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MP Jo Cox urged aides to flee amid frenzied attack, murder trial is told

By Emily Pennink

Published 17/11/2016

Jo Cox
Jo Cox
Court artist's sketch of the accused, Thomas Mair

Brave MP Jo Cox tried to protect her staff from a far-right extremist by shouting out "get away you two - let him hurt me" as he repeatedly shot and stabbed her, a court heard.

The family of the 41-year-old Labour politician wiped away tears as her colleagues described the moment she was killed outside Birstall Library in West Yorkshire days before the EU referendum.

The Remain campaigner had been due to hold a surgery on June 16 when constituent Thomas Mair (53) allegedly launched his politically-motivated attack.

Senior caseworker Sandra Major arrived at the library with mother-of-two Mrs Cox and personal assistant Fazila Aswat.

Giving evidence, she told how she spotted a man walking past them. She said: "He had a gun in his hand. He raised his arm and shot her in the head. It was in the area of her temple.

"She fell backwards into the ground and there was blood pouring down her face."

He was shouting something like "keep Britain independent" or "British independence", she told jurors.

Ms Major said: "Fazila shouted 'get away from us, she has two little kids'. I was just screaming for help. I thought if some people came, he might go away.

"He was making motions towards us with the knife and Jo was lying in the road and she shouted out 'get away, get away you two. Let him hurt me. Don't let him hurt you'.

"He shot her twice more and then started stabbing her again. She was on the floor. She didn't get up again."

Ms Aswat told jurors that she panicked, shouted for help and even tried to hit Mair with her handbag.

As the MP lay dying, Ms Aswat said he stood up and shouted out: "Britain first, this is for Britain, Britain will always be first."

She said that she had told the MP to run away between attacks but Mrs Cox replied: "Fazila, I can't run, I'm hurt."

Bernard Carter-Kenny (78) told how he saw a knifeman going "berserk" while he was waiting for his wife outside the library having bought bananas at the nearby market.

He was stabbed once as he tried to launch himself at the attacker from behind in an attempt to save Mrs Cox.

In a statement read in court, he said: "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 Carter-Kenny said he staggered back while keeping his eyes fixed on the attacker then "flopped" down on the steps of a sandwich shop. Mair denies all charges.

The trial at the Old Bailey was adjourned until today.

Belfast Telegraph

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