Boris Johnson 'appalled and sickened' by Reading 'terror attack' which killed three

21 June 2020, 14:17

Mr Johnson has held a meeting with security officials, police and senior ministers over the incident
Mr Johnson has held a meeting with security officials, police and senior ministers over the incident. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

Boris Johnson is "appalled and sickened" by the Reading stabbings which have been declared acts of terrorism.

The Prime Minister said his thoughts are with the families of the three people killed during the attack.

Mr Johnson has held a meeting with security officials, police and senior ministers over the incident.

He said "we will not hesitate to take action" if there are lessons to be learned.

Boris Johnson tweeted: "My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene."

He added: "I am appalled and sickened that anyone should lose their lives in this way.

"I've obviously talked to the chief constable at Thames Valley Police, thanked him and his officers for their bravery in tackling the suspect.

"We now have someone in custody. The police must get on with their job, get to the bottom of exactly what happened, and so it would be difficult really to comment in detail.

"Except to say this, if there are lessons we need to learn about how we handle such cases, how we handle the events leading up to such cases, then we will learn those lessons and we will not hesitate to take action where necessary."

A 25-year-old man believed to be of Libyan descent has been arrested on suspicion of murder after the attack which took place at 7pm on Saturday in Forbury Gardens, Reading. Three people were also seriously injured.

The suspect is an asylum seeker and mental health is being considered a major factor in the incident, a security source said. He is understood to be named Khairi Saadallah.

Police tents in Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre at the scene of a multiple stabbing attack
Police tents in Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre at the scene of a multiple stabbing attack. Picture: PA

Thames Valley Police said on Sunday morning the attack is now being treated as terrorism and that counter-terrorism police would now be taking over the investigation.

Chief Constable John Campbell, of Thames Valley Police, said: "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.

"We will be working closely with our partners over the coming days and weeks to support the Reading community during this time, as well as with Counter-Terror Police South East (CTPSE) as they progress their investigation."

He asked the public to avoid the area and also to "avoid speculation" about the attack as he appealed for any video footage to be shared with police only.

"Out of respect for those deceased and injured, along with their loved ones, please do not circulate this footage on social media - this will be incredibly distressing."

Footage of the aftermath of the attack in which the victims were receiving first aid appeared online on Saturday evening.

One of the patients admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital has been discharged, while another remains in a stable condition under observation, a spokeswoman said.

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