British lawmaker dies after stabbing

By Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 6:30 p.m. ET, October 15, 2021
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1:37 p.m. ET, October 15, 2021

Counterterrorism officers will lead Amess investigation, Essex Police chief says

The investigation into the fatal stabbing of MP David Amess will be led by counterterrorism officers, Essex Police chief constable Ben-Julian Harrington said in a statement at the Southend Police station.

"It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident," he added.

Amess died earlier today after being stabbed several times at a constituency meeting east of London.

1:34 p.m. ET, October 15, 2021

UN "extremely saddened" by David Amess death

From CNN’s Richard Roth

United Nations spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters at Friday’s daily briefing that the UN is “extremely saddened” by the death of UK lawmaker David Amess and that lawmakers need to be allowed to be free to work and not fear attacks. 

“We obviously are extremely saddened by this murder, and I think…and express, of course, our condolences to his family, and as well as to the people and government of the UK. What is clear for us is that lawmakers need to be able to do their work, they need to go about doing their work – free from fear of attacks or murder or anything else – and that is a centerpiece of democracy,” Dujarric said.

1:33 p.m. ET, October 15, 2021

Amess was "loved" and "worked hard" for his community, local official says

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

A photo of David Amess is seen before a service Friday at Saint Peter's Catholic Parish of Eastwood.
A photo of David Amess is seen before a service Friday at Saint Peter's Catholic Parish of Eastwood. (Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

MP David Amess was "loved and worked hard for his community,” local councillor John Lamb said Friday, speaking to CNN affiliate ITN.

Lamb, who also serves as vice chair of the Southend West Conservative Association, said it was "absolutely horrendous" that Amess was murdered while doing his "normal work" that he loved so well.

Amess was very much a "community MP" who "loved to come out and meet his residents," according to Lamb.

"He would pick up their problems ... and make sure he could get them sorted,” Lamb said.

Lamb painted the picture of a man "who was one to support the community," saying that he regularly attended local events for veterans and children among others. 

He said he had a "very good working relationship" with Amess, clubbing together on efforts to get local town Southend-On-Sea recognized as a city. 

"It didn't matter what your party was. If you went to him with a problem, he would help you. It didn't matter what culture you were; he would help you," Lamb added. 

 

1:54 p.m. ET, October 15, 2021

Local residents are placing flowers outside the church where Amess was killed

A woman lays flowers for David Amess on Friday.
A woman lays flowers for David Amess on Friday. (Yui Mok/PA/AP)

Members of the community have gathered in front of the church where British lawmaker David Amess was killed to leave flowers and balloons in his honor, CNN producer Nada Bashir reports.

"This is a very small, close knit community and the idea of having a local lawmaker attacked in such a way, in a public forum like this is really devastating and has shaken local residents here," she said reporting from outside the church in Leigh-on-Sea.

Amess, 69, a member of Parliament who represented Southend West in Essex, was stabbed midday Thursday by a man who walked into a meeting with voters from his electoral district being held inside the Methodist Church.

Tributes are left for Amess on Friday. The balloon reads "RIP We will miss you."
Tributes are left for Amess on Friday. The balloon reads "RIP We will miss you." (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

A woman leaves flowers at a police cordon near the scene.
A woman leaves flowers at a police cordon near the scene. (Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

12:33 p.m. ET, October 15, 2021

Boris Johnson: Amess "was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

British lawmaker David Amess, a member of Boris Johnson's ruling Conservative Party, is seen at the House of Commons in October 2016.
British lawmaker David Amess, a member of Boris Johnson's ruling Conservative Party, is seen at the House of Commons in October 2016. (Zoe Norfolk/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called MP David Amess "one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics" following Amess' death after being stabbed during a constituency meeting.

“All our hearts are full of shock and sadness,” Johnson said. 

"He also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable, whether the people are suffering from endometriosis, passing laws to end cruelty to animals," Johnson told reporters. 

"David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future. And we've lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague," he added.

Johnson was also asked about the safety of members of Parliament following the deaths of Amess and MP Jo Cox in 2016.

"What we need to do now is let the police get on with their investigation, and I'm sure that all those issues will be considered in the proper time, but I think this is a moment for us to think of Sir David, his wife, his family, and our thoughts very much with them," Johnson said.

12:38 p.m. ET, October 15, 2021

Here's Essex police's full statement on the killing of David Amess

Police officers work near the scene of the crime on Friday.
Police officers work near the scene of the crime on Friday. (Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

Essex Police just confirmed officers arrested a 25-year-old man in connection with the stabbing death of David Amess.

Here's the full statement from police:

“We are now in a position to confirm the man who died in Leigh-on-Sea today was Sir David Amess MP.
We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm today (Friday 15 October) to reports Mr Amess, 69, had been stabbed.
Despite the best efforts of paramedics, sadly, he died at the scene.
A 25 year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody.
We have recovered a knife from the scene and are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
We are continuing to appeal for anyone who saw anything or has CCTV, dash cam or doorbell footage to come forward.
We want to say thank you to the members of the public who alerted so quickly.
We need anyone who saw anything or has CCTV, dash cam or doorbell footage to contact us.
If you have any information you can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk
12:22 p.m. ET, October 15, 2021

Essex police confirm arrest of 25-year-old suspect

Essex police says it has arrested a 25-year-old man, recovered a knife from the scene, and are not looking for anyone else in connection with the death of David Amess.

"We are continuing to appeal for anyone who saw anything or has CCTV, dash cam or doorbell footage to come forward," police added in a statement.

"We want to say thank you to the members of the public who alerted so quickly," it added.

12:12 p.m. ET, October 15, 2021

David Amess raised the issue of "senseless" knife murders twice in Parliament in March

From CNN’s Louis Leeson

David Amess, the British lawmaker killed in a knife crime on Friday, had asked a question in Parliament in this March about how to stop “senseless murders” with blades. 

In the House of Commons, Amess addressed Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and said:

“Last Friday, my constituent Mr. Luke Bellfield, who was aged just 18, was stabbed to death just a few miles from his family home. This has been horrendous for his family and friends who have been left behind and my heart goes out to them all. What more does my right hon. Friend think that the police, society and Parliament can do to make sure that there never will be such senseless murders again?”

Less than two weeks later, he raised the issue again, saying, “I raised the issue of knife crime in the Chamber earlier this month and was told by the Prime Minister that we have more than 6,000 ‘of our target extra 20,000 police already recruited.’ I hope that Essex police recruit enough police officers to stop any more violent crime.”

1:20 p.m. ET, October 15, 2021

Knives are the most common murder weapon in England and Wales, agency says

From CNN’s Amy Cassidy 

A sharp object — including a knife — is the most common murder weapon in England and Wales, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics. 

In the year ending March 2020, there were 275 homicides by this method, “an increase of 15 offenses (up 6%) compared with the previous year and the second highest annual figure since 1946,” according to the February 2021 report. 

More than one-third (40%) of the 600 homicides in the year to March 2021 were by knife or other sharp instrument, the ONS reported.

“Since the year ending March 2007, the proportion of homicide offenses committed by a sharp instrument has fluctuated between 35% and 40%,” it added.

At least 238 people were killed in England and Wales with a knife or another sharp instrument in the year ending March 2021, down from 250 in the 12 months before that, the ONS reported in July. 

That fall included several periods of coronavirus-related lockdown, the statistics agency noted. 

More than one-third (40%) of the 600 homicides in the year to March 2021 were by knife or other sharp instrument, the ONS reported.