Libyan Man Who Stabbed, Killed American And Two Others In UK Sentenced To Life In Prison

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A Libyan man who fatally stabbed three people, including an American, in the United Kingdom in June was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole, numerous sources reported.

Khairi Saadallah, 26, pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and to the attempted murders of three other men in a park in Reading, located 40 miles west of London. Judge Nigel Sweeney sentenced Saadallah to a lifetime in prison for the “ruthless and brutal” terror attack, in which the victims “had no chance to react, let alone defend themselves,” the BBC reported.

Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, was killed in the attack after being stabbed in the neck. Ritchie-Bennett had grown up in Philadelphia and moved to England for work 15 years ago. James Furlong, 36, died from a stab wound to the neck and David Wails, 49, died from a stab wound to the back. The three men were friends.(RELATED: Knife Assault In UK Investigated As A Terrorist Attack, American Among 3 Casualties)

Three other men were also injured. 

A witness, Andrew Cafe, said the attack was very brief and occurred on the first day that lockdown restrictions were scaled back in England, according to the BBC. Cafe said Saadallah had a huge kitchen knife and charged towards him shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

Saadallah then dropped the knife and fled the scene, police said. 

The judge said Saadallah was motivated by a “political, religious or ideological cause” and planned the assault. Initially, Saadallah had considered pleading guilty to the “jihad that I done,” but then denied having such motivations, and feigned mental illness. The judge rejected the argument that Saadallah was mentally ill at the time of the attack, according to the Associated Press.

Saadallah arrived in the U.K. from Libya in 2012, and was previously affiliated with militias tied to the uprising against leader Muammar Gaddafi. Police say they found images of ISIS’s flag and Jihadi John, the British militant who appeared in ISIS hostage videos beheading hostages, according to the BBC. 

Saadallah sought asylum in the U.K. and was repeatedly arrested soon after his arrival for various offenses between 2013 and 2020. He was released from prison nearly two weeks prior to the park attack.