Man arrested after three killed in stabbing spree in UK park
A 25-year-old man has been arrested for the murder of three people who were stabbed to death in a British park but police don't believe it was a terror attack.
Three people have been killed and another three are seriously injured after a man went on a stabbing spree in an English park in the southern town of Reading, though police aren't treating the incident as terrorism.
Witnesses said a man went on the rampage at around 6pm on Saturday in Forbury Gardens, stabbing people at random who had gathered in the park on a sunny summer evening in Reading, about 65km west of London.
A 25-year-old man from Reading was arrested on suspicion of murder, police said, adding that they were not searching for any more suspects.
"There is no intelligence to suggest that there is any further danger to the public, however we urge people to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious by calling police," Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter said.
"This is not currently being treated as a terrorism incident, however officers are keeping an open mind as to the motivation for the incident and are being supported by colleagues from Counter Terrorism Policing South East."
A witness who spoke to the BBC, Lawrence Wort, said the attack began when a man suddenly veered toward a group of about eight-to-10 friends and began stabbing them, "so the first three he got so completely out of the blue, he got very badly".
Wort said the assailant locked eyes with him and the person he was with and started coming toward them, but they ran away, at which point the man turned back to attack another group.
"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.
"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."
When everyone started running from the scene, the attacker ran from the park, Wort said.
"My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
Video footage posted on Twitter showed paramedics rushing to help at least three people who were bleeding on the ground.
Reading MP Matt Rodda said the park, located in an historic area of the town, was typically busy on a Saturday evening.
"It's used by people to sit and meet with friends and obviously at the moment people have been meeting there, observing social distancing, and just chatting to friends peacefully in a park," Rodda told Sky News.
"This incident happened in that kind of environment so it's really quite deeply shocking for local people."
Current coronavirus restrictions mean venues like pubs are closed, so many people in Britain gather in parks in the evenings to meet friends.
The attack took place at the site of a Black Lives Matter anti-racism protest in the town earlier on Saturday but police said it was not connected.
"There have been some reports that this incident was linked to the Black Lives Matter protest which took place in Reading earlier this afternoon," Hunter said. "I can confirm that this incident is not connected. It occurred around three hours after the protest had concluded."
© AAP 2020