London, United Kingdom, Nov 24 – A far-right extremist was Wednesday sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release for murdering British MP Jo Cox a week before the European Union referendum in a “politically motivated” attack.
“Because she was a member of parliament your crime has an additional dimension that calls for particular punishment,” judge Alan Wilkie told Thomas Mair, 53, as he issued the rare “whole life term” punishment.
“There is no doubt it was done to further a political motive.”
The jury at London’s central criminal court convicted Mair of shooting and stabbing the mother-of-two as she arrived at a library in Birstall, northern England, to meet her constituents on June 16.
Mair showed no emotion as the sentence was read out.
The court earlier heard that Mair shouted “Britain first” as he fired three shots at the lawmaker and stabbed her 15 times.
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.”
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.
Mair had also accessed the Wikipedia page of “far right” online publication Occidental Observer and the Twitter and Wikipedia pages for Cox.
The court heard that Mair had asked the question “Is a .22 round deadly enough to kill with one shot to a human head?” during one internet search.
The killing of Cox, who had defended immigration and refugee rights, shocked Britain and led to a three-day suspension in campaigning ahead of the EU referendum one week later.
Mair denied Cox’s murder, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon, but was found guilty on all counts having refused to present any evidence in his defence.
Cox’s parents and sister were in court.
A 77-year-old local man, Bernard Carter-Kenny, was stabbed as he attempted to stop the attack.