Reading Pride pays tribute to men killed in stabbing

Joe Ritchie-Bennett, David Wails, James Furlong (Facebook)

Reading Pride has paid tribute to the three men who were fatally stabbed in the town’s Forbury Gardens at 7pm on Saturday.

Joe Ritchie-Bennett, David Wails, James Furlong, all knew each other and were regulars at the Blagrave Arms in the town.

In a statement, Martin Cooper, CEO of Reading Pride, said:

“It is with deep sadness that I write this. Friends of Reading Pride have been taken too soon due to the actions of an individual.

“The individuals taken were personal friends of mine. They were supporters of Reading as a community and of Reading Pride.

“James, Joe, and David were true gentlemen. Each with their own unique personality. They were regulars of the Blagrave, a community pub, whose regulars will be in mourning.

“They were a support network for individuals, and I know they will be sorely missed by many.

“We will come together as a community.”

We will work with local authorities as well as with the families and friends of the victims. We will work to make things better and assist if there is any shortfall in any aspect of this atrocity.

“Love Unites, and we must rally together as a community. We must be there for each other.”

Tonight the community gathered outside the community pub Blagrave Arms – known as the “Bla-Bla” – to pay their respects.

Libyan refugee Khairi Sadallah, 25, has been arrested as a suspect under the Terrorism Act.

Locals fear that this may have been a homophobic attack.