One of the Reading terror victims named as teacher James Furlong
One of the victims in the Reading terror attack has been named as James Furlong, a teacher at The Holt School in Wokingham.
Mr Furlong was its head of history and government and politics.
A letter from the school, which has been shared online, describes Mr Furlong as a ‘kind and gentle man’ who had a ‘real sense of duty and cared for each and every one of our students’.
It continues: ‘He truly inspired everyone he taught through his passion for his subject and his dedication. He was determined that our students would develop a critical awareness of global issues and in doing so become active citizens and have a voice.’
Former pupils have described him as ‘simply the best’.
Responding to the news, Wokingham Labour tweeted: ‘Devastated to discover that James Furlong, one of the victims of the Reading stabbings, was a teacher at the Holt.’His loss is a devastating blow to his family, colleagues, students, the wider Holt family and our whole community. Our thoughts are with them all.’
The Prime Minister has said he was ‘appalled and sickened’ after police declared the murder of three people in a park to be a terrorist attack.
The incident, which took place at 7pm on Saturday in Forbury Gardens in the town centre, also left another three people injured.
A 25-year-old man from Reading was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody.
The suspect is a Libyan refugee understood to have been granted asylum in the UK and mental health is being considered a major factor in the incident, a security source told the PA news agency. He is understood to be named Khairi Saadallah.
The suspect was freed from prison for a non-terror offence towards the end of last year The sentence was said to have been in excess of 12 months.
One witness described how he had stood staring without even blinking as he was arrested.
Deliveroo driver Amir Hadyoon, 31, saw the suspect who was covered in blood arrested outside the job centre on Friar Street, a short distance from Forbury Gardens.
Mr Hadyoon told reporters the man had not resisted the officers, adding: ‘To me it looked very weird because he didn’t say a word. He didn’t care, he was just staring… he was just completely silent.
‘He wasn’t even blinking, he looked really weird.’
Boris Johnson said he is ‘appalled and sickened’ by the suspected terror attack and pledged ‘we will not hesitate to take action’ if there are lessons to be learned.
In an interview in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said his ‘thoughts are very much with the family and the friends of the victims today’.
One of the patients admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital has been discharged, while another remains in a stable condition under observation.
Reading town centre was quiet on Sunday morning, with few people on the streets.
All roads surrounding Forbury Gardens – which is a short walk from the train station – remained cordoned off.
Blue and white tents have been erected next to the walls of the park, with officers patrolling a cordon.
The head of counter terrorism policing, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the motivation for the killings are ‘far from certain’.
Speaking in London, he said: ‘Although the motivation for this horrific act is far from certain, counter-terrorism policing have taken responsibility for leading the investigation.’
He emphasised that the attack was not associated ‘in any way’ with the Black Lives Matter protests that had taken place in the park earlier that day.
Personal trainer Lawrence Wort, 20, who said he was around 10 metres from the attack, said: ‘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.
Witness recounts moment he ran from terror suspect
‘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.’
Floral tributes have been left by the park railings.
One read: ‘To the victims and their loved ones. You will be remembered. I proposed to Kayleigh here. I come here every Remembrance Day with Jack. It’s always been a special place.
‘It’s so sad. Sorry for your loss. Ben and Kayleigh.’