Ali Harbi Ali appears at Old Bailey over murder of MP Sir David Amess

Politics

The man accused of murdering Conservative MP Sir David Amess has appeared at the Old Bailey.

Ali Harbi Ali, 25, appeared in the Central Criminal Court for the first time on Friday by video-link from high security Belmarsh prison.

Ali is accused of stabbing to death the Conservative MP for Southend West during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.

File photo dated 17/09/03 of David Amess, MP for Southend West in Essex, outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. Conservative MP Sir David Amess has reportedly been stabbed several times at a surgery in his Southend West constituency. Issue date: Friday October 15, 2021.
Image:
Sir David was stabbed to death last week

He was not asked to enter pleas to charges of murdering Sir David, 69, last Friday and preparing acts of terrorism between 1 May 2019 and September this year.

The defendant, wearing a grey sweatshirt, lifted up his face mask to confirm his name and date of birth, during the hearing.

Mr Justice Sweeney said a preliminary hearing would take place on 5 November at the same court.

He said a provisional trial date had been identified for 7 March next year.

Ali’s barrister Kevin Toomey made no application for bail and the defendant was remanded into custody.

Sir David was fatally stabbed as he met his constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church last Friday.

The 69-year-old had been MP for Southend West for 38 years and first entered parliament in 1983, and leaves behind his wife Julia and their five children.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described Sir David as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics” and paid tribute to his “outstanding” campaigning work on endometriosis, animal cruelty and fuel poverty.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described a “dark and shocking day” as he urged people to “come together in response to these horrendous events”.

Sir David sat on a number of Commons committees during his time in Westminster and also sponsored many parliamentary bills – many focused on his keen interest in animal welfare and his ambition to eliminate fuel poverty.

From a humble background, he was raised a Catholic in London’s East End.

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