Reading terror attack stabbing victim named as secondary school teacher

21 June 2020, 17:08 | Updated: 21 June 2020, 21:05

A picture shows police tents and equipment at the scene of the fatal stabbing incident
A picture shows police tents and equipment at the scene of the fatal stabbing incident. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

One of the victims of the Reading terror attack has been named as James Furlong, a secondary school teacher.

James Furlong, 36, was Head of History Government and Politics at the Holt School in Wokingham.

Tributes have flooded in for the "kind and gentle" teacher.

The local Wokingham Labour Party tweeted: "Devastated to discover that James Furlong, one of the victims of the Reading stabbings, was a teacher at the Holt.

"His loss is a devastating blow to his family, colleagues, students, the wider Holt family and our whole community. Our thoughts are with them all."

A letter from the school which was shared online said he had a "real sense of duty and cared for each and every one of our students”.

The letter continues: "He truly inspired everyone he taught through his passion for his subject and his dedication. He was determined that our students would develop a critical awareness of global issues and in doing so become active citizens and have a voice.”

In a statement, his parents Gary and Janet said: "James was a wonderful man. He was beautiful, intelligent, honest and fun.

"He was the best son, brother, uncle and partner you could wish for. We are thankful for the memories he gave us all.

"We will never forget him and he will live in our hearts forever."

A parent at the school, Keith Power, 54, said Mr Furlong taught his child GCSE history

He said: "Every time I had an interaction with him it was always positive.

“He was so supportive of my daughter. He just went the extra mile all the time, he was very caring about all the pupils and very passionate about history and teaching and learning, and helping kids.

"He needs to be remembered as a great human being.”

Classes have been cancelled tomorrow for all year groups at the school and counsellors will be on hand for students and teachers.

The school added: "As a Holt community, we all now need to absorb this sad news. Lessons for tomorrow will be cancelled for all year groups and counsellors will be on site for any students and staff who wish to come in to school and talk.

"The school will be open from 8.30 until 15.15. We will be in touch tomorrow about the plans for the rest of the week."

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.

The incident, which took place at 7pm on Saturday in Forbury Gardens in the town centre, also left another three people injured.

A 25-year-old man from Reading 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. He is understood to be named Khairi Saadallah.

A police van is pictured outside a block of flats where the suspect of a multiple stabbing incident the previous day is believed to have lived
A police van is pictured outside a block of flats where the suspect of a multiple stabbing incident the previous day is believed to have lived. Picture: Getty

Deliveroo driver Amir Hadyoon, 31, saw the suspect who was covered in blood arrested outside the job centre on Friar Street in Reading, a short distance from Forbury Gardens.

Mr Hadyoon told reporters the man had not resisted the officers, adding: "To me it looked very weird because he didn't say a word. He didn't care, he was just staring... he was just completely silent.

"He wasn't even blinking, he looked really weird."

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

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