Sir David Amess suspected Brass Eye-style ‘sting’, court told

Ali Harbi Ali has denied murder and preparation for terrorist acts.

25 March 2022

An alleged terrorist told police Sir David Amess suspected a Brass Eye-style “sting” before he launched a frenzied knife attack.

Ali Harbi Ali, 26, stabbed the veteran Conservative MP 21 times after attending an appointment at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15 last year, the Old Bailey has heard.

He allegedly waved the bloody 12-inch long knife before being apprehended by two unarmed police officers.

On Friday, jurors watched videoed police interviews in which Ali calmly described in detail how he had carried out the attack.

He told police: “Sat down with him. He was quick, but I think he knew straight away something was up.

Ali Harbi Ali court case
Ali Harbi Ali, after being arrested on suspicion of the murder of Sir David Amess (Metropolitan Police/PA)

“Well, it looked awkward ‘cos I was holding my phone, ready to send off, like, a bunch of messages to let my family know what was up.

“Then he must’ve thought that it was a sting from the Labour Party, because he said to me, ‘Oh, you must be very politically inclined. You’re from the Labour Party, you’re not recording me are you?’

“Because .. Brass Eye, they did a thing on him, like, 14 years ago.”

Ali laughed at “Cake”, in apparent reference to a satirical episode about a fake drug.

He went on: “I felt like one minute I was sat down at the table talking to him and the next he was, sort of, dead.

Ali Harbi Ali court case
Ali Harbi Ali at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

“But, yeah, it’s probably one of the strangest days… of my life now, y’know?”

Following his arrest, Ali confirmed it was a “terror attack”, saying: “I mean, I guess yeah, I killed an MP. I done it, so yeah.”

In the next interview, on October 16, Ali was reminded by Police Constable Jody Grogan of what he had said.

Ali responded: “Oh God, I sound stupid there.

“Nah, I just… the way I worded it. (chuckles) It sounds like a Little Britain episode. Um, I just… yeah, it sounded like what a terrorist act is.

“I went into an MP’s surgery and I killed him, so with the idea of vengeance in a way, so I will, guess we’ll get into that a little bit later on.”

Sir David Amess death
Sir David Amess (Chris McAndrew/PA)

Asked to describe how he felt after the killing, as he prayed with blood on his fingernails, he said: “That seems a bit, I don’t know, satanical almost, it’s weird.

“Obviously I’ve killed someone. There’s no doubt about that, but it still doesn’t feel like it.

“Maybe it’s because I feel justified in what I’ve done.”

Asked if he thought he had done a “good deed”, he said: “If I didn’t believe it was a good deed I wouldn’t do it.”

Ali described his previous ambition was to study medicine, but by 2014 he said: “I pretty much already radicalised myself.”

He said he dropped out of university “to focus on whether or not I was going to make Hijrah (travel), which was my preference, or to carry out an act of domestic terrorism”.

Michael Gove
Michael Gove (Peter Byrne/PA)

By 2019, he had decided against going to Syria but 2020 was a “write-off year” because of coronavirus, he said.

He told police he “just ran out of excuses” after seeing there were a “lot of attacks up and down the country”.

He decided to target an MP that had voted on Syrian airstrikes because they were “accessible” and “numerous”.

He said he did not choose Sir David because he was a Conservative.

“It wasn’t just him – I went to Mike Freer’s surgery in Finchley.”

He also looked at pictures of Michael Gove’s house in west London, saying he would “probably be the easiest one to get to”.

He said: “The reason why I started going to Parliament in the end was because he (Mr Gove) broke up with his wife so (the) house got sold, he found a new place, and that felt like the closing of a door.”

Ali told police he had bought the knife five years before and kept it in his bag throughout that summer.

He said officers would find a plan of attack on Mr Gove on his electronic devices.

He added: “But I never followed through with that plan.”

He used to go to the minister’s address as he was tipped to replace Theresa May as prime minister and subject to media attention.

He said: “It was laziness. It was… so convenient to go to that address but I just, I don’t know why I didn’t do that one.”

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

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