Forbury Gardens attacker is visited by police

Forbury gardens
Officers maintaining a scenewatch at Forbury Gardens in Reading. Picture: Phil Creighton

JUDGES have heard that the man accused of killing three men in Reading’s Forbury Gardens was suffering from psychosis.

On Saturday, June 20 last year, Khairi Saadallah, 26, stabbed James Furlong, 36, David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, as they were enjoying a night out with their friends.

He also injured three other people during the incident, Stephen Young, Patrick Edwards and Nishit Nisudan.

He had previously admitted the attack and the Old Bailey is currently conducting a hearing as part of his sentencing. It is to explore whether Saadallah was motivated by a religious or ideological cause.

The Libyan asylum seeker had criminal convictions and had been visited by police the night before the attacks.

The prosecution is calling for Saadallah to have a whole-life prison order, meaning that he would not be considered for release.

However, his defence laywer argues that the sentence should be one of life imprisonment of at least 30 years, due to a lack of serious premeditation, and his mental health.

The court heard that Saadallah, who lives on Reading’s Basingstoke Road, had a mobile phone that had downloads of extremist material, including an image of the Islamic State flag and the 9/11 Twin Towers attack.

They also learnt that Saadallah has been on the radar of authorities on “hundreds of occasions”, due to a frequent history of interventions from police, the criminal justice system and mental health services.

CCTV shown to the court by Counter Terrorism Policing South East showed Saadallah buying the knife used in the attack from a branch of Morrisons, as well as footage of him fleeing Forbury Gardens after the incident. He was running down Friar Street.

He also smashed his mobile phone as he knew that his search history would be incriminating.

The hearing continues.

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