Brave police office who rugby tackled and arrested Reading 'terrorist' was an unarmed rookie

THE cop who took down alleged terrorist knife maniac Khairi Saadallah was a rookie who should get a medal for his selfless bravery, sources say.

One said the unarmed PC prevented “many more people dying” when he rugby tackled, pinned down and arrested the alleged spice addict.

The father-of-two PC, who police are not identifying, had been in the force for just 14 months when he was chased the knifeman as members of the public fled.

It came as anti-terror cops revealed Saadallah, 25 — known as Libya — may have known the three dead men, Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, James Furlong 36, and David Wails.

Three others who were injured in the stabbing in Forbury Gardens in Reading, Berks, were discharged from hospital today.

Speaking of the hero PC who helped curb potential bloodshed, a source told The Sun: “He was amazingly brave.

"He’s a great bloke and there’s no doubt he saved many more people from dying.


“He’s an absolute legend. Everyone has been talking about him.

“His family and friends are so proud, as you can imagine.

“Very senior police officers at the force have also expressed their thanks. It’s incredible.

"He’s a credit to the force and policing. We all think he deserves a medal.”

The cop’s courage was saluted as former cons who knew asylum seeker Saadallah said they believed he was heavily hooked on mind-bending jail drug spice.

One gay former associate of the Libyan also claimed that Saadallah once ranted at him: “In my country, ­disgusting people like you would be beheaded.”

The three men who died all drank at The Last Crumb in Caversham, Reading, opposite one of the alleged killer’s old homes.

A former neighbour said: “I used to see them there from time to time. They were lovely guys.”

Another said: “I didn’t think Khairi and his brother drank alcohol and never saw them in there but they may have seen them as they were coming and going.

“The entrance to the pub is just over the road.”

A source added: “Khairi had a Christian cross and rosary tattoo and never talked about Islam or religion, so it’s surprised me to hear he’s now a terror suspect.

“He struck me as more vulnerable than violent.

“It’s still hard to believe he would do anything like this.”

A touching tribute to the victims was pinned on the door of The Blagrave Arms pub, where the three men who died were regulars.

All were praised as great supporters of the LGBT+ community.

The tribute called them “dear friends of ours” and added: “Our hearts go out to their family and friends, and other victims of this horrific incident. Dave, James and Joe, we will never forget you.”

Martin Cooper, the boss of Reading Pride, added that James, Joe, and David were “true gentlemen” and “supporters of Reading as a community and of Reading Pride”.

Mr Ritchie-Bennett was an American who had lived in the UK for 15 years.

Mr Furlong was a teacher at The Holt School in Wokingham where pupils and former colleagues yesterday observed a two-minute silence in his memory.

Mr Wails, the last of Saturday’s victims to be identifed, was a scientist.

A hero dad told yesterday how he tried to save one of the victims at the park by using CPR.

Software developer Brendan Healey, 55, said he ran over to help as he saw the terror unfold.

The dad of two, who had been enjoying drinks and watching football with pals, said he was sitting 100 metres away from the attack.


He told The Sun: “What I saw will stick with me forever and when I saw it I thought, ‘I need to see what I can do to help’.

“I ran over and a couple of guys were already there. I called the ambulance service who told us to turn him over and perform CPR.

"I’m pretty sure it was Joe and I’m pretty sure he was dead. He was unresponsive while I gave him CPR.

"I’m not trained in it but I know roughly what to do.”

Brendan, of Wokingham, added: “I couldn’t see any blood so it wasn’t obvious where he was injured. It was harrowing.

“I was hoping he was just in extreme shock. We must’ve been doing the CPR for five minutes, then the paramedics took over.”

“I wouldn’t want to be called a hero. It was a split-second decision which was the only reasonable thing to do at that moment. I’m just devastated he couldn’t be saved.

“The attacker still being around didn’t cross my mind.

“These killings were abhorrent. So many lives have been destroyed.”

It emerged yesterday that an MP’s aide used his shirt to stem the blood pouring from one victim before doing CPR on another.

James Antell, 25, who works for Tory Chris Loder, was praised by his boss, who called it a “remarkable and extraordinary effort”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel added: “Can I join in tribute to his assistant and to all other first responders who showed great humility, but also that sense of duty in coming together on Saturday in Forbury Gardens to respond and prevent the further loss of life.

“They’re the very best of all of us. I pay tribute to everyone that was part of the emergency response.”

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