Man accused of murder of MP Jo Cox given autumn trial date

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Thomas Mair, 52, in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Thomas Mair, 52, in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA

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THE man accused of the terror-related murder of Labour MP Jo Cox will go on trial in the autumn.

Thomas Mair, 52, is accused of shooting and stabbing Mrs Cox, 41, outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, on Thursday, 16 June.

He is charged with murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon.

He appeared at the Old Bailey yesterday via video link from top security Belmarsh jail amid a list of terror-related cases to be heard by Mr Justice Saunders.

The senior judge set a provisional timetable with a trial fixed to start on 14 November.

Another hearing will take place on 19 September at the Old Bailey, with a plea

hearing pencilled in on 4 October. The trial will be heard before a High Court judge and is likely to be at the Old Bailey.

• READ MORE: Google honours Jo Cox on her birthday with fundraising link

Mair, from Birstall, whose case is being handled under the “terrorism protocol,” spoke only to confirm his name.

At a magistrates’ hearing last week he gave it as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”.

Throughout, he sat with his head bowed, taking notes, and gave no reaction as his lawyer Cairns Nelson QC discussed his case with prosecutor Mark Dawson and the judge.

The preliminary hearing yesterday coincided with referendum day and came the day after Mrs Cox’s widower Brendan and their two young children marked what would have been her 42nd birthday.

Meanwhile a vicar urged everyone remembering Jo Cox to “pledge ourselves to a better world” as he led a memorial ceremony just a few yards from where she was killed.

People gathered in the market square in Birstall to mark the exact time a week ago that the Batley and Spen MP was attacked.

• READ MORE: Dani Garavelli: Cruel death a chance to rediscover humanity

Mrs Cox was fatally injured outside the village library and tributes to her placed around a nearby statue have grown over the past week to form a carpet of thousands of flowers,

messages and balloons.

More than 100 people ringed the makeshift memorial for moments of silence, hymns and eulogies.

Police investigating an apparent death threat made against a Tory MP days after the killing of Mrs Cox have arrested and bailed a man.

The 28-year-old suspect was held after gun and knife emojis were posted on South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay’s Facebook page after the words: “Another MP that needs...”

Mr Mackinlay called in Kent Police to investigate, and described the post as being made in “appalling taste”.

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