David Amess murder trial: ‘harrowing’ details of attack play out in court
Emergency phone call by witness played to jury
The trial of Ali Harbi Ali, charged with murdering Tory MP Sir David Amess last October, has begun at the Old Bailey, with “harrowing” evidence submitted.
The MP for Southend West was killed in a “vicious and frenzied attack” by a “fanatical terrorist” who “hoped that he would become a martyr”, the jury heard.
Amess was holding meetings with constituents in a church building in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, when he was knifed to death on 15 October 2021.
On Monday, day one of the trial, the court heard that Ali also scouted the home of Michael Gove and researched a number of MPs including Keir Starmer as he plotted to kill, incited by Islamic State propaganda, reported The Guardian.
The jury were told that Ali considered killing Gove while he was out jogging, or kicking his front door in, and had visited his street.
The Telegraph said that the prosecution claimed Ali had written a digital note in his mobile phone, with plans on how to target Gove. He noted that Gove’s door is wooden and “swings into the house” so could be “kicked in,” but “the “best outcome” would be to “bump into him jogging”.
The day of the attack
The Old Bailey was told that Ali booked a midday appointment to see Amess by sending an email claiming to be a local health sector worker. In one exchange with a member of Amess’s staff, he said: “I’m not sure how long appointments take, but I don’t think it’ll take too long.”
The jury heard that on the day of the attack, Amess was stabbed in his face, legs, torso, and also his hands as he tried to defend himself. After killing the MP, Ali allegedly said: “I want him dead. I want every parliament minister who signed up for the bombing of Syria who agreed to the Iraqi war to die.”
The 999 call
On day two of the hearing, a “harrowing” 999 call made after the attack was played to the court, reported Sky News.
The caller, Yvonne Eaves, who had arranged to meet the MP, told the emergency operator that a man with a “big kitchen carving knife” had killed Amess and was “going to try and stab the police when they come”. She added that she was worried the attacker “might stab me too”.
When the operator urged Eaves to “keep calm,” she replied: “He’s dead. He’s dead. He’s stabbed him, multiple times.” The court heard that Ali waited for police to arrive, as he believed officers would be armed and shoot him dead, transforming him into a martyr.
‘I done it’
Asked by police after his arrest if the attack was terrorism, Ali said: “I mean, I guess yeah, I killed an MP, and I done it.”
He later added: “Oh God I sound stupid there. Nah… the way I worded it. It sounds like a Little Britain episode. Um, I just… yeah, it sounded like what a terrorist act is.”
He also told officers: “I just remember stabbing him a few times in the places where I stabbed him and I think the finisher was probably on his neck over here – at his jugular – because when I pierced it, dark red blood came out.”
Amess’s aide has described the “piercing scream” she heard when he was stabbed. Julie Cushion, the MP’s constituency assistant, was in the waiting area when she heard the scream followed by a “very loud crash, which I assumed was furniture going over”.
Ali, 26, denies the murder of Amess and also denies preparing terrorist acts. The trial continues.