Man jailed for life for murdering three men in Reading terrorist attack
A terrorist who brutally murdered three men and tried to kill another three will spend the rest of his life in jail after being sentenced at the Old Bailey, London.
Khairi Saadallah killed James Furlong, aged 36, David Wails, aged 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, aged 39, during a meticulously-planned knife attack in Forbury Gardens in Reading, on 20 June.
The 26-year-old of Basingstoke Road, Reading, also attacked and tried to kill three other men.
The offender was arrested by officers from Thames Valley Police shortly after the attack and was subsequently charged following an investigation led by Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE).
He pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder at a previous hearing on 11 November 2020.
Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, QPM, head of CTPSE, said: “This man is a committed jihadist and was intent on killing as many people as he could on that sunny summer’s evening in June.
“As the evidence has shown, the attacker planned his actions in meticulous detail. The men he killed were not just murdered, they were executed at such a speed, they had very little chance to react or defend themselves.
“The horrors of this incident took just a single minute to unfold. It took him less than 10 seconds to kill three innocent men, and he then went on to attack and tried to kill another three men before running off towards the town centre.
“In that tiny timeframe, he changed the lives of all those involved forever.
“He has caused unspeakable hurt and distress to the families of the three men who were brutally murdered as they were relaxing and enjoying socialising with friends on a Saturday evening. I’m sure there will also be lasting effects on those who were injured in the attack, who were fortunate not to have been even more seriously harmed.
“The scene for other people in the busy park at the time of this incident was horrendous and I must pay tribute to the many people who assisted with giving first aid and who have subsequently provided important evidence as part of our investigation.
“The details heard during this hearing will undoubtedly have been distressing for the families of the victims and survivors and I extend my sincere thanks to each and every one of them for their unwavering support throughout this investigation.
“The investigation was led by a specialist team of investigators; police officers and police staff from CTPSE. The sentence passed today is testament to their tenacity in investigating this extremely complex case.”
The family of David Wails said: “For us as a family, it has been devastating to lose our much loved son, brother and uncle. We know that our lives and the lives of everyone who knew and loved David will never be the same. We love you David, may you, James and Joe now rest in peace.”
The family of Joseph Ritchie-Bennett said: “Joe was a devoted and loving husband, a man who cared strongly about family. His generosity, warmth and laughter afforded him countless friends with whom memories are shared. Sadly the events that took place in Forbury Gardens cut short Joe’s right to a full and vibrant life. He will always be loved and never forgotten.”
The family of James Furlong said: “We would like to thank the prosecuting and investigation team, along with the judge for ensuring justice has been given to James, Joe and David’s killer, and also for the other victims who were injured that day. James was a wonderful man, and we will now look to focus on all of the good things about James’ life.”
You can report any suspicious behaviour or activity that you think could be terrorist-related via the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) website or alternatively, call police in confidence on 0800 789 321.