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Shock and disbelief has been expressed from across Essex, following the death of Sir David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West.
Mr Amess was stabbed whilst holding a constituency surgery in Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea earlier today (October 15).
Tributes have been pouring in for the 69-year-old, who leaves behind his wife Julia and five children.
James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, said: “[I’m] absolutely devastated. David was my parliamentary neighbour and friend.
“All our thoughts are with Julia and his five children. RIP David.”
MP for Basildon and Billericay, John Baron, said: “My family and I are truly shocked at the news of David’s death.
“He was a good friend and colleague, an assiduous MP and a devoted family man.
“Many people across our community will remember him with great fondness, and our heartfelt thoughts are with his family, Parliamentary team and friends at this awful time.
“We shall all miss him greatly.”
The Leader of Rochford District Council, Cllr Simon Wootton, said: “I am shocked and saddened to hear of the terrible attack today on Sir David Amess in which he lost his life.”
“Sir David was a dedicated public servant for almost forty years and his commitment to his constituents was an example to us all”.
“On behalf of Rochford District Council I extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends”.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “This is a shocking and utterly despicable attack against somebody who was an outstanding MP and has worked tirelessly for their community for many, many years. My prayers are with Sir David’s family at this incredibly difficult time. I also want to acknowledge the officers who attended the event for their bravery and courage.
“It is vital that we give the police all our support to ensure that they can do their job at this time. For anybody who has information please do not hesitate to contact the police.”
The MP for Maldon, John Whittingdale, said: “David Amess was a great friend and a brilliant MP for nearly 40 years.
“His death is truly shocking and a huge loss to his constituents and to parliament.
“At this time all our thoughts are with his family.”
Dame Eleanor Laing, the MP for Epping Forest, said: “All elected representatives must be able to go about their work without fear of physical or verbal attacks.
“What has happened to Sir David Amess in Essex today is unforgivable.”
Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy took to Twitter, saying: “Absolutely horrific – thoughts very much with David and his friends and family.”
James Cleverly the MP for Braintree added his thoughts to Mr Amess’s family.
He said: “I was hoping beyond hope that David Amess would pull through this. It was not to be.
“A truly lovely man. My thoughts and love go to his family at this most terrible time.”
Basildon Councillor Andrew Schrader, said: “Feel utterly numbed by the news that Sir David Amess has died, following senseless stabbing earlier today.
“Absolutely chilling yet another elected official has been brutally murdered while meeting their constituents.
“I had the great privilege of meeting Sir David on several occasions. He was urbane, generous and just deeply committed to his public service.
“My thoughts go out to Land Amess and their five children.
“Just a horrible thing to have happened.”
Former Mayor of Basildon, Councillor David Harrison said: “Terrible to hear of the tragic death of David Amess, a friend to myself and my wife since being MP for Basildon.
“My thoughts are with his wife Julia and his children at this time.”
Chelmsford City Councillor Dan Clark, said: “Horrific news about David Amess MP, my thoughts are with his family in these times.”
Updated police statement
Police released an updated statement at just before 5pm on Friday saying: “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 or use the ‘Live Chat’ button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm.
“Please quote incident 445 of 15 October.
“You can also call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”