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UPDATE: Man who fatally stabbed MP Sir David Amess sentenced to whole-life tariff

|News, Terrorism , Violent crime

UPDATE: Ali Harbi Ali was today, 13 April, sentenced to a whole life tariff at the Central Criminal Court.

Originally published 11 April 2022

A man who fatally stabbed MP Sir David Amess at his constituency surgery has been found guilty of murder.

Ali Harbi Ali, 26, was convicted by a jury at the Central Criminal Court today of repeatedly stabbing Sir David on 15 October 2021, and of a second offence of preparing acts of terrorism.

He had used a false address to deceive the MP’s staff that he lived in the local area and made the journey from London to Leigh-On-Sea armed with the large kitchen knife that was used in the attack.

Nick Price, Head of the CPS Counter Terrorism Division said: “Sir David’s murder was a terrible attack on an MP as he went about his work.  But it was also an attack on our democracy, it was an attack on all of us, an attack on our way of life. 

“This was a horrific act of terrorism motivated by religious and ideological beliefs. Ali chose to commit this abhorrent crime for his own selfish and hateful reasons.

“There is no place for terrorism in our society and we will continue to prosecute these acts to the full extent of the law.

“Our thoughts today remain with the family and friends of Sir David. Their pain and suffering do not end with this conviction.”

During the trial, jurors at the Old Bailey heard how ahead of the fatal attack, Ali claimed he wanted to discuss foreign policy but instead pulled a large knife from his pocket and stabbed Sir David in the stomach.

Two members of the public heard Ali admit to the killing and he also threatened to stab witnesses - which prevented them going to the MP’s aid. He told them the attack had been planned and that he wanted to kill every MP who voted for bombings in Syria.

When police arrived, witnesses said that Ali rushed towards them in an attempt to be shot and killed.

As part of the case, the CPS proved that Ali had plotted to carry out an act of terrorism for some time.

From May 2019 he researched and planned attacks on Members of Parliament and the Houses of Parliament. This included specific trips to a constituency surgery of Mike Freer MP and the home address of Michael Gove MP.

Following his arrest, a note he wrote to his family and friends explaining why he had committed this crime was found on his phone. In the moments immediately before the attack he sent this note to them. A further note was also discovered on his phone, created in May 2019, which outlined his plans for another attack.

On his home computer there were multiple searches and webpage results relating to MPs and their surgeries. Investigations showed that Ali undertook reconnaissance near Mike Freer’s surgery on 17 September 2021, and Michael Gove’s home address on four occasions in March and June 2021.

A staff member at one of Mike Freer’s surgeries identified a man who matched Ali’s description as staring into the building. CCTV footage also captured Ali performing reconnaissance of the area around the Houses of Parliament on 16, 20 and 22 September 2021.

Ali Harbi Ali will be sentenced on Wednesday 13 April.

CCTV picture of Ali Harbi Ali on his journey from London to Leigh-on-Sea on 15 October 2021
CCTV picture of Ali Harbi Ali on his journey from London to Leigh-on-Sea on 15 October 2021

Notes to editors

  • Ali Harbi Ali, (01/02/1996), has been found guilty of the following offences: 
    • Count 1: Engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to Section 5 (1) (a) Terrorism Act 2006
    • Count 2: Murder, contrary to Common Law
  • The CPS Counter Terrorism Division’s work involves prosecuting terrorism cases. The Division is responsible for prosecuting all terrorism crimes and terrorist related offences in England and Wales. Terrorism offences are distinct from other types of crime in that individuals who commit them have political, religious racial and/or ideological motivations. The team works alongside specialist Counter Terrorism Police

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