Suspect in Sir David Amess murder detained under Terrorism Act

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A man detained after MP Sir David Amess was stabbed to death on Friday is 25-year-old Ali Harbi Ali, Whitehall officials have confirmed to the BBC.

Police said the British man was being held at a London police station under the Terrorism Act 2000 and officers had until 22 October to question him.

The BBC understands Mr Ali was referred to the UK’s counter-terrorist Prevent scheme some years ago.

But he was never a formal subject of interest to the security service, MI5.

Officials do not believe anyone else was involved in the attack.

It is thought Mr Ali, who is believed to be of Somali heritage, did not spend long in the Prevent programme – which aims to stop people becoming radicalised.

Teachers, members of the public, the NHS and others can refer individuals to a local panel of police, social workers and other experts who decide whether and how to intervene in their lives.

Engagement in the scheme is voluntary and it is not a criminal sanction.

Sir David, a Conservative MP since 1983, was holding a regular Friday meeting with constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, when he was stabbed multiple times.

The 69-year-old was married with four daughters and a son. A candlelit vigil was held in Leigh-on Sea on Saturday night to mark Sir David’s life.

Photo – Pictures of Sir David Amess near the crime scene where the MP for Southend West was stabbed to death in Leigh-on-Sea, Britain, 16 October 2021. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

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