LONDON (Reuters) – A man accused of carrying out a stabbing spree in the southern English town of Reading last week in what police said was a terrorist attack appeared in court on Monday charged with three counts of murder.
Khairi Saadallah, 25, is accused of attacking groups of people in a park in the town on June 20.
He appeared before London’s Westminster Magistrates Court by videolink from a courtroom in Coventry, central England.
Wearing a grey sweatshirt and a face mask, he spoke only to confirm his name and age and that he lived in Reading, west of London. A security source had previously told Reuters that the suspect was a Libyan national.
The court was told by prosecutor Jan Newbold that families were enjoying a pleasant evening in Forbury Gardens when the attack took place.
Saadallah is accused of targeting a group of seven friends, stabbing three fatally – James Furlong, 36, and David Wails, 49, from Britain and US national Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39.
Another of the group required 28 stitches to a head wound. Two other men who were sitting with friends nearby were also stabbed, one in the back while the other suffered a cut to his cheek.
An off-duty police officer who was at the scene followed the suspect from the park and he was later arrested nearby.
Saadallah also faces three counts of attempted murder.
His lawyer Shibil Hammudi said his client would not enter a plea yet. The case was adjourned to London’s Old Bailey central criminal court for a hearing on July 1.
Reporting by Michael Holden, writing by Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison
Image: A police officer stands behind a tape used at the scene of reported multiple stabbings at West George Street in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain June 27, 2020. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne