A terror suspect threatened to kill four more people after fatally attacking Sir David Amess with a knife, a court heard today.
Sir David, the veteran MP for Southend West, was killed at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on 15 October last year.
Ali Harbi Ali, 26, allegedly stabbed him 21 times and waved around a blood-soaked knife before he was apprehended by unarmed police officers, London’s Old Bailey heard.
Sir David, a 69-year-old married father-of-five, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ali, from Kentish Town, north London, denies murder and preparing terrorist acts.
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Ali Harbi Ali in the dock at the Old Bailey in London (Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire)
The court heard how Yvonne Eaves and her partner Darren King had arrived at the constituency surgery meeting at Belfairs Methodist Church – only to be confronted by Ali wielding a knife. Ms Eaves’ 999 call, in which she said the suspect had killed Sir David and was threatening to kill them and two of the MP’s female staff, was played in the courtroom.
Ms Eaves said: “Please, please, quick. Now the man is wielding a knife, he’s threatened me… He’s killed David Amess at Belfairs Methodist Church.”
During the call Ms Eaves described the weapon as a “big kitchen carving knife” about 12 inches long.
She told the operator: “We tried to get it off him. He won’t. He’s threatened myself, he’s threatened four people here.
“We need an ambulance as well. He wants to get shot apparently. He wants to be a hero. He wants the police to come and shoot him.“
CCTV screen grab of terror suspect Ali Harbi Ali walking between Leigh-on-Sea railway station and Belfairs Methodist Church on 15 October last year (Photo: Metropolitan Police /PA Wire)
She said the suspect was on the phone “spouting some crappy foreign language” while Sir David was in the back of the church.
When asked about the MP, Ms Eaves said: “He’s dead. He’s dead. He stabbed him multiple times,” the court heard.
Ms Eaves told the operator they weren’t being held hostage, adding: “We cannot get to David to give him any assistance and he’s wielding the knife and he’s saying if you go near him.”
Earlier in the day, prosecutor Tom Little QC described the timeline of events leading up to Sir David’s death, including emails between Ali and the politician’s aide Rebecca Hayton.
Mr Little said Ali emailed Sir David’s office on 27 September last year to enquire about a meeting.
Screenshot of email contact between Ali Harbi Ali and the office of Sir David Amess (Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire)
Ali, who claimed he worked in healthcare, said: “I will be moving to the area from a Labour-held constituency and wanted to get to know my future MP.
“I would like to know his plans, if any, for the hospital and workers.
“Also, as someone interested in Christianity, I have seen many churches in my area losing attendances and struggle with upkeep, eventually becoming at risk of being demolished or repurposed.”
Ms Hayton responded by requesting Ali’s address and full name to check he was a constituent.
Ali gave a postcode in Southend and said: “I’ll be in the local area on Friday so it would be nice to see him regardless, although I know he’s a very busy man so I can appreciate (it) if that’s not possible.”
Ms Hayton told Ali she would be happy to book him in for 15 October, to which he replied: “I don’t really know how long the appointments are but I don’t think I’ll take too long. Thanks for all the help so far.”
Prosecutors said the terror suspect travelled from his north London home to Leigh-on-Sea in Essex to attend the 12pm meeting at the church.
CCTV of the defendant’s journey to the appointment with the veteran MP was shown in court.
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Sir David Amess spent 38 years in the House of Commons and represented his constituency for 24 years until his death (Photo: Chris McAndrew/PA Wire)
He can be seen wearing a long khaki jacket, a black backpack over his right shoulder, blue trainers and black trousers.
He was seen walking alongside members of the public, including school children, along residential streets.
Surveillance footage appeared to show Ali waiting near the church after he arrived about 25 minutes early for his appointment.
The court heard that around the time of the attack, Ali sent a message to family and friends which appeared to have been drafted days before.
Ali allegedly wrote that the attack was “for the sake of Allah”, adding: “I apologise to my family for deceiving them for so long.
“I would have preferred Hijrah so as not to harm you but I could not. The obligations upon me to take revenge for the blood of Muslims were too great.“
He then spoke to his sister on the phone for 14 minutes before ending the call when he was confronted and arrested by two plain-clothes police officers at the scene.
The trial continues.