Reading attacker Khairi Saadallah pleads guilty to three murders

11 November 2020, 16:25 | Updated: 11 November 2020, 17:04

Khairi Saadallah had been due to go on trial at the Old Bailey on November 30
Khairi Saadallah had been due to go on trial at the Old Bailey on November 30. Picture: PA

By Megan White

A 26-year-old man has admitted murdering three friends in a knife attack in Reading town centre.

Khairi Saadallah has also pleaded guilty to trying to kill three other people during the attack in June.

He had been due to go on trial at the Old Bailey on November 30.

But at a hearing on Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to three murders and three attempted murders.

Saadallah launched a two-minute stabbing spree in Forbury Gardens, Reading, shortly before 7pm on Saturday June 20.

James Furlong, 36, David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, all died, while three others - their friend Stephen Young, and Patrick Edwards and Nishit Nisudan, who were sitting in a nearby group - were injured.

A general view of Forbury Gardens in Reading
A general view of Forbury Gardens in Reading. Picture: PA

History teacher Mr Furlong and Mr Ritchie-Bennett, a US citizen, were each stabbed once in the neck while scientist Mr Wails was stabbed once in the back. All three were declared dead at the scene.

Saadallah, of Basingstoke Road, Reading, entered his guilty pleas in the dock of court two of the Old Bailey.

Wearing a red and white beany hat and grey jacket, the defendant's voice appeared muffled as he spoke while wearing a face mask.

Members of the victims' families sat in court for the hearing before Mr Justice Sweeney.

The judge told the court the defendant had submitted a basis of plea, denying substantial preparation or planning and saying he was not motivated by an ideological cause, in contrast with the prosecution case.

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