Third Reading terror attack victim named as ‘supporter of the LGBT+ community’ who ‘always made people smile’
The third of the Reading attack victims has been named as David Wails, a scientist and “supporter of the LGBT+ community”.
David Wails was one of three men who were brutally killed when a lone attacker began stabbing people in Forbury Gardens, Reading on Saturday (June 20). Three others were wounded in what is being treated as a terror attack – though only one remains in hospital.
According to The Telegraph, Wails was a “a scientist and supporter of the LGBT+ community”.
The other two Reading attack victims, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and James Furlong, were both proud queer men.
A friend of all three, Michael Main, said that Wails “always made people smile”.
“We’d have a lot of banter… it’s sad to know he’s gone so early,” he said, according to the BBC.
Reading attack victims were enjoying a sunny Saturday afternoon in the park.
A police investigation is ongoing and a suspect, Khairi Saadallah, remains in custody after eyewitnesses allegedly saw him muttering “unintelligible words” before launching a frenzied attack on a group of people.
“Everyone was just having fun and then suddenly a man shouted,” Lawrence Wort , who was sitting nearby, told the BBC.
Many were in the park having spent the afternoon attending a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest earlier on.
Police have underlined that the attack was nothing to do with the protest, which had concluded several hours earlier. The motive for the killings remains unknown.
Tributes pour in for Reading stabbing victims.
One of the Reading attack victims, James Furlong, 36, was a school teacher.
“James, a proud gay man, wanted equality for all,” a loved one wrote in a local paper’s condolences book.
“He was an incredibly accepting man,” another wrote. “He was open about his sexuality as a gay man and made it OK for more of us to be as well.”
Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, was also killed. He was an American from Philadelphia who had lived in Britain for the past 15 years and worked at a Dutch pharmaceutical company.
His late husband, Ian, 32, died in December 2014 after a short battle with cancer. “I’m happy for them that they’re back together,” a friend told the Inquirer.
Reading Pride is among the many to have paid tribute to the victims.
“Our thoughts are with the friends and families of those affected, however, we encourage everyone to reach out to your social circle and check in on them at this difficult time,” a statement read.
We are deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the awful events at Forbury Gardens.
Our thoughts are with the friends and families of those affected, however, we encourage everyone to reach out to your social circle and check in on them at this difficult time.#RDGUK pic.twitter.com/CJuB1lCENt
— Reading Pride (UK) (@Reading_Pride) June 20, 2020
A note on the door of The Blagrave Arms in Reading carried a tribute to three “regular customers and very dear friends of ours”.
“Our hearts go out to their family and friends, and the other victims of this horrific incident,” it read.
“Dave, James and Joe, we will never forget you. RIP.”