Extreme right wing terrorist Thomas Mair has today been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, whom he shot and stabbed to death in Birstall, near Leeds, on the 16th of June.
After a trial which lasted seven days, the jury took just one hour and thirty six minutes to sentence the 53 year old, who was also convicted of having a firearm with intent, possessing an offensive weapon (a dagger) and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Bernard Kenny, a 78 year old stabbed by Mair after rushing to Mrs Cox’s aid.
The crime, in which the 41 year old mother of two suffered three shot wounds and was stabbed 15 times, was so exceptional that the Judge decreed that only the home secretary would be able to release Mair. Mrs Cox was the first MP to be murdered since the killing of Ian Gow 26 years ago.
Brendan Cox, Jo’s husband, said he felt “nothing but pity” for Mair because “his life was so devoid of love that his only way of finding meaning was to attack a defenceless woman who represented the best of our country in an act of supreme cowardice.”
He called the act of “terrorism” “incompetent and self defeating,” saying it was “driven by hatred” but had “instead promoted an outpouring of love” from those within Jo’s community and across the nation. He said that the Jo’s death had revealed “Britain at its best – compassionate, courageous and kind. It’s given us great strength and solace.”
Mr Cox reiterated the Jo Cox Foundation’s plea to remember Jo’s life and not her tragic, senseless death: “We try now not to focus on how unlucky we were to have her taken from us, but how lucky we were to have her in our lives for so long.”
The details of Mair’s actions are shocking. In the three days leading up to the horrendous attack, he stalked Jo Cox via social media using public library computers. He also searched for William Hague, another Remain politician who is also from Yorkshire. Digital records reveal Mair’s decades long interest in the Nazi Party and show he looked up matricide (the killing of one’s mother). Search terms included “Is a .22 round deadly enough to kill with one shot to a human’s head?”
Mair, who shouted “Britain first” in the attack which took place just one week before the EU Referendum, did not enter a plea and chose not to defend himself. While he remained silent for the duration of the trial, he did ask to speak to the courtroom before his sentencing. The judge declined.
Outside the court, Mr Cox’s words were emotional and poignant, addressing a nation whose divisions have become more manifest in the political shocks of the past few months:
“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 and the articulation of Jo’s belief that we hold more in common than that which divides us.”
(Image: The Mirror)