PARK-goers have told of the moment Reading’s knife-wielding maniac turned their quiet drinks with pals into a terrifying bloodbath.
Several small groups were enjoying the sunshine at Finbury Gardens around 7pm yesterday before a ‘Libyan man’, 25, left three people dead and three others seriously injured.
Distressing footage from the scene showed the victims lying on the grass[/caption]
Witnesses said the attacker targeted a group enjoying a drink in the sunshine[/caption]
Air ambulances landed nearby to take the wounded to hospital[/caption]
Emergency services rushed to scene[/caption]
At least 12 people were stabbed during the “random” attack, which Thames Valley Police say they are not treating as terror related.
Stunned witness Lawrence Wort, 20, a personal trainer from Chippenham, described how one unsuspecting group was enjoying a drink in the park when the killer struck.
He said: “The park was pretty full. One group of friends were sitting drinking when one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around, trying to stab them.
“He stabbed three of them, severely in the neck, and under the arms, and then turned and started running towards me, and we turned and started running.
“When he realised that he couldn’t catch us, he tried to stab another group sitting down. He got one person in the back of the neck and then, when he realised everyone was starting to run, he ran out of the park.”
Cops this morning confirmed that three people died in the attack, while three others – believed to have been taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital – are thought to be in a critical condition.
‘BLOOD SPRAYED OUT’
Dan, a 26-year-old local, told The Daily Mirror he was drinking wine in the park with two friends when he noticed a commotion about 20 metres away.
He said he and his pals were enjoying the sunshine when he saw a man approach a group “just in a circle chatting”.
He stabbed three of them, severely in the neck, and under the arms, and then turned and started running towards me, and we turned and started running.
The man drew his attention because he appeared to be racing around the group “tapping them on the head”.
Realising it was an attack, Dan said: “I thought they were playing duck duck goose and thought someone had been sick, we realised it was blood spraying out.”
He and his two friends jumped up and began running as they saw the attacker move toward another group in what he thought was a random attack.
Dan said he saw the man take a blow to a woman’s neck- but couldn’t be sure if he was using a knife as he and his friends never got a close look at the weapon.
He said the woman “dropped like a weight,” adding: “I saw a man with his face bleeding but stood up. When the first two people were stabbed the group stood up, and two of the people who dropped to the ground were stood up.”
The 25-year-old suspect, believed to be Libyan, was reportedly “rugby-tackled” to the ground by a hero cop. The man, from Reading, was later arrested on suspicion of murder.
Armed police and counter-terrorism officers were later seen outside a property in the town’s Basingstoke Road, but it could not be confirmed if this was related to the attack.
Masked officers dressed in tactical gear carrying semi-automatic rifles were seen searching through flats in a residential block.
One flat in the three storey building was lit up by the searchlights of one armed cop, as he motioned to a mum carrying a baby to move from a room.
Thames Valley Police said: “Police attended at around 7pm along with other emergency services.
“Officers arrested a man at the scene who is now in police custody.
“A number of people sustained injuries and were taken to hospital.
“A police cordon is in place in Forbury Gardens as officers investigate. We are asking the public to avoid the area at this time.”
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “Deeply concerned to hear reports of an incident in Reading.
“My thoughts are with everyone involved, including police and emergency responders at the scene.”
Heavily armed cops raided a block of flats nearby after the incident[/caption]
Cops cordoned off the area last night[/caption]