Boris Johnson has said he was “appalled and sickened” after police declared the murder of three people in a Reading park to be a terrorist attack. 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.
Investigators have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.
The Prime Minister has held a meeting with security officials, police and senior ministers over the incident.
In an interview in Downing Street, Boris Johnson said he is “appalled and sickened that people should lose their lives in this way and our thoughts are very much with the family and the friends of the victims today”.
“I’ve obviously talked to the chief constable at Thames Valley Police, thanked him and his officers for their bravery in tackling the suspect.
Boris Johnson has vowed to take any action necessary after the attack
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“We now have someone in custody. The police must get on with their job, get to the bottom of exactly what happened, and so it would be difficult really to comment in detail.
“Except to say this, if there are lessons we need to learn about how we handle such cases, how we handle the events leading up to such cases, then we will learn those lessons and we will not hesitate to take action where necessary.”
One of the patients admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital has been discharged, while another remains in a stable condition under observation, a spokeswoman said.
Reading town centre was quiet on Sunday morning, with few people on the streets.
Boris Johnson has said he was “appalled and sickened”
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.”
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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.
Mr Basu said there was no evidence to suggest anyone attending crowded places is at risk, but asked people to “be alert, not alarmed, when you are in public”.
He also said counter-terror police would be working “around the clock”, and thanked 41 witnesses who had come forward to assist with their inquiries.
Personal trainer Lawrence Wort, 20, who said he was around 10 metres from the attack, told PA on Saturday night: “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.”