LONDON (Reuters) -A “cold, calculated and dangerous” man inspired by Islamic State was jailed for life on Wednesday for the murder of veteran British lawmaker David Amess after knifing him to death in a frenzied attack in a church where he was meeting voters.
Ali Harbi Ali, 26, a British citizen and son of a former media adviser to a prime minister of Somalia, repeatedly stabbed Amess in an attack last October for what he said was revenge for the lawmaker’s support for airstrikes on Syria.
Ali, who was on Monday found guilty of murder and preparation of terrorism after the jury took less than half an hour to reach a verdict, was sentenced to a whole life term, meaning he will never be considered for release.
“It’s clear that the man who begins a life sentence today is a cold, calculated and dangerous individual,” Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes said in a statement outside court following the sentencing.
“David’s murder was an attack on democracy and we will never let terrorists prevail.”
During the trial, prosecutors said he was a “committed, fanatical, radicalised Islamist terrorist”.
The killing of 69-year-old Amess, a married father of five children and a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, sent shockwaves through Westminster and led to calls for better security for members of parliament (MPs), coming just five years after another lawmaker was murdered.
In a statement read out by Jukes outside court, Amess’s family said they felt no elation at the sentencing.
“Our amazing husband and father has been taken from us in an appalling and violent manner. Nothing will ever compensate for that,” they said.
“We will struggle through each day for the rest of our lives. Our last thought before sleep will be of David. We will forever shed tears for the man we have lost. We shall never get over this tragedy.”
Ali told detectives he had spent years planning to kill a lawmaker and had previously carried out reconnaissance at the Houses of Parliament, and of two other MPs, including cabinet minister Michael Gove.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Alistair Smout and Kate Holton)