Jo Cox murder: Far-Right fanatic Thomas Mair given whole-life sentence for Labour MP's 'terror' killing

Floral tributes lie outside Parliament House in London for murdered British MP Jo Cox. Thomas Muir has been convicted of killing her. Photo / AP
Floral tributes lie outside Parliament House in London for murdered British MP Jo Cox. Thomas Muir has been convicted of killing her. Photo / AP

A far-Right extremist has been given a whole-life sentence after being convicted of murdering Labour MP Jo Cox while shouting "Britain first" in what her husband and prosecutors described as an act of terrorism.

Thomas Mair was told he would never be released after killing the mother of two as she arrived at Birstall library in West Yorkshire for a surgery on June 16, a week before the EU referendum.

The 53-year-old, who hid his Nazi obsession for decades, showed no emotion as he was taken down from the dock to begin his sentence. A jury took just over 90 minutes to convict him.

Mair was tried under the terrorism protocol.

Thomas Mair was tried under UK terrorism protocol.
Thomas Mair was tried under UK terrorism protocol.

The Old Bailey heard how he collected a dossier on his 41-year-old Remain campaigning MP before launching his murderous attack.

As the verdicts were read out, Jo Cox's parents Jean and Gordon Leadbeater clasped their hands together and nodded.

Mrs Cox's family hugged and shook hands with prosecutor Richard Whittam QC and appeared tearful as they left court.

Mrs Cox's husband, Brendan Cox, told the Old Bailey he was not there for "retribution" and felt "nothing but pity for" Mair. He also described the far-Right killer as "cowardice personified".

In a statement he said: "The killing was in my view a political act and an act of terrorism. An act driven by hatred which has instead promoted an outpouring of love."

But he said it had been a "most incompetent and self-defeating" act, as it had led to communities pulling together and "allowed millions to hear a voice instead of silencing a voice".

Brendan Cox, widower of murdered British MP Jo Cox, makes a speech during a gathering to celebrate her life in June 22, 2016. Photo / AP
Brendan Cox, widower of murdered British MP Jo Cox, makes a speech during a gathering to celebrate her life in June 22, 2016. Photo / AP

After the verdicts were read out, Mair, who had refused to enter a plea and did not put forward a defence, said he wished to address the court, but the judge refused to give him permission.

Mr Justice Wilkie said Mrs Cox's death had been "both a personal tragedy" and a crime with "great public significance".

He said her "generosity of spirit (was) evident in the selfless concern she had for others, even when facing a violent death".

The judge told Mair that the loss he had caused her friends and family would be "unbearable", and that she had demonstrated herself to be "a credit to herself, her community, and her country" through her work.

Mr Justice Wilkie said: "In the true meaning of the word she was a patriot.

"You affect to be a patriot. The words you uttered repeatedly when you killed her give lip service to that concept.

"Those sentiments can be legitimate and can have resonance but in your mouth, allied to your actions, they are tainted and made toxic."

The judge told Mair his inspiration was not from "love of country or your fellow citizens", but was "an admiration of Nazism" and similar white supremacist ideas where "democracy and political persuasion are supplanted by violence".


He added: "Our parents' generation made huge sacrifices to defeat those ideas and values in the Second World War. What you did, and your admiration for those views which informed your crime, betrays the sacrifices of that generation.

"You are no patriot. By your actions you have betrayed the quintessence of our country, its adherence to parliamentary democracy."

Mair was also convicted of stabbing 77-year-old retired miner, Bernard Kenny, who tried to save the MP.

This is an undated image released by West Yorkshire Police of a gun that was presented in evidence during the trial of Thomas Mair. Photo / AP
This is an undated image released by West Yorkshire Police of a gun that was presented in evidence during the trial of Thomas Mair. Photo / AP

In a statement, Mr Kenny described Mair's actions as a "pure act of evil".

He said he would do the same thing again as it was "the right thing to do", even though his actions were not enough to save Mrs Cox.

Mair denied Mrs Cox's murder, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon - a dagger.

He also denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent to pensioner Mr Kenny when he tried to stop the attack on Mrs Cox. Mair was convicted on all counts.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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