Coroner to give conclusions at inquest for Reading terror attack victims

260424-reading terror victims forbury gardens
James Furlong, David Wails and Joe Ritchie-Bennett were killed in the attack in Forbury Gardens in 2020. Credit: Family handouts

A coroner will give his conclusions at the inquest into the deaths of the Reading terror attack victims.

Judge Coroner Sir Adrian Fulford is expected to deliver his findings at the Old Bailey on Friday after inquest proceedings were held into the deaths of James Furlong, 36, Dr David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, who were murdered by Khairi Saadallah on June 20 2020.

Libyan refugee Saadallah shouted “Allahu akhbar” as he fatally stabbed the three friends in the town’s Forbury Gardens.

Family members of the victims are expected to attend the inquest conclusion.

Three other people – Stephen Young, Patrick Edwards and Nishit Nisudan – were also injured before Saadallah threw away the 8in (20cm) knife and ran off, being chased by an off-duty police officer.

Since arriving in Britain in 2012, Saadallah was convicted of various offences including theft and assault.

Staff members in probation, immigration, police and MI5 all gave evidence to the inquest over the course of a number of weeks earlier this year – with one probation witness breaking down in court as she recalled unknowingly “managing an unconvicted murderer”.

Reading terror attacker Khairi Saadallah Credit: Thames Valley Police

The inquest also heard the Home Office dealt with Saadallah with “woeful inadequacy” before the killings, when the director of the department’s Foreign National Offenders Returns Command (FNORC) answered questions.

A counsellor said he “harassed” mental health services to examine the terror attacker in the year before the killings, with his mental state forming a large part of proceedings.

Thames Valley Police failed to find a knife at Saadallah’s home during a welfare check the day before he carried out the attacks, because officers were not told he was threatening to harm himself and others, the hearing was told.

The inquest at the Old Bailey heard the terrorist was “in limbo” for a number of years as his asylum application in the UK was refused, and he was also ineligible for deportation to Libya because of the country’s civil war.

In January 2021, the killer was handed a whole-life sentence at the Old Bailey after pleading guilty to three murders and three attempted murders.

Saadallah lost a bid to bring a Court of Appeal challenge against his whole-life sentence for the murders in October of the same year.

Judge Coroner Fulford is expected to begin his conclusions at 9.30am.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…