Mair guilty of Cox murder – but far-right terror risk is rising
ANTI-HATE groups and police warned of an increasing threat of right-wing terrorism and extremism after yesterday’s conviction of neonazi Thomas Mair for the murder of MP Jo Cox.
Mr Mair shot and stabbed the Labour MP for Batley & Spen in West Yorkshire on June 16, a week before the EU referendum.
The Old Bailey jury heard how he shouted: “Britain First” as he attacked the mum-of-two outside her constituency surgery.
The 53-year-old was handed a whole-life prison sentence.
The court heard how police found large quantities of nazi literature and regalia at his home in Birstall.
Mr Mair, described by neighbours as shy and helpful, kept a Third Reich eagle ornament on top of a bookcase that contained Ku Klux Klan conspiracy literature and white nationalist magazines.
He used a computer at his local library to research far-right, anti-semitic and neonazi politics in Britain and abroad.
After the trial yesterday the head of Britain’s counterterrorism police warned of the terror threat the extreme right poses.
Scotland Yard’s senior national co-ordinator for counterterrorism policing Neil Basu said: “Over the past 12 months there have been indications that the threat from the extreme right wing could be increasing and we are alive to this.”
He said that just under one in 10 referrals to the government’s controversial Prevent programme, which is designed to turn would-be extremists away from terrorism, relate to the far right.
He added: “We have put programmes in place to support those at risk of being radicalised.
“We recognise that lives can be destroyed and community cohesion undermined in exactly the same way it can from other forms of extremism.”
And anti-extremist group Hope not Hate echoed the warning. Chief executive Nick Lowles said: “More needs to be done to tackle the growing threat of Britain’s far right. While it might be numerically smaller than in the past, it is becoming more violent and dangerous.
“And while the authorities will always prioritise targeting those individuals who could carry out terrorist attacks, it is also vital that they target the people who peddle the hatred that inspired the likes of Thomas Mair.”
Ms Cox’s widower, Brendan, told the court: “The killing of Jo was, in my view, a political act, an act of terrorism — but in the history of such acts it was perhaps the most incompetent and self-defeating.
“An act driven by hatred which instead has created an outpouring of love. An act designed to drive communities apart which has instead pulled them together. An act designed to silence a voice which instead has allowed millions of others to hear it.”
Ms Cox was the first female MP to be murdered and the first MP to be killed in office for 26 years. The former private parliamentary secretary to Margaret Thatcher, Eastbourne MP Ian Gow, was killed by an IRA car bomb at his Sussex home in 1990.