Sir David Amess died of ‘multiple stab wounds to the chest’ after being attacked during a constituency surgery at a church 12 days ago, an inquest heard today.
Sir David, 69, was stabbed to death at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex on October 15 during a constituency surgery.
The father-of-five was pronounced dead at the scene at 1.10pm and a preliminary postmortem examination report gave the cause of death as multiple stab wounds to the chest.
Today’s inquest, which lasted less than five minutes, was told that Sir David died of ‘multiple stab wounds to the chest’, with the number of wounds not stated.
Coroner’s officer Paul Donaghy said that on October 15 Sir David was stabbed ‘during a meeting with one individual’ and his death was declared at 1.13pm.
The inquest in Chelmsford was suspended pending the outcome of criminal proceedings, and will be reviewed on April 27.
A 25-year-old man is charged with the terrorist murder of Sir David.
Ali Harbi Ali appeared before the Old Bailey last Friday, where he was not asked to enter pleas to charges of murder and preparing acts of terrorism between May 1 2019 and September this year. He faces a trial in March next year.
An inquest into the death of the Conservative MP for Southend West is due to be opened and adjourned at County Hall in Chelmsford today
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Ali Harbi Ali appearing at the Old Bailey in London by video-link from HMP Belmarsh
Left to right: Katie, wife Julia, Flo, Sir David Amess, Sarah and Alex at Flo’s wedding in August
An Anglo-Iranian community member leaves flowers at a memorial and wall of condolence for MP David Amess
The funeral of Sir David will be held at Westminster Cathedral next month, MPs have been told.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, will preside over the service at 10.30am on Tuesday, November 23. The details were confirmed earlier today to MPs, peers and staff who attend Catholic services in Parliament.
Sir David, a 69-year-old father of five, was ambushed at his Friday meeting with the public and stabbed 17 times in a frenzied attack. After a week of questioning by Scotland Yard as well as searches of his home and electronic devices, Ali was charged with murder and another charge of preparation of terrorist acts.
The possible terror link has led Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to call for new regulations to make social media companies ‘less attractive’ to those who could potentially become radicalised via the platforms.
Mr Wallace told the Commons Defence Committee on Tuesday that the internet was ‘dangerous’ when in the ‘wrong hands’.
He made the comments after committee chairman Tobias Ellwood brought up the stabbing of Sir David by a suspect who, he said, it was ‘allegedly assumed could have been self-indoctrinated by what he read on the internet’.
The Defence Secretary replied: ‘We are all grappling in our parliaments around the world about how to regulate, how to deal with this and it is not easy, but I have always pushed for more regulation on that because it is frightening how it gets into young people, or actually any aged people.
‘It is powerful and, in the wrong hands, dangerous.
‘I’ve always talked about the business models of these internet companies. I think I’ve said on the record that I want to talk about the YouTube internet model – the longer you’re on it, the more you’re hooked, the more they sell advertising.
‘If we want to tackle it, we have to go right to the heart of their business model and make it less attractive.
‘But the worry is that it is without trace, in a sense: you sit in your bedroom and you radicalise yourself. You are not travelling to Afghanistan to be given orders, you are not buying weapons on the internet, because you are taking a kitchen knife or whatever.’
Nick Price, Head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: ‘The CPS has authorised charges against Ali Harbi Ali for the murder of MP Sir David Amess. We will submit to the court that this murder has a terrorist connection, namely that it had both religious and ideological motivations. He has also been charged with the preparation of terrorist acts. This follows a review of the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police in its investigation’.
Boris Johnson speaking in the chamber of the House of Commons as MPs gather to pay tribute to Sir David
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford attend a service to honour Sir David at the Church of St Margaret, in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, October 18, 2021
Candles are lit next to a portrait of David Amess during a vigil for him at St Michaels Church, in Leigh-on-Sea
People look at flowers left by the police cordon nearby the Belfairs Methodist Church
Matt Jukes, Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, said: ‘I want to send my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Sir David Amess, who died so tragically last Friday. Sir David’s dedication to his family, his constituents and his community, and his positive impact on the lives of so many has shone through’.
Speaking outside New Scotland Yard, Mr Jukes added: ‘A large team of detectives have been working around the clock to find out as much as we can about what happened and why.
‘That work has included searches at a number of London addresses. Our advanced forensics team analysed digital devices and carried out a painstaking review of CCTV footage.
‘If there are members of the public who have further information that might help the investigation, I would urge them to come forward. Every piece of information in investigations like these is important and you will not be wasting our time.’
Sir David’s death during his weekly constituency surgery has shocked Britain and is likely to change the way MPs are protected and meet voters forever.
In a heartbreaking statement his family called for people to ‘set aside hatred’, adding: ‘Nobody should die in that way. Nobody. Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand. We are absolutely broken, but we will survive and carry on for the sake of a wonderful and inspiring man.’
Ali is the son of a former Sudanese diplomat who was born in Britain and raised in Croydon. After falling out with his parents he decided to move in with an aunt and her sons in a council house in the upmarket North London enclave of Kentish Town, in a street of £2million three-storey townhouses.
Police officers erect a tent outside a house in north London, thought to be in relation to the death of Sir David
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer join Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle as they pay their respects to Sir David on October 16, 2021
His move to north London is understood to have coincided with a deterioration in his relationship with his Somali-born parents. Ali’s parents split up when he was young and his father returned to Somalia.
One neighbour, who has known the family for twenty years, said that Ali spoke of hopes of becoming a doctor with the NHS, saying: ‘He told me he’d been doing exams and he seemed westernised.’
Police and intelligence officials were initially mystified about why the 69-year-old Tory politician was singled out for attack.
Reports had initially suggested that Sir David, a devout Roman Catholic and prominent Brexiteer who was MP for Southend West, had been selected because of his political views or religion.
Investigators now believe that there may have been no specific motive for the alleged targeting of Sir David. One government insider told the paper: ‘He was unlucky. He was not targeted because of his political party. David Amess was not specifically targeted.’
Police are also investigating the alleged close ties between Sir David and Qatar. The Tory MP was chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Gulf state and returned from his latest visit there the Wednesday before his death.
Sir David’s family said their hearts had been ‘shattered’ by his ‘cruel and violent death’ at a constituency surgery in Essex. They said they could not understand why the ‘patriot and a man of peace’ was targeted by a knifeman he had never met.