Jurors shown footage of plain-clothes police officers stopping MP murder suspect

Two Essex police officers, armed only with a baton and CS spray, pinned suspect Ali Harbi Ali to the floor, a court was told.

24 March 2022

Jurors have been shown footage of the moment a knife-wielding terror suspect accused of murdering MP Sir David Amess was tackled by two plain-clothes police officers.

Video showed Essex police constables Scott James and Ryan Curtis ordering Ali Harbi Ali to drop a bloody, foot-long carving knife before charging at him and pinning him to the floor.

In the aftermath, 26-year-old university drop-out Ali could be heard describing himself as “a happy guy” who was “prepared to die”, before asking the officers to put his glasses back on his face.

One of the officers replied: “Mate, that’s not our concern.”

David Amess death
Bodycam footage at Betfairs Methodist Church in the aftermath of Sir David Amess being stabbed to death (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The stand-off happened within minutes of Conservative backbencher Sir David being knifed more than 20 times as he held a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea.

Pcs James and Curtis were in the area on October 15 2021 trying to find an unrelated wanted suspect when they were called to Belfairs Methodist Church, where Sir David’s meeting was being held, the Old Bailey heard.

The duo arrived to be told the 69-year-old politician had been “stabbed several times”.

The pair, armed only with batons and incapacitant spray, ran into the building and came face to face with the suspect.

The officers shouted: “Drop that knife.”

One added: “It’s only going to go one way. Please drop that knife.”

David Amess death
Ali Harbi Ali walking between Leigh-on-Sea railway station and Belfairs Methodist Church (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The pair then charged at Ali, who is said to have been on a 14-minute phone call with his “hysterical” sister at the time.

Ali then said: “My phone’s rung, it’s the family.”

Shouting, as if to ensure the caller could hear, he added: “Don’t worry. The police got me. They’re not gonna shoot.”

Ali was taken into custody, where he allegedly told the booking-in officer the incident was both “terror” related and had “religious” motivations.

Sir David Amess death
Ali Harbi Ali in the dock at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Ali had managed to arrange an appointment with Sir David by duping the veteran politician’s office into believing he was a healthcare worker moving to the area who wished to discuss local matters.

Rebecca Hayton, Sir David’s junior aide who was with him at the surgery, previously described seeing Ali stand up, say “sorry”, pull a knife from his clothing, and stab the married father-of-five.

Other witnesses said Ali had a look of “self-satisfaction” as though he had “achieved something” in the moments after the attack.

Darren King, who ran to the scene after the alarm was raised, recalled his own tense stand-off with the armed assailant, telling police Ali claimed he killed Sir David due to the Government’s bombing campaign in Syria and wanted to be shot by officers.

Sir David died from multiple stab wounds to the chest, some 15cm deep, and was pronounced dead at the church.

The trial previously heard how Ali allegedly spent years hatching his plot, researching a number of potential high-profile political targets including Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Sir Keir Starmer, before settling on Sir David.

Ali, from Kentish Town in north London, denies preparing terrorist acts and murder.

The trial continues.

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