Libyan suspect in court over UK's deadly knife attack in Reading

Khairi Saadallah faces three counts of murder and three of attempted murder over the June 20 attack in Reading.

A 25-year-old Libyan asylum seeker has made his first appearance before a court after being accused of stabbing three men to death with a kitchen knife in the town of Reading in the United Kingdom.

Wearing a gray prison-issue tracksuit and a blue face mask, Khairi Saadallah on Monday spoke only to confirm his name, birth date and address before London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court by video link from a courtroom in Coventry, central England.

No plea was entered and he was remanded in custody until a further hearing on Wednesday.

Saadallah faces three counts of murder and three of attempted murder over the June 20 attack in Reading, 64km (40 miles) west of London.

Friends James Furlong, 36, David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, were enjoying a warm Saturday evening in the town’s Forbury Gardens park when they were stabbed.

Each died from a single stab wound. Three other men were injured. Police have declared the stabbings a “terrorist attack”.

Prosecutor Jan Newbold said Saadallah stabbed his victims “without warning or provocation” while shouting “words to the effect of ‘Allahu akbar'” – the Arabic phrase for God is great. 

The case came after two previous high-profile knife attacks near London Bridge, central London, in November last year, and another in Streatham, in the south of the capital, in February.

Two people were killed in the first and three people injured in the second. Armed police shot dead the perpetrators in both attacks.

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