The detective who led the investigation into the murder of Jo Cox has described Thomas Mair as a “cold blooded killer”.
Addressing the media outside the Old Bailey, Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen said: “It is still hard to comprehend the magnitude of what happened in the quiet market town of Birstall on that day in June.
“The murder of Jo Cox is a tragedy on so many levels. At the centre is the devastation caused by the loss of a mother, a wife, daughter, sister and friend; but this killing, the first of a serving, female, Member of Parliament is also felt acutely by the local community, by the people of this country and across the world.
“Jo Cox MP championed the democracy and inclusivity of this country and for that she paid the ultimate price.
“Thomas Mair is a cold blooded killer. He calmly planned her death, lay in wait and then killed Jo in a sustained attack as she went about her daily business of trying to help people in her local community.
“I would like to pay tribute to the people who bravely came to Jo’s assistance at the scene, one of whom, Bernard Kenny, nearly died as a result of injuries inflicted by Mair. I would also like to praise the courage of the two unarmed neighbourhood police officers who arrested Mair just minutes after, while he was still armed with a gun and a knife. I cannot praise highly enough Jo Cox`s family. Throughout what must be the most terrible of times, they have acted with nothing other than stoicism and dignity seeking only to ensure that J’s legacy is a positive and lasting one.
Jo Cox MP championed the democracy and inclusivity of this country and for that she paid the ultimate price.Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen
“This joint investigation between West Yorkshire Police and the North East Counter Terrorism Unit sought to understand the man that Thomas Mair is. He had never come to the notice of the Police before, living a solitary lifestyle with no social circle around him. This was a murder motivated by Mai’s apparent political and ideological beliefs involving the use of a firearm and as such was an act of terrorism. Evidence of his interest in extreme right wing has been uncovered. Nothing can excuse the evil and the horror his actions brought to the town of Birstall on June 16 this year.”
A statement has also been issued by Chief Constable Dee Collins, of West Yorkshire Police.
She said: “My thoughts today are with Jo Cox’s family. Their lives have been changed forever as a result of Mair’s actions and I hope today’s verdict brings some comfort. “Jo’s murder touched people worldwide, but nowhere more so than in her home constituency. It is testament to the community that, from this tragedy, they were galvanised and drawn together united by their grief and determined to demonstrate that together we are all stronger. “I am extremely proud and grateful to my own officers, staff, criminal justice colleagues and to members of the public, who put themselves in harm’s way that day and gave evidence in court, and to the team who carried out a detailed and thorough investigation leading to today’s outcome.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said he was releived that the trial had been concluded and the correction decision had been reached by the jury.
“My thoughts remain with Jo’s family through what has been an extremely difficult ordeal, they have acted with such dignity throughout,” he said. “This was a horrendous, politically motivated, brutal murder against a young woman, a mother and an MP. “West Yorkshire Police have responded to this terrible situation with real professionalism and true compassion. “Everybody from those that responded on the day to the murder investigation team working towards this verdict have demonstrated the best in policing. “I also want to pay tribute to Jo’s staff who were with her on the day through to the bravery and overwhelming support shown by members of the public including Bernard Kenny. “The world is a much poorer place with the loss of Jo and I know her constituency of Batley and Spen have really suffered. “It now falls on all of us to continue Jo’s legacy to combat hatred in all its forms and to make sure Jo’s words ‘that we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us’ live on here in West Yorkshire.”