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The murder trial into the killing of Sir David Amess has been shown chilling CCTV footage of an alleged terrorist’s journey to assassinate him.

Jurors at the Old Bailey watched the video showing accused Islamist Ali Harbi Ali calmly strolling through north London with a black backpack slung over his right shoulder.

The haunting clip shows the 26-year-old – wearing a long khaki jacket, blue trainers and black trousers – walk past unsuspecting members of the public, including school children, and along residential streets.

He was later spotted catching a train to Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, where he allegedly stabbed the Tory MP to death at a constituency surgery.

The Old Bailey heard how on October 15 last year Ali travelled from London to attend his noon slot at Belfairs Methodist Church.

Jurors were told he stabbed Sir David 21 times and waved a bloody knife around before he was apprehended by unarmed police officers.

The court also heard today:

  • The alleged terrorist told an aide of Sir David that he would not ‘take too long’ as he fixed an appointment;
  • Ali exchanged a series of emails with his office, feigning interest in churches and healthcare to get a meeting;
  • His internet records show him reading an article by Sir David about fighting against Islamic extremism;
  • He also accessed a webpage that said: What should a person do if they think their death is approaching?

Ali Harbi Ali, 26, appeared in the dock at courtroom two at the Old Bailey yesterday wearing a collar-free black robe and black-rimmed glasses

Ali Harbi Ali, 26, appeared in the dock at courtroom two at the Old Bailey yesterday wearing a collar-free black robe and black-rimmed glasses

Ali Harbi Ali, 26, appeared in the dock at courtroom two at the Old Bailey yesterday wearing a collar-free black robe and black-rimmed glasses

Sir David Amess was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on 15 October last year

Sir David Amess was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on 15 October last year

Sir David Amess was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on 15 October last year

Ali is spotted walking down a pathway by a house doorbell camera just before 9am near home in north London

Ali is spotted walking down a pathway by a house doorbell camera just before 9am near home in north London

Ali is spotted walking down a pathway by a house doorbell camera just before 9am near home in north London

By 8.44am he was walking beside a road on his way to the train station where he would catch a carriage to Essex

By 8.44am he was walking beside a road on his way to the train station where he would catch a carriage to Essex

By 8.44am he was walking beside a road on his way to the train station where he would catch a carriage to Essex

Ali Harbi Ali appeared perfectly calmas CCTV captured him on his way to Southend

Ali Harbi Ali appeared perfectly calmas CCTV captured him on his way to Southend

Ali Harbi Ali appeared perfectly calmas CCTV captured him on his way to Southend

At 8.49am he taps his card on to the reader at the London Underground Tube stop as his journey continued across London

At 8.49am he taps his card on to the reader at the London Underground Tube stop as his journey continued across London

At 8.49am he taps his card on to the reader at the London Underground Tube stop as his journey continued across London

Ali walked through the station and on to a Tube carriage, where he walked down a few rows before taking a seat

Ali walked through the station and on to a Tube carriage, where he walked down a few rows before taking a seat

Ali walked through the station and on to a Tube carriage, where he walked down a few rows before taking a seat

Cameras at 9.34am picked up the alleged killer walking through Barking train station as he continued on his way to Essex

Cameras at 9.34am picked up the alleged killer walking through Barking train station as he continued on his way to Essex

Cameras at 9.34am picked up the alleged killer walking through Barking train station as he continued on his way to Essex

Ali appeared courteous as he made his journey earlier in the day, at one point, he was even pictured helping another passenger with directions

Ali appeared courteous as he made his journey earlier in the day, at one point, he was even pictured helping another passenger with directions

Ali appeared courteous as he made his journey earlier in the day, at one point, he was even pictured helping another passenger with directions

‘Terrorist’ threatened to knife four people after stabbing David Amess, court hears

Ali Harbi Ali threatened to knife four people after stabbing Sir David Amess to death, the court heard.

Jurors heard a recording of the 999 call made by Southend West constituent Yvonne Eaves, who walked into Belfairs Methodist Church to find Ali brandishing a blood-stained knife.

