Man threatened to kill more people after attack on Sir David Amess, court told

Ali Harbi Ali, from Kentish Town, north London, has denied preparing terrorist acts and murder.

22 March 2022

A knifeman threatened to kill four more people after launching a frenzied attack on Sir David Amess, a court has heard.

Ali Harbi Ali, 26, stabbed the veteran Tory MP 21 times after arranging an appointment in Leigh-on-Sea on October 15 last year, jurors heard.

Yvonne Eaves and her partner Darren King arrived at Belfairs Methodist Church for the next meeting, only to be confronted by Ali wielding a bloody knife, the Old Bailey was told.

On Tuesday, jurors heard Ms Eaves’ 999 call, in which she described the fast-moving events.

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

She told the operator that the attacker had killed Sir David and was threatening to kill them and two of the MP’s female staff at the church.

She said: “Please, please, quick. Now the man is wielding a knife, he’s threatened me… He’s killed David Amess at Belfairs Methodist Church.”

Asked what was going on, she said: “He’s still wielding the knife, he’s saying he’s going to go and finish him off. He’s got the knife, he won’t put the knife down.”

Ms Eaves appeared to call out to her partner to “come away”, adding: “It’s horrible, it’s horrible.”

She described the weapon as a “big kitchen carving knife” about 12 inches long.

David Amess death
Screenshot of email contact between Ali Harbi Ali and the office of Sir David Amess (Metropolitan Police/PA)

“We tried to get it off him. He won’t. He’s threatened myself, he’s threatened four people here.

“We need an ambulance as well. He wants to get shot apparently. He wants to be a hero. He wants the police to come and shoot him,” she said.

She said the knifeman was on the phone “spouting some crappy foreign language” while Sir David was in the back of the church.

She went on: “He’s wielding the knife now. He said if we don’t leave him he will stab us, me and my partner, and the two ladies from the constituency here.”

Asked about the casualty, Ms Eaves replied: “He’s dead. He’s dead. He stabbed him multiple times.”

David Amess death
Screenshot of email contact between Ali Harbi Ali and the office of Sir David Amess (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The operator questioned whether they were being held hostage, Ms Eaves said: “No, no, no, we can get out but we cannot get to David to give him any assistance and he’s wielding the knife and he’s saying if you go near him…”

Ms Eaves described the attacker as a black male, about 6ft tall, and with black curly hair.

The operator told her armed units were en route and advised her to take deep breaths.

Ms Eaves seemed agitated as she appeared to call out to her partner: “He’s gonna try and stab you. Darren, Darren come out… He’s trying to stab us.”

The court heard that two unarmed plain-clothes police arrived on the scene and apprehended Ali, who dropped the knife.

Earlier, prosecutor Tom Little QC took the jury through a timeline of events leading up to the 69-year-old MP’s death.

Sir David Amess
Sir David Amess (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

Police pieced together Ali’s activities from hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and data from his laptop and mobile phone.

The court heard Ali had looked up a web page about Sir David before carrying out reconnaissance at the Houses of Parliament on September 22 last year.

His web history also showed searches last September relating to Government minister Michael Gove, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and London MP Mike Freer, jurors heard.

On September 27, Ali emailed Sir David’s office to ask about a meeting, claiming he was moving to the area and was interested in churches and healthcare.

Sir David’s aide Rebecca Hayton told Ali the earliest appointment was October 15, which he agreed to after initially saying his schedule was “rather hectic”.

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

He told Ms Hayton: “I don’t really know how long the appointments are but I don’t think I’ll take too long. Thanks for all the help so far.”

The jury watched CCTV footage of Ali travelling by train from his north London home to Leigh-on-Sea, wearing a long khaki jacket, a black backpack slung over his shoulder.

He was seen walking alongside unsuspecting members of the public, including schoolchildren, and along residential streets.

In one clip, Ali can even be seen appearing to offer directions to a passenger at Barking train station as he waited on the platform for his connection.

There was also an approximately 25-minute gap where Ali appeared to be waiting near the church after arriving too early for his midday appointment.

At about the time of the attack, Ali sent a WhatsApp message apologising to family and friends, explaining it was “for the sake of Allah”.

Ali then spent 14 minutes on the phone to his sister, aborting the call when he was arrested.

Mr Little told jurors a number of people replied to Ali’s message expressing “shock”.

Ali, from Kentish Town, north London, has denied preparing terrorist acts and murder.

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