone else.

"We've talked before about what we would do when we hear about these things happening around the world.

"We're the kind of guys who ask questions later and act on instinct."

He added: "If it happened again I would do it again and act quicker."

The pair, who run digital talent agency MAP Talent, were in their office on York Street when the drama unfolded at around 3.15pm local time (6.15am BST).

Luke said they spoke of the danger they were running into as they jumped into the lift to go and help.

"I heard a massive commotion outside," he told PA.

"I shouted 'Paul, let's go there's a man with a knife'. As we came down in the lift I said 'seriously, he's covered in blood'.

"We came out onto King Street and ran from there all the way round trying to chase him.

"Eventually we caught up with him and I just apprehended him and pinned him down.

"He had a knife. It was next to him covered in blood."

Other passers-by also stopped to help, including two firefighters.

The brothers said they kept the attacker detained until the police arrived on scene.

One of the pair's former teachers has declared himself "extremely proud" of their actions.

Adam Loster, acting headteacher at St Gabriel's, said: "Paul and Luke are extremely respectful, but also have a great sense of justice and civil responsibility.

"It does not surprise me that they acted the way they did in order to protect others. I hope we brought them up at St Gabriel's to think that way.

"I would not recommend anyone do what they did, but I am proud of the fact they were restrained in their actions."

Police confirmed they were investigating allegations the suspect yelled "Allahu akbar", or "God is great", but are not treating it as a terror incident.

Police said the suspect - a 21-year-old man from Maryong in New South Wales - attempted to stab several people in the Australian city, at around 6.15am BST (3.15pm local time) before being arrested.

A woman was found dead in a building nearby and police were investigating if the earlier stabbing at a hotel on the corner of Clarence and King streets was linked to the street attacks.

New South Wales Police Superintendent Gavin Wood, speaking to reporters near the scene, praised the men who tackled the suspect.

Mr Wood said: "They are significantly brave people. They approach the person... with clear evidence of a stabbing previously. These people are heroes, and I want to acknowledge that.

"These members of the public going about their day-to-day business have jumped into a situation which was extremely dangerous, extremely hostile, and they have brought a person - who we will be alleging stabbed an innocent person for no specific reason - into custody and allowed us to do our job."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison commended the bystanders for intervening, describing their actions as "brave" .

Asked to respond to the acclaim, the brothers said: "We're not heroes."

Police said a second woman in hospital was not in a life-threatening condition, while a third woman was said to have a minor injury to her hand.