A MAN has DENIED murdering Sir David Amess in a terror attack after the MP was stabbed to death.
Ali Harbi Ali, 25, made the pleas at the Old Bailey today – denying that he murdered the Tory politician or that he prepared acts of terrorism.
He was previously charged with murdering the MP for Southend West during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.
The 25-year-old was also charged with preparing acts of terrorism between May 1 2019 and September 28 this year.
He today denied both charges.
Ali, wearing a blue sweatshirt and grey jogging bottoms, stood with his arms crossed as he confirmed his identity and entered pleas without removing his face mask.
The alleged terrorist was remanded in custody after the hearing today.
On the morning of October 15, Ali travelled by train from his home in Kentish Town, north London, to attend Sir David's surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church, it is claimed.
During the meeting, he allegedly produced a large knife from his pocket and repeatedly stabbed Sir David.
The veteran MP was pronounced dead at the scene at 1.10pm.
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Before the killing, Ali allegedly engaged in reconnaissance of locations of targets to attack, including addresses associated with MPs and the Houses of Parliament.
He also made an internet search relating to targets, it is claimed.
Ali was today taken from custody to the Old Bailey for a plea and case management hearing.
The hearing – in which he denied the murder – was made in front of Mr Justice Sweeney.
The senior judge appeared remotely from Manchester Crown Court while Ali was in the dock at the Central Criminal Court in London.
Mr Justice Sweeney had already identified a provisional trial date of March 7 next year.
Following discussions with prosecutor Tom Little QC and defence barrister Tracy Ayling QC, Mr Sweeney agreed to put the trial back to March 21.
In November, hundreds of mourners bid farewell to Sir David Amess MP in an emotional funeral.
Sir David's casket, covered by a Union flag, was carried into St Mary's Church in Southend, Essex – three miles from where the Conservative MP was stabbed to death on October 15.
The Tory MP's family spoke of how they had been "shattered" by the tragic loss.
In a tribute read aloud in church, Sir David's family said they were "enormously proud of him".
They added: "As a family, we are still trying to understand why this awful thing has occurred. Nobody should die in that way. Nobody. Please let some good come from this tragedy."
Bells tolled at the church as teary-eyed mourners began to arrive for the funeral – with Sir David's coffin arriving draped in a Union Jack flag.
The veteran MP's friend, former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, also read a statement on behalf of the Amess family.
Sir David, a married father-of-five, spent a short stint as a primary school teacher in London’s East End and then a spell as a recruitment consultant.
But politics was his calling and by his early 30s the ardent Brexiteer was the proud MP for Basildon in Essex.
Once inside the corridors of power he worked as an aide to perhaps the most famous of the new breed of Thatcherite Tory – Michael Portillo.
He was part of this new gang of Tory grafters and strivers who were reshaping their ancient party forever.
But Sir David shunned the ministerial ladder which proves simply too alluring for most politicians.
Instead, this proud Essex boy preferred to stay on the backbenches where he could freely speak his mind, and stand up for his constituents, without the muzzle of ‘collective ministerial responsibility’ which gags so many politicians.
His colleagues and friends remember a charismatic, witty and charming MP.
Someone who loved nothing more than walking round his constituency, chatting to locals, and campaigning on issues close to his heart.
His local Tory Party branch chairman dubbed him “a friend to everybody” who could not do too much for his patch.
“He has a photographic memory – he remembers everyone” they recalled.
After nearly 15 years in his beloved Basildon, Sir David moved to the nearby constituency of Southend West to become an MP there (boundary commission bosses had tinkered with his old constituency borders – meaning it was bound to fall to Labour).
The 1997 election brought with it a changing of the guard. Tony Blair romped to a landslide victory. Like Maggie Thatcher two decades before, the New Labour leader was elected on a promise to remake his country – and his party.
But while most of the UK fell to the red rosette, Southend West stayed resolutely blue. And Sir David was their man.
In Parliament he was often found, head bobbing in the midst of a raucous PMQs, to ask the leader of the day if they would back his campaign to make Southend West a city.
In December 2019, he secured an adjournment debate in the Commons specifically on the campaign and he told MPs: "I am not messing around.
"We have got it from the Prime Minister that Southend is going to become a city – and it will become a city."
A passionate supporter of the British monarchy, Sir David saw another opportunity in November 2020 as the Commons considered plans for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee next year.
He asked for a new statue of the Queen and for a city status competition to elevate Southend's status.
In March 2021, Sir David repeated his statue calls – insisting the Queen deserved one for being a "great" monarch.
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