Minute's silence held at local pub of Reading attack victims as community pays tribute to 'the most kindest people'

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  • June 22, 2020
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A minute’s silence has been held outside of the local pub of the three victims of the suspected terror attack in Reading.

The stabbings in Forbury Gardens on Saturday afternoon left three friends dead and three others injured.

David Wails was named locally on Monday afternoon , after tributes were paid to Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, originally from Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, and history teacher James Furlong, 36.

Dozens gathered outside The Blagrave Arms pub in Reading on Monday night to pay tribute to the three men.

A note left outside by the owners said they “were regular customers and very dear friends of ours”.

Jamie Wake paid tribute to the victims (PA)

It said: “The Blagrave Arms management and staff are devastated at the announcement that the three people who died in the Forbury Gardens attack on Saturday were 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; out of respect for them and our customers, we will not be doing any interviews or be making any comment.”

Alongside the names “Dave, James and Joe”, the text said: “We will never forget you. RIP.”

David Wails was named locally on Monday afternoon (Facebook)

Ahead of the minute’s silence outside the pub, Jamie Wake, a friend of the victims, told reporters that he can’t “make sense of the senseless”.

He said: “I wish I could stand here and say that I can make sense of the senseless. Sadly today, like many others, I can’t.

“We become so used to seeing incidents like this on the television. This time, we cannot change the channel. This time, it’s on our doorstep.

“And this time, it’s happened to people we know.

Joe Ritchie-Bennett

“The LGBT community and our allies, here in Reading, are close family, and we’re stood here outside the Blagrave, a place we call home, and a safe space for so many members of our community.

“A place that today we have all been drawn to as we unite together, to mourn as one.”

Mourners gather outside The Blagrave Arms near Forbury Gardens (PA)

A heart-shaped floral tribute and candles were placed outside the pub as mourners gathered and lay flowers.

Signed “The Blagrave”, a note inside the tribute said: “Our hearts are broken and our thoughts go out to their families and friends; also to the other victims of this disgusting vicious attack.

“Our friends were the kindest, most genuine, and most loveliest people in our community that we had the pleasure in knowing.

“They’ll be forever in our thoughts.”

Mr Furlong was named among the victims (Family handout)

Paul Britt, 43, the chairman of Reading Pride, attended the gathering on Monday and said it was “a testament to the community of Reading”.

He said: “This pub has been closed due to Covid so everyone has been feeling isolated in their grief, but this was an opportunity for people to come together to comprehend their grief collectively.

“It has been cathartic for many people.”

Flowers placed outside The Blagrave Arms (PA)

A 25-year-old man, named as Khairi Saadallah, was arrested in connection with the incident and remains in police custody.

Detectives were on Monday granted a warrant of further detention until June 27.

Reading Attack Tributes – In pictures

Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, head of CTPSE, said: “This investigation is continuing at pace. We have a large team of officers and staff working to establish exactly what happened in the lead up to, during and after this incident.

“Our thoughts very much remain with the family and friends of those who have lost loved ones and those who have been injured and affected as a result of this tragic incident.

“I would ask both the media and the public again not to speculate on any aspect of this case at this time as this could have an impact on the ongoing investigation and any future court appearances.”