At least two people are being treated for knife wounds in hospital, while a source said there had been three fatalities – but this has not been confirmed by emergency services. The attack took place at Forbury Gardens at 7pm Saturday and is being treated as a terror-related incident. A man was arrested at the scene and taken into police custody, Thames Valley Police (TVP) said.
Lawrence Wort was at the park when the stabbing took place and recalled his horror at realising the attacker was “running towards me”.
He told Sky News: “So 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 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.”
Police set up a cordon after an attack in Forbury Gardens
A second witness says she saw emergency services carry out CPR on at least three people.
She told the Daily Mirror: “My husband and I were walking back from Tesco after a grocery run, we always walk there.
“We take a break halfway at Forbury Gardens. I sat with my bags, drank water. I heard some children scream and cry, and assumed they were cranky.
“I was pointing to a mound and told my husband it would be perfect for a picnic spot. That’s when I heard sirens.
“We saw emergency services perform CPR. We rushed outside the gardens and continued walking onto Friar Street.”
Initial reports suggested the attack may have linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, but this has been dismissed by the police.
Organisers claim the event, which was peaceful, ended two hours prior to the attack and attendees had dispersed.
Thames Valley Police confirmed: “There is no indication that this incident is linked to the Black Lives Matter protest that took place in Reading today.”
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Reading terror attack: The stabbing is being treated as a terror incident
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel says she is “deeply concerned” by the events.
Jason Brock, leader of Reading Council, said: “Concerning reports from Reading town centre – please stay clear of the area as Police are dealing with a serious incident.”
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“Officers are on the scene and investigating the incident.”
The National Police Chief’s Council tweeted: “Please avoid speculation or sharing of video or images of the serious incident in Reading.
“An investigation will be ongoing.”
Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer echoed this message and added the incident was “very concerning”.
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“Please do not speculate or share footage online. Help the police. All information should be provided to Thames Valley Police.”
Security Minister James Brokenshire also called for information to be passed on to Thames Valley Police.
He wrote: “Deeply distressing reports of a major incident in Reading this evening.
“Thoughts with everyone affected and all frontline responders dealing with the situation. Important not to speculate & let the police do their job.”