Wednesday 17 January 2018

Man who tried to prevent right-wing extremist from murdering MP Jo Cox has died

Undated handout photo issued by West Yorkshire Police of Bernard Kenny, who was stabbed in the abdomen as he tried to stop neo-Nazi Thomas Mair attacking MP Jo Cox outside her constituency surgery in Yorkshire, has died his son Phil Kenny has said. West Yorkshire Police/PA Wire
Undated handout photo issued by West Yorkshire Police of Bernard Kenny, who was stabbed in the abdomen as he tried to stop neo-Nazi Thomas Mair attacking MP Jo Cox outside her constituency surgery in Yorkshire, has died his son Phil Kenny has said. West Yorkshire Police/PA Wire

Nina Massey

Bernard Kenny, who tried to stop a right-wing extremist from murdering MP Jo Cox, has died.

His son Phil Kenny, 58, confirmed that his father died on Monday morning.

Former miner Mr Kenny, 79, was seriously injured when he was stabbed as he intervened when Thomas Mair attacked Mrs Cox in his home village of Birstall, West Yorkshire, in June 2016.

Mr Kenny was awarded the George Medal for his bravery this June, and in a statement said he was "honoured to receive such an award".

Mr Kenny was included in a list of new bravery awards along with the two West Yorkshire Police officers who arrested Mair.

Pc Craig Nicholls and Pc Jonathan Wright both received the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

Jo Cox (Yui Mok/PA)
Jo Cox (Yui Mok/PA)

There were numerous calls after Mrs Cox's murder for Mr Kenny to be honoured by the nation, including a petition aimed at securing him the George Cross - the highest possible civilian honour.

At Mair's trial at the Old Bailey, the jury heard that the pensioner was waiting for his wife outside the library in Birstall when he saw Mair going "berserk".

He said in a statement to police: "I thought if I could jump on to the back, I could take him down.

"I thought he was thumping her until I saw the blood. I saw he had a knife in his hands. It was what I call a dagger. The blade was about nine inches.

"Just as I got short of him, he turned around and saw me. He shoved the knife in and it hit me in the stomach. The blood started pouring out between my fingers. I saw the blood and I thought 'Oh my God'."

Mr Kenny described Mair's actions as a "pure act of evil".

After the attack, more than 80,000 people signed an online petition calling for Mr Kenny to be awarded the George Cross for his bravery.

Mr Kenny, who shared a birthday with Mrs Cox, worked as a miner for 40 years and is a former member of the Gomersal Mines Rescue team which tried to save victims of the Lofthouse mine disaster in 1973.

Neo-Nazi Mair was given a whole life sentence for the murder of Mrs Cox, and was also found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Kenny and possession of a gun and dagger.

Press Association

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