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Anti-terror cops search Sir David Amess suspect Ali Harbi Ali’s home on celeb street after ‘he plotted for a week’

ANTI-terror cops searched the home of the man suspected of killing Sir David Amess after he allegedly plotted the attack for a week.

Officers were pictured guarding the council flat - on a celebrity street of £2million three-storey townhouses - where suspect Ali Harbi Ali lives in North London after the MP, 69, was stabbed to death on Friday.

Neighbours include broadcaster Giles Coren and, formerly, the late actor Roger Lloyd Pack, who played Trigger in Only Fools And Horses. 

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer, who yesterday placed flowers at the church where Sir David Amess was murdered, is the local MP and lives just streets away.

The property was one of three addresses being searched on Saturday by cops probing links Islamic extremism after they discovered extremist material on Ali's phone.

The tragedy comes as...

The 25-year-old, a British national with Somali heritage, is being quizzed on suspicion of murdering Sir David at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on Friday.

Scotland Yard detectives were yesterday granted another six days to quiz him under the Terrorism Act, allowing them to hold him until Friday.

The Met said: "Late on Friday, whilst in police custody, the man was subsequently further detained under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and he is now being held at a London police station.

"On Saturday, detectives were granted a warrant of further detention at Westminster Magistrates' Court, allowing them to keep the man in custody until October 22, when the warrant expires."

The force confirmed officers attended three addresses in the London area and conducted searches.

A statement added: "One of these searches has concluded and the others are ongoing. A post-mortem examination has taken place today."

The killer was said to be "dead behind the eyes" after the attack, was on a terror watch list and had extremist material on his phone.

The killer of Sir David travelled 50 miles by train to murder him - and apparently had told the MP's staff that he had recently moved to the area.

Security sources told The Mail on Sunday that Ali planned his murderous attack more than a week in advance.

Counter-terror cops believe he boarded a service in London to carry out the lone wolf attack.

He is believed to have waived his right to silence on arrest and is said to have admitted fatally stabbing dad-of-five Sir David 17 times at his constituency surgery at a church hall in Leigh-on-Sea.

The suspect had not been on MI5’s “subject of interest” list. But he had been referred to the early stages of the Government Prevent anti-terror scheme.

Cops and security services are said to be examining the theory Ali was radicalised online during lockdown.

And they believe the suspect may have been inspired by al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda offshoot operating in Somalia and Kenya.

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 last night he has family ties to Sir David’s Southend West constituency.

His dad Harbi Ali Kullane, a former adviser to the prime minister of Somalia, confirmed that his British-born son was in custody.

He told The Sunday Times: “I’m feeling very traumatised. It’s not something that I expected or even dreamt of.”

TERROR PROBE

Ali is feared to have planned his murderous attack more than a week in advance, security sources told The Mail on Sunday.

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

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

It is understood Ali had been referred to the government's Prevent deradicalisation scheme but was not on MI5's list of active threats.

Essex Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington confirmed that national counter-terrorism officers are leading the investigation after the horror was formally declared as a terror attack.

It's understood Sir David’s killer had not booked an appointment to see the MP but was allowed a walk-in meeting after waiting 40 minutes.

After stabbing him up to 17 times, he sat quietly in the church beside his lifeless body waiting for cops to arrive, it's reported.

Witness Anthony Finch said: "He was wearing jeans and a white top and was completely quiet.

"He was in his mid-20s and appeared to be getting into the police car willingly. He was compliant."

John Lamb, councillor for neighbouring West Leigh, said Sir David was with two female members of staff when a man "literally got a knife out and just began stabbing him".

Mr Lamb told The Sun that the two women, one of whom is PA Julie Cushion, were heartbroken.

He said: “They are devastated. I’ve no idea of the motive. He had no known enemies.

"I’m told the man was waiting calmly to be seen. It’s horrendous. So awful.”

Sir David, 69, 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.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday 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.

Have you seen the raids or do you have any information? Contact The Sun [email protected] or call 020 7782 4100

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.

"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."

RIP Sir David

Sir David was one of the longest serving MPs in the House of Commons.

He was born in Essex in 1952 and has served the area for 38 years as an MP.

Sir David was a Tory MP since 1983, first for the seat of Basildon, and since 1997 for Southend West, where he has a majority of 14,459.

He was a backer of Brexit and supported leave in the referendum, saying it was "dangerous" and a "mistake" to Remain.

The lifelong backbencher never served in any top government positions but was well-versed in how to lobby ministers from the backbenches.

The MP long had a passion for animals and was patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation - along with the PM's wife Carrie. He also campaigned against fox-hunting.

Sir David was a Roman Catholic and opposed abortion laws and same sex marriage.

On foreign policy, he voted for the Iraq war, but later was very critical about the failure to find any WMDs.

Earlier this year, Sir David launched a new campaign for a permanent memorial to Dame Vera Lynn, along with her family.

MPs said he was a genuinely well-respected politician and liked by members all across the spectrum.

He is married with one son and four daughters.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said questions are “rightly being asked” about the safety of MPs following the killing of Sir David Amess and she will “provide updates in due course”.

