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Terrorist who murdered MP to die behind bars after judge hands him whole-life sentence

The terrorist who murdered veteran MP Sir David Amess is to die behind bars after he was sentenced to a whole-life prison term.

Islamic State fanatic Ali Harbi Ali appeared at the Old Bailey on Wednesday after he was convicted of murder and preparing terrorist acts.

Sir David was stabbed more than 20 times during a constituency surgery meeting in Essex last October, in a murder described by his family as “beyond evil”.

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Ali Harbi Ali jailed for murdering Tory MP

Delivering Ali’s sentence, Mr Justice Sweeney said the killing of the MP for Southend West “struck at the heart of our democracy”.

The judge said Sir David was “a man of the greatest substance” who had “done nothing whatsoever” to justify the attack on him.

“His loss is one of national significance,” the judge said.

Read more: How ‘fanatical’ terrorist carried out MP assassination – and his ‘warped’ motive for the attack

Mr Justice Sweeney said the murder was carried out “in revenge for Islamic State’s losses in Syria” and that Sir David had “fought bravely and hard” against the attack.

“The defendant has no remorse or shame for what he has done, quite the reverse,” the judge said.

David Amess. Pic: Amer Ghazzal/Shutterstock

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Sir David had been an MP since 1983. Pic: Amer Ghazzal/Shutterstock

In a statement following the sentencing, Sir David’s family said they felt “no elation” at Ali’s imprisonment and they would “forever shed tears for the man we have lost”.

“Our amazing husband and father has been taken from us in an appalling and violent manner,” they said.

“We shall never get over this tragedy.

“It breaks our heart to know that our husband and father would have greeted the murderer with a smile of friendship and would have been anxious to help.

“How sickening to think what happened next. It is beyond evil.”

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‘We will struggle through each day’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he welcomed the whole-life sentence given to Ali, saying: “We will never allow those who commit acts of evil to triumph over democracy.”

Ali, wearing a black collarless robe in the dock, pursed his lips briefly as the judge handed down his sentence.

He told the trial he had no regrets about the killing, saying Sir David deserved to die because he had voted in parliament for airstrikes on Syria in 2014 and 2015.

The killer refused to stand in court “on religious grounds” when jurors delivered their verdicts on Monday after just 18 minutes deliberating.

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MP killer interviewed by police

Other high-profile killers who have received whole-life orders include the far-right extremist Thomas Mair, who murdered Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016, and police officer Wayne Couzens who raped and killed Sarah Everard in south London last year.

Ali’s trial heard Sir David was killed in a “vicious and frenzied” attack that was “an assassination for terrorist purposes”.

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‘The man’s wielding a knife’ – 999 call

Prosecutors described Ali as a “bloodthirsty” Islamic State supporter who had spent years hatching his plot to kill an MP.

The 26-year-old had researched a number of potential high-profile political targets including Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Sir Keir Starmer, before settling on Sir David.

At the sentencing hearing, victim impact statements were read from Mr Gove and fellow MP Mike Freer, who was also a target of Ali.

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Mr Freer said he and his staff would now wear stab vests and mobile panic alarms when holding advice surgeries in supermarkets, libraries or on the street.

Mr Gove described his experience as “incomparable” with the loss suffered by the Amess family, saying: “Like everyone I knew at work, I have found the impact of losing Sir David has been enormous.”

British Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove walks outside Downing Street, in London, Britain, February 9, 2022. REUTERS/Tom Nicholson

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Michael Gove was targeted by Ali

Ali managed to arrange an appointment with Sir David by duping the MP’s office into believing he was a healthcare worker moving to the area who wished to discuss local matters.

The university dropout travelled from his home in Kentish Town, north London, to Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, where Sir David’s constituency surgery was being held, carrying a 12-inch knife.

During a meeting with the politician, Ali said “sorry” and pulled the knife from his clothing, repeatedly stabbing Sir David, causing him to scream.

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‘You’re under arrest… for murder’

The so-called “lone wolf” terrorist had sent a manifesto on WhatsApp to family and friends seeking to justify his actions around the time of the attack.

After Ali was confronted by an unarmed man who had arrived for a meeting with Sir David, the killer claimed he wanted to be shot dead by police and become a “martyr”.

Dramatic bodycam footage showed two plain-clothed officers who were first to respond to the scene, armed only with batons and CS spray, tackle Ali and arrest him.

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CPS – Amess murder ‘attack on our democracy’

Sir David, a 69-year-old father-of-five, had been an MP from 1983 until his death.

Following the guilty verdicts in Ali’s trial, the PM said Sir David was a “beloved colleague, public servant and friend” and his thoughts were with the MP’s widow Julia and the Amess family.