Reading stabbing attack: Everything we know so far

22 June 2020, 10:21 | Updated: 22 June 2020, 15:58

Counter-terror police raided a property following an arrest
Counter-terror police raided a property following an arrest. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Prime Minister has said he was "appalled and sickened" after police declared the murder of three people in a Reading park to be a terrorist attack.

Three people died and another three were seriously injured after multiple stabbings at a park in Reading, Thames Valley Police confirmed.

Detectives said a 25-year-old man from the area was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody.

The suspect is a Libyan refugee understood to have been granted asylum in the UK and mental health is being considered a major factor in the incident, a security source said. The suspect was later identified as Khairi Saadallah.

Investigators have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.

Two air ambulances in Kings Meadow in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre
Two air ambulances in Kings Meadow in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre. Picture: PA

Here is what we know so far about the Reading incident:

- A number of people were stabbed by a man in Forbury Gardens in Reading's town centre around 7pm on Saturday night, leaving three dead.

- Three others were taken to hospital, although one has now been discharged.

- One of the dead has been named as teacher James Furlong - head of history, government and Politics at the Holt School in Wokingham.

- A second victim has been named locally as American citizen Joe Ritchie-Bennett. The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported that he was 39 and had moved to England from the US around 15 years ago.

- A 25-year-old man was arrested at the scene and taken into police custody.

- The attack is being treated as terrorism and counter-terror police have since taken over the investigation from Thames Valley Police.

- The suspect, who was initially arrested on Saturday on suspicion of murder, was rearrested on Sunday under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

- The suspect is a Libyan refugee understood to have been granted asylum in the UK.

- Mental health is being considered a major factor in the incident, a security source has said.

- Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with Saturday's attack.

Police tents in Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre at the scene of a multiple stabbing attack
Police tents in Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre at the scene of a multiple stabbing attack. Picture: PA

- Saadallah had briefly come to the attention of the security services in 2019, but the information provided did not meet the threshold for investigation, LBC News understands.

- It is understood MI5 had received intelligence he planned to travel abroad, possibly for terrorism purposes, but the threat was found to be insubstantial.

- The suspect was jailed in October for a complex series of non-terror offences for a period of two years, one month and 20 days.

- His sentence was reduced to one of 17 months and 20 days' imprisonment in the Court of Appeal on March 19 of this year.

- One of the appeal judges who gave the judgment in March, Mr Justice Goss, noted Saadallah's various mental health issues in reducing the sentence.

- The attack was not in any way associated with the Black Lives Matter protest which took place peacefully earlier on in the day, police have confirmed.

- Police forces have urged social media users not to post any footage out of respect for the victims' families after a graphic clip circulated online.

- Lawrence Wort, 20, who said he was around 10 metres from the attack, said the attacker "shouted unintelligible words" before attacking multiple groups of people, adding: "When he realised everyone was starting to run, he ran out the park."

- Five ambulance crews, as well as two air ambulance services, were among the resources sent to treat the casualties, South Central Ambulance Service said.

- The Prime Minister has held a meeting with security officials, police and senior ministers over the incident.

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