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Reading stabbings: Man admits knife murders of three victims

Reading stabbings: Man admits knife murders of three victims thumbnail

Publishedduration10 minutes agoimage captionKhairi Saadallah was charged with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murderA man has admitted murdering three men during a knife rampage in a park in Reading.Khairi Saadallah killed friends James Furlong, 36, David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, during the two-minute attack in Forbury Gardens in June.At…

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image captionKhairi Saadallah was charged with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder

A man has admitted murdering three men during a knife rampage in a park in Reading.

Khairi Saadallah killed friends James Furlong, 36, David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, during the two-minute attack in Forbury Gardens in June.

At the Old Bailey, Saadallah, 26, also admitted three charges of attempted murder ahead of a scheduled trial.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan said the murders merited a whole life sentence.

The prosecution case is that the murders were a terror attack.

But judge Mr Justice Sweeney said Saadallah had submitted a basis of plea, denying substantial preparation or planning and saying he was not motivated by an ideological cause.

He said a Newton hearing, which will start in the week of 7 December, was “essential” to decide whether Saadallah was motivated by a religious or ideological cause.

media captionFriend Michael Main said: “they were always happy”

Members of the victims’ families sat in court for the hearing as Saadallah, of Basingstoke Road in Reading, entered his guilty pleas while wearing a face mask.

History teacher Mr Furlong and Mr Ritchie-Bennett, a US citizen, were both stabbed once in the neck, while scientist Mr Wails was stabbed in the back.

All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

Three others – their friend Stephen Young, as well as Patrick Edwards and Nishit Nisudan, who were sitting in a nearby group – were also injured.

Mr Young was stabbed in the head while Mr Edwards was stabbed in the back and Mr Nisudan suffered injuries to his face and hand.

In the aftermath of the attack, security sources told the BBC that Saadallah, originally from Libya, was known to MI5 after coming to its attention in 2019.

But when the information was further investigated, no genuine threat or immediate risk was identified and no case file was opened.

image copyrightReuters

image captionFloral tributes were left near the entrance to the park where the men were killed

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