Far-right extremist who killed British lawmaker jailed for life

Thomas Mair was sentenced to life in prison for killing Jo Cox, the Labor Party parliamentarian who supported keeping Britain in the EU.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Jo Cox was killed a week before Britain voted out of the European Union.

The man who killed British lawmaker Jo Cox in the run-up to the divisive Brexit vote was jailed for the rest of his life on Wednesday.

Thomas Mair, a far-right extremist, shot and stabbed Cox on June 16 while shouting “Britain First”. The murder took place just a week before a referendum to decide whether Britain should part ways with the European Union.

Cox, a mother of two, was a Labour Party member of parliament and very vocal about the rights of immigrants.

A lifelong social activist, who had previously worked for aid agency Oxfam and Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, she was among the leaders encouraging people to disown politics of hatred.

She would have turned 42 on her birthday on June 22. A day later Britain voted to opt out of the EU.

"There is no doubt it was done to further a political motive," said judge Alan Wilkie, talking about Mair's motive as he announced the rare "whole life term" punishment without the possibility of parole.


Investigators found an extensive collection of books on German military history, the Holocaust and Nazi race theory when they searched Mair's Birstall home. [AP]

The court earlier heard that Mair fired three shots at the lawmaker and stabbed her 15 times.

A 77-year-old local man, Bernard Carter-Kenny, was also stabbed as he attempted to stop the attack.

Following the verdict, Cox's husband Brendan called the murder "a political act and an act of terrorism".

"We have no interest in the perpetrator, we only feel pity for him," he added.

"Jo was interested in everybody, driven not by her ego but her desire to help."

"Finally, we hope the country will also take something from this – that Jo's death will have meaning. That those in politics, the media and our own communities who seek to divide us will face an unassailable wall of British tolerance."

Jo Cox's husband says his wife was killed because of her political views. [Reuters]

Investigators found an extensive collection of books on German military history, the Holocaust and Nazi race theory and a statue of a bust of the eagle of Germany's Third Reich when they searched Mair's Birstall home.

Mair had also accessed the Wikipedia page of "far right" online publication Occidental Observer and the Twitter and Wikipedia pages for Cox.

The court heard that Mair had asked the question "Is a .22 round deadly enough to kill with one shot to a human head?" during one internet search.

The killing of Cox, who had defended immigration and refugee rights, shocked Britain and led to a three-day suspension in campaigning ahead of the EU referendum.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the murder of Cox was an attack on democracy, the Telegraph reported. 

"The single biggest tribute we can pay to Jo and her life will be to confront those who wish to promote the hatred and division that led to her murder."


TRTWorld and agencies