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Boris Johnson urged to make sure there’s never a repeat of Reading terror attack that claimed three gay men’s lives

Emma Powys Maurice January 12, 2021
David Wails, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and James Furlong (L-R) have been named as the victims of the Reading terror attack.

(From L-R) David Wails, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and James Furlong (L-R) have been named as the victims of the Reading terror attack. (Facebook/Thames Valley Police)

Boris Johnson has been urged to implement safeguards to ensure the Reading terror attack that took the lives of three gay men never happens again.

Khairi Saadallah, 26, was jailed for life on Monday (11 January) for a knife rampage that took the lives of three gay men: James Furlong, 36, David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39.

Following the sentencing, Paul Britt, the chair of Reading Pride appealed to the prime minister to coordinate with local organisations to make sure this horrifying act of violence is never repeated.

“With the tragic loss of life, the sentencing may help provide closure to help start the healing process within our community,” he told reporters for Berkshire Live.

“We continue to urge the prime minister, central and local government along with support organisations to work together and implement future safeguards to help prevent this from happening again.”

He added: “We confirm our commitment to work with the Reading community to remember Joe, James and David. Our thoughts go out to the families, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.”

Reading
Tributes are laid outside the Reading school where one of the victims of the terror attack, James Furlong, worked as a teacher (Leon Neal/Getty)

The three victims were all beloved members of the local LGBT+ community, and had been sitting in Reading’s Forbury Gardens when they were knifed by Saadallah.

Their friend Stephen Young was also injured, as well as another pair who had been nearby, Patrick Edwards and Nishit Nisudan.

Khairi Saadallah denied a terror motive, yet was heard shouting words the effect of “Allahu akbar” during the attack.

At the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Sweeney made Saadallah subject to a whole life order, a sentence that means he will spend the rest of his life behind bars with no prospect of release.

But there was little sense of justice for James Furlong’s partner, Tony Belicard, who is still grappling with the consequences of Saadallah’s actions.

“I don’t feel any satisfaction, I’m not satisfied, it’s not a happy ending,” he said after the sentencing.

“It’s just something that’s done and I don’t want to hear about this guy anymore. If only he fell into oblivion. I don’t want to hear about him anymore and I’m glad he won’t hurt any other people.”

More: Boris Johnson, extremism, Khairi Saadallah, Reading terror attack

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