Opinion

Far-right extremist Thomas Mair found guilty of Jo Cox’s murder

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An extreme right wing activist has been found guilty at the Old Bailey of the murder of the Labour MP and mother-of-two Jo Cox.

Thomas Mair repeatedly shot and stabbed Cox just few days before the EU referendum in June this year.

During the attack Mair was saying “this is for Britain”, “keep Britain independent”, and “Britain first”, the court heard.

The crown considered that the murder was politically or ideologically motivated, as the evidence gathered by the police suggested.

Mair spent weeks planning his attack on the Labour MP, gathered information on how to kill with a sawn-off .22 hunting rifle and had a dossier on Cox.

It was a premeditated act of political violence from a man obsessed with Nazi memorabilia, and who believed in the notion of ‘white supremacy’.

Mair attacked his victim on 16 June 2016, after she got out of her car in Birstall, West Yorkshire. He shot her twice in the head, once in the chest and stabbed her 15 times.

The Labour MP died shortly afterward despite receiving emergency treatment in the back of an ambulance.

But Mair showed no emotion or remorse as the verdict was read out at the Old Bailey after less than two hours of jury deliberations.

Since being arrested, Mair only spoke once. It was during his first court appearance when he said “death to traitors – freedom for Britain” when asked his name.

The crime was also regarded as a terrorism offence, and was described as such at preliminary hearings.

But the word terrorism was never used before the jury simply because Mair was charged with murder which is a crime under common law, but not an offence under counter-terrorism legislation.

Therefore, Mair was never asked about his motivation. And as he refused to give evidence, we can only have presumed of his true motivation.

It is, however, evident that the toxic atmosphere during the EU referendum may have played a part in the killing of Cox, who was well known for her pro-Remain views.

Mair’s devotion to the Nazis, German military history and white supremacy may well have played a huge part in his choice of killing a Labour MP.

When he was arrested following the murder of Cox, poolice found an EU Referendum leaflet in his bag alongside with the gun that was used to shot the Labour MP, and the dagger-type knife used in the killing.

In his closing speech, Richard Whittam QC said Cox had been the victim of a cowardly attack:

The sheer brutality of her murder and the utter cowardice of her murderer bring the two extremities of humanity face to face.

We can surely only agree with him. It was a cowardly, barbaric attack against a young mother and an internationalist Labour MP.

Mair was charged with Cox’s murder; the grievous bodily harm of Bernard Carter-Kenny, 77, who was stabbed in the stomach after going to her assistance; possession of the firearm with intent to commit an offence; and possession of a dagger. He was found guilty on all four counts.

Mair will now spend the rest of his life in jail.

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