Jo Cox murder suspect gives name as ‘death to traitors’

Thomas Mair, 52,  appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court. Picture: PA
Thomas Mair, 52, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court. Picture: PA
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The man charged with the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain” during his first court appearance yesterday.

Cox, 41, died after being shot and stabbed in the street outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, last Thursday.

Thomas Mair, 52, from Birstall, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London charged with murdering Cox, grievous bodily harm against a pensioner who tried to help her, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of a knife.

Mair, who was brought to court in a police convoy, refused to give his correct name to the court and remained silent when asked his address and date of birth.

Mair was not required to enter a plea at court and his lawyer Keith Allen said there was no indication of what plea would be given. He also told the court that legal aid has been applied for.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ordered that Mair be remanded in custody until his next appearance: a bail application at the Old Bailey tomorrow.

He will be held at Belmarsh Prison, and Arbuthnot suggested that a psychiatric report should be prepared, saying: “Bearing in mind the name he has just given, he ought to be seen by a psychiatrist.”

Cox was attacked after spending Thursday morning at a school and a care home when she made her way to a pre-arranged constituency surgery in Birstall library at lunchtime.

At around 12.45pm, after she got out of her vehicle, a man approached and began attacking her with a knife.

Bernard Kenny, 77, who was waiting in his car after dropping his wife off to visit the library, went to Cox’s aid and tried to save her, but was himself stabbed and forced to retreat to a sandwich shop to seek cover.

Cox was repeatedly stabbed, shot three times as she lay on the ground, and then stabbed again as she fought for her life.

As she was assaulted the attacker is believed to have said: “Britain first, keep Britain independent.”