A far-right militant has been found guilty of the murder of British MP Jo Cox, one week before the country’s European Union referendum.
Thomas Mair, 53, was convicted by a jury at London’s Old Bailey central criminal court of shooting and stabbing the mother-of-two as she arrived at a library in Birstall, northern England, to meet with constituents on 16 June.
The court earlier heard that Mair shouted “Britain first” as he fired three shots at the lawmaker and stabbed her 15 times.
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.
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.”
He also released a tribute on Twitter:
— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) November 23, 2016
Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, told the court that Mair had committed a “terrorism” offence when he murdered Cox, but said that it had not been necessary to prosecute him as a terrorist.
The case has raised fears about the rise of far-right activism in the UK.
On Monday, Shadow home Secretary Diane Abbott warned that the UK’s counter-terrorism programme was failing to deal with white nationalist and anti-Muslim organisations in the UK, citing figures appearing to show that referrals for Neo-Nazis had overtaken Islamist militants in some parts of the country.
She said the figures revealed “the alarming rise of far-right activity across the country” and also “reflects the increasing confidence of far-right groups to air their views publicly.”
“These figures are useful in proving what we already know, but the Prevent programme has failed to change the attitudes of those on the far right.”
Concerns were raised last week when the Neo-Nazi National Action group plastered stickers reading “Nazi-controlled zone” in parts of Liverpool on Remembrance Sunday.
Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement on Twitter that Cox’ legacy should be to confront far-right activists like Mair:
The single biggest tribute we can pay to Jo Cox will be to confront those who wish to promote the hatred and division that led to her murder pic.twitter.com/gJPVBGqMdC
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) November 23, 2016
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