Counter-terrorism police swooped in on a block of flats to carry out a controlled explosion following the knife attack in Reading which saw three people stabbed to death.
Footage emerged today of what appeared to be a large number of counter-terror police performing a controlled explosion at the residence where the lone assailant who carried out the frenzied attack on Saturday is believed to have lived.
The scene comes after British police today confirmed they were treating the stabbing spree, which saw three people killed and another three injured in Forbury Gardens, Reading, as a ‘terrorism incident’.
During the clip, a group of residents and members of the public gather outside the block of flats as police officers carry out the controlled explosion.
Counter-terrorism police arrive to a block of flats where the suspect who carried out the knife attack in Reading is believed to have lived to carry out a controlled explosion
Members of the public watch as counter-terrorism police enter the block of flats following the frenzied knife attack in Reading on Saturday
Following the frenzied attack, witnesses said the attacker, who also left three others injured, had targeted a group of middle-aged men ‘sitting drinking beer’ and systematically stabbed them ‘in the neck and under the arms’.
The three injured victims were last night understood to be in a critical condition at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was briefed about the incident by security officials and senior ministers on Sunday morning.
The Conservative leader condemned the ‘appalling incident’ and top politicians expressed sympathies for those hurt at Forbury Gardens – a popular park situated next to the ruins of the 12th-century Reading Abbey.
‘Incidents of this nature are very rare, though I know that will be of little comfort to those involved and understand the concern that this incident will have caused amongst our local community,’ Thames Valley Police chief John Campbell said.
Witnesses reported seeing two air ambulances and several police cars rush to the park and one witness described a lone assailant walking through a park filled with people relaxing on the grass and stabbing them at random.
The witness, Lawrence Wort, said: ‘The park was pretty full. A lot of people sat around drinking with friends.
‘One lone person walked though, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them.’
Mr Wort said the assailant stabbed three people ‘in the neck and under the arms and then lunged at another group and ‘got one person in the back of the neck.
Armed police officers stand outside the block of flats in Reading after the knife attack in Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre
Police officers wearing protective clothing are pictured at the block of flats to carry out the raid
The residence (pictured is a general view of the rear of the building) was raided by police following the terrorist attack in Reading
Another person told The Sunday Mirror that one group of people who were attacked were ‘just in a circle chatting’.
The witness said: ‘The assailant was tapping them on the head. Then I thought someone had been sick. But it was blood spraying out.’
Paramedic teams were seen trying to resuscitate the injured as they lay unresponsive on the ground and officials said two people were being treated in the emergency department of Reading’s Berkshire Hospital.
Today officers from Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE), who have been working closely with Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Department, confirmed that the stabbing has now been declared a terrorist incident.
Chief Constable John Campbell of Thames Valley Police added: ‘I am deeply saddened by the events of last night.
‘This was a truly tragic incident and the thoughts of Thames Valley Police are with all those who have been affected.
‘Incidents of this nature are very rare, though I know that will be of little comfort to those involved and understand the concern that this incident will have caused amongst our local community.
‘We will be working closely with our partners over the coming days and weeks to support the Reading community during this time, as well as with CTPSE as they progress their investigation.
‘Police cordons continue to be in place and are likely to be for some time as CTPSE work further to investigate this incident and establish exactly what happened.
‘I would urge the public to avoid the area at this time and thank the community for their patience. We will let you know as soon as the area is back open. I would also ask that the public avoid speculation.
‘We would like to hear from anyone who has video footage. Out of respect for those deceased and injured, along with their loved ones, please do not circulate this footage on social media – this will be incredibly distressing.
A police cordon is put up after three people were stabbed and three others injured following the attack on June 21
‘If you have any information about this incident, please contact us on 101 quoting reference 1159 20/6.’
A Black Lives Matter protest took place at the park earlier but police said there was no indication the two were linked.
‘In terms of the protest and the people who attended from Black Lives Matter, we’re all safe,’ the Reading BLM event organiser Nieema Hassan said on Facebook.
‘None of us are affected. We had all left by the time this happened.’