Sunday 26 February 2017

'This is for Britain,' man screamed as he killed MP

Emily Pennink

Jurors heard that MP Jo Cox was shot three times and suffered 15 stab wounds in a ‘cowardly’ attack that killed her on June 16. Her alleged attacker, Thomas Mair, has pleaded not guilty to her murder. Photo: West Yorkshire Police/PA Wire
Jurors heard that MP Jo Cox was shot three times and suffered 15 stab wounds in a ‘cowardly’ attack that killed her on June 16. Her alleged attacker, Thomas Mair, has pleaded not guilty to her murder. Photo: West Yorkshire Police/PA Wire

A far-right extremist screamed "This is for Britain" when he killed MP Jo Cox in a "cowardly" attack at the height of the EU referendum campaign, a court heard.

Gardener Thomas Mair (53), allegedly repeatedly shot and stabbed the 41-year-old Labour politician outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, on June 16.

Opening his Old Bailey trial, Richard Whittam QC told jurors how mother-of-two Mrs Cox had supported the Remain campaign leading up to the referendum on June 23.

On the afternoon of Thursday, June 16 she was to hold a surgery in the library in Market Street, having visited a local school and a care home. As she arrived, Mr Mair launched his "cowardly" gun and knife attack, Mr Whittam said.

Mrs Cox was shot three times and suffered 15 stab wounds.

Mr Mair was allegedly heard by a number of witnesses to shout repeatedly "Britain First".

During the attack, a 77-year-old local man risked his own life in an effort to save hers.

Bernard Carter-Kenny was stabbed once by Mr Mair with the same knife he used to stab Mrs Cox, the prosecutor said.

Emergency services arrived within minutes and she was given an emergency thoracotomy as she lay in the street.

Mr Whittam told jurors that Mr Mair carried out his "pre-meditated murder" for an ideological cause. Items found at Mr Mair's home in Lowood Lane, Birstall, showed he had "strong political and ideological interests", Mr Whittam said.

The court heard Mr Mair had used the computers at the same library in the weeks leading up to the killing to access websites.

On June 13, he looked at the Twitter and Wikipedia pages for Mrs Cox, and the Wikipedia page for Conservative Ian Gow, whose killing by the IRA made him the last sitting MP to be murdered until that point.

Mr Whittam said Mr Mair also looked at information on .22 gun ammunition, including answers to the question: "Is a .22 round deadly enough to kill with one shot to a human head?"

Mr Mair denies Mrs Cox's murder, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon - a dagger.

Mr Mair also pleads not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Carter-Kenny on the same date.

Irish Independent

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