Suspect in murder of British MP shouted ‘Britain first’

Members of Jo Cox's family, including sister Kim Leadbeater (2-L), mother Jean Leadbeater (3-R) and father Gordon Leadbeater (R) arrive at for the start of the trial of Tommy Mair in London on Monday. Photo by Will Oliver/European Press Agency.

LONDON, Nov. 14 (UPI) — The man accused of murdering British Member of Parliament Jo Cox shouted “Britain first” during the attack, the jury was told on the first day of the trial on Monday.

Cox, 41, a member of the Labor Party, was stabbed and shot on her way to a meeting with voters in Birstall, a village in her northern England district in West Yorkshire on June 16. It was seven days before the national referendum in which Britons voted to leave the European Union. Cox was in favor of Britain staying in the EU.

Thomas Mair, 53, is charged with murdering Cox and causing grievous bodily harm to a 77-year-old bystander who tried to help her, and possessing a firearm and a dagger.

Mair said his name was “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain” when he was charged in June. Then in October, he remained silent when asked to enter pleas.

Cox was shot three times and stabbed several times.

Mair repeatedly said “Britain first, this is for Britain, Britain will always come first” as he carried out the attack, prosecutor Richard Whittam told the jurors.

“It was a cowardly attack by a man armed with a firearm and a knife,” Whittam told the jury. “It was a premeditated murder for a political and/or ideological cause.”

Justice Alan Wilkie noted the case “has attracted considerable public interest and publicity” but cautioned jurors not to conduct any research on the Internet and to avoid media reports of the trial.

The court heard that searches of Mair’s home and his computer showed he had “strong political and ideological interests.”

The trial is expected to last for about three weeks.


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