She gained fame at the age of 18 when she won a university scholarship in a national talent competition for young women. But in 2015 she fled Gambia, fearing for her life, after dictator Yahya Jammeh allegedly drugged and raped her, angry that she had turned down his marriage proposal.
She lived quietly in Canada, worried that Jammeh would persecute family members in Gambia. After Jammeh fell from power she later found the strength to go public with her story, despite Gambia's culture of silence over sexual assault, she told The Associated Press.
The nation was riveted when she held a press conference to share her account via social media and in a human rights report in June 2019. She also testified months later to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Mr Ali has been detained under the Terrorism Act and police have until Friday to charge him or let him go after being granted an extension at Westminster Magistrates Court.
The Met confirmed that the early in
vestigation has revealed “a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism”.
Mr Ali was known to the government’s Prevent programme.
With an annual budget of around £40 million, the Prevent scheme aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
It was launched after public bodies were placed under a statutory duty in 2015 to stop people being drawn into terrorism.
Anyone concerned that someone they know might be at risk can refer them.
Police believe Ali was acting alone and are investigating whether he was radicalised in lockdown.
On Saturday Father Jeffrey Woolnough, a close friend of Sir David’s who is a devout Catholic, said police stopped him from reading the MP his last rites.
Father Woolnough, from St Peter’s Catholic church, said he ran towards the scene at 1.45pm hoping to reach Sir David before he died.
“I went running up the road with my holy oils,” he said.
“He said ‘It’s a crime scene. You can’t go in. There’s evidence that needs to be collected.
“It’s very sad. It’s something that’s necessary in Catholic belief for the soul’s journey to God, to have those last prayers.”
Police searched three properties in London on Saturday, including Mr Ali’s home which is located in an upmarket park of north London popular with celebrities.
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