David Amess killing: Suspect said MP suspected 'sting', court told – BBC


By Daniel Sandford
BBC News home affairs correspondent

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Sir David Amess MP suspected his alleged killer was there for a sting in the moments before he was stabbed, a court has heard.
Sir David, the MP for Southend West, died after he was stabbed more than 20 times during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on 15 October.
Ali Harbi Ali, 26, denies charges of murder and preparing acts of terrorism.
Mr Ali told police "he knew straight away something was up", the trial heard.
His police interviews, seven in total, were played to the jury.
In one he told officers: "Sat down with him. He was quick, but I think he knew straight away something was up.
"Well, it looked awkward 'cos I was holding my phone, ready to send off, like, a bunch of messages to let my family know what was up.
"Then he must've thought that it was a sting from the Labour Party, because he said to me, 'Oh, you must be very politically inclined. You're from the Labour Party, you're not recording me are you?'
"Because… Brass Eye, they did a thing on him, like, 14 years ago."
He claimed it was "one of the strangest days…of my life".
In his first interview, hours after the attack he was asked if the stabbing was a terror attack.
To which he replied: "I mean, I guess yeah I killed an MP and I done it yeah."
He then laughed and said he had worded the answer "like a Little Britain episode", the video showed.
Mr Ali, who is thought to have been on the phone to his sister when he was arrested, said he was mostly worrying about his own family that day.
"The only reason I dropped the knife in front of the police officer was because my sister was on the phone crying her eyes out," he said.
Throughout his interviews Mr Ali repeated that he was motivated by targeting MPs who had voted to carry out airstrikes in Syria, the court heard.
Mr Ali also told police he had "bottled" previously planned attacks.
The court heard that he said he "settled" on Sir David after searching for 'MPs surgeries' on Twitter and seeing a post about a recent surgery by Sir David with contact information.
"He was the easiest. I settled on him", he told police.
Mr Ali said he first thought of attacking cabinet minister Michael Gove but decided against it when the secretary of state for communities and levelling up had split up with his wife Sarah Vine.
He said he had also gone to London MP Mike Freer's surgery in Finchley.
Talking about the attack on Sir David, he said: "It's hard. You see a man alive, and then he's dead."
But a few moments later he told police: "Obviously I killed someone yesterday, there's no doubt about that, but it still doesn't really feel like it."
Mr Ali said he felt he had an allegiance to the so-called Islamic State and wanted to be seen as an "Islamic State militant".
The trial continues.
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