THE devastated cousins of tragic MP Sir David Amess have today laid flowers outside the Essex church where he was murdered.
The politician was meeting constituents when he was brutally stabbed with witnesses claiming the knifeman had been calmly sitting at the surgery before the attack.
While his wife Julia and five children grieve privately today, a bouquet signed from family has been placed at the scene.
The moving note reads: "RIP David. Thinking of your lovely family.
"Can't believe this has actually happened.
"We will always love you."
Locals have been visiting the church since yesterday afternoon to pay their respects.
One woman wearing sunglasses and a black jacket was seen sobbing as she carried roses today.
Another knelt at the cordon to read tributes left by mourners.
Among the notes was one signed by a child.
An adult had penned the words: "Thank you for your service."
The little one had signed the message 'Ryan family' beside a smiley face.
Others left hand-drawn cards and photographs, while the words 'we will miss you' had been written on a little blue helium balloon in marker.
A sheet of lined paper torn from a notebook read: "Many thanks for everything you've done, not just for me but Southend as a whole."
One couple wrote: "You helped us in the 1980s in Basildon."
And a photo of Sir David beaming and holding aloft a rose had been captioned: "Champion of human rights and democracy."
The tragedy comes as…
- Boris Johnson leads tributes to Sir David – and said ‘our hearts are filled with shock and sadness’
- Counter-terror cops quiz a 25-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder
- The suspect, a British national of Somali origin, allegedly knifed the MP 17 times – and sat calmly while he waited for police to arrive
- The PM visited the scene of the horror with Sir Keir Starmer and Priti Patel to lay a wreath of white flowers
- Sir David was asked to stop meeting constituents alone after Jo Cox was murdered – and wrote that similar attacks "could happen to any of us"
- Mrs Cox's sister says her terrified husband has asked her to step down from politics after the horror
- Priti Patel launches review into MPs’ safety after killing
- There were tears at a vigil as friends and constituents remembered the much-loved MP
A candlelit vigil attended by more than 100 people took place on Friday evening.
Many wept openly as Father Jeffrey Woolnaugh spoke.
He said: “Have you ever known Sir David without that happy smile on his face?
“The greeting he would give was always that wonderful smile.
“He died doing the thing he loved. Meeting his local constituents.”
Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and Sir Keir Starmer visited the site this morning.
In a rare display of cross-party unity, the politicians walked together in an unannounced visit before laying blooms outside the church.
The MPs didn't speak to press during their visit.
But Mr Johnson later shared an image of a handwritten note on Twitter.
'THANKS FOR EVERYTHING'
His message reads: "To the memory of Sir David Amess MP, a fine parliamentarian and a much-loved colleague and friend."
And Mrs Patel later said at Southend police station that politicians are "struggling to come to terms" with the loss.
However, she vowed that they would not be "cowed" – and said MPs will continue to see voters face-to-face.
Counter-terrorism cops continue to quiz a 25-year-old man on suspicion of murder.
The suspect is a British national of Somali origin.
Police are probing links the man is believed to have to Islamic extremism.
And officers have confirmed they're treating the killing as terrorism.
Witness Anthony Finch said the suspect was "quiet" as he was arrested.
"He was wearing jeans and a white top and was completely quiet," he said.
"He was in his mid-20s and appeared to be getting into the police car willingly. He was compliant."
John Lamb, councillor for neighbouring West Leigh, said Sir David was with two female members of staff when a man "literally got a knife out and just began stabbing him".
Mr Lamb told The Sun that the two women, one of whom is PA Julie Cushion, were heartbroken.
He said: “They are devastated. I’ve no idea of the motive. He had no known enemies.
"I’m told the man was waiting calmly to be seen. It’s horrendous. So awful.”
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