David Amess suspect was a 'polite and friendly' schoolboy, says former teacher at Christian primary

Sir David Amess was murdered during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea.(Photo: Parliament Live)

The suspect in the killing of Sir David Amess MP has been described as a "good boy" who gave no indication that he was "on course for anything other than a positive outcome", according to a former teacher at his Christian primary school in south London.

The unnamed teacher taught Ali Harbi Ali, his two younger sisters and brother when they attended Parish Church Junior and Infant School in Croydon - since renamed Minster Junior.

The teacher told The Times that although Muslim, Ali was happy to join in singing hymns at assembly.

"They were quite happy at a Christian school and took part in our regular worship," they said.

His former teacher described him as a socially engaged young boy who was not a troublemaker.

"Ali wasn't a high-flyer but was a hard-working child, especially good at maths," they said.

"We had plenty of naughty boys but he wasn't one of them. He was a good boy, polite and friendly and readily joined in with the other children.

"I think he was a chess player. I would never have said he was on course for anything other than a positive outcome. He wasn't an isolated child and engaged with his classmates."

The teacher also recalled his father, Harbi Ali Kullane, as a "lovely, friendly man" who would always come over for a chat.

"When I realised who had been arrested, I thought 'what a waste', it unsettled me," they said.

"As teachers we try to sow seeds that will grow, but not all of them do. The point of education is to help development and when something goes wrong it is so hard to fathom why. You ask yourself, did I miss something? I don't think we did, but you can't help asking that question. By the time he left my school, I doubt he had formed a view of life."

Sir David died last Friday after being stabbed multiple times inside a church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, as he met constituents. 

He was a devout Catholic who has been remembered for his kindness and strong faith by parliamentarians and Church leaders alike.