A popular Mayfield cafe turned into a crime scene on Wednesday when a woman was allegedly stabbed by one of her co-workers - who has since been charged with attempted murder.
The 27-year-old from Swansea was rushed to hospital with the knife embedded in her chest after the alleged violent incident in the kitchen at Onyx Espresso Bar.
She was taken to John Hunter Hospital in a serious condition and underwent surgery on Wednesday afternoon.
A Hunter New England Health spokesperson said the woman was in a critical condition as of 8pm on Wednesday.
Police swooped on the area around the cafe, near the intersection of Maitland Road and Kerr Street, about 2.35pm after reports a woman had been injured.
They arrested the alleged attacker - a 23-year-old man who was also an employee at the cafe - in one of the nearby streets.
He was charged on Wednesday night with attempted murder and wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The man will face Newcastle Local Court on Thursday.
Investigators have been told that the man allegedly assaulted the woman with a frying pan in the kitchen - and allegedly tried to hit her with a fire extinguisher - before he then allegedly stabbed her with a knife.
"The knife was embedded in her chest and remained in her chest when emergency services arrived," Newcastle police commander Superintendent Wayne Humphrey said.
"A short time later a 23-year-old Sandgate man was arrested by police in a nearby street without incident."
Superintendent Humphrey said it was too early in the investigation to pinpoint a motive for the alleged attack.
An eastbound lane of Maitland Road was closed into the evening while police collected evidence from the crime scene.
In a post on social media, Onyx Espresso Bar's owner said the cafe would be closed until further notice.
The coffee house has become well-known in the four years since it first opened its doors in Mayfield.
The Newcastle Herald reported last year that owner Leya Aboltins - along with staff and volunteers - cooked and distributed 3000 meals to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She offered the meals for free on social media and had a strong response - from those who wanted to take up the offer as well as volunteers to help prepare and distribute the food.
"Even to this day, if someone comes to the cafe and says, 'I'm really hungry', I will always find something for them to eat," she told the Newcastle Herald in an interviewlast November.
- Anyone with information that could help police can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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