Error sees mural to Reading terror attack victims removed

Earlier this summer, elusive Reading street artist ‘Peachy’ used spray and stencils to create a piece in honour of the victims of the horrific attack that took place in Forbury Gardens.

The mural was painted onto Reading Bridge over the River Thames to Caversham under the cover of darkness by the Banksy-esque artist.

It showed three cherubs representing victims James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails set amongst the Forbury Lion.

The three men were murdered by Khairi Saadallah, a Libyan asylum seeker, in Forbury Gardens on June 20, 2020.

Saadallah was sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2021, with an appeal against the sentence being refused in October of that year.

The street art was created soon after the attack to pay tribute to those killed in the attack, but sadly, a blunder from council staff led to the mural being recently painted over.

Peachy was informed that the mural was being painted over on June 29.

Posting on his Instagram account ‘_peachyofficial’  he said: “Last time to see this as I have been informed Reading Borough Council are currently painting over it.”

A subsequent image showing the area of the bridge the mural was on painted over was posted the following day.

A spokesperson for Reading Borough Council has since apologised and confirmed that discussions with Peachy are taking place for a new mural.

The council spokesperson said: “This was a hugely regrettable error and we have made contact with the families to apologise unreservedly for the upset caused.

“A breakdown in communications on the ground meant all of the graffiti on the bridge was painted over, rather than just the one piece which had been agreed. We are in discussion with the artist Peachy to see if they are willing to recreate the artwork.”

READ MORE: Peachy spraypaints Banksy-style artwork on Reading Prison

The artwork could be relocated elsewhere according to the elusive artist, who has spoken to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Peachy’s artwork emerged in May, in addition to type writer spray painting he added to Reading Bridge previously.

He has also done a range of street art across the town including Caversham, Swansea Road and Oxford Road.

A permanent memorial to the three victims was unveiled on the third anniversary of the attack on Tuesday, June 20, this year.

The memorial stone states: “United forever, never will we walk by without remembering you.”

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre