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23 Nov, 2016 12:34

Far-right ‘terrorist’ Thomas Mair jailed for life for murder of Labour MP Jo Cox

Far-right ‘terrorist’ Thomas Mair jailed for life for murder of Labour MP Jo Cox

Far-right extremist Thomas Mair has been found guilty of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox after a seven-day trial at the Old Bailey, where he refused to give evidence in his defense.

Mair, 53, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mair repeatedly shot and stabbed Cox in the street outside her constituency surgery during the EU referendum campaign in June. During the attack, he yelled “Britain first,” the court was told.

As she lay wounded on the ground, the MP urged her staff to flee and avoid getting hurt, telling them: "Let him hurt me. Don't let him hurt you."

The 41-year-old mother of two died shortly afterwards in the back of an ambulance.

Judge Alan Wilkie said there was no doubt the murder was because of white supremacy with links to Nazism, and said Mair had betrayed the sacrifices of the generation who had defeated the Nazis.

Mair kept a stash of neo-Nazi material at his home and had assembled a dossier on his Remain-campaigning local member, the Old Bailey heard.

He was obsessed with German military history, assassination plots, and far-right extremism. He had researched Cox's usual routine and political views, and checked to see if his gun was powerful enough to kill her.

When he struck, onlookers heard him shouting: "Keep Britain independent - Britain First, this is for Britain, Britain will always come first."

The jury took just over an hour to reach a verdict, the BBC reports.

At the conclusion of the prosecution’s case on Tuesday, Mair’s lawyer Simon Russell Flint, QC, told the court Mair, who denies murder, would not enter the witness box.

He added that he would not be calling any evidence on behalf of Mair.

Mair was also found guilty of possession of an offensive weapon with intent, possession of a firearm with intent, and grievous bodily harm against a 77-year-old man who tried to intervene to save the MP. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

During the trial, the jury was shown CCTV footage of the moments leading up to her murder.

The court heard that after Mair fired the first shot, witnesses watched Cox trying to crawl away as he reloaded his gun and shot her two more times.

He also used a dagger to inflict 15 stab wounds, some of which penetrated the MP’s heart, lungs, stomach and liver.

According to the Evening Standard, he listened emotionless to much of the evidence, but was seen rolling his eyes when a statement from MP Stephen Kinnock was read out, hailing Cox as "incredibly well-liked and popular."

In his closing speech, prosecutor Richard Whittam QC told jurors: "The sheer brutality of her murderer bring the two extremities of humanity face to face."

He said her attack "brought out the best of the people who were with her" - the two members of staff and Birstall residents who came to her aid.

West Yorkshire Police Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen said the murder of Cox was a tragedy on many levels.

"Jo Cox MP championed the democracy and inclusivity of this country and for that she paid the ultimate price.

“Thomas Mair is a cold blooded killer. He calmly planned her death, lay in wait and then killed Jo in a sustained attack as she went about her daily business of trying to help people in her local community."

Tributes flow for Jo Cox

Cox's husband, Brendan Cox, has paid tribute to his wife on Twitter, saying: "Jo's death will have meaning."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said "the biggest tribute we can pay to Jo Cox will be to confront those who wish to promote the hate and division that led to her murder."