Statement from Reading Refugee Support Group regarding the murders in Forbury Gardens, 20th June 2020

Reading Refugee Support Group’s (RRSG) primary concern is for the welfare and protection of the refugee community in Berkshire, as well as the wider community across the UK. The enormity of this responsibility was tragically highlighted by the events at Forbury Gardens on the 20th June 2020 where three innocent people, James Furlong, David Wails and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, were murdered.

The person arrested for these murders was a client of RRSG. From 2016 onwards RRSG raised concerns with several agencies connected with his support and the protection of the public about his vulnerability, the very poor state of his mental health and the potential for his radicalisation whilst in prison. We were explicit about the threat to public safety which he posed.

RRSG acknowledges that there is much information to which we are not a party concerning the events that lead to the tragedy of 20th June 2020. RRSG’s view is that the individual had a known and significant mental health problem. This was a senseless act of murder for which there is no excuse. Nevertheless, it is one which RRSG believes could have been avoided.

RRSG is committed to working with partner agencies to establish what collective lessons can be learned from this event in order to prevent similar events in the future.

James Furlong, David Wails and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett should still be with us. Our thoughts are with their families and friends.

Nick Harborne,

C.E.O.

Reading Refugee Support Group

12th January 2021

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