Terror suspect accused of killing Sir David Amess worked at top London hospital

·3-min read
CCTV shows man understood to be Sir David Amess murder suspect Ali Harbi Ali walking down a London street hours before the attack. Ali had previously received NHS training to become a radiographer and worked alongside patients
CCTV shows man understood to be Sir David Amess murder suspect Ali Harbi Ali walking down a London street hours before the attack. Ali had previously received NHS training to become a radiographer and worked alongside patients

The terror suspect being questioned on suspicion of murdering Sir David Amess trained as a technician in the radiography department of a top London hospital, The Telegraph can reveal.

Ali Harbi Ali worked at King’s College Hospital in London after completing his A levels in 2014.

He underwent training in the radiography department, which would have seen him working alongside NHS patients, carrying out X-rays and scans.

But it is unclear whether the 25-year-old ever completed his training and whether he was employed in a qualified capacity.

A spokesman for King’s College Hospital declined to comment.

A well-placed government source confirmed that Ali had trained in the hospital’s radiography department, but said he had not been working there at the time of the attack. 

Another source told The Telegraph: “Ali was training in the NHS and it was a great source of pride for his parents. His father was especially proud when he was back in Somalia to tell people that his eldest child was working at a top London hospital.

“He will be truly devastated to hear that his son has been arrested in connection with a terror attack on a British MP.” 

Watch: Sir David Amess killing - Home Secretary Priti Patel tells MPs threat level against them now 'substantial'

Missed opportunities

Ali, who grew up in Croydon, south London, had dreamed of becoming a doctor, but did not achieve high enough grades at school.

One former teacher said while he was “no high flyer”, he had been good at maths when he was younger.

In 2014, while still at school, he was referred to the Government’s counter-terrorism programme Prevent, after concerns were raised about his behaviour.

But after spending a short time on the Channel scheme, which is intended to divert youngsters away from extremism, he was declared to not be a risk. 

He was never flagged to the intelligence agencies and was not on MI5’s watchlist of potential terror suspects.

After completing his A levels at Riddlesdown Collegiate in Purley, he applied to King’s College Hospital to train as a technician in the radiography department and began working the following year.

It is thought he left home, where he had lived with his mother and three younger siblings, around the same time. His parents split when he was young and his father spent a lot of time in his native Somalia.

The Telegraph understands Ali has not been associated with King’s College Hospital or the NHS since at least 2019 and what he has been doing since then will be a key part of the fast-moving counter-terrorism investigation.

It is thought he has recently been unemployed and how he spent his time during this period will also be something detectives will want to examine. 

The source said: “He was not working at the hospital at the time of the attack, but it is accurate to say he had been associated with the radiography department there.”

Ali was detained by armed officers just minutes after Sir David was stabbed to death at his weekly MP’s surgery last Friday in Leigh-on-Sea.

It subsequently emerged that Ali had booked an appointment to see Sir David a week before the attack, allegedly telling his office he was moving to the Southend area and wanted to discuss healthcare issues.

Scotland Yard, which declared the attack a terrorist incident on Friday evening, has until this Friday to charge the suspect.

Watch: Prevent: Why key part of government's counter-terrorism strategy is under scrutiny after murder of MP Sir David Amess

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