A jury has convicted a British-born Muslim of the murder of Catholic MP Sir David Amess and for preparing acts of terrorism.
Ali Harbi Ali, 26, of Kentish Town in north London, said he was motivated by targeting MPs who had voted in favour of airstrikes in Syria.
Sir David was stabbed more than 20 times during the Oct. 15, 2021 attack. The MP was meeting with constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Paramedics attended to Sir David for more than two-and-a-half hours before an air ambulance arrived to take him to a hospital. He died at the age of 69.
During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Ali had scouted and planned possible attacks on other MPs, including a cabinet minister he believed to be “a harm to Muslims”.
Ali, who is of Somali orgin, decided to attend the meeting after finding it on Twitter. He presented himself as a National Health Service employee moving to the area.
Ali had been a “model student” but became radicalized in 2014 and dropped out of university, where he had been on a path to a medical career.
He told the court that he had wanted to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State but had found it too difficult.
He said he had no regrets about killing Sir David
The jury took 18 minutes to reach its verdict.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in an April 11 post to Twitter, paid tribute to Amess and voiced sympathy for his widow and family.
“Sir David Amess was a beloved colleague, public servant and friend who championed the city of Southend in everything he did.
“My thoughts today remain with Julia, the Amess family and all those who knew and loved him.”
Police turned away a Catholic priest seeking to anoint Sir David. The priest instead prayed a rosary outside the building where the crime took place.
The lack of access to Last Rites caused an outcry, and police guidelines in the U.K. were changed to allow clergy to assist badly injured crime victims.
Sir David served in Parliament since 1983. He was a champion of pro-life causes. He established an All-Party Parliamentary Group for relations with the Holy See in 2006 and was instrumental in arranging Benedict XVI’s visit to Parliament in September 2010.
At the Nov. 23, 2021 funeral Mass at Westminster Cathedral, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the apostolic nuncio to Great Britain, read a message from Pope Francis that praised Amess for his “years of devoted public service guided by his strong Catholic faith and evidenced in his deep concern for the poor and the disadvantaged, his commitment to the defence of God’s gift of life, and his efforts to foster understanding and cooperation with the Holy See in its universal mission.”
“Commending Sir David’s soul to the loving mercy of Jesus Christ our Saviour, the Holy Father prays that all who honour his memory will be confirmed in the resolve to reject the ways of violence, to combat evil with good, and to help build a society of ever greater justice, fraternity, and solidarity,” the message said.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund