Court hears 999 call from witness to fatal stabbing of Southend West MP Sir David Amess

  • Watch a video report by Sejal Karia

Murder trial jurors have been shown CCTV of a terror suspect's journey to fatally stab Sir David Amess at a constituency appointment - after he told the veteran MP's aide: "I don't think I'll take too long."

The court was also played the 999 call made in the moments after Sir David was stabbed.

The court saw images of Ali Harbi Ali, 26 - who denies murder and preparing terrorist acts - as he made his way from his home in north London to Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on 15 October last year.

Wearing a long, khaki coat and with a black backpack slung over his right shoulder, Ali appeared to assist a fellow passenger with directions as he waited for his connection at Barking station.

Ali Harbi Ali captured on CCTV. Credit: PA Images

The Old Bailey heard how he then spent about 25 minutes lying in wait, yards from the church building where he was due to meet Sir David, having duped staff into believing he was a healthcare worker moving to the area who wanted to discuss local matters.

Jurors had previously been told that Ali had spent years hatching his plot, researching potential high-profile political targets including Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Sir Keir Starmer, before settling on Sir David, the 69-year-old MP for Southend West.

The court heard how Ali stabbed Sir David 21 times with a carving knife with a 12-inch blade and sent a WhatsApp message apologising to his family and friends, attempting to justify his actions.

Sir David Amess was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery in October 2021. Credit: ITV News

Ali then spoke to his worried sister on the phone for 14 minutes, as Sir David lay bleeding to death, before being apprehended by two unarmed plain-clothes police officers, who pinned him to the floor and arrested him.

Sir David, a married father-of-five, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Alleged killer set up meeting with MP

On Tuesday, prosecutor Tom Little QC took the jury through a timeline of events leading up to the Sir David's death, including email exchanges between Ali and the politician's aide Rebecca Hayton.

On 27 September, Ali emailed Sir David's office to ask about a meeting.

Belfairs methodist Church, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex Credit: ITV News

He wrote: "I will be moving to the area from a Labour-held constituency and wanted to get to know my future MP.

"Since I work in healthcare, I would like to know his plans, if any, for the hospital and workers.

"Also, as someone interested in Christianity, I have seen many churches in my area losing attendances and struggle with upkeep, eventually becoming at risk of being demolished or repurposed.

"I wanted to know if the situation in Southend is similar and, if so, what are the solutions."

'I'll be able to drop by'

He added: "Looking forward to seeing you soon. If all appointments are taken, let me know if there's a cancellation.

"I'll be in the local area and will be able to drop by."

Ms Hayton responded by requesting Ali's address and full name to check he was a constituent.

Ali gave a postcode in Southend and told her: "I'll be in the local area on Friday so it would be nice to see him regardless, although I know he's a very busy man so I can appreciate if that's not possible."

Ms Hayton told Ali she would be happy to book him in for 15 October.

He later confirmed he was "able to clear up my schedule" and asked for an appointment at noon.

He told Ms Hayton: "I don't really know how long the appointments are but I don't think I'll take too long. Thanks for all the help so far."

Attack 'for the sake of Allah'

Around the time of the attack on Sir David, Ali sent a message to family and friends which appeared to have been drafted days before, the court was told.

In it, he said the attack was "for the sake of Allah", jurors heard.

He allegedly wrote: "I apologise to my family for deceiving them for so long. I would have preferred Hijrah so as not to harm you but I could not.

"The obligations upon me to take revenge for the blood of Muslims were too great.

"The shame of abiding in the very lands that carry out these horrendous acts against my brothers and sisters was too much."

The trial continues.