David Amess accused said sister’s tears made him submit to arrest | UK news

The man alleged to have murdered David Amess said he spoke to his own sister immediately after stabbing the MP 21 times and was so moved by her tears that he dropped his knife, allowing police to arrest him.

Ali Harbi Ali, 26, is accused of the assassination of the veteran Conservative MP as Amess held a constituency surgery in an Essex church on 15 October 2021.

The jury at the Old Bailey has heard that Ali wanted police who arrived to shoot him dead so he would, in his mind, be a martyr.

Videos of police interviews with Ali were played in court in which he detailed his account of his meeting with Amess.

The jury has seen video from body cameras worn by officers when they confronted and detained Ali minutes after the stabbing. The jury has been told that Ali had a foot-long knife in one hand and a phone he was talking on in the other.

Officers shouted and pleaded with Ali to drop the knife, which he did after a standoff lasting just over 30 seconds, and he was handcuffed while on the floor.

In a police interview afterwards, Ali said: “The only reason I dropped the knife in front of the police officer was cos my sister was on the phone crying her eyes out. It was an intense situation. “

The jury has heard that Ali was worried how his actions would affect his family, and in the interview he was told: “Their houses are probably going to be raided, y’know.”

In the interview, Ali berated himself for taking five years from buying the knife to using it, blaming it on “procrastination”. He said the pandemic and lockdown had also got in the way of his plans.

Amess, 69, died an hour after being stabbed, and Ali told police he had deliberately struck at parts of his body to inflict maximum damage and a cause quicker death.

In the interview, he was asked by PC Jody Grogan: “Mr Ali, is this a terrorist attack?” Ali replied: “I mean, I guess, yeah, I killed an MP. I did it, so yeah. ”

Ali denies murder and preparing other terrorist attacks, such as scouting the home and lifestyle of cabinet minister Michael Gove.

The jury heard Ali say in the police interview that by 2014 he had radicalized himself and dropped out of a City University course in radiotherapy. He said he wanted to punish an MP for a 2015 vote for airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria, and having researched a number of British lawmakers he eventually settled on Amess.

In 2019, having considered going to Syria to join Islamic State, he decided against it. The prosecution says the evidence shows that in May 2019 Ali started planning possible attacks in the UK.

In the video interview Ali appears calm and measured. In early portions he answers questions at length, and later he responds with “no comment”.

The prosecution case closed on Friday. The trial continues.

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