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Suspect Ali Harbi Ali, 25, is charged with murdering Sir David Amess

The terrorism suspect accused of stabbing to death Tory MP Sir David Amess in a church was today charged with his murder, which prosecutors believe had ‘religious and ideological motivations’.

Ali Harbi Ali, 25, is accused of killing the veteran Conservative MP after queuing with Sir David’s Southend West constituents on Friday afternoon and will appear in court this afternoon.

The 69-year-old father of five was ambushed at his Friday meeting with the public and stabbed 17 times in a frenzied attack. After a week of questioning by Scotland Yard as well as searches of his home and electronic devices, Ali was charged with murder and another charge of preparation of terrorist acts.  

Nick Price, Head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: ‘The CPS has authorised charges against Ali Harbi Ali for the murder of MP Sir David Amess. 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’. 

Ali remains in custody and will first appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this afternoon after 2.30pm.

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 from my colleagues in the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command will continue apace.’

Speaking outside New Scotland Yard, Mr Jukes added: ‘A large team of detectives have been working around the clock to find out as much as we can about what happened and why.

‘That work has included searches at a number of London addresses. Our advanced forensics team analysed digital devices and carried out a painstaking review of CCTV footage.

‘If there are members of the public who have further information that might help the investigation, I would urge them to come forward. Every piece of information in investigations like these is important and you will not be wasting our time.’

Sir David’s death during his weekly constituency surgery has shocked Britain and is likely to change the way MPs are protected and meet voters forever.

In a heartbreaking statement his family called for people to ‘set aside hatred’, adding: ‘Nobody should die in that way. Nobody. Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand. We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man.’  

Ali Harbi Ali, 25, has been charged with murdering the veteran Conservative MP as he met with his Southend West constituents on Friday afternoon

A police van arrives as Ali Harbi Ali, 25, suspect in the murder of British MP David Amess is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court

A police van arrives as Ali Harbi Ali, 25, suspect in the murder of British MP David Amess is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court

Police and intelligence officials are said to be mystified about why the veteran Tory politician was singled out for attack by a suspected Islamist extremist. Investigators now believe that there may have been no specific motive for the targeting of Sir David, and that the 69-year-old was stabbed to death because his alleged killer had succeeded in booking a face-to-face meeting with him at a church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday

Police and intelligence officials are said to be mystified about why the veteran Tory politician was singled out for attack by a suspected Islamist extremist. Investigators now believe that there may have been no specific motive for the targeting of Sir David, and that the 69-year-old was stabbed to death because his alleged killer had succeeded in booking a face-to-face meeting with him at a church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday

Police officers erect a tent outside a house in north London, thought to be in relation to the death of Sir David

Police officers erect a tent outside a house in north London, thought to be in relation to the death of Sir David

The Met Police confirmed that the killing of Southend West Sir David Amess (pictured) is being treated as a terror incident 'with links to Islamist extremism' as a British man with Somali heritage remains in police custody on suspicion of murder

The Met Police confirmed that the killing of Southend West Sir David Amess (pictured) is being treated as a terror incident ‘with links to Islamist extremism’ as a British man with Somali heritage remains in police custody on suspicion of murder

Left to right: Katie, wife Julia, Flo, Sir David Amess, Sarah and Alex at Flo's wedding in August

Left to right: Katie, wife Julia, Flo, Sir David Amess, Sarah and Alex at Flo’s wedding in August

DO YOU KNOW ALI HARBI ALI? 

Ali is the son of a former Sudanese diplomat who was born in Britain and raised in Croydon. After falling out with his parents he decided to move in with an aunt and her sons in a council house in the upmarket North London enclave of Kentish Town, in a street of £2million three-storey townhouses. 

His move to north London is understood to have coincided with a deterioration in his relationship with his Somali-born parents. Ali’s parents split up when he was young and his father returned to Somalia. One neighbour, who has known the family for twenty years, said that Ali spoke of hopes of becoming a doctor with the NHS, saying: ‘He told me he’d been doing exams and he seemed westernised.’ 

Police and intelligence officials were initially mystified about why the 69-year-old Tory politician was singled out for attack. Reports had initially suggested that Sir David, a devout Roman Catholic and prominent Brexiteer who was MP for Southend West, had been selected because of his political views or religion.

Investigators now believe that there may have been no specific motive for the targeting of Sir David. One government insider told the paper: ‘He was unlucky. He was not targeted because of his political party. David Amess was not specifically targeted.’  

