Suspect: ‘Death to traitors, freedom for Britain’
The man accused of killing UK MP Jo Cox gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain” in his first court appearance yesterday.
Thomas Mair, 52, made his defiant statement in Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London after being charged overnight with the murder of the popular Labour Party minister.
Mair refused to give his correct name and did not answer when asked for his address and date of birth.
Labour Party MP Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed to death on Thursday after getting out of her car in the town of Birstall, in West Yorkshire, in her constituency.
The killing in broad daylight of a British politician has stunned the UK and silenced what had been a furious campaign ahead of Thursday’s referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union. Both sides have suspended campaigning as a sign of respect for Cox, who became the first sitting member of Parliament to be killed in more than 25 years.
Mair was charged with murder, inflicting grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit a crime, and other gun-related charges.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said in court that a psychiatric report should be prepared “bearing in mind the name he has just given”.
Mair will be kept in custody at Belmarsh Prison until his next court appearance, set for tomorrow at the Old Bailey.
He was not required to enter a plea during the brief session yesterday, during which he was handcuffed to a guard throughout the proceedings.
Authorities have not offered a motive for the killing.
Counter-terrorism police were involved in the investigation looking for possible links, but the charges filed did not include any terrorism offences.
Cox was a former aid worker who championed immigrant rights, bringing an end to Syria’s civil war and keeping the United Kingdom in the European Union.
IN MEMORY: Tributes continue to pour in for UK MP Jo Cox