The man accused of murdering British lawmaker Jo Cox gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain” when he appeared in court Saturday.
The murder of Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two young children, has shocked the nation and both sides in the referendum have temporarily suspended campaigning ahead of Thursday’s vote, which has far reaching implications for both the EU and Britain. Leaders from around the world passed their condolences and raised questions about the tone of campaigning ahead of the EU referendum.
Cox, an ardent supporter of EU membership, was shot and stabbed in the street in her electoral district in northern England on Thursday.
Flanked by two security guards, 52-year-old Thomas Mair was asked his name by a clerk at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.
“Death to traitors, freedom for Britain,” Mair said. When asked again what his name was, Mair calmly repeated: “My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain.”
Mair made no further comment in the 15-mintue hearing, his first appearance in public since police arrested him in the town of Birstall, Yorkshire, where Cox was killed.
He is charged with murder, causing grievous bodily harm, and possession of a firearm and a knife. He was remanded in custody and will appear at London’s Old Bailey court on Monday.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said in court that a psychiatric report should be prepared “bearing in mind the name he has just given.”
Mair will be kept in custody at Belmarsh Prison until his next court appearance, set for Monday at the Old Bailey courthouse.
He was not required to enter a plea during the brief session Saturday, during which he was handcuffed to a guard throughout the proceedings.
Prime Minister David Cameron joined Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Friday to lay flowers in Birstall.
“It is a vile act that has killed her,” Corbyn said.
Cameron has agreed to recall parliament on Monday to allow lawmakers to pay tributes to the popular Member of Parliament (MP), who was only elected in 2015.