Robert Halfon, Tory MP for Harlow and a friend of Sir David's, told The Sun: "He was the embodiment of Essex man.

"He was just the most wonderful and kindest and funny and compassionate politicians that we had the lucky to know in our lifetimes."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak tweeted: "The worst aspect of violence is its inhumanity. It steals joy from the world and can take from us that which we love the most.

"Today it took a father, a husband, and a respected colleague. All my thoughts and prayers are with Sir David's loved ones."

'FAMILY MAN'

Judith Cannon, deputy chair of the local conservative club and friend of Sir David told Sky: "I just don't believe it, how anyone could harm a kind man like David, I don't know.

"I cannot understand how anyone could be so wicked to harm this man.

"We love him dearly. Nobody is perfect but he is as near perfect as it's possible to be."

Mr Lamb described Sir David as as an "amicable" family man.

He said: "He's a family man, he's got four daughters and a son.

"He's always trying to help people and especially refugees he's tried to help. He's a very amicable person and he does stick by his guns, he says what he believes and he sticks by it."

History of violent attacks on MPs

Sir David is the latest MP to be killed while serving in office.

Jo Cox

Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered in June 2016 by right wing fanatic Thomas Mair as she was on her way to a constituency surgery in Batley and Spen.

Her murder, which came just days before the EU referendum, sparked a national outcry and prompted politicians to massively ramp up their security.

Mair was jailed for life for the attack.

Stephen Timms

In 2010 Labour MP Stephen Timms was stabbed by a woman who claimed she was seeking revenge for his support of the Iraq War at his constituency surgery in east London.

His attacker, Roshonara Choudhry, 21 a radicalised student, stabbed Mr Timms twice in the stomach before his assistant managed to drag her off. 

 The surgeon who operated on him described the injuries he suffered as “potentially life-threatening”.

Nigel Jones

Lib Dem MP Nigel Jones was stabbed and his assistant, Andy Pennington, murdered, when a man brandishing a sword burst into his constituency and attacked him in 2000.

Attacker Robert Ashman spent 8 years in a secure hospital for the attack.

Ian Gow

In 1990, the Eastbourne MP was was killed by an IRA car bomb at his Sussex home at the age of 53.

Sir Anthony Berry

The MP for Enfield Southgate died in the IRA bombing of Brighton's Grand Hotel, where Margaret Thatcher was staying for the 1984 Conservative Party conference.

Robert Bradford

In 1981, the Ulster Unionist Party was shot dead by the IRA while holding a constituency surgery in a Belfast community centre in 1981.

Airey Neave

The terror group also claimed the life of former Northern Ireland secretary Neave.

His car was blown up as he drove out of the parliamentary car park at Westminster in 1979.

Spencer Perceval

Perceval is the only prime minister to have been murdered in office.

He was shot dead in the lobby of the House of Commons in 1812.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: "Devastated to learn of Sir David Amess' murder. A great man, a great friend, and a great MP killed while fulfilling his democratic role.

"My heart goes out to Julia, his family, and all who loved him. Let us remember him and what he did with his life."

Theresa May wrote: "Heartbreaking to hear of the death of Sir David Amess. A decent man and respected Parliamentarian, killed in his own community while carrying out his public duties.

"A tragic day for our democracy. My thoughts and prayers are with David’s family."

Communities Secretary Michael Gove tweeted: "David Amess's passing is heart-breakingly sad. Just terrible, terrible news.

"He was a good and gentle man, he showed charity and compassion to all, his every word and act were marked by kindness. My heart goes out to his family."

'TRUE PARLIAMENTARIAN'

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: "Awful, tragic news about David.

"A dedicated, thoughtful man and a true Parliamentarian, who lost his life while serving the constituents who he worked relentlessly for throughout his career.

"My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

While Sadiq Khan said: "I am so deeply, deeply saddened by the tragic news that Sir David has passed away.

"He loved being an MP and was a great public servant. It is just awful.

"My thoughts and prayers, and those of all Londoners, are with David's loved ones at this time of unimaginable grief."

'COWARDLY'

Friday's stabbing comes five years after MP Jo Cox, 41, was gunned down and stabbed to death in broad daylight.

The Labour politician and mother was murdered by Thomas Mair, 53, who was sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order.

Her death was the first killing of a sitting British MP after the 1990 death of Conservative MP Ian Gow. 

Sir David had written a book last year following Jo's death, saying her murder "spoilt the great British tradition of the people openly meeting" their MPs.

Jo's husband Brendan Cox said: "Attacking our elected representatives is an attack on democracy itself.

"There is no excuse, no justification. It is as cowardly as it gets."

The Jo Cox Foundation, which was started after the MP's murder, said: "The Jo Cox Foundation is horrified to hear the news of the attack on Sir David Amess MP.

"We are thinking of him, his family and loved ones at this distressing time."

Sir David has been MP for Southend West since 1997 and first entered parliament in 1983.

Anyone with information or CCTV footage has been asked to call police on 101 quoting incident 445 of 15 October.

Witness reveals moment cops 'swamped' church after MP David Amess stabbed