Maidenhead figures pay tribute to victims of Reading terror attack

George Roberts

The entrance to Forbury Gardens. Image by Google.

Maidenhead figures have paid tribute to the victims of the attack in a Reading Park that took place over the weekend.

On Saturday, at about 7pm, three people were stabbed to death in Forbury Gardens and another three sustained serious injuries.

A 25-year-old man from Reading was arrested on suspicion of murder, and Counter Terrorism Police declared it a terrorist incident.

So far, two of the three deceased have been named as James Furlong, a 36-year-old teacher who worked at a school in Wokingham, and Joe Ritchie-Bennett, an American citizen.

Releasing a statement on Twitter on Sunday morning, council leader Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams) said: “The incident which took place yesterday evening in Forbury Gardens, Reading, was an act of pure wickedness and evil which must be condemned absolutely.

“My thoughts go to the families and friends of those tragically killed and those who have been injured in this senseless attack.

“Furthermore whilst of late there has been, unjustly in my view, criticism of the police, the bravery of the arresting police sergeant acting alone should act as a reminder to us all that they put their lives on the line to keep us safe.

“We should be proud of Thames Valley Police.”

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, minister of Maidenhead Synagogue, added: “I know Forbury Gardens well, next to Reading Prison where I used to be one of the visiting chaplains for many years. It is a lovely park, picturesque and with historic links to a medieval monastery, but will now have a dreadful memory added to it.

“Logically, after previous attacks in London and Manchester, we know that nowhere is immune from unexpected tragedy, but emotionally it still feels shocking when it is so close to us.

“Many of Maidenhead Synagogue members live in Reading, or work there or visit it regularly, so we have all been deeply upset by what happened. We wish much strength to the families of those killed or wounded in dealing with this traumatic time."

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