‘Please please quick now a man is wielding a knife. He’s threatened me, they say he’s killed,’ Ms Eaves told the operator. ‘He’s killed David Amess at Belfairs Methodist Church.’

When the operator explained there were police units on their way, Ms Eaves said: ‘I know but he’s still wielding the knife he’s saying he’s going to go and finish him off.

‘He’s got the knife, he won’t put the knife down.’ Asked if she could see how big the knife was, she replied: ‘Yes, it’s a, it’s a carving knife, a big kitchen carving knife.

’12 inches, 12 inches.’ Another constituent’s voice was then heard, belonging to Darren King, when he said: ‘I can’t get it off him.’ Ms Eaves continued: ‘We tried to get it off him. He won’t, he’s threatened myself, he’s threatened four people here.

‘We need an ambulance as well. He wants to get shot apparently, he wants to be a hero, he wants the police to come and shoot him. That’s what he’s saying.’

Asked to describe what was going on at that moment, the witness said: ‘Okay. Yes I can. I can tell you, hang on, exactly what’s going on. The member of parliament is in the back, we’re in the church hall.

‘The knifeman is on the phone to somebody spouting some crappy foreign language and he’s Syrian. David Amess is in the back.’

She then told the operator that they needed an ‘armed response unit’ and gave suggestions on how they might enter the church. Ms Eaves added: ‘He’s in you know the churchey bit where all the congregation sit?

‘He’s wielding the knife now. He said if we don’t leave him he will stab us, me and my partner, and the two ladies from the constituency here.’

The audio then records her speaking to Ali himself. ‘What do you mean he’s dead?’ Ms Eaves asked the alleged stabber. ‘No not really, I’m not coming past you, no I don’t, no.’ The operator told her not to talk to him.

Ms Eaves went on: ‘We came to see David Amess coz he’s you know a member of parliament…and we came here and just as we approached the poor ladies were running out the church.

‘We came in to go to our appointment and she’s saying, ‘He’s stabbed him,’ she’s saying, ‘He’s killed him. He’s got a 12 inch knife.’ ‘Where are the police? Where are they?’

The witness was told to try and stay calm and was asked what was going on with Sir David. ‘He’s dead,’ Ms Eaves replied. ‘He’s dead. He’s stabbed him, multiple times.

‘His body is in the back room. So you’ve got the main congregation bit and then there’s like a small room at the back of the church. But we can’t see him.

‘He’s saying he’s stabbed him, I can go and see him but he might stab me too so I don’t want to.’ She said Ali was not keeping them hostage.

‘We can get out but we can’t get to David to give him any assistance and he’s wielding the knife.’ After describing Ali’s appearance, Ms Eaves continued: ‘He’s gonna take the police out when they come.

‘He’s gonna try and stab the police when they come.’ Reassuring her that an armed unit was on their way, Ms Eaves went on: ‘Okay the police are gonna try and kill him.

‘The police are gonna, the police are gonna, they’re gonna try and stab him…’ Speaking to Mr King, Ms Eaves then said: ‘He’s gonna try and stab you. Darren, Darren come out, come out.

‘He’s gonna try and stab you. He’s trying to stab us.’ Police arrived and Ms Eaves hung up the call. The trial continues tomorrow. 

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The Met Police released footage of Ali’s journey from his home in north London to his meeting with Sir David, including him walking casually past shops and through housing estates before he allegedly attacked the MP.

In one clip, which was only shown to jurors, the accused terrorist can even be seen appearing to offer directions to a passenger at Barking train station as he waited on the platform for his connection.

The Old Bailey heard he then spent about 25 minutes lying in wait, yards from the church building where he was due to meet Sir David, having duped his staff into believing he was a healthcare worker moving to the area and wanted to discuss local matters.

Jurors previously heard Ali had spent years hatching his plot, prosecutors said, researching a number of potential high-profile political targets including Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Sir Keir Starmer, before settling on 69-year-old Tory backbencher, Sir David.

He allegedly stabbed Sir David 21 times with a carving knife with a 12-inch blade as he sent a WhatsApp message apologising to his family and friends, attempting to justify his actions.

