Reading terror attack: Third victim named as scientist David Wails

22 June 2020, 17:46

David Wails died in the attack on Saturday
David Wails died in the attack on Saturday. Picture: LinkedIn

By Megan White

The third person killed in the Reading terror attack has been named as scientist David Wails.

Mr Wails, who is thought to work as a senior scientist for a global chemicals company, was stabbed to death during the attack on Saturday afternoon.

Friend Michael Main said Mr Wails "always made people smile" and said he was a regular of The Blagrave Arms pub.

He said: “I drank with David probably every day. Every time I was in there, he was in there. We’d have a lot of banter. He was a banter person. He’s the one that hits me the most because I know him more and it’s just sad to know he’s gone so early.”

The three were killed in an attack in Reading's Forbury Gardens on Saturday evening.

The other victims have been named as James Furlong, 36, and his friend Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39.

A heart-shaped floral tribute to the three men could be seen outside the bar on Monday afternoon, alongside candles and a note which read: "The Blagrave Arms management and staff are devastated at the announcement that the three people who died in the Forbury Gardens attack on Saturday were regular customers and very dear friends of ours.

"Our hearts go out to their family and friends, and the other victims of this horrific incident."

Alongside the names "Dave, James and Joe", the text said: "We will never forget you. RIP."

A message among the flowers paid tribute to the three, adding: "Our friends were the kindest, most genuine, and most loveliest people in our community that we had the pleasure in knowing.

"They'll be forever in our thoughts."

Mr Furlong, 36, was head of history, government and politics at The Holt School in Wokingham.

James Furlong was the head of the history department
James Furlong was the head of the history department. Picture: PA

His parents, Gary and Janet, said in a statement: "He was the best son, brother, uncle and partner you could wish for."We are thankful for the memories he gave us all. We will never forget him and he will live in our hearts forever."

Mr Ritchie-Bennett was from Philadelphia and moved to England 15 years ago. He was working at Dutch pharmaceutical company.

His brother Robert Ritchie told the Philadelphia Inquirer their family is "heartbroken and beside ourselves".

Joe Ritchie-Bennett was killed in the incident in Forbury Gardens
Joe Ritchie-Bennett was killed in the incident in Forbury Gardens. Picture: PA

“I love him. I always have. I always will. He was a great guy. He was four years younger than me. I had a paper route at 12 and he helped me every day. I used to buy him something every two weeks to thank him," he added.

The suspect in the attack, named as Khairi Saadallah, 25, was detained by officers from Thames Valley Police a short distance from the site of the attack and arrested on suspicion of murder.

He was later re-arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act, which gives police the power to detain him without charge for up to 14 days.

Police have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "appalled and sickened" by the incident and said "we will not hesitate to take action" if there are lessons to be learned from the circumstances.