Ali Harbi Ali charged with murder of UK MP Sir David Amess

Accused ‘began plotting to kill an MP two years ago’, court hears

Floral tributes and pictures of British MP Sir David Amess lie outside the Houses of Parliament in London. AP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A man has been charged with the terrorism-related murder of MP Sir David Amess.

A court heard Ali Harbi Ali, 25, from London, allegedly settled on a plot to kill an MP two years ago, focusing on two MPs other than Amess.

He is said to have carried out reconnaissance at one of their homes, the surgery of another and the Houses of Parliament.

The Conservative MP for Southend West was fatally stabbed on Friday during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.

Mr Ali was remanded in custody after appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday afternoon.

The Crown Prosecution Service alleges the murder has a terrorist connection because of its “religious and ideological” motives.

Prosecutors allege Mr Ali was affiliated with the proscribed terrorist organisation ISIS and targeted Amess over the MP’s voting record in support of air strikes on Syria.

Nick Price of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The CPS has authorised charges against Ali Harbi Ali for the murder of MP Sir David Amess on Friday 15 October 2021. We will submit to the court that this murder has a terrorist connection, namely that it had both religious and ideological motivations.

“He has also been charged with the preparation of terrorist acts. This follows a review of the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police in its investigation."

Matt Jukes, assistant commissioner for specialist operations, said: “I want to send my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Sir David Amess, who died so tragically last Friday.

“Sir David’s dedication to his family, his constituents and his community, and his positive impact on the lives of so many has shone through.

“Today's charge is a significant milestone in the case, but the work of my colleagues in the Met's Counter Terrorism Command will continue apace.”

On Monday, the UK Parliament paid tribute to Amess as it was announced that Southend would be granted city status, in recognition of his decades-long campaign for the seaside town to be given the honour.

Floral tributes were left outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, where Amess died.

A two-minute silence is to be observed a week after the murder as his community continues to mourn the loss of its MP.

Amess, 69, was attacked shortly after midday while carrying out duties in his Southend West constituency.

His death has revived a debate on MPs’ safety as they go about their work, with Home Secretary Priti Patel telling the House of Commons on Wednesday that intelligence officers had upgraded the threat level for politicians to “substantial” but there was no “specific or imminent threat.”

Mr Jukes confirmed security arrangements at Parliament remained under review.

“We’ve been working closely with Parliament’s own security team and with the Home Office to review existing arrangements for MPs’ security and that work will continue," he said.

“Police forces across the country have been working with individual MPs to review their specific arrangements.”

Local councillor Alan Dear said the mood in Southend was “still one of shock”.

“That applies to most people I think in the town that knew David and most people did know David,” he said.

Mr Dear said that shopkeepers in Eastwood Road North have organised a two-minute silence to take place near the Woodcutters Arms pub, a short distance from the church, at midday on Friday.

The church is to remain closed for two weeks, an announcement on its website said.

Floral tributes to Amess, which had piled up outside the church hall, have since been moved to his constituency office.

Updated: October 22, 2021, 4:05 PM