Failed asylum seeker dodged deportation and murdered three, court hears

A failed asylum seeker who stabbed three innocent people to death in Reading had dodged deportation for more than seven years and hid a jihadi past, according to prosecutors at the Old Bailey.

The foreign killer, Khairi Saadallah, pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and three additional attempted murders that took place in Forbury Gardens, Reading last summer.

He denies terror charges on the basis that his crime lacked substantial planning or ideological cause, despite reports that he yelled “Allah Akhbar” and “victory on infidels” during the attack.

Presenting her evidence of terrorist motives, prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said: “the defendant believed in carrying out this attack he was acting in pursuit of an extremist ideology he appears to have held for some time.”

She pointed to photos from the social media service Facebook, depicting Saadallah posing with weapons in 2011 while a member of the now-proscribed terror organisation Ansar Al Sharia.

“The defendant was involved in military activities, showing him not to have been reluctant or somehow rather fearful of involvement, but proud of what he was doing” said Ms Morgan.

He came to the UK in 2012 but was refused asylum before “absconding” in 2013 and quickly returning to the view of authorities with a string of criminal convictions. He’d had six convictions for eleven crimes since June 2015 and was jailed for 25 months in October 2019 before the sentence was slashed.

His criminal offending made him a candidate for deportation in 2019, when the Home Secretary “had determined deportation was in the public good” but the deportation was not carried out “because of what was described as a legal barrier.”

“The legal barrier that prevented him from being deported was purely and simply the circumstances as they existed in Libya at that time” according to prosecutors.

After his release from prison in June 2020 he stabbed six men in Reading, killing three, in an attack that Ms Morgan described as “brutal” and “ruthlessly efficient”. His victims were James Furlong, 36, Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, and David Wails, 49.

The revelation about failed deportation may lend weight to new reforms being considered by the Home Secretary Priti Patel, which could include the elimination of human rights loopholes for serious criminals.

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