Reading terrorist who killed 3 men in knife rampage sentenced to life in prison
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A terrorist who fatally knifed three men in a park in Reading has been given a life sentence in prison.
Khairi Saadallah, 26, was aiming to kill as many people as possible during the attack in Forbury Gardens on June 20 last year, the Old Bailey was earlier told.
History teacher James Furlong, 36, scientist David Wails, 49, and US citizen Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, were all pronounced dead at the scene.
They were enjoying a summer evening in the park after the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Saadallah, a Libyan refugee of Basingstoke Road, Reading, shouted "Allahu Akhbar" during the attack and wounded three other people.
Saadallah – who arrived in the UK in 2012 after fleeing civil war in his country – threw away the eight-inch knife and ran off, pursued by an off-duty police officer.
As he was detained, a Muslim member of the public told him: "You have nothing to do with Islam, bastard," adding: "I am just livid."
Saadallah, who was refused asylum, had previously been involved with militias who had been part of the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi and was pictured handling weapons, including firearms.
Since living in Britain he had been repeatedly arrested and convicted of various offences, including theft and assault, between 2013 and last year.
He developed an emotionally unstable and anti-social personality disorder, with his behaviour worsened by alcohol and cannabis misuse, the Old Bailey was earlier told.
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In 2017, he was in jail at HMP Bullingdon at the same time as prominent radical preacher Omar Brooks, who is associated with the banned terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun.
Saadallah, wearing a grey jacket over a sweater and a red and white hat, showed no emotion as he was sentenced at the Old Bailey in London today.
Mr Justice Sweeney said he had "no doubt that this is a rare and exceptional case in which just punishment requires you must be kept in prison for the rest of your life".
He added: "His attack on them was so swift, ruthless and brutal that none of them had any chance to react, let alone to defend themselves.
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"Using his combat experience in each of their cases the defendant targeted a vulnerable area where a single thrust of the knife would, as he intended, inevitably cause death."
The judge said the defendant had done substantial planning.
He added: "During the course of the attack and afterwards and because he was seeking to advance a political, religious or ideological cause, the defendant was shouting in Arabic, 'God is the greatest' and 'God accept my jihad'."
He rejected the argument that Saadallah was suffering a mental illness at the time of the killings.
His victims' families appeared emotional as the judge sentenced Saadallah to a whole-life term.
He was also sentenced to recurrent 24-year jail terms for each count of attempted murder.
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