Shock: Harbi Ali Kullane, who was a Somali government adviser. He is said to be estranged from his son

Shock: Harbi Ali Kullane, who was a Somali government adviser. He is said to be estranged from his son

Police are also investigating the alleged close ties between Sir David and Qatar. The Tory MP was chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Gulf state and returned from his latest visit there on Wednesday last week. 

Sir David’s family said their hearts had been ‘shattered’ by his ‘cruel and violent death’ at a constituency surgery in Essex. They said they could not understand why the ‘patriot and a man of peace’ was targeted by a knifeman he had never met. 

Officers raided Ali’s ‘childhood home’ in Croydon on Friday. It comes as Met Police officers were yesterday seen guarding a property in a tree-lined street in North London, where Ali is believed to currently live. Police were seen walking into the property and a blue and yellow tent was erected outside the council-owned property on the street, where homes sell for around £2million. 

It comes as intelligence officials are believed to have warned Ministers that Britain could face a wave of terrorist attacks carried out by ‘bedroom radicals’ – so-called ‘lone wolf’ terrorists who turned to extremism after spending months at home during the Covid lockdown. 

‘Counter-terror police and MI5 have been concerned for some time that once we emerged out of lockdown there would be more people out on the streets and more targets for the terrorists,’ one security source told The Telegraph.

As police continued to quiz the London-born suspect, his father spoke of the family’s shock. Harbi Ali Kullane, a former media and communications adviser to the Prime Minister of Somalia, said he was ‘traumatised’ by his son’s arrest. 

He added: ‘At this particular moment we are going through [an] unprecedented and horrific situation.’

Mr Kullane spoke out as details emerged about the suspected killer’s upbringing in south London.

Detectives have been piecing together the suspect’s movements in the hours before Friday’s attack. 

They have not found any obvious affiliation to a terrorist group and do not believe Ali had ever previously met Sir David. They have found nothing to suggest the MP was attacked because of his voting record, ‘but that could well come out as a factor’, a source said. 

Candles are lit next to a portrait of David Amess during a vigil for him at St Michaels Church, in Leigh-on-Sea

Candles are lit next to a portrait of David Amess during a vigil for him at St Michaels Church, in Leigh-on-Sea

People look at flowers left by the police cordon nearby the Belfairs Methodist Church

People look at flowers left by the police cordon nearby the Belfairs Methodist Church

Another neighbour described the household as ‘polite, respectful and decent’. He said: ‘There was often a tallish chap outside who would be around 25. He would smoke outside. He’d always say hello.

‘They’re a good family. This is off the scale. It’s horrendous.

‘They were all great. I can’t believe it. They were polite and respectful. It’s incredible’.

Mr Kullane returned to the UK two years ago to have a heart operation on the NHS, neighbours said. He lives with his sister in the north London district of Bounds Green, and the home was also visited by police over the weekend.

Police also searched the Croydon house where the suspect’s mother and siblings live. Officers spent more than 24 hours scouring the premises and took the family away, with police warning them that they would not be returning for a while.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: ‘The kids used to go to a mosque nearby, but I didn’t think they did any more. They’ve been very good neighbours.’

Sir David’s family said their hearts had been ‘shattered’ by his ‘cruel and violent death’ at a constituency surgery in Essex. They said they could not understand why the ‘patriot and a man of peace’ was targeted by a knifeman he had never met.

The 69-year-old father of five was ambushed at his Friday meeting with the public and stabbed 17 times in a frenzied attack. In a heartbreaking statement his family called for people to ‘set aside hatred’, adding: ‘Nobody should die in that way. Nobody.

‘Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand. We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man.’  

Forensic officers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on the day of the murder

Forensic officers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on the day of the murder

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer join Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle as they pay their respects to Sir David

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer join Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle as they pay their respects to Sir David

People look at flowers left by the police cordon nearby the Belfairs Methodist Church

People look at flowers left by the police cordon nearby the Belfairs Methodist Church

The Home Office scheme, which has an annual budget of around £40million, has been under scrutiny for years after a series of terrorists slipped through its net, including Reading attacker Khairi Saadallah. 

‘Nobody should die in that way. Nobody’: Family of murdered MP Sir David Amess say ‘our hearts are shattered’ – but urge people to ‘show love to all’ and support causes he championed in his memory so ‘some good can come from this tragedy’ 

The devastated family of Conservative MP Sir David Amess said they are ‘absolutely broken’ by his killing, adding in an emotional statement: ‘As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way.’ 

