Jo Cox murder accused to face trial in autumn

Sketch of Thomas Mair at Westminster Magistrates' Court. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire.
Sketch of Thomas Mair at Westminster Magistrates' Court. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire.

The man accused of the terror-related murder of Labour MP Jo Cox will go on trial in the autumn.

Thomas Mair, 52, is accused of shooting and stabbing Mrs Cox, 41, outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, a week ago today.

He is charged with murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon.

He appeared at the Old Bailey via video link from top security Belmarsh jail amid a list of terror-related cases to be heard by Mr Justice Saunders.

The senior judge set a provisional timetable with a trial fixed to start on November 14.

Another hearing will take place on September 19 at the Old Bailey, with a plea hearing pencilled in on October 4. The trial will be heard before a High Court judge and is likely to be at the Old Bailey.

Grey bearded Mair, from Birstall, whose case is being handled under the "terrorism protocol", spoke only to confirm his name.

At a magistrates' hearing last week he gave it as "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain."

Throughout, he sat with his head bowed, taking notes, and made no reaction as his lawyer Cairns Nelson QC discussed his case with prosecutor Mark Dawson and the judge.

The preliminary hearing coincides with referendum day and comes the day after Mrs Cox's widower Brendan and their two young children marked what would have been her 42nd birthday.

At the Commons event, they heard Prime Minister David Cameron praise Mrs Cox as "a voice of compassion whose irrepressible spirit and boundless energy lit up the lives of all who knew her".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that, with her death, British society had lost "one of our very best".