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Forbury Three killer jailed for life with no hope of parole

Flowers James Furlong
Flowers left at The Holt Schooll in memory of James Furlong, one of three people killed in a terrorist attack in Reading's Forbury Gardens on June 20, 2020

A TERRORIST who murdered three men enjoying an evening out in Forbury Gardens last summer has been jailed for life – with no hope of parole. 

Khairi Saadallah killed James Furlong, aged 36, David Wails, aged 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, aged 39, during a planned attack in Reading, on Saturday, June 20.

The 26-year-old of Basingstoke Road, Reading, also attacked and tried to kill three other men.

Saadallah, a committed jihadist, was arrested by officers from Thames Valley Police shortly after the attack and was subsequently charged following an investigation led by Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE).

He pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder at a previous hearing on 11 November 2020.

Earlier today, he was jailed with a whole life order, meaning that he has no possibility of parole or conditional release. 

Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, QPM, head of CTPSE, said: “Saadallah is a committed jihadist and was intent on killing as many people as he could on that sunny summer’s evening in June.

“As the evidence has shown, Saadallah planned this attack in meticulous detail. The men he killed were not just murdered, they were executed at such a speed, they had very little chance to react or defend themselves.”

She continued: “The horrors of this incident took just a single minute to unfold. It took him less than 10 seconds to kill three innocent men, and he then went on to attack and tried to kill another three men before running off towards the town centre.

“In that tiny timeframe, he changed the lives of all those involved forever.”

Commenting on the lasting nature of the attack, which shocked the communities of both Reading and Wokingham, DCS Barnes said: “He has caused unspeakable hurt and distress to the families of the three men who were brutally murdered as they were relaxing and enjoying socialising with friends on a Saturday evening. 

“I’m sure there will also be lasting effects on those who were injured in the attack, who were fortunate not to have been even more seriously harmed.

“The scene for other people in the busy park at the time of this incident was horrendous and I must pay tribute to the many people who assisted with giving first aid and who have subsequently provided important evidence as part of our investigation.”

She also said that the court hearing, which revealed details of the attack to the families of the victims and survivors, would have been distressing. 

“I extend my sincere thanks to each and every one of them for their unwavering support throughout this investigation,” she said. 

“The investigation was led by a specialist team of investigators; police officers and police staff from CTPSE. The sentence passed today is testament to their tenacity in investigating this extremely complex case.”

Any suspicious behaviour or activity that could be terrorist-related can be reported via the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) website or alternatively, call police in confidence on 0800 789 321.

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