Witness describes the bloody moment police arrest the man suspected of killing three gay men in Reading terror attack

Joe Ritchie-Bennett, David Wails and James Furlong were killed in the knife rampage

A man described in detail the gruelling moment he saw an unarmed police officer collide into the suspect in the Reading terror attack, drenched in blood.

On Saturday (June 20), a delusory park in the southern England town, known as a go-to lunch spot for city centre employees, was transformed into a site of terror.

People fled in scenes of chaos as a 25-year-old man began a stabbing spree, wounding three and killing three gay men. Authorities linked the incident to terrorism.

Reading stabbing witness: ‘There was rather a lot of blood.’

Witness Sydney McDonald told Sky News how at around 7pm just after clocking-out of work, he saw four police cars rocket down the road towards Forbury Gardens.

“The police car did a U-turn in the road,” he said.

“There’s two of them that did a U-turn, and they were chasing him with the car and they pulled beside him.

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“And as they pulled beside him, they came out from the car and they rugby tackled him in the middle of the road.”

Police guard an entrance to Forbury Gardens on June 21, 2020. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

McDonald watched as law enforcement detained Saadallah: “He was doing his job, and he did a good job.

“He tackled him to the floor. He didn’t hurt him.”

The officer, McDonald described, then rolled the assailant over onto his stomach as his hands were strung behind his back.

“And there was rather a lot of blood,” McDonald said, “I shouted: ‘Oh, my God.’

“It was serious, it was very serious.”

An officer placed his knee on the suspect’s shoulder, pinning him as he was handcuffed. Saadallah was “very quiet”, he said, as he was walked into a police van, who was “just sitting there, looking into space”.

Who was Khairi Saadallah?

Khairi Saadallah was, according to several national security sources, from Libya and was, for a time, on the radar of MI5, Britain’s domestic security agency, The Guardian reported.

Intelligence alleged he had aspirations to travel for extremist purposes, although his plans then came to nothing and the investigation quickly closed.

A police van is parked outside a cordoned off block of flats where the suspect of a multiple stabbing incident lived in Reading. (BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
A police van is parked outside a cordoned off block of flats where the suspect of a multiple stabbing incident lived in Reading terror attack. (BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

He was a quiet man, those who knew him have said. An image of a man mired by mental health troubles, Saadallah fled Libyra amid the throes of the civil war.

Official documents framed Saadallah’s biography as one of struggled with debt, homelessness and alcohol misuse. He lived in temporary accommodation in a block of flats on Basingstoke Road.

Saadallah remains in custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder. Authorities re-arrested him under terrorism laws.

Reading remember the three victims of the terror attack as ‘proud’ members of the LGBT+ community.

David Wails, 49, Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, and James Furlong, 36, all lost their lives in the attack.

Furlong was a school teacher in the area, described by friends as a “proud gay man” who “wanted equality for all”.

Ritchie-Bennett was an American who had lost his husband to cancer just over five years ago.

Ritchie-Bennett’s father, Robert Ritchie, called the Reading attack “senseless” in an interview with CBS News.

“The family is heartbroken they have lost their brilliant and loving son,” added Ritchie senior.

Wails was a scientist who always “made people smile”.

A rainbow message on a bunch of flowers
Students paid tribute to teacher James Furlong with flowers and rainbow messages. (Getty/Leon Neal)

Stunned residents of Readings have delivered heartfelt tributes to the three victims, while community leaders rally to raise funds for a memorial in Forbury Gardens.

Reading Pride chief executive Martin Cooper said in a statement sent to PinkNews that the three victims were not only friends of Reading Pride, but friends of his own.

“The individuals taken were personal friends of mine,” he wrote.

“They were supporters of Reading as a community and of Reading Pride. James, Joe, and David were true gentlemen. Each with their own unique personality.

“They were regulars of the Blagrave, a community pub, whose regulars will be in mourning

“They were a support network for individuals, and I know they will be sorely missed by many.”