Three people have been killed in a series of stabbings in Reading, UK. Few more people were reported to sustain serious injuries. The attack took place on 20th June at 7PM in Forbury Gardens. Police said almost 43 witnesses to the Reading stabbings came forward as it happened when they were relaxing in the park.
Disturbing videos of the incident have emerged on social media where victims were receiving resuscitation treatment due to unresponsiveness. Thames Valley Police claimed that it arrived on the scene and arrested the suspect within 5 minutes of the call.
Who Was The Suspect In Reading Stabbings?
According to the report, this attack has been treated under the section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000. It gives police an additional power to detain suspects without charge for up to 14 days. Suspect of the stabbing in Reading was Khairi Saadallah, 25 who was slightly popular among security agencies. He was understood to be a libyan refugee. He was already on the MI5 (security services) radar during last year. The UK’s intelligence agencies believe that Saadallah had mental health issues, according to news reports.
Security services said that Saadallah was granted asylum and had been in jail before for a relatively minor offence but no previous terrorism charge was found. When the incident was declared a terrorist attack, Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) took over the investigation from Thames Valley police. Saadallah attracted the attention of the security services after they received information about his aspirations to travel abroad for terrorosim related activities. However, no evidence of immediate threat was found before.
The head of CTPSE acknowledged the brave conduct of police officers. According to the witness report, the police officer apprehended the suspect by tackling him to the ground when he was trying to run. Witnesses said the attacker acted alone with a knife and shouted words that were impossible to understand. He stabbed multiple people in a group.
Besides the victims, three other people suffered serious injuries in the attack. Only one of them now remains in the hospital and his condition is reportedly stable. CTPSE officers visited an apartment complex in Reading at 11PM, where the suspect was allegedly living. It was also established that the Reading stabbings are not associated with the Black Lives Matter movement that started after the murder of an unarmed black man.
Who Were The Victims?
Two of the three victims have been identified by the authorities. The first victim was James Furlong, 36 who was a lecturer at Holt School in Wokingham. He was the head of politics, government, and history. His colleagues and students at school described Furlong as a kind gentleman who felt a sense of responsibility towards all of his students. A moment of silence was held at 10AM on 22 June outside the Holt School. Fellow teachers and students gathered to pay their respects to the departed.
Second victim was his friend named Joe Ritchie-Bennet whose identity was confirmed on 21st June. He was an American living in the UK for the last 15 years. The US embassy tweeted to condemn the violent attack and offered to help British authorities with Investigation.
A Word From The Prime Minister
Initially PM Boris Johnson tweeted to grief the outcome of Reading stabbings.
He called a meeting on 21st June at 9AM to discuss potential changes to the legal system. He said to learn a lesson from this tragedy on how to handle such incidents. The PM also assured everyone that the UK will not hesitate to take necessary action. He added that if there are changes that need to be done in the legal system, they will take that action as well.
President of France, Emmanuel Macron sent condolences to the victims and expressed desire to stand with the UK against terrorism