Terror suspect Ali Harbi Ali has begun giving evidence in his defense at the Old Bailey, with the 26-year-old saying he thought he should “do something to help Muslims” in the UK
The terror suspect charged with murdering Sir David Amess last year says he wanted to kill Michael Gove.
Ali Harbi Ali, accused of murdering the MP at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, last year, as well as preparing acts of terrorism, began giving evidence in his defense at the Old Bailey on Thursday.
The 26-year-old from Kentish Town in north London said he decided to kill Sir David Amess because of his previous voting record on the UK’s foreign policy, including airstrikes on Syria.
Ali told the court: “I decided to do it because I felt that if I could kill someone who made decisions to kill Muslims, it could prevent further harm to those Muslims.
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“He voted previously in Parliament, not just him… I decided if I couldn’t make hijrah, if I couldn’t help the Muslims (in Syria), I would do something here.”
Asked what difference killing Sir David would make, Ali said: “For one, he can’t vote again.
“If he had previous for doing votes like that he won’t do it in the future, and perhaps send a message to his colleagues.”
Ali was also asked why he had a note on his phone about his “plans” to kill Cabinet minister Michael Gove.
Ali said: “That was plans I had to attack and hopefully kill Michael Gove at the time.
“I believe he was someone who was a harm to Muslims.
“I thought if I couldn’t go join Islamic State, I should try and do something here to help Muslims here.”
He told the court he expected to die “a martyr” when police arrived at the scene on October 15, 2021. The officers were armed with incapacitant spray and batons, prompting Ali to drop his knife.
He said: “I saw something black in their hands, I thought it was a gun, I was asking: is it a Taser?
“I realized they weren’t armed. My sister was still on the phone, crying.
“At that point I thought I wouldn’t become a martyr, I just dropped the knife.
“I was expecting ‘bang, bang, bang’ – shooting. I thought they were going to start shooting, basically.”
Ali told prosecutor Tom Little QC he had no regrets over killing Sir David, who he referred to as simply “David”.
I have denied being “utterly shameless”.
He said: “I wouldn’t use the word ‘shameless’, but I don’t have any shame.”
Mr Little said: “You don’t think you did anything wrong.”
Ali replied: “If I thought I did anything wrong, I wouldn’t have done it.”