After receiving a life sentence, the self-radicalized terrorist Ali Harbi Ali who assassinated senior MP Sir David Amess will die in prison.
Ali Harbi Ali, an Islamic State supporter, appeared at the Old Bailey on Wednesday after jurors found him guilty of murder and plotting terrorist activities after only 18 minutes of deliberation.
During a constituency surgery meeting in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, in October of last year, Sir David was stabbed more than 20 times.
Mr. Justice Sweeney, who handed down Ali’s sentence, said the murder of the Southend West MP “struck to the heart of our democracy.”
Sir David was described as “a man of tremendous substance” who had “done nothing whatsoever” to deserve the attack on him, according to the judge.
“His death is a national tragedy,” the judge added.
Sir David had “fought fiercely and hard” against the onslaught, according to Mr Justice Sweeney, who said the murder was carried out “in retaliation for Islamic State’s losses in Syria.”
The judge stated, “The defendant shows no remorse or guilt for what he has done, rather the contrary.”
In the dock, Ali, dressed in a black collarless robe, pursed his lips briefly as the judge read his punishment.
He told the court he had no misgivings about the assassination, claiming Sir David deserved to die because he voted in parliament in 2014 and 2015 for airstrikes on Syria.
Sir David’s family said it “broke their hearts” to believe he would have welcomed Ali to his constituency surgery just before he murdered him.
The case was described as “overwhelming” by prosecutors, and Ali himself did not challenge much of it, cockily glancing about from the dock when it was heard.
He specifically asked’ his own lawyer not to address the judge in mitigation as a final act of hubris.
‘This is a murder that struck at the heart of democracy,’ said Mr Justice Sweeney.
‘This was an assassination committed in retaliation for Islamic State’s setbacks in Syria.’ ‘The defendant shows no remorse or humiliation; in fact, the opposite is true.’
‘This trial was forced on them by the defendant’s cowardly unwillingness to confess his guilt,’ he continued of Sir David’s family.
Earlier, Julie Cushion, a member of Sir David’s staff who witnessed his murder, said in a frightening victim impact statement: ‘I can’t get the perpetrator’s face, as he was brought away, out of my mind.’
‘He appeared to be smug and self-satisfied.’
Sir David’s widow, Lady Amess, stated in a statement that there was no joy in the family today as a result of the sentencing.
‘Our great husband and father were snatched from us in a horrific and violent manner,’ she continued. Nothing will ever be able to make up for that.
‘Every day, we will wake up and be reminded of our loss.’ For the rest of our lives, we will battle to get through each day. David will be our final thought before we go to sleep. We will never be able to stop crying for the man we have lost. We will never be able to recover from this disaster.
‘It aches our hearts to think that our husband and father would have greeted the murderer with a friendly grin and offered to assist.’ What happened next is horrible to think about. It is beyond the pale of evil.
‘We want to express our gratitude to the police, particularly the two officers who were assigned to the family during this terrible period.’ We also want to express our gratitude to the legal team, who fought diligently to ensure that justice was served. Thank you also to the many, many friends and family members, as well as the general public, who have provided us with so much strength and love since David’s death.
‘Somehow, we now have to carry on with our lives, despite the fact that none of us knows where to start.’
‘We would refer to our family’s statement released shortly after the incident.’ Our message hasn’t changed. We implore everyone to treat one another with compassion, love, and understanding. This is more important than ever before.
‘We are now requesting privacy in order to restore our lives as best we can.’ There will be no other statements, interviews, or comments.’
A letter from Mike Freer MP, who was one of Ali’s alternate targets, was also read, in which he revealed that he and his staff now wear stab vests anytime they interact with the public.