THE scene outside the church where Sir David Amess was murdered has been likened to a “horror film” by a councillor who arrived moments after the attack.

Peter Wexham, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh, comforted Sir David’s distraught PA Julie Cushion as she fled Belfairs Methodist Church, with the “horror on her face” clear to see.

Mr Wexham, who had been due to meet with Sir David after booking an appointment for the residents’ surgery on Friday, admitted he has been “haunted” by what he saw since the attack.

Speaking at a Southend Council meeting on Thursday, he said: “I got out the car and walked up to the church and Julie came up to me in tears.

“The pain and agony and sheer horror on her face frightened me. It was like walking into a horror film.

“I really feel for the ladies and gentlemen who had to actually go inside the building to sort things out because just behind the door they were trying to save him.

“There was nothing I could do about anything. I didn’t know what to do.

“It’s haunted me ever since. It was a real shock.

“If I’d been earlier I could have of got stuck in the middle of it. I didn’t realise we had so many policemen with machine guns in Southend. It really was a tragic scene.

Southend Mayor, Margaret Borton, led a minute’s silence to devout Catholic Sir David as councillors gathered in the council chamber for the first time since his murder.

Senior representatives from Essex Police and the East of England Ambulance Service, along with the paramedics and police officers who were first on the scene were also in attendance, along with Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst The Southend Boys and Girls’ Choirs provided music for the event before the Mayor led tributes to Sir David.

Mrs Borton said: “This tragic incident has left me profoundly shocked and sad. At the many mayoral engagements we attended together I always found Sir David to be kind, helpful and so inclusive to myself, my husband Tony and others in attendance at the event.

“We have heard so much about how Sir David introduced fun and joy into everything he did.

“Sir David was a champion of all things Southend, whether it was its people, its charities or its businesses. Sir David – you will be greatly missed us all.”