Reading terror attack suspect identified as Libyan Khairi Saadallah, 25

21 June 2020, 13:14

Police are still in attendance at the scene
Police are still in attendance at the scene. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The man arrested on suspicion of knifing to death three people in a park in Reading has been identified as Libyan Khairi Saadallah.

The stabbings, which took place on Saturday evening, are being investigated as a terror incident by police.

Three people died in the attack, with another three left seriously injured in hospital.

It was declared on Sunday morning the attack is being treated as terrorism and that counter-terror police would now be taking over the investigation.

One of the victims was named today as James Furlong, a secondary school teacher who taught at a school in Wokingham.

Tributes have been pouring in to the "kind and gentle" teacher.

Neil Basu, the head of Counter Terror Police, said officers were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

"There is no specific intelligence to suggest that anyone attending crowded places is at risk," he added.

He continued: "This was an atrocity, my deepest sympathies go out to the families who will be mourning loved ones today after this horrific act and to everyone who has been affected by it.

"We're working with the coroner to formally identify all those who've died and to inform and support their relatives.

"I'd like to praise the actions of Thames Valley Police colleagues who responded immediately and they detained the attacker nearby, unarmed and incredibly brave.

"I also want to pay tribute to the bravery of members of the public who provided emergency first aid at the scene."

The motivation for the "horrific act" is not yet clear, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Basu said, but "there is nothing to suggest that there was anyone else involved in this attack".

Forty-one witnesses have so far come forward and police are asking anyone else who may have information to get in touch.

Forensic officers at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre
Forensic officers at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre. Picture: PA

The Prime Minister has held a meeting with security officials, police and senior ministers over the incident.

He said he is "appalled and sickened" by the suspected terror attack in Reading.

"I'm appalled and sickened that people should lose their lives in this way and our thoughts are very much with the family and the friends of the victims today," he said in an interview in Downing Street.

"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."

Boris Johnson also said there is no reason to believe there could be more terror attacks as the lockdown is eased.

Asked during an interview, the Prime Minister replied: "I see no reason to draw that conclusion but I do think that clearly if there are lessons to be learned from this particular case then we will learn them."