Ali then spoke to his worried sister on the phone for 14 minutes, as Sir David lay bleeding to death, before being apprehended by two unarmed plain-clothes police officers, who pinned him to the floor and arrested him.

Sir David, a married father-of-five, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Earlier today prosecutor Tom Little QC took the jury through a timeline of events leading up to the 69-year-old veteran Tory MP’s death.

He said police pieced together Ali’s activities from hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and data from his laptop and mobile phone.

The court heard Ali had looked up a web page about Sir David on July 22 last year.

Three hours later, Ali was near the Houses of Parliament, according to cell site analysis.

His web history also showed searches last September relating to Government minister Mr Gove, Labour leader Sir Keir and London MP Mike Freer, jurors heard.

On September 27, Ali emailed Sir David’s office to ask about a meeting.

He wrote: ‘I will be moving to the area from a Labour-held constituency and wanted to get to know my future MP.

‘Since I work in healthcare, I would like to know his plans, if any, for the hospital and workers.

‘Also, as someone interested in Christianity, I have seen many churches in my area losing attendances and struggle with upkeep, eventually becoming at risk of being demolished or repurposed.

‘I wanted to know if the situation in Southend is similar and, if so, what are the solutions.’

He added: ‘Looking forward to seeing you soon. If all appointments are taken, let me know if there’s a cancellation. I’ll be in the local area and will be able to drop by.’

Sir David’s aide Rebecca Hayton responded by requesting Ali’s address and full name to check he was a constituent.

Ali gave a postcode in Southend and told her: ‘I’ll be in the local area on Friday so it would be nice to see him regardless, although I know he’s a very busy man so I can appreciate (it) if that’s not possible.’

Ms Hayton told Ali all the appointments had been taken but she would be happy to book him in for October 15.

Ali replied to say his ‘schedule is rather hectic for the next couple of weeks so I’m not sure I’ll be available’.

But, on September 30, he confirmed he was ‘able to clear up my schedule’ and asked for an appointment at noon.

He told Ms Hayton: ‘I don’t really know how long the appointments are but I don’t think I’ll take too long. Thanks for all the help so far.’

The jury watched CCTV footage of Ali travelling by train from his north London home to Leigh-on-Sea, wearing a long khaki jacket, a black backpack slung over his right shoulder, blue trainers and black trousers.

He was seen walking alongside unsuspecting members of the public, including school children, and along residential streets.

In one clip, Ali can even be seen appearing to offer directions to a passenger at Barking train station as he waited on the platform for his connection. 

The jury watched CCTV footage of Ali travelling by train to Leigh-on-Sea, wearing a long khaki jacket, a black backpack slung over his right shoulder, blue trainers and black trousers

The jury watched CCTV footage of Ali travelling by train to Leigh-on-Sea, wearing a long khaki jacket, a black backpack slung over his right shoulder, blue trainers and black trousers

The jury watched CCTV footage of Ali travelling by train to Leigh-on-Sea, wearing a long khaki jacket, a black backpack slung over his right shoulder, blue trainers and black trousers

He stood on the platform at the bottom of the stairs before getting on a train service to Essex where he allegedly killed the MP

He stood on the platform at the bottom of the stairs before getting on a train service to Essex where he allegedly killed the MP

He stood on the platform at the bottom of the stairs before getting on a train service to Essex where he allegedly killed the MP

He sat down on the train at about 10.19am before he later got up as he prepared to disembark

He sat down on the train at about 10.19am before he later got up as he prepared to disembark

He sat down on the train at about 10.19am before he later got up as he prepared to disembark

Cameras jotted around Leigh-on-Sea captured him casually walking through the quiet town with his backpack slung over his right shoulder

Cameras jotted around Leigh-on-Sea captured him casually walking through the quiet town with his backpack slung over his right shoulder

Cameras jotted around Leigh-on-Sea captured him casually walking through the quiet town with his backpack slung over his right shoulder

Ali looked perfectly ordinary as he walked around Leigh-on-Sea, but prosecutors claim his motives were ill-intentioned from the start

