The man accused of murdering Labour MP Jo Cox had his first court date on Tuesday 4 October, and insulted her memory by failing to enter a plea.
Thomas Mair, who is alleged to have murdered Jo Cox on 16 June 2016, appeared in court on 4 October. His appearance was to enter a plea in relation to charges of the murder of Cox, possession of a firearm and a dagger with intent to cause an offence, and grievous bodily harm to a passerby, Bernard Kenny.
But Mair, appearing via video link from Belmarsh prison, refused to enter a plea and stayed silent throughout the hearing at the Old Bailey. Mr Justice Wilkie, presiding, asked Mair to confirm that he had heard the charges being read out. After Mair failed to respond, Wilkie directed that not guilty pleas be entered on his behalf.
Mair is accused of the murder of Cox, a mother of two children. She was stabbed and shot on 16 June as she arrived at a surgery in Birstall, part of her Batley and Spen constituency in West Yorkshire.
A by-election is to be held on 20 October, with actor Tracy Brabin running as the Labour candidate for Cox’s former seat. The former Coronation Street, EastEnders and Emmerdale star was chosen as the party’s candidate ahead of Jane Thomas, an environmental campaigner. Brabin, who was born in Batley and worked with Cox on her campaign to save the town’s library, said:
Jo was my inspiration. I intend to do her proud… Obviously no-one wanted this, but I’m the only person on the ballot paper that can stand up for everyone in Batley and Spen. I’m hoping people will put party politics to one side and we can work together.
The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and UKIP will not be contesting the by-election, as a mark of respect. But the ‘English Democrats’ have said that their deputy chairman, Therese Hirst, will be standing. Jack Buckby, meanwhile, will stand for ‘Liberty GB’. Therefore, an election will have to be held.
A memorial fund, set up in memory of Cox, has raised nearly £2m since it was launched.
Mair, a 53-year-old unemployed gardener from Birstall, will stand trial next month.
– Donate to the Jo Cox memorial fund.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?