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Royal Courts Of Justice

Final pre-inquest review hearing into deaths of Forbury Gardens murder victims James Furlong, Dr David Wails, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett

Following the final pre-inquest review ahead of the 2024 inquest into the deaths of Forbury Gardens murder victims James Furlong, Dr David Wails, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, the men’s families have issued a statement.

Posted on 19 September 2023

On behalf of the families of James Furlong, Dr David Wails, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, Gary Furlong, father of James, said:

“It is now more than three years since we lost James, David and Joseph in the murderous attack in Forbury Gardens. Their families feel the pain of their loss just as much today as we did then and we all miss them every day. We all think of how they would be living their lives now, if theirs hadn’t been cut short so violently and cruelly.

“It is a relief that the long and necessary preparations for the inquest process are almost complete and that the organisations who will have to give an account of their involvement with Khairi Saadallah have been identified.

“We trust that over the six weeks when the inquest takes place early next year, those people who take the witness stand give a full, fearless and honest account of their organisations’ contact with Saadallah and of any shortcomings in their responsibilities towards him and the wider public.”

The families are represented by Benjamin Burrows, Fiona Huddleston and Lily Hedgman, solictors at law firm Leigh Day.

Leigh Day partner, Benjamin Burrows said:

“The families of James Furlong, Dr David Wails, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett showed great courage and patience as they waited for the criminal trial and appeal hearing of Khairi Saadallah to be completed.

“The preparations for the inquest into the deaths of their loved family members have also necessarily taken time. The examination of events that resulted in the attack in Forbury Gardens in June 2020 will be detailed and involve evidence from many Interested Parties.

“The Leigh Day legal team would like to pay tribute to the fortitude that our clients have already shown and will need to continue to draw on over the six weeks of hearings scheduled to take place in 2024.”

At the pre-inquest review held at the Royal Courts of Justice on Monday, 18 September, Judge Coroner Sir Adrian Fulford heard submissions from the Interested Persons on outstanding disclosure and witness evidence, as well as which witnesses would be called to give oral evidence at the final hearing.

There was also discussion of applications that have been made for anonymity and special measures for the witness from MI5, and for public interest immunity for some of the disclosure. This is due to the sensitive nature of the witness evidence to be heard and the disclosure provided.

The Judge Coroner will be ruling on those matters in due course.

The final hearing of the inquest is scheduled to begin in January 2024 and to take place over six weeks.

Benjamin Burrows
Human rights Inquests Judicial review Prisons

Benjamin Burrows

Benjamin is head of the prison team

Fiona Huddleston (1)
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Fiona Huddleston

Fiona Huddleston is a partner in the consumer law team

Lily Hedgman (1)
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Lily Hedgman

Lily is a associate solicitor in the medical negligence department