Police are probing claims that Ali Harbi Ali was seen near other potential targets before allegedly killing David Amess.
Detectives are tracing the suspect’s movements and examining CCTV footage amid reports that he was spotted hanging around outside offices in central London.
Police are also trying to establish who Ali tried to contact in the moments before he was arrested on Friday.
Witnesses said the 25-year-old calmly used his mobile phone either to make a call or send a text seconds after Sir David was knifed 17 times in a frenzied attack at his constituency surgery in Essex.
Yesterday it emerged that the murder weapon was a kitchen knife recovered from the church in Leigh-on-Sea where the Tory MP died.
Police are probing claims that suspect Ali Harbi Ali, 25, (pictured) was seen near other potential targets before allegedly killing MP David Amess in a frenzied attack on Friday
It was claimed last night that Ali was referred to Prevent as a teenager in 2014, while he was still in education.
He went through a deradicalisation course lasting a few months after concerns were raised about him being drawn toward Islamist ideologies, The Guardian reported. Ali later had his case closed.
It is not known whether his activities were checked in the seven years between the end of his time on the Prevent scheme and his arrest on suspicion of murdering Sir David.
Yesterday friends claimed the London-born Muslim was ‘not political at all’.
This was despite Ali hailing from a prominent family – his father Harbi Ali Kullane was an adviser to the prime minister of Somalia and his uncle is the East African country’s ambassador to Beijing.
One classmate recalled: ‘He was part of the nerdy group at school, but he wasn’t unpopular. He was very quiet but not in a strange way.
Witnesses also said he calmly used his mobile phone either to make a call or send a text seconds after Sir David was knifed 17 times at his constituency surgery in Essex. Pictured: CCTV image of Ali Harbi Ali leaving his home on Friday
‘He didn’t really play any sport. He wasn’t aggressive at all, even if you took the mickey out of him he wouldn’t get upset. He wasn’t bullied, he just joked around like everyone else.
‘He was a Muslim but he wasn’t overly religious. He wasn’t political at all and didn’t really talk about that stuff.’
A teaching assistant who was a fellow pupil of Ali at Riddlesdown Collegiate in Purley, south London, said: ‘I was in a maths class with Ali. He was really nice and I think he was actually a prefect. He was one of the kids in school who did really well, and hung out with all the nice people who got really good grades.
‘Everyone who wanted to be doctors, surgeons or lawyers, who were trying to get A*s and get in to really good colleges, that’s who he hung around with.
It was claimed last night that Ali was referred to Prevent as a teenager in 2014, while he was still in education, and is not known whether his activities were checked in the following seven years before his arrest on suspicion of murdering Sir David (pictured)
‘I assumed he was a Muslim, but it was never like “Ali Ali the Muslim guy” who talks about those kinds of things. He was just another kid in the class who was doing well.’
Another Riddlesdown pupil said: ‘He was a really nice person, always happy, he was very talkative. It was weird. I saw this on the news a couple of days ago and immediately had a conversation with my friends and we said: “It can’t be the same person, there’s no way.”
‘He seemed like one of those people who had a nice, gentle vibe. He was in the middle at school, not high, not low, not shooting anywhere but also not idling. He seemed to be enjoying his vibe.
‘He had a very close-knit friendship group, he always hung around with the same people. From Year 7 all the way up. Ali played video games with some of my friends, multiplayer in-person games.
‘He was sort of geeky, the type of people you would expect to see down at your local Game Stop.’