In a statement released through the Metropolitan Police, Sir David’s family said: ‘The family would like to thank everyone for the wonderful, wonderful tributes paid to David following his cruel and violent death. It truly has brought us so much comfort. The support shown by friends, constituents and the general public alike has been so overwhelming. As a family it has given us strength.

‘We have realised from tributes paid that there was far, far more to David than even we, those closest to him, knew. We are enormously proud of him. Our hearts are shattered. However, there was still so much David wanted to do – this we know from the events of the last few days. So, this is not the end of Sir David Amess MP. It is the next chapter and as a family we ask everyone to support the many charities he worked with. There are so many to mention, so find one close to your hearts and help.

‘David had recently joined a campaign to help raise funds for a memorial to Dame Vera Lynn. To him she epitomised the strength and courage of our nation. We would ask as many people as possible to support this and meet the target to complete the project.

‘Closer to home, David was working hard for Southend to gain city status. In his memory, please show your support for this campaign. Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David. He was a patriot and a man of peace. So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness.

‘Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand. As a family, we are trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way. Nobody. Please let some good come from this tragedy. We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man.

‘We ask at this time that the family’s privacy be respected so that we can grieve in private.’

But the independent review did not start formally until earlier this year and has still not reported back to Miss Patel.

Former justice secretary Robert Buckland called for a shake-up of Prevent to ensure a more ‘joined-up’ approach. He said more co-operation between schools, the NHS and other public agencies was required to ensure security forces could intervene early.

‘I very much hope that when it comes to community supervision and community involvement, that it is much more joined-up between health services, education,’ he told Times Radio.

‘And that element of being joined-up is what we really need to work on urgently.’

He added: ‘There may be records or information from schools or colleges or from the health service which can tell us much more about individuals and their activities. We need to join this up much more effectively because what we’re talking about here is community prevention.

‘We’ve got to make sure that every arm of the state is absolutely working together in order to understand as much as possible about these individuals, and then to intervene if we judge the risk to be so significant that an intervention could prevent the sort of appalling incident that we saw not just last week but also in the Jo Cox case and other examples.’

Mrs Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was murdered by a far-Right fanatic in the street in 2016 as she was about to carry out a constituency surgery. 

A Tory former Defence Minister doubled-down on his call for a temporary suspension of public meetings between MPs and their constituents, as he warned ‘there could be a copycat-style attack’ following the killing of Sir David. 

Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, urged a ‘pause in face-to-face’ consultations between parliamentarians and members of the public until a safety review had been completed in the wake of Sir David’s death on Friday. 

His proposal was shot down by defiant Conservatives including former Cabinet minister David Davis. Labour’s Harriet Harman called for an official review of MPs’ safety, while ex-Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott also rallied against ‘airport-style screening’ – but told the BBC she would support meeting constituents behind a screen to prevent possible stab attacks. 

Miss Patel insisted MPs must keep meeting voters, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show it would be ‘unacceptable’ for the killing to ‘break the link between an elected representative and their democratic role, responsibility and duty to the people who elected them’. 

However, the killing of Sir David at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea as he met with Southend West constituents has prompted the Government to look at ensuring every MP gets police on guard at their weekly surgeries – a move backed by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle. 

Speaking to Channel 4, Mr Ellwood doubled-down on his proposal, warning: ‘Ultimately we have to recognise that there could be a copycat-style attack. The police have already made that clear. Let’s make sure that our lifestyles and the way we go about is not altered, that they do not win. But we need to do that in a cognitive way to make sure that MPs, staff and indeed the general public are kept safe.’

The MP for Bournemouth East, who was hailed as a hero for his attempts to save the life of Pc Keith Palmer during the Westminster terror attack in 2017, also told the broadcaster that he had discussed the security implications of the withdrawal from Afghanistan for terrorism and extremism with Sir David last week as they visited Doha in Qatar. 

An ongoing investigation into Sir David's death has been focusing on multiple areas including Camden, Croydon and another unspecified address in London

An ongoing investigation into Sir David’s death has been focusing on multiple areas including Camden, Croydon and another unspecified address in London

Boris Johnson, Sir Keir Starmer, Priti Patel and Sir Lyndsay Hoyle arrive to the scene of Sir David Amess's killing in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex to pay tribute Saturday

Boris Johnson, Sir Keir Starmer, Priti Patel and Sir Lyndsay Hoyle arrive to the scene of Sir David Amess’s killing in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex to pay tribute Saturday 


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