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Jo Cox murder accused gives name as 'Death to traitors, freedom for Britain'

Published 18/06/2016

A man has been charged with the murder of Jo Cox
A man has been charged with the murder of Jo Cox

The man charged with the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox gave his name as "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain" during his first court appearance.

Mrs Cox, 41, died after being shot and stabbed in the street outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, on Thursday.

Thomas Mair, 52, from Birstall, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London charged with murdering Mrs Cox, grievous bodily harm against a pensioner who tried to help her, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of a knife.

Mair, who was brought to court in a police convoy, refused to give his correct name to the court and remained silent when asked his address and date of birth.

He wore a grey jumper, tracksuit bottoms and black shoes and w as handcuffed to a guard in the dock during the hearing.

Mair was not required to enter a plea at court and his lawyer Keith Allen said there was no indication of what plea would be given. He also told the court that legal aid has been applied for.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ordered that he be remanded in custody until his next appearance, a bail application at the Old Bailey on Monday.

He will be held at Belmarsh Prison, and Ms Arbuthnot suggested that a psychiatric report should be prepared, saying: "Bearing in mind the name he has just given, he ought to be seen by a psychiatrist."

Mrs Cox was attacked after spending Thursday morning at a local school and a care home when she made her way to a pre-arranged constituency surgery in Birstall library at lunchtime.

At around 12.45pm, after she got out of her vehicle in Market Street, a man approached and began attacking her with a knife.

Bernard Kenny, 77, who was waiting in his car after dropping his wife off to visit the library, went to Mrs Cox's aid and tried to save her, but was himself stabbed and forced to retreat to a sandwich shop to seek cover.

Mrs Cox was then repeatedly stabbed, shot three times as she lay on the ground, and then stabbed again as she fought for her life.

As she was assaulted the attacker is believed to have said: "Britain first, keep Britain independent", and "Britain always comes first, this is for Britain".

Mrs Cox died at 1.48pm.

Mair was arrested at 1.25pm in Risedale Avenue, about a mile from the scene, by two officers who saw a white man wearing a black blood-smeared baseball cap and carrying a black holdall.

They tackled him to the ground and as he was detained he was heard to say "I'm a political activist", and told police he had a knife in his pocket.

Searching his trouser pockets, officers instead found a plastic bag containing what appeared to be a large number of bullets.

They also found a single barrelled firearm in the bag, as well as a magazine and a number of rounds. There was also a bloodstained mobile phone, a bloodstained dagger and a black wallet.

A search of Mair's house found material relating to far right ideology and white supremacy groups, as well as newspaper articles relating to Mrs Cox.

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From Belfast Telegraph