Inquest into Death of MP Sir David Amess Opened, Paused

By Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Freelance Reporter
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.
October 27, 2021 Updated: October 27, 2021

The coroner’s inquest into the death of British MP Sir David Amess has opened, only to be put on hold until the end of the trial of the man accused of his murder.

The hearing on Oct. 27 was told that the 69-year-old father of five died of “multiple stab wounds to the chest” on Oct. 15 as he met with constituents in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

The hearing lasted less than five minutes before Lincoln Brookes, the senior coroner for Essex, suspended the inquest until the conclusion of criminal proceedings.

The inquest to be reviewed on April 27 next year, after the trial of the 25-year-old man accused of terrorist offences and murder is due to finish.

The attack on Amess, a long-standing Conservative MP, occurred at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex during his constituency surgery.

“Sadly, despite attempted medical interventions his death was confirmed at the scene at 1:13 p.m.,” Coroner’s officer Paul Donaghy told Wednesday’s inquest in Chelmsford.

A forensic post-mortem examination was conducted at Southend Hospital the following day, with the cause of death recorded as “multiple stab wounds to the chest,” Donaghy said.

Amess’s funeral is to be held at Westminster Cathedral on Nov. 23.

Constituency surgeries—an opportunity for constituents to meet one-on-one with the MPs—are typically held weekly by British MPs and are often seen as a cornerstone of their role as champions of local and personal issues.

The man charged with Amess’s murder is Ali Harbi Ali. He faces a trial in March next year. The prosecution accuses him of carrying out terrorism with “religious and ideological” motives.

Sir David Amess death Ali Harbi Ali
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Ali Harbi Ali appearing at the Old Bailey in London by video link from HMP Belmarsh, a prison in London, on Oct. 22, 2021. (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

He appeared in court last Friday and was asked not to enter pleas to the charges of murder and preparing acts of terrorism.

The court heard that Ali had allegedly started to plan to kill an MP two years ago. He had originally focused on two other MPs, not Amess, allegedly carrying out reconnaissance at one of their homes, the surgery of another, and the Houses of Parliament.

The death of Amess has rekindled debate on MPs’ safety.  Home Secretary Priti Patel told the House of Commons on Wednesday that intelligence officers had upgraded the threat level for politicians to “substantial” but there was no “specific or imminent threat.”

PA contributed to this report

Simon Veazey
Freelance Reporter
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.