16 Jun 2016

MP Jo Cox dies after gun and knife attack

The Labour MP dies after being shot and stabbed in her West Yorkshire constituency. A 52-year-old man has been arrested.

The 41-year-old mother-of-two died while being treated by paramedics after the broad daylight attack in Market Street, Birstall.

Eyewitnesses said she was left lying on the pavement near the library where she held surgeries after being shot and stabbed.

Dee Collins, the temporary Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police told a press conference: “I am now very sad to have to report that she has died as a result of her injuries.”

She said a 77-year-old man who was attacked nearby was left with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Police arrested a 52-year-old man nearby shortly afterwards. Ms Collins said police recovered weapons including a gun. Officers are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

he added: “This is a very significant investigation with a large number of witnesses that are being spoken to by the police at this time.

“There is a large and significant crime scene and there is a large police presence in the area. A full investigation is underway to establish the motive for this murder.

The arrested man has been named locally as Thomas Mair.

‘Jo believed in a better world’

The MP’s husband Brendan Cox said: “Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.

“Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.

“She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.

“Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.”

Eyewitness Clarke Rothwell told the BBC he believed the MP had been shot and stabbed several times.

He said: “Three times she was shot, the initial time which then she dropped to the floor and two more times. The third time he got close proximity he shot her round the head area.”

He added: “In the meantime he was stabbing her as well, he was stabbing her with his knife.”

Another witness – Hithem Ben Abdallah, 56, – was in the cafe next door to the library and heard screaming outside at around 1pm.

He said: “There was a guy who was being very brave and another guy with a white baseball cap who he was trying to control and the man in the baseball cap suddenly pulled a gun from his bag.”

After a brief scuffle, he said the man stepped back and the MP became involved.

He added: “He was fighting with her and wrestling with her and then the gun went off twice and then she fell between two cars and I came and saw her bleeding on the floor.”

Mr Abdallah said the weapon looked handmade and that the man who had been wrestling with the assailant continued to do so even after he saw the gun.

He said: “The man stepped back with the gun and fired it and then he fired a second shot, as he was firing he was looking down at the ground.”

He added: “He was kicking her as she was lying on the floor.”

After around 15 minutes, the shop owner said ambulance crews arrived and treated her with a drip.