Reaction to Reading terror attack sentencing

James Furlong, Dr David Wails and Joe Ritchie-Bennett died after the attack at Forbury Gardens in Reading

There has been reaction from a number of people and organisations after the sentencing to a whole life term of the terrorist who fatally stabbed three men who were sitting in a park in Reading last year.

Twenty-six year-old Khairi Saadallah committed the attack at Forbury Gardens in Reading in June 2020. The horrific nature of the event shook the whole community there.

Following the sentencing, the Head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East said that the killer's actions had changed the lives of everyone affected.

The Head of the Counter Terrorism Policing South East gave her reaction

It took this terrorist less than ten seconds to kill three innocent men. And then he went on to attack and attempt to kill another three men before fleeing the scene. In that tiny time frame he changed the lives of all those involved forever.

Det Ch Supt Kath Barnes QPM, Head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East

One of the victim's relatives also spoke today. Gary Furlong, the father of James Furlong, made a statement outside the Old Bailey, thanking all of those who had tried to help his son. Mr Furlong also said there were further questions to be answered about the events leading up to the attack.

We'd also like to thank the public and emergency services that were there that evening to try to help, their lives now impacted by events. The facts of this case, there are now serious questions to be answered, most notably, how the killer was ever in a position to commit these horrific acts.

Gary Furlong, Father of James Furlong

The leader of Reading Borough Council, Councillor Jason Brock, issued a statement, offering condolences to the families and friends of the men who died.

''Today’s sentencing brings to an end the court hearing into the Forbury attacks, but we know that for the families and friends of James, David and Joe the pain will remain forever. The thoughts of everyone at Reading Borough Council remain with them today and always, as well as with those injured.

''For Reading’s community as a whole, the horrific events of June 20th are something we will never forget. In the dark days which followed the brutal and senseless killings, our town was utterly shocked and appalled...

''Acts of violence like this are designed to divide us, but we must always remember that Reading has a reputation for strong community relations and cohesion across the town – we stand together. It remains more important than ever to uphold these local strengths....

Cllr Brock added that the council will be working with the families of 'James, David and Joe, alongside their close friends, those who were injured and groups from across our communities'... to develop proposals for a permanent memorial to the victims.