THE man arrested for the murder of Sir David Amess was first referred to the counter-terror scheme seven years ago, it was reported.
Ali Harbi Ali was referred to the Channel programme in 2014, it was reported
He has arrested in connection with the murder of Sir David Amess
The 25-year-old is being questioned by anti-terror cops after being arrested at the scene while sitting calmly and waiting for them to arrive.
Since his arrest it has emerged he had been flagged by the anti-radicalisation scheme and had extremist material on his phone.
It has now emerged he was referred to the Channel counter-terror scheme as far back 2014, The Guardian reports.
Ali was reportedly referred while attending an educational establishment in London in 2014 after fears were raised he was drawn to Islamism.
According to The Guardian he voluntarily accepted referral and source said “he went through the process and was discharged”.
“He was not thought to pose a threat of terrorist violence and the case was closed,” the source added.
Channel normally deals with 600 to 700 individuals at any one time.
Individuals are referred if they are deemed to be a direct terrorism risk, after first being flagged to the Prevent programme aimed at preventing radicalisation.
Sources have said Ali did not say anything of note during the attack on Tory MP Sir David Amess but was seen using his mobile phone moments afterwards.
The investigation into the Tory MP’s murder suggest Ali picked Sir David part of a random plot to kill any national politician.
A minutes silence was held for the late Sir David on Monday afternoon in the House of Commons.
His grieving family – including his wife Julia and his daughters – also visited a memorial left outside the church where he was murdered.
It has also been claimed he radicalised after watching YouTube videos of hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
One friend who witnessed his dramatic change told The Sun: “Choudary was someone he became utterly obsessed with.”
Despite Ali’s radicalisation, relatives claimed he had trained to become an NHS doctor after spending four years at a top medical school.
Police have made extensive searches of Ali’s home in Kentish Town as well as his father’s house in Bounds Green, both North London, and his mother’s in Croydon, in the south of the city.
Ali’s phone is now playing a crucial role in the police investigation.
Immediate analysis is understood to have shown messages, web searches and links that pointed to an Islamist extremist.
It led police to declare a terrorist incident within hours of Sir David’s death, rather than delaying for further forensic checks.
So far no direct links between Ali and Sir David have emerged.
Ali Harbi Ali pictured on his way to the train station on the morning of the attackCredit: pixel8000