Thursday 8 December 2016

'Death to traitors, freedom for Britain' - says man charged with the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in court

Published 18/06/2016 | 01:05

Thomas Mair
Thomas Mair
MP Jo Cox speaking in the House of Commons. Photo: AFP/Getty
From left: MPs Lucy Smith, Jeff Smith, and Paula Sheriff leave floral tributes close to where their colleague Jo Cox was murdered on Thursday in Birstall, England. Photo: Getty
Pictured members of the public take a moment to remember Jo Cox MP. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
A Peoples Vigil in memory of Jo Cox took place at Custom Quay in Dublin this evening. Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
The Labour Party, Oxfam, Siptu, members of the public and other organisations remembered Jo Cox MP at a candlelight vigil at the the World Poverty Stone on the quays in Dublin last night. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.

The man charged with the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox gave his name as "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain" as he appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court charged with the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.

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Thomas Mair, 52, was charged with murder in connection with the shooting of Labour MP Jo Cox.

Mrs Cox, 41, was attacked in the street outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, at lunchtime on Thursday.

West Yorkshire Police said Thomas Mair, of Birstall, has been charged with murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon.

The 52-year-old will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Saturday.

West Yorkshire Police Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said on Friday that a 77-year-old man remains in a stable condition in hospital after he was injured when he "bravely intervened" in an effort to help Mrs Cox.

Tributes left to Labour MP Jo Cox who was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery. Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Tributes left to Labour MP Jo Cox who was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery. Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Members of the public look at flowers and tributes in Parliament Square, London, after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire. Yui Mok/PA Wire
Members of the public look at flowers and tributes in Parliament Square, London, after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire. Yui Mok/PA Wire
Members of the public look at flowers and tributes in Parliament Square, London, after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire. Yui Mok/PA Wire
Floral tributes are left at the boarded-up constituency office of Labour Member of Parliament Jo Cox, in Batley near Leeds, in Britain June 17, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble
People gather during a vigil for Labour Member of Parliament Jo Cox, in Batley near Leeds, in Britain June 17, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Floral tributes are left at the boarded-up constituency office of Labour Member of Parliament Jo Cox, in Batley near Leeds, in Britain June 17, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble
People gather during a vigil for Labour Member of Parliament Jo Cox, in Batley near Leeds, in Britain June 17, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble
People react as they view tributes to murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox, at Parliament Square in London, Britain June 17, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
A woman reacts as she views tributes to murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox, at Parliament Square in London, Britain June 17, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Members of the public lay flowers and tributes in Parliament Square, London, after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury looks at flowers and tributes in Parliament Square, London, after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury (centre) looks at flowers and tributes in Parliament Square, London, after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death in the street outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire. John Stillwell/PA Wire
Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock speaking at a vigil in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox. Around 300 people attended the event in Castle Square, Aberavon. Benjamin Wright/PA Wire
Flowers at a vigil in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox. Around 300 people attended the event in Castle Square, Aberavon. Benjamin Wright/PA Wire
Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock speaking at a vigil in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox. Around 300 people attended the event in Castle Square, Aberavon. Benjamin Wright/PA Wire

Meanwhile, an aide told of how mother-of two Mrs Cox's last words as she lay bleeding in the street were "my pain is too much".

The father of Mrs Cox's assistant Fazila Aswat has described how his daughter tried to comfort her after the attack, which left her bleeding heavily.

"She tried to help her, she tried to hit (the attacker) with her handbag but he tried to go at her. People came so he followed them and he came back again and shot her again twice," former Labour councillor Ghulam Maniyar told ITV News.

"She said her injury was so bad, and she was in her arms. There was lots of blood. She said, 'Jo, get up', but she said, 'No, my pain is too much, Fazila'. And I think those were the last words Jo spoke. She could not do anything else. She tried to comfort her."

Vigils were held across the UK on Friday evening as members of the public and politicians came together to lay flowers, light candles and stand in silence in memory of Mrs Cox.

They followed a joint visit to her home town by David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn, where the Prime Minister issued a plea for tolerance in British politics.

From left: MPs Lucy Smith, Jeff Smith, and Paula Sheriff leave floral tributes close to where their colleague Jo Cox was murdered on Thursday in Birstall, England. Photo: Getty
From left: MPs Lucy Smith, Jeff Smith, and Paula Sheriff leave floral tributes close to where their colleague Jo Cox was murdered on Thursday in Birstall, England. Photo: Getty

The Prime Minister said the whole nation was "rightly shocked" at Mrs Cox's death, and called for people to "value, and see as precious, the democracy we have on these islands". Politics is about public service and MPs want to "make the world a better place", he said.

Across the market square from where they stood, police tape cordoned off the spot where the former aid worker was killed in what Labour leader Mr Corbyn described as "an attack on democracy".

He said Mrs Cox was "an exceptional, wonderful, very talented woman, taken from us in her early 40s when she had so much to give and so much of her life ahead of her".

Downing Street confirmed that a female MP wrote to Mr Cameron last year raising concerns about the safety of her colleagues and attacks on her personally.

A statement from Number 10 said: "The Prime Minister replied to the letter and voiced deep concern about the attacks she had suffered. The Prime Minister added that he would raise the issue with the Home Secretary. The Prime Minister also spoke to the MP about her concerns.

"The Home Secretary wrote to the MP as well and voiced her 'deep concern about the appalling incidents'. The Home Secretary also wrote to the chief constable of the MP's local police force and urged the police to 'do everything in their power' to deal with the incidents. The Home Secretary also met the MP at the end of last year."

In January, a new security package for MPs was unveiled with additional funding. Downing Street said this covered security measures at MPs' homes - in London and their constituencies - as well as constituency offices.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) stands during an impromptu vigil at Parliament Square opposite the Palace of Westminster, central London, following the death of Labour MP Jo Cox. Philip Toscano/PA Wire
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) stands during an impromptu vigil at Parliament Square opposite the Palace of Westminster, central London, following the death of Labour MP Jo Cox. Philip Toscano/PA Wire

More than £200,000 was raised on Friday evening on a fundraising page set up by friends of Mrs Cox to support three charities "closest to her heart".

President Barack Obama phoned Mrs Cox's husband from Air Force One and offered his condolences.

"The president noted that the world is a better place because of her selfless service to others, and that there can be no justification for this heinous crime, which robbed a family, a community, and a nation of a dedicated wife, mother and public servant," a White House statement said.

The Remain and Vote Leave sides have suspended national campaigning in light of the death of Mrs Cox, who entered Parliament as MP for Batley and Spen in last year's general election.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have announced that they will not contest the by-election resulting from her death, giving Labour a probable free run at retaining the Westminster seat which she won with a majority of 6,057.

In an apparent reference to the EU referendum campaign, German chancellor Angela Merkel urged British politicians to "draw limits" around the language used in political debate, warning that otherwise "radicalisation will become unstoppable".

The National Police Chiefs' Council said forces are contacting MPs around the country to give security advice.

Defiant MPs have vowed to go ahead with constituency surgeries after the horrific murder.

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