Man accused of murdering Sir David Amess 'scoped out Michael Gove's home to plan attack'

21 March 2022, 12:34 | Updated: 21 March 2022, 13:37

Ali denies murdering Sir David in Essex in 2021
Ali denies murdering Sir David in Essex in 2021. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

An alleged terrorist accused of murdering MP Sir David Amess carried out "reconnaissance" as he planned attacks on other MPs including Michael Gove, the Old Bailey heard.

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Ali Harbi Ali, 26, denies fatally stabbing the Conservative representative for Southend West as he held a constituency surgery in October 15 last year.

Sir David, a 69-year-old father of five, had been meeting residents in a church building in Leigh-on-Sea, near Southend.

Prosecutors allege Ali took a train from his home in Kentish Town, North London, and travelled to the surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church.

He is accused of bringing out a large knife from his pocket and then stabbing the politician repeatedly. Sir David was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tom Little QC, prosecuting, opened the case at the Old Bailey on Monday telling jurors Ali told Sir David he wanted to talk about the Iraq War before attacking him.

"This was no spur of the moment decision. It was not the first time that he had planned an attack or a similar attack," Mr Little said.

"Indeed he bought the knife five years before for just such an attack. I told you that he was and is a committed terrorist.

"He had for a number of years been determined to carry out an act of domestic terrorism. To that end, from at least May 2019 he researched and planned potential attacks on Members of Parliament and the Houses of Parliament.

"This included specific reconnaissance trips to a constituency surgery of Mike Freer MP and to the home address of Michael Gove MP. That researching and planning is the other offence he faces, namely preparing for acts of terrorism."

Ali denies murder and one count of preparing acts of terrorism.

He appeared in the dock at the Old Bailey in London, wearing a black robe and glasses. He was flanked by three security guards.

Sir David's family were present as the hearing got under way.

The politician had simply been "doing his job, helping members of the public" when he was attacked, Mr Little said.

He told jurors that Ali "tricked his way into meeting" Sir David by pretending to be one of his constituents.

He described Ali as having "brutally murdered" the MP, which he characterised as an "assassination for terrorist purposes".

The trial, which is expected to last up to three weeks, continues.