A local terror suspect charged with the murder of veteran MP Sir David Amess has said he wanted to kill the politician to ‘help Muslims by preventing him from voting again’ after he backed the bombing of Syria.
Ali Harbi Ali told jurors at the Old Bailey that he wanted to “do hijrah”, travel and fight in support of the Islamic State terrorist organization, but found it too difficult to make it happen.
He also described the Kuwaiti-British terrorist “Jihadi John” – infamous as the masked knife filmed beheading Western hostages in Syria in 2014 and 2015 – as a “brother”.
The 26-year-old stabbed Sir David more than 20 times with a foot-long carving knife at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, shortly after midday on October 15, 2021, a announced the court. Sir David died at the scene.
Ali Harbi Ali (seen after his arrest) told jurors at the Old Bailey that he wanted to ‘do the hijrah’, travel and fight in support of the Islamic State terrorist organization, but found it too hard to Getting There.
The 26-year-old stabbed Sir David more than 20 times with a foot-long carving knife at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
The university dropout was allegedly motivated to kill the Southend West Tory veteran and father of five over a grievance with MPs who voted to bomb Syria. His previous targets included Cabinet Minister Michael Gove.
Giving evidence in the witness box today, Ali said he decided to kill Sir David because of his previous vote on UK foreign policy, including airstrikes on Syria.
Ali told the court: “I decided to do this because I felt that if I could kill someone who made the decision to kill Muslims, it could avoid further harm to those Muslims.
“He already voted in parliament, not only him… I decided that if I couldn’t do the hijrah, if I couldn’t help the Muslims (in Syria), I would do something here.”
Asked what difference Sir David’s murder would make, Ali replied: ‘On the one hand he can no longer vote.
“If he had done votes like that before, he won’t do it in the future and maybe send a message to his colleagues.”
“You need a certain number of votes for these things to pass and that’s one on the list and for his colleagues to realize that you can’t just do wanton destruction overseas.”
Ali was asked why he had a note on his phone about his ‘plans’ to kill Mr Gove.
Ali (seen in a court sketch) told witnesses he wanted to be shot by police and die a ‘hero’ after he stabbed the Tory MP for Southend West 21 times, the jury heard.
Ali said: “It was plans I had to attack and hopefully kill Michael Gove at the time.”
“I believe it was someone who hurt Muslims.
“I thought if I couldn’t join the Islamic State, I should try to do something here to help the Muslims here.”
Ali said he “deeply” regretted not being able to join the terror group and did not believe the attack was wrong.
Tom Little QC, prosecuting, asked Ali: “Do you find everything you did on October 15?”
“No,” Ali said.
“If you could turn the clock back to the morning of October 15, would you leave your property in London and head for Leigh on Sea with the intention of killing Sir David Amess?”
“Yes,” Ali replied.
“You are completely shameless about this? asked Mr. Little.
“I wouldn’t use the word shameless, but I feel no shame,” Ali said.
“Do you regret anything? asked Mr. Little.
– Nothing, answered Ali. “If I had thought there was something wrong, I wouldn’t have done it.”
Seeking to justify his actions that day, he added: “I consider myself a Muslim who went out and killed someone who killed Muslims.”
Prosecutor Tom Little QC asked: “You don’t consider yourself a radical?”
Ali replied, “I am a moderate Muslim.
Ali captured on CCTV walking around the doors of the Houses of Parliament on September 22 last year – around a month before the fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess in Essex
Ali said he killed Sir David “for Islam” and described Jihadi John as a “brother”.
He told the court: “It was done for Islam. Not necessarily Islamic State.
‘I said in the interview if it says it was [done for] Islamic State, I would agree with that.
Ali had managed to arrange a meeting with Sir David, 69, by tricking the politician’s office into thinking he was a healthcare worker moving to the area and wanted to discuss local issues.
The trial previously heard how Ali allegedly spent years hatching his plot, researching a number of potential high profile political targets including Mr Gove, Dominic Raab and Sir Keir Starmer, before settling on Sir David.
Ali’s interviews with police were shown to the jury two weeks ago, in which he told officers: ‘It sounds like an act of terrorism.’ I walked into a deputy’s office and killed him with the idea of revenge in some way.
But while testifying, he changed his mind, saying, “If it was just revenge, it would be complacency, nothing more.”
‘Answer would be a better word. I wanted a holistic thing to happen as a result rather than just a feeling.
“I wanted something to happen afterwards. I don’t think revenge was the best word to use in this case.
Ali, from Kentish Town in north London, denies planning terrorist acts and murder.
The trial continues.