UK police say Reading park stabbing that killed three was a terror attack
A stabbing rampage in Britain that killed three people as they sat in a park on a summer evening is now being considered a terrorist attack, British police say.
- Police say the terror attack is the workings of a lone man
- Authorities say they are not looking for any other suspects
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is appalled and sickened
A 25-year-old, believed to be the lone attacker, is in custody.
The Press Association news agency reported the suspect was an asylum-seeker from Libya who was living in Reading. Police have not identified him.
Authorities said they were not looking for any other suspects, and they did not raise Britain’s official terrorism threat level from ‘substantial’.
“Motivation for this horrific act is far from certain,” said Neil Basu, Britain’s top counterterrorism police officer, as police combed the park where the carnage unfolded in Reading, a large commuter town west of London.
Three people were killed and three others seriously wounded in the stabbing attack in Reading’s Forbury Gardens park on Saturday evening.
Mr Basu said “incredibly brave” unarmed officers from the Thames Valley Police force arrested a 25-year-old local man at the scene.
The Thames Valley force later said counterterrorism detectives were taking over the investigation.
“There is no intelligence to suggest that there is any further danger to the public,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter.
Police officers patrolled cordons on the roads leading to the park on Sunday, and blue-and-white tents were erected near the site of the attack.
Overnight, heavily armed officers entered an apartment about 1.6 kilometres away, and a loud bang was heard.
The attack came a sunny summer evening in Reading, a town of 200,000 residents 64 kilometres west of London, as eased coronavirus lockdown restrictions allowed more people to socialise.
Personal trainer Lawrence Wort said the park was full of groups sitting on the grass when: “One lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them.
The attack came hours after a Black Lives Matter demonstration at Forbury Gardens, but police said there was no connection between the two.
UK Prime Minister says will make any changes needed to stop such attacks
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday he was appalled and sickened by the stabbing spree.
Mr Johnson said the Government would make changes to the law if required.
Britain has been hit by several terror attacks in recent years, both by people inspired by the Islamic State group and by far-right extremists.
Islamist-inspired attacks include a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 22 people in 2017 and two deadly vehicle and knife attacks in London the same year.
In several cases, attackers have been known to police.
In November, a man who had been released after serving a prison sentence for a terrorism offense stabbed two people to death at a justice conference in London.
In February, a man recently released from prison after serving time for terrorism-related offenses strapped on a fake bomb and stabbed two people on a busy London street before being shot to death by police. No one else was killed.
Britain’s official terrorism threat level stands at “substantial,” the middle level on a five-rung scale, meaning an attack is likely.