Reading suspect Khairi Saadallah charged with three counts of murder

Man charged with murder over Reading attack
Khairi Saadallah has been charged with three counts of murder and three of attempted murder

 

A man has been charged with stabbing three men to death during a knife attack in Reading.

Khairi Saadallah, 25, was charged with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, Thames Valley Police said.

James Furlong, 36, and his friends David Wails and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett died after the incident in the Berkshire town’s Forbury Gardens shortly before 7pm on June 20.

Saadallah, from Reading, is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Reading suspect charged
David Wails, Joseph Ritchie-Bennett and James Furlong died after the incident in the Berkshire town’s Forbury Gardens last Saturday

 

A further three people were taken to hospital for treatment for their injuries and have since been released from hospital.

The attack was declared as a terrorism incident by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, senior national co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, and Counter Terrorism Policing South East continues to lead the investigation.

The charges come as the town hosts a vigil in memory of the victims of last weekend’s terror attack.

Undated family handout file photo issued by Thames Valley Police of teacher James Furlong who has been named locally as one of the three victims of the Reading terror attack. The three friends killed in the suspected terrorist attack have been described as kind, genuine and the
Teacher James Furlong was described as kind, genuine and the ‘loveliest’ of people in the community (Picture: PA)

 

Joe Ritchie-Bennett (right) Reading terror attack victim
Joe Ritchie-Bennett was a US citizen who moved to the UK 15 years ago

 

David Wails was among three victims who were stabbed to death in Forbury Gardens, Reading (Picture: Facebook)
David Wails was a scientist who ‘always made people smile’ (Picture: Facebook)

 

Members of the families of David Wails, Joseph Ritchie-Bennett and James Furlong are expected to attend the private event in the Berkshire town’s Market Place later this evening.

Candles are due to be lit in tribute to the men, while local officials will give speeches.

Reading Borough Council reassured those affected by the attack that they will hold in-person remembrance events in the future when social distancing allows.

They have also opened an online book of condolence for people to pay tributes to the three men.

Council leader Jason Brock said: ‘There is an overwhelming sense of grief within the Reading community about last Saturday’s tragic events.

‘The council and public are united in their desire to mourn the victims and appropriately remember them.

‘We are encouraging people to pay their respects with us online on Saturday evening, and also to mourn and contribute via the book of condolence and supporting the #ReadingTogether fund.’

Flowers placed in front of the Post Office in Reading town centre, near Forbury Gardens, in Reading town centre, the scene of a multiple stabbing attack which took place at around 7pm on Saturday, leaving three people dead and another three seriously injured. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday June 22, 2020. See PA story POLICE Reading. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Flowers placed in front of the Post Office in Reading town centre, near Forbury Gardens (Picture: PA)

 

Following the announcement, the head of Counter Terrorism Policing, assistant commissioner Neil Basu, said: ‘One week on from the horrific events in Forbury Gardens, my thoughts and those of everyone at Counter Terrorism Policing remain with the victims and their loved ones.

‘The news that our colleagues at CTP South East, along with the Crown Prosecution Service, have succeeded in bringing charges in this case means that I cannot talk further about that incident specifically, but I can and will reiterate the need for all of us to think about our collective effort to protect the UK from further atrocities – especially as the lockdown eases.

‘When the worst happens, it can leave us wondering what we can do to better protect ourselves and those we love from this threat.

‘But I want to stress once again that you can and should play your part in protecting yourself and others from the scourge of terrorism.

‘As we begin to return to normal, and public places become more crowded, we must be vigilant to the ongoing threat. If you see any suspicious activity, don’t hesitate to ACT – report it.’

This is a breaking news story, updates to follow…

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