Terrorist who murdered MP Sir David Amess sentenced to die behind bars

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he Islamic State terrorist who murdered MP Sir David Amess in a ‘lone wolf’ attack has been sentenced to life in prison, sentenced to die behind bars.

Ali Harbi Ali, 26, posed as a voter to ambush Sir David during his surgery in Southend West constituency, stabbing him repeatedly until he was sure the veteran MP was fatally injured.

The extremist, believing to take revenge for the bombardment of Syria, had been planning for two years a terrorist attack against an MP before the stabbing of Sir David.

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He had carried out chilling surveillance of Michael Gove’s home in west London, plotting to attack the cabinet minister when he was jogging or breaking into his home at night.

Ali, who was born in London, had also staked out the North London office of MP Mike Freer and traveled to Westminster to see if a politician could be murdered by stepping outside the parliamentary domain.

At the Old Bailey on Wednesday, Judge Sweeney sentenced the killer to life in prison, saying: ‘This is a murder that struck at the heart of our democracy.

He said: ‘Sir David was a man of the greatest substance, and he had done nothing to justify the attack on him, let alone his murder.

“On the contrary, he devoted his life to legitimate public service and was engaged in it when he was murdered. His loss is of national significance.

The judge said Ali wanted to influence British foreign policy and he decided to target politicians on behalf of the Islamic State.

“This is a murder committed in revenge for the losses of the Islamic State in Syria,” he said. “He owed nothing to any humanitarian consideration.

“It was done with the intention of influencing the government and thereby advancing a religious or ideological cause, namely that of the Islamic State.

“The accused has neither remorse nor shame for what he did, quite the contrary.”

Sir David’s family sat in court throughout the murder trial, and victim impact statements from his wife and children were handed over confidentially to the judge on Wednesday.

“They view their grief as private and personal,” said prosecutor Tom Little QC. The shocking attack on Sir David happened on October 15 last year, just over five years after fellow MP Jo Cox was murdered in his constituency of Batley and Spen.

Southwark-born Ali had written to the longtime MP’s office after seeing details of his constituency surgery advertised on Twitter, asking for a meeting while claiming he was set to move to the Southend West area .

After praying on the beach, Ali calmly attended the meeting at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh on Sea, Essex, and launched into a political rant against Sir David.

He had written a WhatsApp message on his phone, to be sent to friends and family in an attempt to justify the killing, and pulled out a one-foot carving knife which he used to stab Sir David.

Rebecca Hayton, the deputy’s aide, told the court that Ali was “relaxed and kind” before the stabbing, which happened without warning. She screamed and ran for help, while her colleague Julie Cushion saw a look of “self-satisfaction and smugness” when Ali came out of the church sacristy office.

“The image will stay with me for the rest of my life,” she said.

In an impact statement, Ms Cushion said she was haunted by memories of the attack and left with a ‘tremendous sense of guilt’ as she had booked the location for the operation. A couple due to meet Sir David confronted the killer as he waved the bloodied knife, and Ali was eventually arrested by two Essex police officers who bravely entered the church unarmed.

The eldest of four children, Ali was on the phone with his sobbing sister when he was arrested and was persuaded by her to surrender rather than attempt further violence.

Judge Sweeney will hand down his sentence later today (Gareth Fuller/PA) / PA Archives

Police investigations then revealed the extent of Ali’s radicalization and extension planning he had undertaken in the years before Sir David’s murder.

The former radiography student, who dropped out of college, had begun to radicalize while studying for his A-Levels, watching violent propaganda videos online.

He harbored the ambition to commit an attack in revenge for the bombing of Syria, a military action approved by the vast majority of deputies.

Ali decided against attacking the Houses of Parliament after seeing police ‘armed to the teeth’ and conducted online research into Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and the Home Secretary. Defense Ben Wallace.

He visited the area around Michael Gove’s west London home six times in the summer of 2021, and there was evidence from 2019 that the upgrade secretary could have been a target.

In a note on his phone, Ali had presented ideas for attacks in the morning, evening and night, suggesting that he could “hit him while jogging – the best result”, he thought “cause a scene at the ‘outside to lure him in’, and also wrote, ‘The door is wooden and the swings in the house could be kicked in. Also the glass next to it to lock open through that.

Ali had photos on his phone of the Gove house, as well as media footage of the MP jogging, but eventually scrapped the plan when the minister split from his wife, Sarah Vine, and it was thought he was moving.

Ali was seen hiding outside Mike Freer’s constituency office in Finchley, north London, but ultimately chose Sir David as his target.

Mr Freer said he and his staff were now wearing bulletproof vests and panic alarms, and had to cancel counseling surgeries until security was tightened. Her husband now insists on accompanying her to public engagements.

Mr Gove said in his statement that he and his fellow MPs suffered a ‘huge’ loss after Sir David’s murder, while the news that he had been a target ‘put a strain’ on his wife’s life. family.

During a police interview, the killer calmly described his terrorist plot and admitted his allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group.

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Immediately after being stabbed, he told passers-by, “I want him dead. I want every cabinet minister who signed up for the bombing of Syria and agreed to the war in Iraq to die.

He maintained the line during the trial, insisting the killing was carried out to protect Syrians from further bombardment. But the judge ultimately decided he had no viable defense to the murder charge.

“I don’t feel any shame,” he told the court. When asked if he had any regrets, Ali replied, “If I thought there was something wrong, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Jurors spent just 18 minutes deliberating before finding Ali, of Kentish Town, guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Ali asked his attorney not to offer any mitigations in court on Wednesday as the judge ordered him to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Ali joins a select group of Britain’s most notorious criminals serving life sentences, including Jo Cox killer Thomas Mair, former PC Wayne Couzens who raped and murdered Sarah Everard and Grindr serial killer Stephen Port.

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