Reading knife attack: Suspect re-arrested under Terrorism Act

21 June 2020, 19:26

Police stand guard at the Abbey gateway of Forbury Gardens, a day after a multiple stabbing attack in the gardens in Reading
Police stand guard at the Abbey gateway of Forbury Gardens, a day after a multiple stabbing attack in the gardens in Reading. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

The suspect of the Reading knife attack has now been re-arrested under the 2000 Terrorism Act.

A 25-year-old man arrested on Saturday in connection with the Reading attack has been now been re-arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000, Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) said.

The suspect in the stabbings is a Libyan asylum seeker and mental health is being considered a major factor in the incident, a security source said. He has been named as Khairi Saadallah.

Saadallah was originally charged with murder following the attacks but the incident has since been classed as terrorism.

Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, head of CTPSE, said: "The investigation continues to move at a fast pace."

She added: "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families who will be mourning loved ones after this horrific act, and to all those who have been affected by it. We continue to work with the coroner to formally identify those who have died and to inform and support their relatives."

The suspect was arrested within five minutes of the initial report, and a number of officers were quickly on the scene, she confirmed.

Three people died and another three are seriously injured following the attack at the park in Reading on Saturday.

The head of counter-terrorism policing, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, has said there is nothing to suggest anyone else was involved in the Reading attack and police are not currently seeking anyone else as part of the investigation

Speaking in London, he said: "From our inquiries undertaken so far, officers have found nothing to suggest that there was anyone else involved in this attack and presently we're not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident.

"However, counter-terrorism detectives work closely with the security services and will work closely with Thames Valley major crime colleagues and we continue to make inquiries to ensure that is the case.

"Although the motivation for this horrific act is far from certain, counter-terrorism policing have taken responsibility for leading the investigation.

"However we're clear that it was not associated in any way with the Black Lives Matter protest which took place peacefully earlier on in the day."

Mr Basu said the public should not be alarmed when out in crowded places.

One of the victims in the Reading terror attack has been named by The Holt School in Wokingham as James Furlong, its head of history and government and politics.

A letter from the school, which has been shared online, describes Mr Furlong as a "kind and gentle man" who had a "real sense of duty and cared for each and every one of our students".