Ali looked perfectly ordinary as he walked around Leigh-on-Sea, but prosecutors claim his motives were ill-intentioned from the start

Ali looked perfectly ordinary as he walked around Leigh-on-Sea, but prosecutors claim his motives were ill-intentioned from the start

This cafe saw him pass at 11.14am on his way to the constituency meeting with Sir David

This cafe saw him pass at 11.14am on his way to the constituency meeting with Sir David

This cafe saw him pass at 11.14am on his way to the constituency meeting with Sir David

Another CCTV camera picked him up at 11.19am walking down a main road with his backpack still slung over his shoulder

Another CCTV camera picked him up at 11.19am walking down a main road with his backpack still slung over his shoulder

Another CCTV camera picked him up at 11.19am walking down a main road with his backpack still slung over his shoulder

Ali again was caught on CCTV, close to the spot where Sir David Amess lost his life

Ali again was caught on CCTV, close to the spot where Sir David Amess lost his life

Ali again was caught on CCTV, close to the spot where Sir David Amess lost his life

‘Killer’s years of sinister research on MPs’ and ‘planning trip’ to Parliament 

Ali carried out ‘research’ on MPs including Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Tory MP Richard Fuller as he scoped for a target, prosecutor Tom Little told the Old Bailey yesterday. The prosecution claim the alleged killer also carried a series of reconnaissance visits to homes and offices belonging to prominent politicians, including – 

SIX VISITS TO MICHAEL GOVE’S HOUSE 

Mr Little said evidence suggested Ali made six separate trips ‘scoping out’ Mr Gove’s house in West London in 2021. Evidence recovered from Ali’s phone also suggested he had been on Mr Gove’s road, the court heard. 

He planned his attack on Mr Gove, the Communities Secretary, in a series of chilling phone notes. One read how the ‘best outcome’ would be ‘bumping into him while jogging’ in the morning, or he could pose as a journalist. Plans for a night attack included ‘luring’ him out by ringing the doorbell or ‘causing a scene outside’. Another note read: ‘Door is wooden and swings into house, could be kicked in.’ 

VISIT TO TORY MP’S CONSTITUENCY SURGERY A MONTH BEFORE SIR DAVID’S DEATH

Ali carried out research on Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer, including turning up at one of his constituent surgeries on September 17 2021, a month before Sir David was stabbed, it is claimed. Mr Little said: ‘He (Ali) was seen that day by Rachel Shawcross, Mike Freer’s election agent.

‘She saw a person matching the defendant’s description staring in to the surgery.’ Mr Little said: ‘Not only did the defendant go to locations, a home address and a surgery address, but he also conducted reconnaissance at the Houses of Parliament.’    

‘TERRORIST PLANNING’ TRIP TO PARLIAMENT  

The prosecution said mobile phone data placed Ali in the proximity of the Houses of Parliament seven times between July and September 2021. He said: ‘Being blunt about it, he’s not a tourist … looking at Big Ben and taking some photographs. This is terrorist planning.’ 

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There was also an approximately 25-minute gap where Ali appeared to be waiting near the church after arriving too early for his midday appointment.

Around the time of the attack on Sir David, Ali sent a message to family and friends which appeared to have been drafted days before, the court was told.

In it, he said the attack was ‘for the sake of Allah’, jurors heard.

He allegedly wrote: ‘I apologise to my family for deceiving them for so long. I would have preferred Hijrah so as not to harm you but I could not.

‘The obligations upon me to take revenge for the blood of Muslims were too great.

‘The shame of abiding in the very lands that carry out these horrendous acts against my brothers and sisters was too much.’

Ali then spent 14 minutes on the phone to his sister, aborting the call when he was confronted and arrested by two plain-clothes police officers arriving at the scene. 

The court also heard today Ali’s internet records showed him reading an article written by Sir David about fighting against Islamic extremism.

The Huffington Post headline is: ‘In the Fight Against Islamic Extremism, Moderate Muslims Are Our Best Allies’. Jurors heard how Ali described himself to police after the attack as ‘a moderate Muslim’.

