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Man charged with murder of Jo Cox MP

Thomas Mair arriving in court
Image: Elizabeth Cook

Thomas Mair, of Birstall, has been charged with murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon.

Mr. Mair, 52, who was wearing a grey tracksuit, appeared at the Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Saturday and gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain,” when asked by the judge. He has been remanded in custody.

Police were called at 12:53 to a report of an incident on Market Street, Birstall, where a woman in her 40s, later named as Jo Cox MP, had been shot and stabbed. Thomas Mair was arrested by West Yorkshire Police. A forensic team was sent to Mr. Mair’s house and weapons were recovered. Mrs. Cox, 41, was taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary and placed under the protection of armed police. She died just after 5 PM.

Thomas Mair
Thomas Mair

Reporters from broadcasters and newspapers from around the world were sitting in the press seats at the back of the court. The hearing was short, but one moment stood out – the reply Mair gave when asked his name. He was asked to repeat his stated name – “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain” – twice by Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, each time giving the same same answer.

Members of Mrs. Cox’s family visited the scene were she was attacked to read tributes and to thank the crowds for their support. Kim Leadbeater, the sister of Mrs. Cox, said the tributes paid had made a “genuine difference,” and helped her family through “dark times.”

“I could not watch the overwhelming outpouring of love without speaking on behalf of Jo. [My sister] would want us to focus on that which unites us not which divides us. She will live on through good people in the world,” Ms. Leadbeater said.

Photo: Brendan Cox
Photo: Brendan Cox

Since Mrs. Cox’s death, tributes have poured in from around the world.


Prime Minister David Cameron said the country was “rightly shocked” by Mrs. Cox’s death and both Leave and Remain EU Referendum groups have suspended campaigning.

United States
US President Barack Obama made a private phone call to Mr. Cox while Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton emphasised the important of the United Kingdom and United States “standing together against hatred and violence.”

American politician Gabrielle Giffords, a survivor of an assassination attempt, said she was “absolutely sickened to hear of the assassination of Jo Cox,” describing the Labour MP as “young, courageous, and hardworking.”

Canadian MP Nathan Cullen gave a speech in Canada’s parliament where he broke down into tears. He was a personal friend of Mrs. Cox.

Steffen Seibert from the German government tweeted: “Sad and terrible news of the death of British MP Jo Cox, murdered in her constituency. Our thoughts are with her husband and children.”

French Prime Minister Manual Valls also paid tribute on Twitter, saying it was “sadness for the British people,” and that “our (the West) democratic ideal was targeted.”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wrote a letter to David Cameron in which he said “violence has no place in democracy” and requested David Cameron convey “our (the Spanish people) deepest and sincere condolences to the family and the British people.”

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem tweeted that the UK is a “beacon of peaceful politics,” and wished for the British people to “make their democratic choice serenely and in safety next week.”


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