David Amess murder suspect named as Ali Harbi Ali as sources say he was flagged to Prevent anti-terror scheme

THE man arrested for the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess has been named as Ali Harbi Ali.

The 25-year-old, who is a British national with Somali heritage, is not thought to have been previously known to the security services.

However, the investigation is still in its early stages and that could change if new details emerge.

The suspect was arrested on Friday at a Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where the MP for Southend West had been meeting constituents.

Sources confirmed his name to the Sun this evening.

The tragedy comes as…

  • Boris Johnson leads tributes to Sir David – and said  ‘our hearts are filled with shock and sadness’
  • Counter-terror cops quiz a 25-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder
  • The suspect, a British national of Somali origin, allegedly knifed the MP 17 times – and sat calmly while he waited for police to arrive
  • The PM visited the scene of the horror with Sir Keir Starmer and Priti Patel to lay a wreath of white flowers
  • Sir David was asked to stop meeting constituents alone after Jo Cox was murdered – and wrote that similar attacks "could happen to any of us"
  • Mrs Cox's sister says her terrified husband has asked her to step down from politics after the horror
  • Priti Patel launches review into MPs’ safety after killing
  • There were tears at a vigil as friends and constituents remembered the much-loved MP

Anti-terror cops have searched two London homes as they probe any links Ali may have to Islamic extremism.

Sources previously told the Guardian he shares details with a person previously referred to the Government's anti-terror Prevent programme.

The Prevent scheme asks the public and key workers to spot early signs of radicalisation.

Whitehall sources told The Times the suspect was a “self-radicalised” lone operative known to counterterrorist police.

The paper claims police and security services believe he may have been inspired by the jihadist group al-Shabaab, an offshoot of al-Qaeda operating in Somalia and Kenya.

And cops are reportedly probing whether the man was radicalised online during lockdown.

Ali is understood to have lived in London after his family came to the UK from the war-torn East African country in the 1990s.

It was reported tonight he has family ties to Sir David’s Southend West constituency.

Urgent background checks are being carried out on him to establish any potential links with jihadist groups.

The suspect’s health records are also being examined to check on his psychiatric history.

In January 2019 ministers announced the creation of the Independent Review of Prevent as part of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act.

In last years stats there were 6,287 referrals to Prevent – an an increase of 10 per cent compared to the previous year.

It emerged that last year 1,487 (24 per cent) were referred to Prevent over concerns related to Islamist radicalisation and 1,387 (22 per cent) were referred with links to the far right.

Prevent has long been opposed by many Muslim and Islamist groups in the UK including the Muslim Council of Britain.


Sir David, who represented Southend West in Essex, was attacked just after midday at Belfairs Methodist Church.

Paramedics frantically battled to save the stricken MP while horrified constituents watched as the suspect was led away from the bloodbath.

However, in spite of their efforts, he died at the scene.

On Saturday morning, Boris Johnson joined Sir Keir Starmer and Priti Patel at the church to lay flowers.

Mr Johnson and Sir Keir both wore black suits and carried white blooms as they walked side-by-side to the church during the unannounced visit at 9am.

Mrs Patel, who brought yellow and purple flowers, was dressed in a black coat.

The politicians went to the front of the church individually to pay their respects before returning to their cars, which were escorted by a police convoy.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday evening, Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said the force will "keep an open mind" in their probe.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs “with immediate effect”, a Home Office spokesman said.

It's been confirmed that all politicians will be contacted regarding their security arrangements.

MP Tobias Ellwood has called for all meetings between politicians and constituents to take place over Zoom in the wake of the horror.

The ex Green Jacket, who gave murdered police officer Keith Palmer CPR during the Westminster terror attack, said: "MP engagement with the public is a vital part of our work.

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"But [it's] understandable [there's] huge anxiety amongst MPs now.

"Until the Home Secretary's review of MP security is complete, I would recommend a temporary pause in face-to-face meetings."

However, former Cabinet minister David Davis said such a move would be a "terrible reflection of what David stood for".

He told Sky News: "I don't think we should do that. I'm sorry, I disagree with Tobias on that.

"I don't think David would (agree) either.

"Sure, we should be cautious, maybe we should do things to ensure the people who come to see us are bona fide, but I think actually pausing it would be a bad idea.

"It would be a terrible reflection of what David stood for – David himself was the ultimate constituency MP.

"You can see that in the response of people in his constituency."

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