“LONE wolf” extremist Ali Harbi Ali has been found guilty of murdering Sir David Amess.
The 26-year-old knifed the MP for Southend West to death during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.
Ali Harbi Ali after being arrested on suspicion of the murder of Sir David AmessCredit: PA
Sir David Amess was killed during a constituency surgery last yearCredit: PA
He was also convicted of preparing acts of terrorism at the Old Bailey.
Islamic State fanatic Ali carried out the “cold and calculating” murder on October 15 last year.
He told the trial he had no regrets about the killing, defending his actions by saying Sir David deserved to die as a result of voting in Parliament for air strikes on Syria in 2014 and 2015.
A jury deliberated for just 18 minutes to find Ali guilty of murder and preparing for terrorist acts.
The court heard how Ali sent a manifesto on WhatsApp to family and friends seeking to justify his actions around the time of the attack.
He told Sir David he was “sorry” before plunging the knife into him, causing the politician to scream.
He died at the scene.
Knife-wielding Ali was later apprehended by two police officers armed only with batons and spray.
Essex Police Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow praised his officers’ “astounding bravery”.
The court was told how London-born Ali had become self-radicalised in 2014, going on to drop out of university, abandoning ambitions for a career in medicine.
The defendant, who came from an influential Somali family and said he had a childhood “full of love and care”, considered travelling to Syria to fight but by 2019 opted for an attack in Britain.
Ali bought a £20 knife from Argos six years ago which he carried in his bag throughout the summer of 2021 as he “scoped out” possible targets, jurors heard.
He carried out reconnaissance on the Houses of Parliament but found police there “armed to the teeth”.
Ali carried out online research on MPs including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
He staked out the west London home of Levelling Up Secretary Mr Gove six times and wrote detailed notes on how he might get to him.
Scenarios included mingling with media, bumping into him jogging, ringing his doorbell, and causing a scene to “lure” him out.
Ali rejected the plan after Mr Gove split up with his wife and was thought to have moved out of the family home.
He was later to tell police: “It was so convenient to go to that address but I just, I don’t know why I didn’t do that one.”
Ali, from Kentish Town, north London, was also spotted lurking outside Finchley MP Mike Freer’s constituency office, jurors were told.
By September last year, Ali had settled on Sir David as an easy target after seeing his upcoming surgery in Leigh-on-Sea on Twitter.
He made an appointment through the MP’s office, falsely claiming he was moving to the area and was interested in churches.
Ali caught on CCTV making his way from Gospel Oak station to Leigh-on-SeaCredit: PA
The black backpack worn by Ali and found at Belfairs Methodist ChurchCredit: PA
On the morning of October 15 last year, he was caught on chilling CCTV as he made his way by foot and train to Essex.
Within minutes of meeting Sir David, Ali pulled out a 12in carving knife and stabbed him more than 20 times.
He waved the bloody knife and threatened to kill the MP’s two female aides and a couple who had arrived for their appointment.
Sir David’s assistant Julie Cushion told jurors he appeared “self-satisfied” in the wake of the brutal killing.
In police interview, he spoke calmly about his terror plot and admitted allegiance to so-called Islamic State.
He told officers Sir David immediately suspected a “sting”, having been duped into talking about a fake drug “cake” in the television series Brass Eye.
He went on: “I felt like one minute I was sat down at the table talking to him and the next he was, sort of, dead.
“But, yeah, it’s probably one of the strangest days of my life now, y’know?”
Ali had secretly plotted his attack for years despite being known to authorities.
He radicalised himself by consuming extremist material online, though had been involved with the Prevent deradicalisation programme in 2014.
Detective Chief Superintendent Dominic Murphy said: “He spent some time in Prevent and then came out of Prevent and by his own admission, carried on his activity in secret over many years, forming his plan and conducting reconnaissance and focusing his efforts on many MPs.
“We say he was the true example of a committed terrorist and exactly the type of people that we should be focusing our efforts on.”
Jurors were told Ali had no mental health issues and he accepted much of the evidence against him, though he denied both charges.
Sir David’s family sat in the well of the court, just metres from Ali in the dock, who refused to stand up “on religious grounds” when convicted.
Sir David was killed five years after Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox was murdered in her constituency.
His death led to renewed concern around the safety of MPs.
Mr Justice Sweeney said he would sentence Ali on Wednesday.
Emergency services at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist ChurchCredit: PA
Sir David Amess with his pugs Lily and BoatCredit: PA
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Ali in the dock at the Old BaileyCredit: PA