The man accused of murdering Sir David Amess in a terrorist attack allegedly began plotting to kill an MP two years ago, a court has heard. Ali Harbi Ali, 25, was charged on Thursday with stabbing to death the Southend West MP during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex last Friday.
Mr Ali, from north London, appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court accused of murder and also preparing acts of terrorism between May 1 2019 and September this year. It is understood the plot was inspired by Islamic State and it is alleged he previously focused on two other politicians.
He is said to have carried out reconnaissance at one of their homes, the surgery of another and the Houses of Parliament. The defendant was not asked to enter pleas to the two charges and was remanded in custody.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) alleges the murder has a terrorist connection because of its “religious and ideological” motives. Prosecutors allege Ali was affiliated with the so-called Islamic State proscribed terrorist organisation..
The defendant, wearing a grey prison-issue tracksuit and black rimmed glasses, stood to confirm his name, address and date of birth during the hearing, which lasted around 13 minutes. . . He nodded at Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring as he was remanded in custody ahead of a hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday.
Earlier, Nick Price, of the CPS, said: “We will submit to the court that this murder has a terrorist connection, namely that it had both religious and ideological motivations.”