Dramatic bodycam footage captures moment plain-clothes police stop armed MP murder suspect

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The video shows Essex Police constables Scott James and Ryan Curtis ordering Ali Harbi Ali to drop a bloody, foot-long carving knife before charging at him and pinning him to the floor.

In the aftermath, 26-year-old university drop-out Ali, who is said to have excelled at school, could be heard saying he was “prepared to die”, before asking the officers to put his glasses back on his face.

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One of the officers replied: “Mate, that’s not our concern.”

Jurors were shown bodycam footage of plain-clothed police officers tackling Ali Harbi Ali. (Pic: Metropolitan Police)

The stand-off happened within minutes of Conservative backbencher Sir David being knifed more than 20 times as he held a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea.

Pcs James and Curtis were in the area on October 15 2021 trying to find an unrelated wanted suspect when they were called to Belfairs Methodist Church, where Sir David’s meeting was being held, the Old Bailey heard.

The duo arrived to be told the 69-year-old politician had been “stabbed several times.”

The pair, armed only with batons and incapacitant spray, ran into the building and came face to face with the suspect.

Tributes at the scene where Sir David was fatally stabbed.

The officers shouted: “Drop that knife.”

One added: “It’s only going to go one way. Please drop that knife.”

The pair then charged at Ali, who is said to have been on a 14-minute phone call with his “hysterical” sister at the time.

Ali then said: “My phone’s rung, it’s the family.”

Shouting, as if to ensure the caller could hear, he added: “Don’t worry. The police got me. They’re not gonna shoot.”

Ali was taken into custody, where he allegedly told the booking-in officer the incident was both “terror” related and had “religious” motivations.

Jurors were also shown CCTV footage of Ali walking around Westminster, past Downing Street, along the Carriage Gates entrance to the House of Commons and around Parliament Square, less than a month before Sir David was killed.

Ali had managed to arrange an appointment with Sir David by duping the veteran politician’s office into believing he was a healthcare worker moving to the area who wished to discuss local matters.

Rebecca Hayton, Sir David’s junior aid who was with him at the surgery, previously described seeing Ali stand up, say “sorry”, pull a knife from his clothing, and stab the married father-of-five.

Other witnesses said Ali had a look of “self-satisfaction” as though he had “achieved something” in the moments after the attack.

Darren King, who ran to the scene after the alarm was raised, recalled his own tense stand-off with the armed assailant, telling police Ali claimed he killed Sir David due to the Government’s bombing campaign in Syria and wanted to be shot by officers.

Sir David died from multiple stab wounds to the chest, some 15cm deep, and was pronounced dead at the church.

The trial previously heard how Ali allegedly spent years hatching his plot, researching a number of potential high-profile political targets including Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Sir Keir Starmer, before settling on Sir David.

Ali, from Kentish Town in north London, denies preparing terrorist acts and murder.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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