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Mother of murdered NI scientist says his killer is an 'evil monster'

Ex-Queen's researcher was stabbed along with two others in Reading last year

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Murderer: Khairi Saadallah being visited by police officers at his flat the day before he stabbed three people to death

Murderer: Khairi Saadallah being visited by police officers at his flat the day before he stabbed three people to death

PA

Murderer: Khairi Saadallah being visited by police officers at his flat the day before he stabbed three people to death

The mother of a former scientist in Belfast has said the murder of her son in England was "cruel, inhumane and cowardly".

David Wails (49), a former post-doctoral researcher at Queen's University, Belfast, was one of three men killed in a Reading park.

The others were history teacher James Furlong (36) and pharmaceutical manager Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, a 39-year-old US citizen.

They died after being stabbed in Forbury Gardens on June 20 last year as they enjoyed a summer's evening.

Khairi Saadallah (26), shouted "Allahu akbar" during the rampage, during which he attempted to murder three others before fleeing.

Victim impact statements were read in court yesterday.

Joan Wails, the mother of Mr Wails, said in her statement to the Old Bailey: "I actually don't know where to start when trying to explain how I feel about the brutal killing of my wonderful, caring, loving son David and how it has affected me.

"There was no sense in David's death, it was cruel, inhumane and cowardly. The pain I feel in my heart is unbearable.

"What this person did to David and his two friends is monstrous. That's what my family and I refer to him as, a monster.

"He is an evil murderer who has cowardly taken the life of my son and his friends."

A statement was also read by Alison Morgan QC yesterday, submitted by Mr Furlong's father Gary Furlong on behalf of the family, including his mother Jan, his brother Gary, his sister-in-law Laura and his two nieces.

It read: "James was a remarkable person, an unfailingly kind and compassionate man. He was a gentle, deeply caring soul and a great support to those he knew.

"James was gay. He first came out as gay to his mother and then later to the rest of his family. He was worried that it might change things, but it only made us all closer. As a parent, to have a child is the greatest gift. To lose a child is unbearable, but to lose a child in such a cruel and violent way is excruciating."

Mr Furlong's partner, Tony Belicard, told the court the pair met in February 2019 and shared the "same hobbies and the same ideals".

He said: "We had many plans, moving in together, meeting my parents, he was learning French, we even talked about adopting a child. James was an incredibly kind person, and if this murderer had asked him for help instead of taking his life, James would have reached out without any hesitation."

Saadallah, who has admitted three murders and three attempted murders, sat through the statement with his head bowed.

Mr Ritchie-Bennett's family gave statements through video link from Philadelphia.

His mother Charlene said: "Everyone loved Joe and he always included everyone in his life. He cared deeply for family, friends and co-workers.

"He always saw the good in people and accepted them as we accepted him.

"He loved a good challenge and never ceased to amaze our family with his love for us and his accomplishments in life."

She called Saadallah "nothing but a failure" who "brutally killed three of the nicest men in the world".

Sentencing is due to take place on Monday.

Belfast Telegraph


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