JURORS have been sworn in for the murder trial of alleged terrorist Ali Harbi Ali, who is accused of fatally stabbing the veteran Conservative MP Sir David Amess last October.

Ali, 26, appeared in the dock at the Old Bailey wearing a collar-free black robe and black-rimmed glasses. He denies murder and one count of preparing acts of terrorism. The court heard this allegedly included reconnaissance of possible targets to attack, as well as addresses associated with MPs and the Houses of Parliament.

Ali was accompanied by three security guards, with members of Sir David’s family sitting in the well of the court. The trial, before Mr Justice Sweeney, will last for up to three weeks.

He told jurors their job was to assess the evidence “coolly, calmly, carefully and dispassionately”, and “guard against any emotion intruding”. He warned them against allowing themselves to be influenced by media reports or comment elsewhere on the internet.

Tom Little QC, opening the case for the prosecution, said Southend West MP Amess was murdered as he held a constituency surgery in a church building in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15.

He said: “This is a case involving a cold and calculated murder, a murder carried out in a place of worship.

A murder carried out because of a war-

ped and twisted and violent ideology. It was a murder carried out by a young man who for many years had been planning just such an attack and

who was, and is, a committed, fanatical, radicalised Islamist terrorist.”

Little described the victim as “simply doing his job, helping members of the public” when he was attacked.

The prosecutor said: “The defendant tricked his way into meeting Sir David Amess by pretending to be one of his constituents when he was not. Having arranged the meeting by fraud, he travelled across London armed with the knife that he was to use to murder Sir David. This was nothing less than an assassination for terrorist purposes. It is a crime to which, we say, he has no defence.”

Little said: “This was no spur-of-the-moment decision, it was not the first time that he had planned an attack or a similar attack. Indeed, he bought the knife five years before for just such an attack. He had for a number of years been determined to carry out an act of domestic terrorism. To that end, from at least May 2019 he researched and planned potential attacks on Members of Parliament and the Houses of Parliament.

“This included specific reconnaissance trips to a constituency surgery of Mike Freer MP and to the home address of Michael Gove MP. That researching and planning is the other offence he faces, namely preparing for acts of terrorism. To that offence he also has, we say, no defence.”

Little said the attack began after a notification sound on Ali’s phone. He said: “The defendant said ‘sorry’ and then pulled out a knife and stabbed Sir David. Sir David screamed. The defendant stabbed him again. Indeed, he stabbed him multiple times in a vicious and frenzied attack.”

Two members of Amess’s staff called for help. The court heard Yvonne Eaves and Darren King, who arrived for a meeting with Amess saw Ali waving a bloodied knife and saying: “I killed him.”

Little said: “When offered to go and see Sir David, the defendant said this: ‘No don’t come nearer. I’ll go and finish him off if he’s not dead’.”

Ali is then alleged to have said: “I want him dead. I want every Parliament Minister [sic] who signed up for the bombing of Syria, who agreed to the Iraqi war, to die.”

Little said Ali was alleged to have had a conversation with a woman on speakerphone, who was “screaming” at him: “What have you done it?”

Ali is alleged to have mentioned Syria in his reply. The trial continues.