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Man appears in court accused of stabbing three friends to death in Reading park attack

Khairi Saadallah (25) is charged with murdering three men in England on 20 June.

Flowers placed in front of the Post Office in Reading town centre after the attack earlier this month.
Flowers placed in front of the Post Office in Reading town centre after the attack earlier this month.
Image: Jonathan Brady

A MAN ACCUSED of stabbing three friends to death while shouting “Allahu Akbar” in a suspected terror attack has appeared in court.

Khairi Saadallah (25) is charged with murdering James Furlong (36), David Wails (49) and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett (39) with a large kitchen knife in Reading’s Forbury Gardens shortly before 7pm on Saturday, 20 June.

History teacher Furlong and Ritchie-Bennett, a US citizen, were each stabbed once in the neck while scientist Wails was stabbed once in his back. They were each declared dead at the scene.

Saadallah is also charged with attempting to murder their friend Stephen Young, as well as Patrick Edwards and Nishit Nisudan, who were also sitting in the park in a nearby group, during an attack lasting less than two minutes.

Young needed 28 stitches after he was knifed once in his head while Edwards was stabbed in the back, and Nisudan suffered wounds to his face and hand. They have all since been released from hospital.

Saadallah, who came to the UK from Libya as a refugee in 2012, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today by video-link from Coventry Magistrates’ Court, close to where he was being held in police custody.

Wearing a grey, prison-issue tracksuit and blue face mask, he stood in the dock to confirm his name, date of birth and that he lived in Reading.

Prosecutor Jan Newbold told the court Saadallah is alleged to have bought the murder weapon, a large kitchen knife, from a supermarket the day before the attack, which was declared a terrorist incident.

She said he began to stab his alleged victims “without warning or provocation”, adding: “At the time of the incident, the defendant was heard to shout words to the effect of “Allahu Akbar” (God is great).”

Saadallah, of Basingstoke Road, Reading, did not enter pleas to three charges of murder and three of attempted murder during a hearing lasting less than 10 minutes.

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Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot remanded him in custody until Wednesday, when he will next appear at the Old Bailey.

Saadallah stood in the dock as she told him: “I’m sending this case to the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey. You will be there, almost definitely, by video-link in two days.”

Comments have been closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

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