The article was published on November 19, 2015, and written by Sir David, described under his byline as: ‘Conservative MP for Southend West and Co-Chairman of British Committee for Iran Freedom’.

Mr Little said the article was accessed at 11.22pm on October 11, 2021, just four days before Ali attacked the tragic MP.

The prosecutor read out some of Sir David’s words: ‘I remember almost a year ago, the enormous crowds that came together all across France, to rally against extremism.

‘This rally showed everything that was great about French society.

‘The rally did not blame all Muslims for the deeds of a few radicals misleadingly carried out in the name of Islam and it was not the familiar angry call for bloodshed and revenge that all too often follows these tragic events.

‘However, these latest attack shows that when it comes to Islamic extremism, it’s not just enough to speak softly and rationally, we must put the stick about.

‘Let us be clear about what should not occur in the reaction to this latest round of bloodshed perpetrated my Islamic extremists. 

SEPTEMBER 27: Ali emailed Sir David's aide to request to meet the Conservative MP from September 27

SEPTEMBER 27: Ali emailed Sir David's aide to request to meet the Conservative MP from September 27

SEPTEMBER 27: Ali emailed Sir David’s aide to request to meet the Conservative MP from September 27

SEPTEMBER 27: An aide emailed him back asking to confirm his address and details so they could arrange a booking

SEPTEMBER 27: An aide emailed him back asking to confirm his address and details so they could arrange a booking

SEPTEMBER 27: An aide emailed him back asking to confirm his address and details so they could arrange a booking  

SEPTEMBER 28: He told them a day later that he would be soon so would arrange to meet him later in the week

SEPTEMBER 28: He told them a day later that he would be soon so would arrange to meet him later in the week

SEPTEMBER 28: He told them a day later that he would be soon so would arrange to meet him later in the week

SEPTEMBER 29: The aide continued the email exchange later in the day to tell him Sir David had all his appointments for October 1 booked up

SEPTEMBER 29: The aide continued the email exchange later in the day to tell him Sir David had all his appointments for October 1 booked up

SEPTEMBER 29: The aide continued the email exchange later in the day to tell him Sir David had all his appointments for October 1 booked up

SEPTEMBER 30: Ali replied a day later that he had been able to clear his schedule so he could meet Sir David on October 15, the next available surgery meeting date

SEPTEMBER 30: Ali replied a day later that he had been able to clear his schedule so he could meet Sir David on October 15, the next available surgery meeting date

SEPTEMBER 30: Ali replied a day later that he had been able to clear his schedule so he could meet Sir David on October 15, the next available surgery meeting date

The aide confirmed in a reply his appointment time, date and location at the church ahead of the horror that would follow

The aide confirmed in a reply his appointment time, date and location at the church ahead of the horror that would follow

The aide confirmed in a reply his appointment time, date and location at the church ahead of the horror that would follow

The unfolding horror: ‘Terrorist’ said ‘sorry’ before stabbing MP 21 times as constituent made harrowing 999 call to police

Ali arrived at the constituency surgery meeting in October last year looking ‘relaxed and chatty’ after getting the train from London, prosecutor Mark Little said. The court heard Ali kept using his telephone, but assured Sir David he was not recording their conversation. Ali then told Sir David he moved to the area recently, and ‘irritated’ him by asking the long-term MP ‘what Sir David could do for the town’.

Mr Little said: ‘The surgery was meant for people with particular issues, not general conversation. However, the defendant then said he wanted to talk about foreign affairs. He said that he knew Sir David had initially supported the Iraq war but had changed his mind. Sir David looked confused at this.’

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

Two members of Sir David’s staff, Rebecca Hayton and Julie Cushion, then called for help. The court heard Yvonne Eaves and Darren King, who arrived on the scene for their own meeting with Sir David, then saw Ali waving a bloodied knife and saying: ‘I killed him.’

Mr Little said: ‘When Yvonne Eaves and Darren King 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.’ Ali stared straight ahead in court as a section of Ms Eaves’ 999 call was played in court. Mr Little said Ali was alleged to have had a conversation with a woman on speakerphone, who was ‘screaming’ at him: ‘Why have you done it?’

