Justice Politics

Suspected killer Thomas Mair was “armed with hunting bullets”

The man accused of murdering the Labour MP Jo Cox was armed with expanding hollow-tipped bullets designed to inflict maximum damage to his victim, the court heard on Friday 18 November.

Andre Horne, a firearm expert, explained that the bullets fired in the attack were more commonly used to kill rodents and vermin in a “human way”.

After examining the content of plastic bag found where Thomas Mair was arrested, Horne explained that the bag contained 25 live .22 calibre rounds made in Germany and Britain.

Horne also explained that the bullets were designed to expand after being fired. This meant that an animal shot would die instantly if hit by one of them:

[It] would be considered a more humane way of disposing of animals.

They are most commonly used for hunting vermin, squirrels, rabbits and other small animals.

The jurors were also shown the modified calibre .22 found with the bullets. Horne explained that the rifle had been modified, which allowed it to be shot with one arm. But this decreased its penetrating power.

Mr Whittam QC said to the expert:

In its long form it’s a firearm and you could have had lawful possession of it with a certificate. But in its reduced size it is a banned weapon in this country altogether?

Horne replied:

That’s correct, yes.

Later, Kerry Versfeld of the National Ballistics Intelligence Service confirmed that the casings found at the scene had been fired with the same rifle.

While forensic scientist Hilary Parkinson, a DNA profiling and blood pattern analysis expert, also gave evidence in the Old Bailey on Friday afternoon.

She told the jury that both DNA of Cox and Mair were found on the gun and dagger used to kill the Labour MP.

She explained that blood spots from Cox were found on the gun which showed that the Labour MP had been very close to it.

According to Parkinson, her findings were consistent with the dagger having been used to stab the Labour MP.

But the most staggering revelation today was that Mair’s shoes had traces of blood on them in various places.

After testing this blood, Parkinson said it matched the DNA profile of Cox.

Earlier, the jury heard a statement from Ben Raynor, a doctor who tried to save Cox’s life by performing an emergency surgery in the ambulance still at the scene. After 20-long minute, the doctor and paramedics discussed what more could be done:

No matter what we tried, we couldn’t get the heart to restart. Everyone was in agreement we had done everything we possibly could to save the patient.

Raynor had to pronounce her dead.

Mair is charged with the murder of Cox and the grievous bodily harm of Bernard Carter-Kenny, a pensioner who was stabbed in the stomach after trying to save the MP’s life.

Mair declined to enter pleas when he appeared at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing last month. As a result, not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf.

The trial continues.

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