The killer of MP Sir David Ames waited calmly in constituency surgery at a church before being attacked with a knife – then sat down and waited for police.
Two female employees watched in horror as the maniac turned to Tory, 69, and then pulled out a blade.
He is said to have stabbed a married father of five years 17 times – without saying a word – at 12.05 am.
Both the women ran outside and tried to make noise.
Police who arrived at the scene found a 25-year-old British national of Somali origin tied to the back of a van and a knife before escaping him.
Spies and MI5 were trying to find out if he was inspired by Islamic terrorism last night.
An air ambulance lands at a farm near Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Medics tried to revive Southend West MP Sir David but he was pronounced dead on the spot.
Shocked friends and colleagues said it was a planned attack.
Councilor Daniel Nelson said: “We know he stabbed David and waited for the police. It was completely premeditated. He knew he was going to do it.
“I’m so sad. He was the champion of Southend. He always remembered the details of people’s lives.
“It’s a blatant attack. He was loved all over town.”
Neighboring West Leigh Councilor John Lamb reported that two heroic employees—including PA Julie Kushan—were heartbroken.
Mr Lamb said: “They are devastated. I have no idea of the purpose. He had no known enemies. I am told that the man was calmly waiting to be seen. it’s terrible. How bad.”
Sir David is the second MP to be assassinated in five years – after Labor’s Battelle and Spain MP Joe Cox – raising further concerns about security for politicians.
Earlier this year, he had called for strict action on knife crime after the murder of a young Ghatak.
Six weeks earlier Sir David and wife Julia were pictured smiling proudly at the wedding of one of their four daughters, Alexandra.
Another daughter, Katie, 36, is an actress who had a small role in Captain America: Civil War. The other children are Sarah, Flo and David Jr.
A friend of 30 years, Mr Lamb said: “He is a family man, always trying to help people, and especially refugees. He is a very friendly person.
“He says what he believes in and sticks to his guns.”
When the armed police inspected the spot, shocked locals came to know about the attack. Butcher Lee Jordan, 40, said: “We could see a cordon set up.
“Someone outside told me that a woman had come out on the phone shouting, ‘Someone has been stabbed, please get here soon. He is not breathing.’
“There was a lot of discussion in the church that it was (Sir David) and a lot of people had seen him outside saying hello 20 minutes ago. It’s so shocking. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Anthony Finch said: “We went to the next building to do some work. As I was crossing the street I saw a troubled woman on the phone saying ‘You need to come early, she is still in the building.’
“There were loads of armed police, an air ambulance and a police helicopter. Obviously I wondered what was going on. You don’t often see armed police around you.
“I saw the suspect being put in a police van, taken away and then they surrounded the entire road and pushed all of us on the road.
“Then what we heard was that it was David Ames. Apparently he was stabbed several times. It’s very hard, very painful. He is a good friend of my wife’s father.”
A devout Catholic, Sir David was MP for 38 years, the first time in Basildon from 1983 before taking his current seat in 1997.
He was an ardent Brexiteer, pro-life and animal rights supporter and campaigned for city status to be granted to Southend.
He also opposed bills to advance LGBT rights, including the same age of consent and same-sex marriage.
Dame Eleanor Ling, Deputy Speaker of the Commons, tweeted yesterday: “All elected representatives should be able to go about their work without fear of physical or verbal attacks. What happened to Sir David Ames in Essex today is unforgivable. “
Armed policemen stayed outside the church last night.
Police urged any witnesses with video or dashcam footage to come forward. The force said: “We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.
“We want to thank the public who alerted us so quickly.”
The local community, including children, also gathered to pay tribute to him. Rev Clifford Newman said: “There is no justification for this, and there never could be.”