On 16 June 2016, as she headed to a surgery to meet constituents in Birstall, West Yorkshire, Jo Cox was shot and stabbed. As the helpless victim lay stricken by two gunshots to the head, vile perpetrator Thomas Mair stabbed her fifteen times. While coming to her aid, seventy-seven-year-old Bernard Carter-Kenny was also stabbed. Another witness followed the evil attacker, helping the police apprehend him no more than a mile away from where the incident took place. With the British polity preparing for the EU Referendum, Jo Cox’s murder occurred at a time of heightened public interest in politics. The reverberations of the brutal assassination made shockwaves at the time and the harrowing incident remains etched in the minds of the nation.
Following the murder, details of Thomas Mair’s political inclinations soon started to emerge. At the time of the murder, Jo Cox’s manager Fazila Aswat heard him shout, “This is for Britain. Britain will always come first. During the trial, jurors also heard that upon his apprehension by police, the attacker declared, “I am a political activist.” The court also heard that items related to “strong political and ideological interests” were found in Mair’s home. Moreover, in the weeks and days leading up to the assassination, Mair had researched far-right publications online, namely the Occidental Observer. Furthermore, he had researched Jo Cox’s schedule in preparation of the attack.
Four days after her death, MPs gathered in the House of Commons in a moving tribute to Jo Cox. Speaker John Bercow led the tribute, saying, “An attack like this strikes not only at an individual, but at our freedom. That is why we assemble here, both to honour Jo and to redouble our dedication to democracy.” Also in attendance were Jo’s family, including husband Brendan, her two children, her parents and sister Kim.