Sir David Amess: How the tragedy unfolded

Sir David Amess
Sir David Amess

Here's a timeline of the events that led to the death of the MP for Southend West

Published

Here is a timeline of events in the death of Conservative MP Sir David Amess.

October 15: Tory MP Sir David Amess is fatally stabbed at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea near Southend at about midday while attending a constituency surgery.

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

12.05pm: Essex Police receive reports of the incident. Officers arrive at the church shortly after and arrest a 25-year-old man.

2.58pm: Essex Police confirm a man died at the scene, they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the attack and a knife was recovered.

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where Conservative MP Sir David Amess died.
Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where Conservative MP Sir David Amess died.

3.08pm: Tributes from Sir David’s peers begin to pour in. Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford Tracey Crouch tweets: “Heartbroken. I could write reams on how Sir David was one of the kindest, most compassionate, well liked colleagues in Parliament.

“But I can’t. I feel sick. I am lost. Rest in Peace. A little light went out in Parliament today. We will miss you.”

3.50pm: Flags are lowered to half mast outside Parliament.

3.55pm: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s motorcade arrives back at Downing Street, after returning from Bristol where media opportunities to film the start of the Cabinet meeting were cancelled.

The Union flags above Downing Street lowered to half mast.
The Union flags above Downing Street lowered to half mast.

4.07pm: Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, says in a statement he is “shocked and deeply distressed by the killing of Sir David Amess”, adding: “In the coming days we will need to discuss and examine MPs’ security and any measures to be taken”.

4.54pm: The first floral tribute is laid at a police cordon following Sir David’s death. The tribute, from a young woman, reads: “A silent thought, a quiet prayer, for a special person in God’s care. May you rest in peace.”

5.02pm: Sir David’s death is confirmed by Essex Police.

5.12pm: Speaking to media, Mr Johnson says “all our hearts are full of shock and sadness” at Sir David’s passing, adding that the long-serving MP was “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”.

Flowers left at the scene near Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea.
Flowers left at the scene near Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea.

5.17pm: Writing on Twitter, Home Secretary Priti Patel says questions are “rightly being asked” about the safety of MPs and she will “provide updates in due course”.

5.31pm: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer issues a statement, calling it a “dark and shocking day”.

He says: “Let us come together in response to these horrendous events. We will show once more that violence, intimidation and threats to our democracy will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants simply doing their jobs.”

6pm: Around 80 people attend a vigil in memory of Sir David at St Peter’s Church, Eastwood Lane.

6.26pm: Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle says there will be a review of MPs’ security following the death, but he cautions there must be no “knee jerk reaction”.

MP Mark Francois lays flowers at the scene near Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea.
MP Mark Francois lays flowers at the scene near Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea.

6.29pm: In a statement at Southend Police Station, Essex Police chief constable Ben-Julian Harrington says the investigation into Sir David’s death will be led by counter-terrorism officers.

7.01pm: A Home Office spokesman says the Home Secretary has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs “with immediate effect”.

7.56pm: More forensic officers arrive at the scene.

8.05pm: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge say they are “shocked and saddened” by the killing of Sir David, adding their “thoughts and prayers” are with his family, friends and colleagues.

8.50pm: It's revealed the suspect is a British national with Somali heritage.

11.08pm: Sir Lindsay says police are contacting all MPs to check on their security.

October 16: 12.13am: The fatal stabbing of Sir David is confirmed as a terrorist incident by the Metropolitan Police, with the investigation being led by counter-terrorism officers.

(left to right) Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrive at the scene near Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea.
(left to right) Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrive at the scene near Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea.

The force adds officers are carrying out searches at two addresses in the London area as part of their investigation.

8.01am: Tory MP Tobias Ellwood calls for face-to-face meetings with MPs to be paused until the Home Secretary’s security review has been completed.

9.10am: The Prime Minister, Labour leader and Home Secretary arrive at Leigh-on-Sea to pay tribute to Sir David, with Mr Johnson laying a wreath at the front of Belfairs Methodist Church.

10.12am: A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman announces every UK MP will be contacted by Operation Bridger, a nationwide police protective security operation established in 2016, to discuss their security arrangements.

Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, and Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge London Borough Council, carry flowers as they arrive at the scene near Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea.
Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, and Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge London Borough Council, carry flowers as they arrive at the scene near Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea.

10.37am: Speaking at Southend Police Station, the Home Secretary says a balance could be found between the democratic process and the security of MPs.

Ms Patel adds: “We cannot be cowed by any individual or any motivation… to stop us from functioning”.

8.48pm: The name the police have for the suspect is Ali Harbi Ali.

9.05pm: Scotland Yard says detectives have been granted a warrant of further detention at Westminster Magistrates’ Court which allows them to hold the suspect until October 22.