A man who fatally stabbed British politician Sir David Amess last year has been convicted of murder and faces the rest of his life behind bars.
Ali Harbi Ali, 26, was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court in London of repeatedly stabbing Sir David on October 15th 2021, as well as the additional offence of preparing acts of terrorism.
During the trial it was revealed that Ali was already known to UK anti-terrorism officers, but had been deemed to not be a threat by officials.
Following extensive planning during which a number of alternative targets were considered, Ali chose Amess as his target. Using a false address to claim he lived in the local area he booked an appointment to meet with the politician, ostensibly to discuss foreign policy.
Once alone in the room with his target Ali produced a large knife and proceeded to stab his victim multiple times in the stomach. Witnesses stated that the defendant made threats to stab others, preventing them from coming to the politician’s aid.
When police arrived Ali charged at them, a move he claimed in interview to be an attempt to provoke officers to shoot and kill him. Realizing that the attending officers were unarmed though, he complied with orders to drop the knife and submitted to his arrest.
Amess was rushed to hospital but died approximately one hour after the attack, which took place at a church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
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.”
Following his arrest Ali admitted his actions, but justified them as proportionate in the face of British military action in Syria. He stated that he wished to kill every politician that had voted in favor of military intervention in the Middle Eastern country.
This argument fell flat on its face in court though, with the jury taking just 18 minutes to find Ali guilty of both counts faced. The defendant refused to stand to face the verdicts.
Ali will be sentenced on April 13th, with the expectation that he will be ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison. Whole-life tariffs as they’re known in the UK are relatively rare, reserved for murders with exacerbating circumstances. The sentence was most recently handed down last year, to a former police officer who had abused his position to allow him to kill.