The unrepentant homegrown terrorist who murdered veteran MP Sir David Amess will be jailed for life when he is sentenced for his atrocity at the Old Bailey today.
Ali Harbi Ali was convicted of murder and preparing terrorist acts on Monday by jurors who spent just 18 minutes in retirement.
Prosecutors described the case as “overwhelming”, and the 26-year-old Londoner himself did not dispute much of the evidence.
The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, will decide whether or not to impose a whole-life sentence on Ali, meaning the university drop-out would never be released.
Far-right extremist Thomas Mair, who murdered Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016, is among the handful of prisoners in England and Wales subject to a whole-life order, while ex-Pc Wayne Couzens was also handed a whole-life term last year after raping and murdering Sarah Everard in south London.
Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, told the PA news agency Ali’s was an “exceptionally serious case” but refused to be drawn on whether he should receive the same sentence as Mair.
He said: “I have no doubt that this individual will receive his true deserts for the consequences of what he has done.”
He added: “We were in no hesitation that this was an act of terrorism, just as was the case in the tragic murder of Jo Cox.”
Ali will nevertheless receive a life sentence, with the judge deciding whether to lock him up for the rest of his life, or set a minimum time he must serve in prison before being eligible for parole.
Islamic State fanatic Ali carried out his attack at the backbench Conservative MP’s constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15 last year.
Ali told the trial he had no regrets about the murder, defending his actions by saying Sir David deserved to die because he had voted in Parliament for air strikes on Syria in 2014 and 2015.
The court heard that Ali became known to authorities around this time as his school performance plunged and he was referred to the Government’s Prevent strategy, but continued plotting in secret.
The so-called “lone wolf” sent a manifesto on WhatsApp to family and friends seeking to justify his actions around the time of the attack, and told father-of-five Sir David he was “sorry” before plunging the 12in carving knife into him, causing the 69-year-old politician to scream.
Sir David received more than 20 stab injuries and died at the scene.
Knife-wielding Ali was later apprehended by two police officers armed only with batons and spray. They have since been handed bravery awards.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told PA MPs and political staff remain “traumatised” by the atrocity, and continue to struggle amid fears for their security.