Dying Jo Cox MP 'tried to protect staff'

Dying Jo Cox MP 'tried to protect staff'

A CHILLED Old Bailey court heard how Thomas Mair carried out not just one but two frenzied attacks on murdered Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox.

Having already shot and stabbed Mrs Cox outside Birstall Library and started walking away, Mair returned to finish his victim off after hearing her call out to her two office workers.

Office manager Fazila Aswat and senior caseworker Sandra Major described in graphic detail how Mair carried out his callous attack on Tuesday, June 16.

Mrs Major described seeing him walk past her with a gun which he raised and fired directly at Jo’s head.

“She fell back onto the ground and there was blood pouring down her face,” she said.

"He said something along the lines of 'keep Britain independent' or 'British independence’.”

She added: “He got a knife out of the bag. It was black. Jo was lying on the floor and she sort of tried to push herself up using her right arm but he just started stabbing while she was lying on the floor. He was stabbing her.

Thomas Mair (120863)

“Fazila was in between two parked cars. We started to hit him with our handbags. Fazila said 'get away from her, she has two little children’.”

Mrs Major said she was just screaming, hoping people might come and drive the attacker away.

“Jo could not get up but she did a sideways roll and went into the road,” she went on.

"He went towards both of us. We were quite close together. Jo was in the road and she shouted 'get away you two, get away. Let him hurt me, don't let him hurt you’.

“He started to walk away a few feet and then when Jo shouted out he came back. Then he shot her twice more and started stabbing her again. She was on the floor. She did not get up again.”

“He went between the cars and I heard two gunshots and I could see his arm going at her. In the second attack he was standing over her and shot her at close range, and then I could see his arm going.Fazila Aswat said that when Mair came back, the two women swung their handbags at him, but he swiped at them several times with the knife to drive them away so he could get at Jo again.

When he stood up after the attack she thought he said 'Britain first, this is for Britain’.”

Mair then calmly walked off down Market Street towards Bradford Road. He was arrested half an hour later in Birstall.

Mrs Aswat said: “Jo was in my arms. It probably only took three or four minutes for the police and ambulance to arrive, but it felt like a lifetime.”

Mair has pleaded not guilty to murder, grievous bodily arm and two offences of possessing offensive weapons.

The trial continues on Thursday.

Danny Lockwood at the Old Bailey

THE MAN accused of murdering Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox sat expressionless throughout the first day of his trial at the Old Bailey in London.

Thomas Mair, 53, of Lowood Lane, Birstall, showed no emotion as prosecution QC Richard Whittam outlined the brutal and sustained attack on Mrs Cox, 41, outside Birstall Library on Thursday June 16.

Mair, wearing a smart navy blue suit, white shirt and dark tie, avoided eye contact with anyone in Court 8 at the Old Bailey on day one of a trial expected to last at least two weeks.

He pleaded not guilty to murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon.

Mrs Cox's husband Brendan did not attend the start of proceedings.

The jury was shown various pieces of CCTV footage of Mair both on the day of the killing and previously, when he used Birstall Library's public computers to research a wide range of subjects Mr Whittam said pointed to his motive for committing the murder.

Mair steadfastly refused to look at the TV screens in court.

Mr Whittam said one witness recalled Mair asking about public access to the MP's surgeries at the library.

Apart from a fixation with Mrs Cox, Mair was said to have explored extremist websites, looked up former Tory leader William Haigh and murdered MP Ian Gow – killed by the IRA – plus sites dedicated to assassinations and killing people including with a .22 bullet.

The court heard that Mrs Cox suffered two gunshot wounds to her head and one to her chest from a modified .22 calibre gun, plus “through and through” bullet wounds to her hands from when she tried to defend herself.

Paramedics trying desperately to save Mrs Cox on the pavement in Market Street, Birstall, performed an emergency thoracotamy – an open incision to her chest – but she was pronounced dead from her injuries which included 15 knife wounds, some to her heart, lungs, stomach and liver.

Numerous witnesses were said to have positively identified Mair both before, during and after the attack.

Mr Whittam described how the defendant discarded two jackets and a cap he was wearing, before he was arrested shortly afterwards in Risedale Avenue, still in possession of the gun and knife used in the attack.

Blood and DNA matching that of Jo Cox and Bernard Kenny, the have-a-go hero who tried to save her and was stabbed, was found on Mair.

Upon being arrested Mr Whittam claims he said “I am a political activist.” Upon subsequently being questioned and charged he refused to speak.

After Mr Whittam concluded his opening statement in a case heard by the Honourable Mr Justice Wilkie, Mair left the dock clutching a sheaf of papers he had been doodling on.

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