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Reading stabbing attack: What we know so far

Three people have died following a knife attack in Reading’s town centre on Saturday night.

Here is what we know so far about the incident:

– A number of people were stabbed by a man in Forbury Gardens in Reading’s town centre around 7pm on Saturday night, leaving three dead.

– Three others were taken to hospital, although one has now been discharged.

-One of the dead has been named as teacher James Furlong – head of history, government and Politics at the Holt School in Wokingham.

– A 25-year-old man, understood to be named Khairi Saadallah, was arrested at the scene and taken into police custody.

– The attack is being treated as terrorism and counter-terror police have since taken over the investigation from Thames Valley Police.

– The suspect, who was initially arrested on Saturday on suspicion of murder, was rearrested on Sunday under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

-The suspect is a Libyan refugee understood to have been granted asylum in the UK.

Map showing the location of the stabbing in Reading (PA Graphics)
Map showing the location of the stabbing in Reading (PA Graphics)

– Mental health is being considered a major factor in the incident, a security source told the PA news agency.

– Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with Saturday’s attack.

– Saadallah briefly came to the attention of the security services in 2019, but the information provided did not meet the threshold for investigation, PA understands.

– It is understood M15 had received intelligence he planned to travel abroad, possibly for terrorism purposes, but the threat was found to be insubstantial.

– The suspect was jailed in October for a complex series of non-terror offences for a period of two years, one month and 20 days.

– His sentence was reduced to one of 17 months and 20 days’ imprisonment in the Court of Appeal on March 19 of this year.

– One of the appeal judges who gave the judgment in March, Mr Justice Goss, noted Saadallah’s various mental health issues in reducing the sentence.

– Saadallah was “silent and staring” as he was arrested, covered in blood, a short distance from the scene, a witness said, and “wasn’t even blinking”.

– The attack was not in any way associated with the Black Lives Matter protest which took place peacefully earlier on in the day, police have confirmed.

– Police forces have urged social media users not to post any footage out of respect for the victims’ families after a graphic clip circulated online.

– Lawrence Wort, 20, who said he was around 10 metres from the attack, said the attacker “shouted unintelligible words” before attacking multiple groups of people, adding: “When he realised everyone was starting to run, he ran out the park.”

– Five ambulance crews as well as two air ambulance services were among the resources sent to treat the casualties, South Central Ambulance Service said.

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

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