Reading terror attack: Minute's silence to be held for victims of stabbing which killed three people

First victim of attack named as 'kind and gentle' teacher James Furlong

Conrad Duncan
Monday 22 June 2020 08:25 BST
Met Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu issues statement following Reading terror attack

A minute’s silence will be held for those who have been killed or injured in the Reading stabbing attack on Saturday after the first victim from the incident was named.

The mayor of Reading, David Stevens, said the minute’s silence would take place at 10am on Monday morning, privately to maintain social distancing, and flags in the town’s Civic Offices would be flown at half-mast this week to pay respect to the victims and their families.

Three people died and three others were seriously injured when a man with a knife attacked people in Forbury Gardens, Reading, on Saturday evening.

A 25-year-old Libyan man, named as Khairi Saadallah, was arrested under the Terrorism Act over the attack.

It came as tributes poured in for James Furlong, a teacher at The Holt School in Wokingham, who was named as one of the three victims who lost their lives.

Mr Furlong was described as “beautiful, intelligent, honest and fun” by his parents Gary and Janet in a statement released through police.

“He was the best son, brother, uncle and partner you could wish for. We are thankful for the memories he gave us all. We will never forget him and he will live in our hearts forever,” they said.

Students at the school, where Mr Furlong was the head of history and government and politics, will light candles and lay flowers in memory of him this week.

Molly Collins, a former pupil who left the school in 2017, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he was a “loved teacher”.

“I can't find anyone that ever had a bad word to say about him, and to hear that it was him is just so, so sad,” Ms Collins said.

“He was so passionate and enthusiastic about history and about learning, and anything that was boring, anything you didn't find interesting, he would make it interesting.

“He would spend time with you, he got to know people individually, and he just always went the extra mile for everyone.”

She added that the school's local church would be open to light candles and put down flowers, while she and other former students were putting together a memorial book for Mr Furlong's family.

Meanwhile, Anne Kennedy and Katie Pearce, the school’s joint headteachers, said Mr Furlong was a “very kind and gentle man” who cared for all of his students.

It emerged on Sunday that the suspect in the attack briefly came to the attention of MI5 last year but information provided did not meet the threshold for investigation.

Counter-terrorism officers are continuing to investigate the stabbings, with mental health understood to be considered as a major factor in the incident, but police have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.

Boris Johnson said he was “appalled and sickened” by the incident and said he would “not hesitate to take action” if there were lessons to be learned from it.

Additional reporting by PA

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