Sir David Amess thought attack by his killer was a TV sting

Ali Harbi Ali admitted to being self-radicalised when he carried out 'terror' stabbing

An alleged terrorist told police he did a “good deed” by killing politician Sir David Amess and described to them how the veteran politician appeared to think the attack was a TV-style sting by his political rivals.

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 was told.

On Friday, jurors at the Old Bailey watched videos of Mr Ali’s police interviews in which he laughingly likened his comments to UK television comedy, Little Britain and recalled another series Brass Eye, which specialised in spoof set ups.

“You’re from the Labour Party, you’re not recording me are you?” he said the MP asked as they sat down. Mr Ali explained the context. “Because … Brass Eye, they did a thing on him, like, 14 years ago,” he said.

He then laughed at “cake”, in apparent reference to a episode of the satirical programme about a fake drug.

In one police interview, Mr Ali confirmed it was a “terror attack”.

“I mean, I guess yeah, I killed an MP. I done it, so yeah,” he said.

In a later interview, he was reminded of his previous comments.

“Oh God, I sound stupid there,” he told the police.

“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.”

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.”

He said he did not choose Sir David because he was a Conservative politician, but because of a vote on air strikes on Syria in 2015.

The court heard he had planned to study medicine but dropped out after radicalising himself.

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 described targeting an MP because they were “accessible” and “numerous”.

CCTV footage of Ali Harbi Ali in Westminster on September 22 2021. Photo: Metropolitan Police

The court heard he had considered a number of politicians as targets, including Mike Freer in Finchley and Michael Gove in west London.

“It wasn’t just him [Sir David] — I went to Mike Freer’s surgery in Finchley,” 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.”

He said officers would find a plan of attack on Mr Gove on his electronic devices and he used to visit his address as he was tipped to replace Theresa May as prime minister and subject to media attention.

Mr Ali, from Kentish Town, north London, denies murder and preparation for terrorist acts. The trial continues.

Updated: March 25, 2022, 3:35 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS