American named as second victim of Reading terror attack was friends with teacher who also died

American Joe Ritchie-Bennett, left, has been named as one of the victims of the Reading terror attack. (Facebook/PA)

The second victim of Saturday’s terror attack in Reading has been named.

Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, an American from Philadelphia, was one of three people stabbed to death in the knife attack in Forbury Gardens, it was reported.

CBS Eyewitness News in Philadelphia said Ritchie-Bennett was one of the victims killed in the attack.

It reported he had lived in the UK for the past 15 years but that his family are still in Philadelphia.

The first victim of the attack to be named was James Furlong, 36, a teacher described as having a “real sense of duty”. Ritchie-Bennett and Furlong were friends, according to tributes posted on social media.

Joe Ritchie-Bennett was killed in the Reading terror attack on Saturday. (Facebook)

A 25-year-old man, named in reports as Khairi Saadallah, was arrested on suspicion of murder following the attack.

He was later re-arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act, which gives police the power to detain him without charge for up to 14 days.

Read more: Witnesses describe moment attacker stabbed three people to death

Ritchie-Bennett had worked at a Dutch pharmaceutical company in Reading for the past 10 years.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Ritchie-Bennett lost his husband, Ian Bennett, 32, to colon cancer in 2014.

His brother Robert Ritchie, a captain in the Philadelphia police, said: “I love him. I always have. I always will.”

He told the Inquirer: “He was a great guy. He was four years younger than me. I had a paper route at 12 and he helped me every day. I used to buy him something every two weeks to thank him.

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“We used to play together every day. We rode bikes together every day. Our family is heartbroken and beside ourselves. He did not deserve to go out like this.

“No alleged act of terror will ever take away my brother, his memory, or the American spirit. That, no one can take away.”

Read more: Terror suspect ‘came to attention of MI5 last year’

The victim’s father, Robert Ritchie, a retired police chief, told the newspaper his son was an “absolutely fabulous guy”.

He said: "I absolutely love my son with all of my heart and all of my soul.”

US ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson confirmed that an American citizen was killed in the Reading attack.

A police officer stands beside floral tributes to victims of the Reading terror attack outside the entrance to Forbury Gardens. (PA)
Forensic officers work near Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre following Saturday's terror attack. (PA)

He said: "I offer my deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the attack on 20 June.

"To our great sorrow, this includes an American citizen. Our thoughts are with all those affected.

"We condemn the attack absolutely and have offered our assistance to British law enforcement."

The Press Association reported that Saadallah, a refugee of the civil war in Libya, came to the attention of MI5 last year, but the information provided did not meet the threshold of investigation.

PA reported that MI5 received intelligence he planned to travel abroad, possibly for terrorism purposes, but the threat was found to be insubstantial.

Boris Johnson said he was "appalled and sickened" by the incident.