Khairi Saadallah, 26, is alleged to have bought a large kitchen knife the day before the Reading attack (Image: Internet Unknown)

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Reading terror attacker Khairi Saadallah, who executed three men in a park and injured three others, has been sentenced to life in prison.

Saadallah, 26, shouted "Allahu Akhbar" during the violent spree on June 20 last year.

The defendant, of Basingstoke Road, Reading, pleaded guilty to three murders and three attempted murders and appeared at the Old Bailey on Tuesday for the start of his sentencing.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said Saadallah, originally from Tripoli in Libya, aimed to kill as many people as possible in the name of violent jihad.

He launched the attacks in Forbury Gardens, Reading, as numerous people, including the victims, were enjoying the summer evening as the first lockdown restrictions in England were relaxed.

(L-R) David Wails, 49, US citizen Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, and James Furlong, 36, were all fatally stabbed

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History teacher James Furlong, 36, scientist David Wails, 49, and US citizen Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, were fatally stabbed.

As he was detained, a Muslim member of the public told him: "You have nothing to do with Islam, bastard," adding: "I am just livid."

On Monday, Mr Justice Sweeney sentenced him at the Old Bailey to a whole-life order, saying it was a "rare and exceptional" case.

The judge said: "The two groups were each doing nothing more than sitting in gardens, a focal point of Reading since the 18th century."

A court sketch of Saadallah in the dock at the Old Bailey
(Image: Julia Quenzler / SWNS.COM)

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The victims were each killed with a single thrust of the knife with the attack lasting less than a minute.

Mr Justice Sweeney said: "His attack on them was so swift, ruthless and brutal that none of them had any chance to react, let alone to defend themselves.

"Using his combat experience in each of their cases the defendant targeted a vulnerable area where a single thrust of the knife would, as he intended, inevitably cause death."

Police tents in Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre, after Khairi Saadallah launched a two-minute stabbing spree
(Image: PA)

Forensic officers carrying out a search near Forbury Gardens, in Reading town centre, after Khairi Saadallah launched a two-minute stabbing spree
(Image: PA)

The judge said the defendant had done substantial planning.

He added: "During the course of the attack and afterwards and because he was seeking to advance a political, religious or ideological cause, the defendant was shouting in Arabic, 'God is the greatest' and 'God accept my jihad'."

He rejected the argument that Saadallah was suffering a mental illness at the time of the killings.

Since arriving in Britain in 2012, Saadallah had been repeatedly arrested and convicted of various offences, including theft and assault, between 2013 and last year.

He was released from HMP Bullingdon on June 5, just days before the attack.

Saadallah had developed an emotionally unstable and anti-social personality disorder, with his behaviour worsened by alcohol and cannabis misuse, the court has heard.