Three killed in park stabbing rampage

 

British police have confirmed three people were killed in a stabbing attack in a park in Reading, as they launched a murder investigation.

Thames Valley Police said at this stage they had no evidence to believe the attack was terror-related but that they were keeping an open mind.

They confirmed a 25-year-old man from Reading was arrested on suspicion of murder and was in police custody.

 

 

Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter, Head of Crime, said: "The Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit has launched a murder investigation following this incident.

"We have made one arrest and at this stage we are not looking for any other people in connection with this incident. There is no intelligence to suggest that there is any further danger to the public, however we urge people to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious by calling police."

Police work at Forbury Gardens in the town centre of Reading, Englan. Picture: AP
Police work at Forbury Gardens in the town centre of Reading, Englan. Picture: AP

Residents of the peaceful town of Reading had been enjoying a quiet drink on a warm evening during the UK's lockdown when the horror unfolded.

A witness said they were in shock, believing it was a children's game, rather than a deadly attack.

"I thought they were playing duck, duck goose… then we realised it was blood," a witness said.

Police were searching an address in Reading early on Sunday morning Australian time, which was believed to be linked to the attacker.

At least two air ambulances scrambled to the attack, along with a heavy police presence, with some officers desperately trying to resuscitate victims.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene."

The attack happened at 7pm local time (4am Australian time) where people were gathering in a park, which is one of the few sanctioned activities in the UK lockdown.

 

He lashed out in Forbury Gardens, in Reading's town centre, and was arrested at the scene.

Personal trainer Lawrence Wort, 20, who said he was around 10 metres from the attack, said there were distressing scenes.

"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," he said.

"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."

The incident came after a Black Lives Matter protest in Reading earlier on Saturday local time.

Thames Valley Police ruled out a link between the protest and the incident.

"There is no indication that this incident is linked to the Black Lives Matter protest that took place in Reading today," a statement said.

Nieema Hassan, an organiser of the Reading protest, posted on Facebook that demonstrators had dispersed by the time of the attack.

"In terms of the protest and people that attended from Black Lives Matter, we're all safe, none of us are affected," she said.

"I have goosebumps knowing that this has happened only a few hours after we all peacefully came together today to talk about change and equality and it's pretty heartbreaking that this day has been tarnished with violence."

Two air ambulances and several police vehicles responded to the attack, with images on social media showing a significant police presence.

Originally published as Three killed in park stabbing rampage

An armed police officer stands at a block of flats off Basingstoke Road in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens. Picture: AP
An armed police officer stands at a block of flats off Basingstoke Road in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens. Picture: AP


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