Man Given Life Sentence For Murder Of Tory MP Sir David Amess
A 26 year old man has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess.
Ali Harbi Ali was handed a whole-life order at the Old Bailey on Wednesday which means he will never be released from prison.
He had denied the charges, but was convicted by the jury after a deliberation that took less than 20 minutes on Monday.
At the sentencing Mr Justice Sweeney said: “Sir David had done nothing whatsoever to justify the attack on him,” he said. “On the contrary, he had devoted 38 years of his life to the service of the public.
“This was a murder that struck at the heart of our democracy,”
He added he had “no doubt” that Ali should be sentenced to a “whole-life order”.
Mr Justice Sweeney said the loss of Sir David was "one of national significance" and the murder had been carried out "in revenge for Islamic State's losses in Syria".
In a statement read by the family of Sir David outside court, they said the murder was "beyond evil".
"We will wake each day and immediately feel our loss," they said.
"Our last thought before sleep will be of David. We shall never get over this tragedy."
The jury in the case heard Ali had spent years planning the attack and had researched other targets, including Conservative cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Dominic Raab, and Labour leader Keir Starmer.
Speaking at the sentencing hearing, Gove provided a victim impact statement saying his experience had been "incomparable" to that faced by Amess' family.
"Like everyone I knew at work, I have found the impact of losing Sir David has been enormous," he said.
Gove said he had been visited by counter terrorism officers after the attack to inform him "that I had in fact been a potential target".
The judge had directed the jury that Ali was guilty of murder and a further charge of perparing acts of terrorism after he said Ali had failed to provide a defence for the killing.
In a direction to the jury on Monday, he said: "Having considered the defendant's account taken at its highest in his favour, I direct you, as the judge, that the killing was neither in lawful self-defence, nor in lawful defence of another, nor in the lawful prevention of crime."
"Because that is a direction in law, the prosecution are entitled to rely on it and you must follow it in your deliberations. No other defence arises."
Amess received more than 20 stab wounds during the attack, which the court heard was "an assassination for terrorist purposes".
Prosecutor Tom Little QC told the court that Amess was the victim of a "vicious and frenzied attack".
In a statement after the sentencing, Anna Firth, who took over as the MP for Sir David's constituency, said: "On behalf of the people of Southend West I am very pleased that a full life order has been imposed for the horrific and senseless murder of Sir David Amess."
Firth paid tribute to his "dedication" to his constituency, and praised his family for the "utmost dignity" shown throughout the trial.
The MP also thanked Amess' staff for their "great courage and fortitude" as they were forced to "re-live horrific events" during the hearings.
She added: "Sir David's incredible work and legacy will live on through the many charities and good causes he championed here in Southend."
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