The man accused of the terrorist murder of Sir David Amess allegedly began plotting to kill an MP two years ago, a court has heard.
Ali Harbi Ali, 25, appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday accused of stabbing to death the Conservative MP for Southend West during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.
He was not asked to enter pleas to charges of murdering Sir David, 69, and preparing acts of terrorism between May 1 2019 and September this year before he was remanded in custody.
The court heard Ali allegedly settled on a plot to kill an MP two years ago, focusing on two MPs other than Sir David.
He is said to have carried out reconnaissance at one of their homes, the surgery of another and the Houses of Parliament.
Prosecutor James Cable said on Friday Ali travelled by train from his home in Kentish Town, north London, to get to Belfairs Methodist Church after making a midday appointment by email, claiming he was moving to the area.
During the meeting, he was allegedly seen to use his mobile phone before standing up, producing a large knife from his pocket and stabbing Sir David in the stomach.
Ali accused of being affiliated with terror organisation Islamic State
The veteran MP was pronounced dead at the scene at 1.10pm and a preliminary post-mortem report gave the cause of death as multiple stab wounds to the chest.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) alleges the murder has a terrorist connection because of its “religious and ideological” motives.
Prosecutors allege Ali was affiliated with the so-called Islamic State proscribed terrorist organisation and targeted Sir David over the MP’s voting record in support of air strikes on Syria.
The defendant, wearing a grey prison-issue tracksuit and black rimmed glasses, stood to confirm his name, address and date of birth during the hearing, which lasted around 13 minutes.
He then sat with his arms folded, occasionally glancing towards the full press bench.
He nodded at Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring as he was remanded in custody ahead of a hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday.
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