Three people died in the stabbing attack in Reading’s town centre. Witnesses described the moment the horrific aggression ensued, causing people to frantically shout “run”.
“Everyone was just having fun and then suddenly a man shouted,” said Lawrence Wort, who had been sitting nearby.
The 20-year-old said he could not understand what the person was saying or in what language the attacker was speaking.
He described what looked like a man holding a “massive knife”.
“He stabbed the first person – they were sat in a circle in a big group of about eight to ten people – and he darted round anti-clockwise, got one, went to another, stabbed the next one, went to another and stabbed them.”
The suspect was detained at the scene by unarmed officers.
He is still in police custody in suspicion of murder, although as well as those killed, three more people were injured.
Greg Wilton, who tried to assist the victims, said he has been left “very shocked and shaken”.
He was sitting in the park with his wife and three friends, after listening to speeches at a Black Lives Matter demonstration held in the park earlier in the day.
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“Me and my friend, Tom, put a second victim in the recovery position and tried to stem his bleeding from his ear with my canvas shopping bag.”
Residents of the city described the feeling of shock and fear after the stabbings.
“I was scared to be here but I have to be here for work,” said Marie Castro, from Slough, who works at a coffee shop in the town.
The attack “doesn’t seem right for Reading”, she said.
“It’s multicultural and really friendly. I was really shocked when I heard the news”
Alice Penney, who moved to Reading from Kent a year ago, said she left the area to go to a friend’s house upon hearing the news.
“I was absolutely mortified. I had been at the protest a few hours earlier when I heard the news. It was something I couldn’t process.
“I feel like we cheated death. It’s a safe place, normally. It’s very confusing.”
James Hill, from Reading, said: “I’ve come here today because I’ve lived in Reading all my life.
“This park is very close to my heart – I know it very well – and I feel obliged when something as bad as this happens, that I play my part and make a tribute.”
One card left near the scene reads: “There are no words that anyone can say to express how horrible and senseless this was.”