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Stabbings in Reading declared a 'terrorist incident' by UK police

Three people have died and another three are seriously injured after multiple stabbings at a park.

Updated Jun 21st 2020, 11:18 AM

2.54239120 Source: PA Images

THREE PEOPLE HAVE died and another three are seriously injured after multiple stabbings at a park in Reading in the UK, Thames Valley Police have confirmed.

The attack took place at around 7pm in Forbury Gardens in the town centre.

Police said a 25-year-old man from Reading was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody.

A statement issued on the Thames Valley Police website this morning said: “Counter Terrorism Policing can now confirm that the stabbing incident that happened in Reading last night has now been declared a terrorist incident.

“Officers from Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) have been working closely with Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Department throughout the night.

“Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, Senior National Coordinator for the Counter Terrorism Policing network, has this morning declared the incident a terrorist incident, and CTPSE will be taking over the investigation.”

Earlier, Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter said: “We have made one arrest and at this stage we are not looking for any other people in connection with this incident.

“There is no intelligence to suggest that there is any further danger to the public, however we urge people to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious by calling police.”

A security source earlier told the PA news agency the arrested man was a Libyan national.

At least two casualties are being treated in the emergency department of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, a spokeswoman said.

Personal trainer Lawrence Wort (20) who said he was around 10 metres from the attack, told PA: “The park was pretty full, a lot of people sat around drinking with friends, when one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them.

“He stabbed three of them, severely in the neck, and under the arms, and then turned and started running towards me, and we turned and started running.

“When he realised that he couldn’t catch us, he tried to stab another group sat down, he got one person in the back of the neck and then when he realised everyone was starting to run, he ran out the park.”

2.54238490 Location of the stabbing incident in Reading.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement: “This evening we saw a senseless attack on people simply enjoying a Saturday evening with family and friends.

“My heart, prayers and thoughts are with all of those affected and to the people of Reading who will be deeply shocked and concerned by this terrible incident.

“I am in contact with the police and will ensure they have all the support they need. I would like to thank Thames Valley Police and the emergency services for their response.”

Hunter added there was no connection to the Black Lives Matter protest in the town earlier on Saturday.

“I can confirm that this incident is not connected. It occurred around three hours after the protest had concluded,” he said.

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Hunter also urged people to continue to stay away from the area as police conduct their investigation.

“Police cordons continue to be in place and are likely to be for some time as we work to establish the circumstances of what has happened. You will also see an increased police presence in the area as we continue to make enquiries.

“I would urge the public to avoid the area at this time and thank the community for their patience.

“The thoughts of everyone at Thames Valley Police are with those who have been affected by this tragic incident and I understand the concern that this will have caused amongst the community.

“Please be assured that safety of the public is our primary concern and we will do all that we can to investigate this incident robustly and bring those responsible to justice.”

Nieema Hassan, an organiser of the Reading protest, posted on Facebook that demonstrators had dispersed by the time of the attack.

She added: “In terms of the protest and people that attended from Black Lives Matter, we’re all safe, none of us are affected.

“I have goosebumps knowing that this has happened only a few hours after we all peacefully came together today to talk about change and equality and it’s pretty heartbreaking that this day has been tarnished with violence.”

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