Reading terror attack: Suspect Khairi Saadallah’s brother says he ‘needs time to grieve’

Aiman Saadallah expresses family’s condolences to relatives of three victims killed in Saturday’s attack

Priti Patel on 'tragic' Reading terror attack which left three dead

The brother of a man arrested over the Reading terror attack has issued a statement expressing condolences to the victims.

Khairi Saadallah’s brother, Aiman, said: “I want to express our condolences to the families of the victims that have died and wish a speedy recovery for all those injured.

“I would like to ask the press and media to give me time to grieve and respect my privacy at this difficult time.”

The statement, given to the BBC, follows criticism of social media posts made from an account in the name of Mo Saadallah.

That person, also claiming to be the suspect’s brother, had questioned the accuracy of news reports on the attack and called Britain a “racist country”.

Mohammed Saadallah, who lives in the Libyan capital Tripoli, told Sky News that when he last spoke to his brother the night before the attack, he sounded “sad and alone, maybe depressed”.

“He was a helpful person, he likes to help people and he gives the old people a hand,” he added.

“He goes to the park from time to time. He’s a normal person that loves life.”

The suspect’s sister, who did not want to be named, said the family believed that “Khairi’s a lovely boy who loves life”.

She added: “He liked dancing, singing, smoking, drinking, you know. He’s a normal person.”

Mr Saadallah was under probation supervision at the time of the incident, which happened 16 days after he was released from prison for a non terror-related offence.

The 25-year-old Libyan asylum seeker remains in custody after being arrested under the Terrorism Act.

On Monday, detectives were granted a warrant of further detention until Saturday.

Three victims were killed in Saturday’s attack in which a man with a knife targeted a group of friends sitting in a Reading park.

Tributes have been paid to Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, originally from Philadelphia in the US, history teacher James Furlong, 36, and David Wails.

A heart-shaped floral tribute has been left outside the Blagrave Arms pub, alongside candles and a note describing the trio as “regular customers and very dear friends of ours”.

A message among the flowers paid tribute to the three, adding: “Our friends were the kindest, most genuine, and most loveliest people in our community that we had the pleasure in knowing. They’ll be forever in our thoughts.”

A friend said Mr Ritchie-Bennett and history teacher Mr Furlong were “great supporters” of the LGBT+ community.

“Their loss is a tragedy to so many people,” said Martin Cooper, who is chief executive of Reading Pride.

“They will be sorely missed by myself personally and many in the community.”

David Wails was one of the three victims

Mr Ritchie-Bennett’s father said the attack had caused “some of the worst days of my life” and led to “sleepless nights”.

Speaking in the US, Robert Ritchie-Bennett said: “We’re going to bring him back here and bury him here because we want him close by.”

A friend of the three attack victims, Michael Main, described the “amazing, caring and beautiful men” he had known for six years.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he recalled Mr Wail’s “dry sense of humour” and how “he would do anything for anyone that he could”.

Mr Main said Mr Furlong was a “passionate” and “inspirational” teacher, while Mr Ritchie-Bennett was a “funny and a happy-go-lucky, true and unique individual”.

Three further victims who were injured in the attack have now been discharged from hospital.

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