‘Warped, twisted and violent’ terrorist assassinated veteran MP, court told

Ali Harbi Ali is on trial for murdering Sir David Amess in Essex last October.

21 March 2022

A veteran Conservative MP was “assassinated” by a “committed, fanatical, radicalised Islamist terrorist”, who stabbed him to death in a church building while meeting with his constituents, a court heard.

Sir David Amess was fatally attacked by Ali Harbi Ali, who tricked his way into a face-to-face meeting with the 69-year-old Southend West MP at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15 2021.

Ali, 26, is accused of the “cold and calculated murder”, and carrying out reconnaissance over several years on targets including the Communities and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove.

Tom Little QC, opening the case at the Old Bailey on Monday afternoon, told jurors: “This was nothing less than an assassination for terrorist purposes.

“It is a crime to which, we say, he has no defence.”

Sir David Amess death
Sir David Amess was killed in October 2021 (Chris McAndrew/PA)

Mr Little said: “This is a case involving a cold and calculated murder, a murder carried out in a place of worship.

“A murder carried out because of a warped and twisted and violent ideology.

“It was a murder carried out by that young man (Ali) who for many years had been planning just such an attack and who was, and is, a committed, fanatical, radicalised Islamist terrorist.”

Mr Little said the attack was “no spur-of-the-moment decision”, and said he bought the knife used to attack Sir David five years earlier.

Sir David Amess death
Flowers left in memory of Sir David Amess outside the Houses of Parliament (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The prosecutor said: “He had for a number of years been determined to carry out an act of domestic terrorism.

“To that end, from at least May 2019 he researched and planned potential attacks on Members of Parliament and the Houses of Parliament.

“This included specific reconnaissance trips to a constituency surgery of Mike Freer MP and to the home address of Michael Gove MP.

“That researching and planning is the other offence he faces, namely preparing for acts of terrorism.

“To that offence he also has, we say, no defence.”

Ali, of Kentish Town in north London, appeared in the dock wearing a black robe and black-rimmed glasses.

He denies murder and one count of preparing acts of terrorism.

The trial continues.

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