Sir David Amess: Fatal stabbing declared terrorist incident say Met Police

Sir David Amess
Sir David Amess

The 69-year-old was fatally injured while meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea near Southend at midday on Friday

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The fatal stabbing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess has been declared a terrorist incident, Metropolitan Police have confirmed.

The 69-year-old, who had been an MP since 1983, was fatally injured while meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea near Southend at midday on Friday.

Police officers are seen at the scene where MP David Amess was stabbed during constituency surgery, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Police officers are seen at the scene where MP David Amess was stabbed during constituency surgery, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

In a statement, the Met said Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, had formally declared the incident as terrorism.

The investigation is being led by counter-terrorism officers.

The early investigation has revealed “a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism”, the force said.

A 25-year-old man arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder is in custody at an Essex police station.

The man is a British national of Somali descent.

Flowers and a ballon are pictured outside the scene where MP David Amess was stabbed during constituency surgery, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Flowers and a ballon are pictured outside the scene where MP David Amess was stabbed during constituency surgery, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

As part of the investigation, officers were also carrying out searches at two addresses in the London area, the Met said.

The force believe the man acted alone and are not seeking anyone else in connection with the matter at this time, but inquiries into the circumstances of the incident are continuing.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs “with immediate effect” following the attack.

Chief constable of Essex Police Ben-Julian Harrington said 69-year-old Southend West MP Sir David was “simply dispensing his duties when his life was horrifically cut short”.

Tory veteran Sir David, who was described by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”, had been an MP since 1983 and was married with five children.

Ms Patel met police and representatives of the security and intelligence agencies after the stabbing, which took place as Sir David held a surgery in his Southend West constituency.

“The Home Secretary has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs with immediate effect and will provide updates in due course,” the spokesman for Ms Patel said.

The Daily Telegraph said the review would examine Operation Bridger, a nationwide police protective security operation established in 2016 after several threats to MPs following Parliamentary debates on Syria.

Ms Patel will make a statement to Parliament on the review on Monday, The Times reported.

The attack on Sir David came just five-and-a-half years after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed by a far right extremist in her Batley and Spen constituency in West Yorkshire.

The Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said police were contacting all MPs to check on their security in the wake of Sir David’s killing.