Reading stabbings: Witness saw man walk up to group of friends and start stabbing people in neck

A witness has told of how he saw a man walk up to a group of about 10 people and stab some of them in the neck and under the arms in a busy Reading park.

Lawrence Wort said the attacker then started running towards him but could not catch him and the perpetrator tried to target another group.

Sky News understands three people have died following the multiple stabbings around 7pm in Forbury Gardens in the centre of the town.

The “major incident” is being treated as terror-related.

Police at the site in Reading. Twitter pic: Cogp79
Police officers secure a police cordon at the Abbey Gateway near Forbury Gardens park in Reading, west of London, on June 20, 2020 following a stabbing incident. - British police said Saturday they were investigating a "serious incident" in the southern English city of Reading, with reports suggesting multiple stabbings. British media said the stabbings occurred in a central park, requiring two air ambulances to be called in. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty I
Police officers secure a cordon at the Abbey Gateway near Forbury Gardens

Mr Wort said he had been around 10 metres from the scene and the attack looked “completely random”.

He said: “So the park was pretty full, a lot of people sat around drinking with friends when one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, 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.

More from Reading Stabbings

Police officers and their vehicles close off a road after reported multiple stabbings in Reading, Britain, June 20, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

‘Terror incident’ in Reading: What we know so far

“When he realised that he couldn’t catch us, he tried to stab another group sat down, he got one person in the back of the neck and then when he realised everyone was starting to run, he ran out the park.”

A man, reported to be Libyan, has been arrested.

Meanwhile, a second witness said she heard sirens and then saw emergency services carrying out CPR on at least three people following the stabbings.

The woman said she was “terrified” by what she viewed in Forbury Gardens and was feeling “very shaken” back home.

Police officers and their vehicles are seen at the scene of reported multiple stabbings in Reading, Britain, June 20, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra
Police officers remain at the scene

The unnamed witness told the Daily Mirror: “My husband and I were walking back from Tesco after a grocery run, we always walk there.

“We take a break halfway at Forbury Gardens. I sat with my bags, drank water. I heard some children scream and cry, and assumed they were cranky.

“I was pointing to a mound and told my husband it would be perfect for a picnic spot. That’s when I heard sirens.

“We saw emergency services perform CPR. We rushed outside the gardens and continued walking onto Friar Street.”

Police checkpoints around Reading

Freelance journalist Claire Gould, who lives near the scene, said she saw two air ambulances land on the nearby Kings Meadow.

She described hearing lots of sirens and said surrounding roads and a retail park had been cordoned off by officers.

She told Sky News: “Forbury Gardens is the main park in the centre of Reading. It’s two minutes from the station.

“It’s the area where people tend to meet friends, especially during lockdown as it’s a large green space. On a sunny day like today, there were lots of people picnicking and socialising.”

Also, a woman from Reading said the stabbings had left her “heartbroken” and she said she did not want the incident to define the Berkshire town.

Mica Blackwell tweeted: “I’ve lived in Reading all my life & I’ve never felt unsafe at Forbury Gardens.

“Tonight’s incident has left me heartbroken for everyone. Don’t let this define our town. We will get through this stronger. Stay safe everyone.”

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