Reading stabbing suspect Khairi Saadallah charged with murder after attack in English park
A suspect has been charged with three counts of murder over a knife attack in the English town of Reading described by police as a terrorist incident, the Crown Prosecution Service says.
- Mr Saadallah will appear in court on Monday
- Local authorities in Reading held a memorial on Saturday evening
- Local residents were encouraged not to gather in large numbers but to light candles on their doorsteps
A man wielding a five-inch knife attacked people out enjoying the sun at Forbury Gardens, a Reading park, on the evening of June 20, killing three people and injuring three others.
“The Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised Counter Terrorism Policing South East to charge Khairi Saadallah, 25, with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder,” the CPS said.
Mr Saadallah will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday.
A security source had previously said that the suspect, a resident of Reading, was a Libyan national.
Police named the victims as Britons James Furlong, 36, and David Wails, 49, and US national Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39.
Mr Ritchie-Bennett’s family said in a statement on Saturday: “We LOVED Joe so much and we are in such deep sorrow. We need all the prayers for Joe and the Ritchie and Bennett families.”
Vigil held for the victims
Local authorities in Reading held a memorial on Saturday evening at which civic and religious leaders and a police chief paid tribute to the victims and to members of the public who tried to help, some by tearing their shirts to make bandages.
“You know, we still can’t believe that this has happened quite, this is the kind of thing that happens in other places, not in our own town and so I think we’re all really still reeling from it.”
Relatives of the victims and members of the local community lit candles, while the UK’s Interior Minister Priti Patel also attended the vigil, lighting a candle and paying her respects.
While the speeches were televised, residents of Reading were encouraged not to gather in large numbers due to social distancing measures, but to light candles on their doorsteps.
Neil Basu, the national head of Counter Terrorism Policing, said that as the coronavirus lockdown was beginning to ease, members of the public should play their part in protecting themselves and others from what he called 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,” Mr Basu said in a statement.