LONDON — A jury deliberated for just 18 minutes Monday before finding a fervent Islamic State supporter guilty of stabbing lawmaker David Amess to death a slaying that shocked the nation and sparked calls for increased police protection for politicians.
Ali Harbi Ali, 26, was found guilty by London’s Central Criminal Court of murder and preparing terrorist acts. Ali attacked and killed the British veteran lawmaker last year as he met with voters in an eastern English church hall.
Ali had spent many years planning and researching potential attacks against lawmakers. He defended his actions saying that Amess should die because he voted for strikes on Syria in 2014, and 2015..
Ali was a Londoner of Somali descent who denied the charges of murdering and premeditating terrorist acts.
Opening the trial, prosecutor Tom Little said the case was “nothing less than an assassination” carried out because of a “warped and twisted and violent ideology.”
“It was a murder carried out by that young man who for many years had been planning just such an attack and who was, and is, a committed, fanatical, radicalized Islamist terrorist,” he said.
Little claimed that Ali purchased the knife to attack Amess five-years before and that Ali pretended to be one his constituents to get to Amess’s house.
Amess, 69, had been a member of Parliament since 1983. After the stabbing, Ali was declared dead on the spot.
The prosecutor stated that Ali planned and researched attacks against lawmakers and Parliament from at least 2019.. He said that reconnaissance was part of the research and targeted two other legislators, Mike Freer (Cabinet member) and Michael Gove (lawmaker).
The slaying Amess shocked the country, since lawmakers are often in direct contact with the public. This happened five years after Jo Cox, a Labour Party lawmaker was shot and then stabbed by far-right extremists.