UK police charge Reading 'terror' suspect

By: AFP      Published: 01:10 AM, 28 Jun, 2020
UK police charge Reading 'terror' suspect
A police forensics officer works inside Forbury Gardens park in Reading, west of London, on June 22, 2020, the scene of the June 20 stabbing spree. A suspect held on suspicion of stabbing three people to death in a British park at the weekend was known to the security services, media reported on Monday. The 25-year-old man, widely identified as Khairi Saadallah, a Libyan refugee, was held on suspicion of murder on Saturday night, soon after the rampage in Reading, west of London.–AFP

British counter-terror police on Saturday charged a man with three counts of murder and three of attempted murder after a knife attack in southeast England on June 20.

Khairi Saadallah, 25, a Libyan refugee, will appear in court at Westminster magistrates on June 29, police said.

"The charges come following an investigation into an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading on the evening of June 20, where a number of people were stabbed," Thames Valley police said in a statement.

"Three people were killed and died at the scene and a further three people were taken to hospital for treatment for their injuries. They have since been released from hospital."

The three victims killed -- history teacher James Furlong, 36, US expat Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, and David Wails, a 49-year-scientist -- were all friends.

They were seemingly attacked at random in Forbury Park, Reading, a week ago.

Announcement of the charges came as a virtual vigil was held for the victims of the attack.

Thames Valley Police's Chief Constable John Campbell said at the vigil: "We will never forget David, James and Joseph."

And Furlong's family praised police for their "remarkable bravery" in a tribute to officers on Saturday.

"We would like to start by thanking the police for their ongoing help, including their remarkable bravery. They have been a pillar of support," said the grieving family.