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Reading stabbings: Father demands answers on Saadallah freedom

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Gary Furlong

The father of one of three men murdered in a park terror attack has called on the home secretary to “tell us why” the killer was deemed safe to be free.

Gary Furlong, whose son James, 36, was killed in Reading’s Forbury Gardens attack in June said it was “beyond” him why Khairi Saadallah was considered “not a danger to the public”.

Saadallah was handed a whole-life jail term for murdering Mr Furlong, David Wails, 49, and Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39.

A judge said the attack was “ruthless”.

The Home Office has not yet responded to a BBC requests for comment.

During his trial, London’s Old Bailey heard Saadallah, who arrived in Britain from Libya in 2012, had previously been involved with militias who had been part of the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, and was pictured handling weapons, including firearms.

Khairi Saadallah

image copyrightCTPSE

Analysis of Saadallah’s phone revealed an interest in extremist material and the court heard while at HMP Bullingdon in 2017, he was seen to associate with radical preacher Omar Brookes, who has connections with banned terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun.

Speaking after sentencing, Gary Furlong, from Liverpool, said Priti Patel needed to “tell us why this guy wasn’t put into some form of detention centre before they could deport him”.

“He was not safe to be released back on the streets,” he added.

Saadallah, 26, had been told just before his release from prison that the Home Office wanted to deport him, but it was not legally possible due to the situation in Libya.

He was released from custody on 5 June, and proceeded to research the location for his attack online and carry out reconnaissance in the park.

David Wails, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and James Furlong

image copyrightFamily handouts

Following concerns from his brother, police visited the killer, but he told officers he was “alright” while he stood near to a knife he bought from a supermarket.

Gary Furlong said: “Given the volume of crimes he’s committed and the information that they had on him, for an assessment to be done the night before to say that he’s not a danger to the public – it is beyond me.

“How was he ever allowed to stay in this country? How was he allowed in, in the first place?”

The Old Bailey heard Saadallah “executed” the men as an “act of religious jihad” on the afternoon of 20 June.

He was jailed on Monday having previously admitting the three murders and the attempted murders of three other men.

History teacher James Furlong and pharmaceutical manager Mr Ritchie-Bennett each died from a single stab wound to the neck, while scientist Mr Wails was stabbed once in the back.

Despite treatment from paramedics and doctors, all three friends, who were members of the LGBT community, died at the scene.

Mr Furlong described his son as “an amazing, kind boy” who was loved by family, friends and students.

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This post courtesy of uk-news

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