A beautician has been savagely attacked by an axe-wielding man believed to be her husband inside her workplace at a major Melbourne shopping centre.
The woman, believed to be in her 30s, was so brutally beaten she couldn't speak after the attack on Monday morning, her boss says.
The screaming and news of a woman attacked with an axe shocked people in the Westfield Fountain Gate shopping centre, sparking fears it was a terrorist attack
Hasan Zaman, owner of The Beauty and Brow Parlour said his employees called security and police as their colleague was attacked.
"She couldn't talk, she was badly beaten," he told AAP.
"I don't know what he was thinking, a normal person cannot do this ... you can't beat people in this country."
He said the incident could have been even worse had she not been at work.
"It was lucky it was in the shopping centre, we could take immediate action and he didn't run away."
Police arrested the man and cordoned off shops around beauty parlour in Narre Warren.
Paramedics took the woman, who had upper body injuries, in a stable condition, to The Alfred hospital.
The woman had separated from her husband in the past year and was living with her two high-school-aged children.
Tamar Klein, a store assistant at Ted's, saw two girls run out screaming from 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 told AAP.
"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."
An assistant manager at a nearby jewellery store, Tracey Wilson, said staff were shocked.
"All we heard was yelling and screaming," she told AAP.
"I ran out and heard somebody say 'call security'.
"Then we heard there had been an axing of a staff member from one of the stores.
"(It has made me feel) a bit on edge"
Mr Zanan said he and his employees would be doing all they could for the victim.
"We'll be doing everything we can as a company - employer and my employees - to be beside her and make sure she gets better," he said.
"The good news is the man is in custody."
National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.