Thomas Mair, 52, the man charged in the murder of British MP Jo Cox, appeared in a London court on Saturday (June 18). When asked by the court to give his name, he replied: “My name is death to traitors. Freedom for Britain,” according to BuzzFeed News.
Cox was shot and stabbed after meeting with constituents in northern England. A Labour politician elected to Parliament only last year, Cox was perhaps best known as a champion for immigration and integration. She advocated passionately for the greater resettlement of Syrian refugees within the United Kingdom. She also supported the campaign to keep the UK within the European Union. The so-called Brexit referendum will be voted on next week (June 23).
Many speculate it was Cox’s commitment to multiculturalism that made her a target for Mair. The man accused of her murder claims to be a “political activist,” according to the Telegraph. Material “relating to extreme right-wing and white supremacist organizations” has reportedly been found in his home, including Nazi regalia and editions of a pro-apartheid South African magazine. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate-crime monitoring organization in the United States, has also traced $620 in donations sent by Mair to the National Alliance, a known American neo-Nazi group.
The brazen attack was met with shock in the UK, where guns are tightly regulated and firearm-related crime is relatively low. According to GunPolicy.org, there were 146 gun-related deaths in Britain in 2012—the most recent year tracked by the group.