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British lawmaker David Amess fatally stabbed at constituents' meeting

British lawmaker David Amess fatally stabbed at constituents' meeting
Lawmaker David Amess, pictured during the 2013 Westminster Dog of the Year competition, died on Friday after he was stabbed at a constituents meeting. File Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE

Oct. 15 (UPI) -- British lawmaker David Amess died Friday after he was stabbed several times while meeting with constituents at a church in Leigh-on-Sea.

The 69-year-old parliament member, who had represented Southend West Essex since 1997 for the Conservative Party, was at the Belfairs Methodist Church for what was supposed to be a routine meeting with people in his district when the knife attack occurred.

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An unidentified 25-year-old man was taken into custody, Essex Police said.

The shocking crime was similar to the 2016 death of lawmaker Jo Cox by a far-right extremist. She was getting ready to hold a meeting with constituents when she was shot dead in Birstall.

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"I am shocked and deeply distressed by the killing of Sir David Amess. Our thoughts and prayers are with David's family, friends and colleagues," House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle tweeted.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron said Amess' death is "devastating, horrific and tragic."

"David Amess was a kind and thoroughly decent man and he was the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet," Cameron tweeted. "Words cannot adequately express the horror of what has happened today. Right now, my heart goes out to David's family."

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The British Committee for Iran Freedom condemned the attack as an assault on democracy, as well as Amess, who served as co-chairman of the group and had championed human rights in Iran for decades.

"He will be remembered for his kindness and commitment, missed not only by the people of Southend West but also by millions of Iranians dreaming about a free Iran, who have lost a dear friend and their champion today," said a statement released by MP David Jones on behalf of the committee.

In July, Amess addressed the Free Iran World Summit in support of the Iranian resistance.

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Carrie Johnson, wife of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said Amess was an animal lover and a "true gent."

"Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess," she tweeted. "This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children."

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