Ali is alleged to have mentioned Syria in his reply. The court heard Ali assumed that firearms officers would arrive on the scene, but was instead confronted only by two plain clothes officers from Essex Police.

Mr Little said: ‘The defendant hoped that he would be shot, killed, a martyr for the terrorist cause. However, this was not outside the Houses of Parliament, Central London, but Leigh-on-Sea and the first police attenders were not firearms officers but Pc Scott James and Pc Ryan Curtis. ‘They were on duty in plain clothes when they heard on their radio that a man had been stabbed numerous times.’

Mr Little said the pair, armed only with a baton and incapacitant spray, ‘bravely decided’ to enter the building after hearing of Sir David’s injuries.  A section of bodyworn camera footage showed police officers Ryan Curtis and Scott James in a short, tense confrontation with the armed Ali within the church building.

One of the officers could be heard yelling: ‘Drop that knife.’ Ali, seen in the middle of room, was then told: ‘It’s only going to go one way, please drop that knife.’ The police officers then managed to pin Ali to the floor and arrested him. Ali showed no emotion in the dock as the brief clip was played.      

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‘France’s Muslim population, Europe’s Muslim populations and especially refugees should not receive blame for the actions of a few. Yes, eight attackers are guilty.

‘Yes, this attack like so many others was carried out under the name of Islam and that this is happening far too often.

‘Yet we should not forget that the vast majority of Muslims would never support such violence, that during the last attack Muslims died and risked their lives fighting against these extremists and that refugees are escaping these extremists.

‘France and indeed the western world need to attack Islamic extremism at its source. This means relentlessly going after Daesh.

‘However, it further means fighting against the theocratic regime in Tehran and its allies whose policies give life to those groups.’

This was the final internet destination in a series of searches made by Ali relating to Sir David that day, the court was told. Earlier that night, at 8.36pm, Ali looked on Sir David’s Wikipedia at his ‘Political Views’.

Mr Little read out some of that section’s detail: ‘He voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was afterwards critical of the Labour government’s failure to find the weapons of mass destruction with which they justified the action at the time.

‘On foreign policy, he was also a leading member of Conservative Friends of Israel. Amess was one of 30 Conservatives who voted against military action in Syria in August 2013.

‘He was a critic of the government of Iran, and advocated for the National Council of Resistance of Iran.’ At 11.21pm on the same day, the jury heard Ali searched ‘david amess israel’ and ‘david amess muslim’.

Just a few seconds later, the records show him accessing Sir David’s ‘They Work For You’ website, specifically a page about Sir David chairing a Westminster debate about the ‘Jewish Community Contribution to the UK’.

In the next second, Ali is said to look up Sir David’s website, specifically a page about the MP speaking at ‘Holocaust Memorial Day Debate’.

Within the same minute, Ali went back to Sir David’s Wikipedia page, the prosecutor said.

Meanwhile, three days before the killing, he accessed a webpage that posed the question: ‘What should a person do if they think their death is approaching?’, a court heard.

Mr Little said Ali went on on ‘Islam Question & Answer’ website on 12 October 2021 titled ‘What should a person do if he feels that his death is approaching?’

The web page continued: ‘Are there any signs before a person dies, whether he is a believer or a disbeliever?

‘Are there any specific times for those signs? If it becomes apparent to him that his death is approaching, what should he do?

‘When should we pay attention to these signs if there is such a thing? Is there any way to reduce the agonies of death? What are the best righteous deeds that one may be advised to adhere to?’

Following the killing Ali was told to drop his knife by two unarmed PCs and replied: ‘No, because I want to be shot. I’m going to die. I want to die, I want to be a hero.’

Mr Little said: ‘The defendant plainly assumed and appears to have hoped that he would become a martyr when shot by firearm officers, a martyr to his twisted cause.’

Ali, of Kentish Town, denies murder and engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

The second charge alleges he engaged in reconnaissance of locations of targets to attack including addresses associated with members of Parliament and the Houses of Parliament; engaged in internet searches relating to the targets of attack. he trial continues.

Source: Daily Mail

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