In court

Jo Cox attack: Man charged with murder gives name as “death to traitors”

The slain British MP’s family and friends are focusing on her legacy and the causes she supported, after the man accused of her murder made his first court appearance

Jean Leadbeater (R), mother of Labour MP Jo Cox, embraces Cox's sister Kim Leadbeater during their visit to see the floral tributes in Birstall. (Christopher Furlong/Getty)

The man charged in the death of British MP Jo Cox appeared in court on Saturday, with a strongly nationalist statement. “My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain,” said Tommy Mair, 52, when asked his name in the dock.

Just days before her death, Cox had made a passionate plea in favor of immigration and for Britain remaining a member of the European Union, in an article published on The upcoming referendum on Britain’s EU membership (commonly referred to as “Brexit”) has focused heavily on immigration.

“Most voters recognise that our country has reaped many benefits from immigration, from the brilliant doctors in our NHS to the skilled workers helping our economy to grow,” Cox wrote. “Yet across the country people face everyday worries about job security, school places and GP appointments.”

However, she argued “We cannot allow voters to fall for the spin that a vote to leave is the only way to deal with concerns about immigration. We can do far more to address both the level and impact of immigration while remaining in the EU.” Campaigning for the June 23 referendum has been suspended as a mark of respect.

Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two young children, was a fierce campaigner for refugee rights. She died on Thursday from wounds suffered in a brutal and brazen attack that took place in broad daylight, as she was on her way to meet with constituents. Prosecutor David Cawthorne told the court that the defendant approached Cox in the street, repeatedly stabbing her with a large knife before shooting her three times as she lay on the ground.

Mair has been charged with the murder of Cox; grievous bodily harm against pensioner Bernard Kenny, who tried to come to her assistance; possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offense and possession of a knife. He is remanded in custody until a bail hearing on Monday.

“Jo’s legacy”

On Saturday, Cox’s family members, including her sister Kim Leadbeater and parents Gordon and Jean Leadbeater, viewed the hundreds of floral tributes and messages left in Birstall since her death there. Kim described her sister as “perfect” and urged people to continue to speak up with “genuine emotion with no hidden agenda” as they had done since Jo’s death. “We have to continue this strength and solidarity for the days, months and years to come as part of Jo’s legacy. To focus on that which unites us and not which divides us.”

A fundraising page set up by friends “in celebration and memory of Jo Cox” to support the causes “closest to her heart” rapidly raised more than 650,000 pounds ($930,000) in a single day, from tens of thousands of donors. Funds raised will assist civilians caught up in the Syrian war, fight British racism and extremism, and help residents in her constituency.

A memorial service was held in Birstall on Sunday morning for the late MP, and she was remembered in prayers at other church services across England.

Onlookers during a visit by the family of Jo Cox to see the floral tributes to her, on June 18, 2016 in Birstall, (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Onlookers mourn during a visit by the family of Jo Cox to see the floral tributes to her, on June 18, 2016 in Birstall, England. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

This Wednesday, June 22nd, would have been Cox’s 42nd birthday, and her friends plan to hold events around the world to celebrate her values and the causes she believed in, with an emphasis on uniting against hatred and divisiveness.

On Saturday, Kim Leadbeater told media and onlookers that her sister would “live on through all the good people in the world, through Brendan, through us and through her truly wonderful children, who will always know what an utterly amazing woman their mother was.”

Read the full story at CNN and The Guardian.


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