READING Borough Council leader Jason Brock spoke about the town's "dignified and compassionate" response to last year's terror attack in Forbury Gardens as he gave a statement on today's sentencing of Khairi Saadallah.

The 26-year-old was today given a whole-life sentence at The Old Bailey after he rampaged through Reading's Forbury Gardens in June last year, killing three people.

Responding to the sentencing, cllr Jason Brock said: "Today’s sentencing brings to an end the court hearing into the Forbury attacks, but we know that for the families and friends of James, David and Joe the pain will remain forever.

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"The thoughts of everyone at Reading Borough Council remain with them today and always, as well as with those injured.

"For Reading’s community as a whole, the horrific events of June 20th are something we will never forget.

"In the dark days which followed the brutal and senseless killings, our town was utterly shocked and appalled.

"The attacks felt very intimate to us all, taking place as they did in the beautiful surroundings of our own Forbury Gardens."

The town was shaken last summer when Saadallah shouted “Allahu akhbar” as he fatally stabbed friends James Furlong, 36, David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, on June 20 as they sat in Forbury Gardens.

Three other people – Stephen Young, 51, Patrick Edwards, 29, and Nishit Nisudan, 34, – were also injured in the horrific attack before Saadallah threw away the eight-inch knife and ran off, pursued by an off-duty police officer.

Saadallah, of Basingstoke Road, Reading, pleaded guilty to three murders and three attempted murders.

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

Mr Brock continued: "But I will also never forget Reading’s remarkable response, which was dignified and compassionate.

"The civic pride and the togetherness, with sets our town and community apart from so many, shone through. That response was personified at the moving vigil which took place a week later.

"Acts of violence like this are designed to divide us, but we must always remember that Reading has a reputation for strong community relations and cohesion across the town – we stand together.

"It remains more important than ever to uphold these local strengths.

"An important part of the healing process will be the creation of a permanent memorial to the victims, and we remain fully committed to this.

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"We will be working with the families of James, David and Joe, alongside their close friends, those who were injured and groups from across our communities, to develop proposals.

"It is essential that a range of groups and individuals, representative of the diverse nature of Reading's community, all have the opportunity to take part in this process and it is important that it is not rushed."