Family remembers ‘brilliant’ victim of UK terror attack

Family remembers ‘brilliant’ victim of UK terror attack
Family remembers ‘brilliant’ victim of UK terror attack

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: The family of a man killed in a terrorist attack last year have spoken on what would have been his 40th birthday, saying his life was “taken away for no reason whatsoever.”

Joe Ritchie-Bennett, from the US, was killed last year alongside two friends, James Furlong and David Wails, in Reading, UK, by terrorist Khairi Saadallah.

Libyan national Saadallah, 26, received a whole-life sentence for the stabbing attack that claimed the three lives and the attempted murder of three more, but relatives of the victims have said they will live forever with the pain he inflicted. 

Ritchie-Bennet’s brother, Robert Ritchie, said: “This terrorist just decided he had the right to cut short all of Joe's hopes and dreams, all of James's hopes and dreams, all of David's hopes and dreams, and the hopes and dreams that the Ritchie family, the Bennett family, the Furlong family and the Wails family had for Joe, James and David.”

The three men had “so much time ahead of them,” he said. “They had half, if not more, of their lives still ahead of them, and it just got taken away for no reason whatsoever, none.”

He added that his brother “was brilliant and handsome, and accepting of everyone.”

Saadallah arrived in the UK as a refugee and committed the attack just two weeks after being released early from a 17-month prison term for assaulting an emergency worker. 

The judge in his case said Saadallah had been trained to fight for the Al Qaeda aligned extremist group Ansar al Sharia in Libya — and had lied about his role in the group when he applied for asylum in the UK.

Gary Furlong, speaking on behalf of James Furlong’s family, said “serious questions need to be answered” about how Saadallah was in a position to perform the attacks that claimed his brother and his friends’ lives.

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