A jihadist who stabbed to death Conservative MP Sir David Amess in October 2021 received more than £100,000 (€116,000) in taxpayer-funded legal aid for his defense, it has emerged.
Ali Harbi Ali murdered the longstanding politician as he met with his constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church Hall in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Oct. 15.
In the pre-meditated attack, Ali armed himself with a knife before entering the premises and stabbing Amess around 20 times.
Upon his immediate arrest, the 25-year-old Islamic State sympathizer confessed to the killing, telling police in an interview: “I mean, I guess yeah, I killed an MP. I done it, so yeah.”
Despite the confession, Ali pleaded not guilty to the murder, and defense lawyers for the terrorist managed to rack up a substantial bill for their services, reaching a six-figure sum.
A Freedom of Information request served on the Legal Aid Agency by The Sun newspaper revealed that a total of £44,373 (€51,409) was initially paid to solicitors who worked on his case from the date of his arrest up to his trial heard at the Old Bailey in London.
A further £55,655 (€64,466) was then paid to his defense counsel, which consisted of two barristers including a King’s Counsel, a prestigious title awarded to senior barristers who have demonstrated excellence. His defense team represented him for the seven-day criminal trial.
“This is a ridiculous amount of money. Did he really need two barristers to argue his case when he admitted the killing?” Conservative MP Nigel Mills asked The Sun newspaper.
“There should be a cap on how much people can claim on cases like this,” he added.
David Spencer, from the Center for Crime Prevention, said: “It beggars belief that the taxpayer has had to stump up a six-figure sum to line the pockets of his legal team.
“This is an appalling waste of taxpayers’ money. But it comes as no surprise since the Ministry of Justice has so far failed to deliver the much-needed reform of legal aid.”
Ali was found guilty of murder and the preparation of terrorist acts, and was sentenced in April last year to life imprisonment. During sentencing, Justice Sweeney said the murder had “struck at the heart of our democracy” and noted that the terrorist had remained “smug and self-satisfied about what he had done.”