Children pay tribute to teacher as minute’s silence held for Reading victims

Children today held an emotional minute’s silence for a teacher who was one of three people killed during a knife attack in Reading.

James Furlong, 36, was the head of history, government and politics at The Holt School in Wokingham.

Pupils were seen embracing outside the school gates this morning after placing flowers, pictures and cards in memory of Mr Furlong.

The school described Mr Furlong as a ‘kind and gentle man’ who ‘truly inspired everyone he taught’. Former pupils said he was ‘simply the best’.

Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, was named as the second victim earlier today. The American citizen moved to England 15 years ago and is understood to have been friends with Mr Furlong.

Libyan refugee Khairi Saadallah, 25, is being held over the stabbings in Forbury Gardens near the town centre, which also left another three people injured.

The suspect is understood to have been on MI5’s radar in the middle of last year after being granted asylum in the UK. Mental health is being considered a major factor in the incident.

He was freed from prison for a non-terror offence towards the end of last year. The sentence was said to have been in excess of 12 months.

One witness described how he had stood staring without even blinking as he was arrested.

Deliveroo driver Amir Hadyoon, 31, saw the suspect who was covered in blood arrested outside the job centre on Friar Street, a short distance from Forbury Gardens.

Mr Hadyoon told reporters the man had not resisted the officers, adding: ‘To me it looked very weird because he didn’t say a word. He didn’t care, he was just staring… he was just completely silent.

‘He wasn’t even blinking, he looked really weird.’

Boris Johnson said he was ‘appalled and sickened’ after police declared the murder of three people in a park to be a terrorist attack.

The Prime Minister pledged ‘we will not hesitate to take action’ if there are lessons to be learned.

In an interview in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said his ‘thoughts are very much with the family and the friends of the victims today’.

One of the patients admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital has been discharged, while another remains in a stable condition under observation.

The head of counter terrorism policing, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the motivation for the killings are ‘far from certain’.

Speaking in London, he said: ‘Although the motivation for this horrific act is far from certain, counter-terrorism policing have taken responsibility for leading the investigation.’

He emphasised that the attack was not associated ‘in any way’ with the Black Lives Matter protests that had taken place in the park earlier that day.

Personal trainer Lawrence Wort, 20, said he was around 10 metres from the attack, adding: ‘The park was pretty full, a lot of people sat around drinking with friends, when one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them.

‘He stabbed three of them, severely in the neck, and under the arms, and then turned and started running towards me, and we turned and started running.

‘When he realised that he couldn’t catch us, he tried to stab another group sat down, he got one person in the back of the neck and then when he realised everyone was starting to run, he ran out the park.’