A 25-year-old man accused of stabbing three people to death at a prominent park in Reading, England showed himself in court.
The court found Khairi Saadallah guilty of murder after he stabbed James Furlong, 36, David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, at Forbury Gardens on June 20.
Furlong and Ritchie-Bennett were both stabbed in the neck while Wails was stabbed in the back. All three were declared dead on the spot.
The suspect was also charged for attempting to murder Stephen Young, Patrick Edwards, and Nishit Sudan while the three were relaxing at the park.
An eyewitness who was at the park during the incident said that people were enjoying and relaxing when a yelling man approached people and stabbed them in the neck and under the arms.
Young was said to have needed 28 stitches in his head, while Edwards was stabbed in the back, and Sudan in his face and hand. The three were all released from the hospital and are now in stable condition.
Saadallah was a refugee from Libya since 2012. He appeared before the court on Monday.
Judge Jan Newbold, who was handling the case, alleged that the suspect bought the knife from a supermarket a day before the attack.
He was said to have heard shouting: “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “God is Great.”
CNN, quoting an unidentified source, reported that the suspect may have been mentally ill before police considered the attack as a terrorism move.
Thames Valley Police detective chief superintendent Ian Hunter was quoted as saying that they were keeping an open mind as to the motivation of the stabbing and that the counterterrorism department was supporting the probe.
“[Police] are not looking for any other people in connection with this incident,” he said.
Earlier in the day, a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest took place in the same area but police ruled out any connection with the rally.
“There have been some reports that this incident was linked to the Black Lives Matter protest which took place in Reading earlier this afternoon,” he said. “I can confirm that this incident is not connected. It occurred around three hours after the protest had concluded.”
The current terrorism threat level was set at “substantial” which meant that an attack was a strong possibility. It was last set at the “critical” level following five terrorist attacks in just a year.
PHOTO CREDIT: FLICKR