Reading stabbings declared as a terrorism incident

21 June 2020, 11:40 | Updated: 21 June 2020, 11:59

Counter Terrorism policing confirmed the stabbing in Reading to be a terror incident
Counter Terrorism policing confirmed the stabbing in Reading to be a terror incident. Picture: PA

By Seán Hickey

Counter Terrorism Policing confirmed that the stabbings that happened in Reading last night have been declared a terrorist incident.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, Senior National Coordinator for the Counter Terrorism Policing network, has this morning declared the incident a terrorist incident, and CTPSE will be taking over the investigation.

The suspect in the Reading stabbings is a Libyan asylum seeker and mental health is being considered a major factor in the incident, a security source revealed.

A 25-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of murder last night, remains in police custody at this time.

Chief Constable John Campbell of Thames Valley Police, said: “I am deeply saddened by the events of last night.

“This was a truly tragic incident and the thoughts of Thames Valley Police are with all those who have been affected.

“Incidents of this nature are very rare, though I know that will be of little comfort to those involved and understand the concern that this incident will have caused amongst our local community."

Police in Reading have been at the scene this morning
Police in Reading have been at the scene this morning. Picture: PA

Emergency services rushed to the scene in Forbury Gardens at around 7pm on Saturday, following reports of a knifeman launching an attack.

It is understood the individual in custody is Libyan, who was reportedly rugby-tackled by a lone police sergeant who responded to the call.

At least two people have been rushed to Royal Berkshire Hospital with stab wounds, but it has not been confirmed how many people in total have been injured.

Personal trainer Lawrence Wort, 20, who said he was around 10 metres from the attack, said: "The park was pretty full, a lot of people sat around drinking with friends, when one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them.

"He stabbed three of them, severely in the neck, and under the arms, and then turned and started running towards me, and we turned and started running.

"When he realised that he couldn't catch us, he tried to stab another group sat down, he got one person in the back of the neck and then when he realised everyone was starting to run, he ran out the park."