Disclaimer: The man presiding over the trial who goes by the name of Wilkie told the jury that they should not conduct research on the internet in relation to the case of the so-called “Thomas Mair” (hereafter referred to as Thomas Mair). That “warning” absolves this article, although nothing written by any person now could prejudice the case as much as the entire British political elite did when using it to try to win the EU Referendum; but in case any jury members (assuming that they be real people) find this site, you should stop reading now.
This article is for the purpose of reviewing the first day of the trial of the man accused of the murder of Jo Cox, and comparing evidence with details that were published on the day by corporate-media. There’s not going to be too much effort to give links for information that is gathered from different sources – that can be done more carefully another time. No opinions will be consciously given except to note that the prosecution, which is led by the man who appears to have prosecuted Adebowale and Adebolajo, a certain Whittam, maintains a tone set by the corporate-media on the very first day of the event in June 2016. The inference is picked up by the corporate-media who declare it outright – the Telegraph calls Thomas Mair a “white supremacist” despite the author finding no reference to the term in any of the reporting. In short, Whittam may frame his presentation to the jury thus: “you may think that it helps you to understand his apparent motive in deciding to carry out this murder”, but the public is certainly being led by the way this has been telegraphed to them by the corporate-media (example above). Any who witness these events through corporate-media must gain the same impression of the purpose of the prosecution when “establishing motive” – by mentioning these impressions the author would merely be discussing what has already been well and truly seeded in the public consciousness by corporate-media.
The title serves to remind that the defendant in the case, when appearing at a preliminary hearing, declined to admit to his corporate identity. We are told that his defence counsel, whoever that may have been, identified Thomas Mair to the court. The police have released a photo of the suspect for the trial, and this appears to be the same man seen in pictures at the time of the incident, and purported to be Thomas Mair, wearing a white cap and a camouflage jacket. It should be noted that a picture doing the rounds on the internet of a man doing a Nazi salute cannot be Thomas Mair as claimed. This individual has tattoos on both arms, and the man who police arrested in connection with this case – as shown in footage taken at the time of the incident – has bare arms (see the featured image).
The first day of proceedings saw the prosecution introduce its case. There was a lot of detail about how Thomas Mair would use Birstall library computers to look up incriminating circumstanstial evidence such as:
- A Wikipedia page for the Occidental Observer, “a far right online publication that covers politics and society from a white nationalist and anti-Semitic perspective”.
- Jo Cox’s Wikipedia and Twitter pages
- William Hague, another prominent Yorkshire-based Remain campaigner
- Ian Gow, the last sitting MP to be murdered.
- .22 ammunition, including answers to the question “is a .22 round deadly enough to kill with one shot to a human’s head?”
- Far right politicians
- Members of the Klu Klux Klan
- Material about the Waffen SS
Notably it doesn’t appear that the prosecution has claimed Mair to be a member of any political group.
Witnesses were mentioned. These were named as Fazila Aswat, Bernard Carter-Kelly, Jack Foster, Rashid Hussain, Sandra Major, Shelly Morris, and Darren Playford. Notice that there are no names that were used by corporate-media to establish a certain narrative on the day of the incident. There could be other witnesses that aren’t reported in the corporate-media at this time. We wait to see if any of this witness will appear in court in person or have statements entered into the record. It should be understood that Whittam could have been paraphrasing testimony for the purpose of summarisation, and then corporate-media reporting could be giving it flavour, but from this we are to understand the following general narrative:
Mair is alleged to have attacked Cox as she arrived for her constituency surgery. The attack allegedly commenced with a blade, to be followed by a single shot with a weapon to the head. A passer-by, Bernard Carter-Kelly, tried to intervene at some point, but was allegedly stabbed. It appears to be alleged that Mair chased Carter-Kelly off from the immediate vicinity – to the doorway of a nearby sandwich shop where he collapsed – but then returned to shoot Cox twice more – once in the chest, and then in the head.
This is the witness attributed to the persons named above:
Aswat, Cox’s manager – with Cox at the time of the alleged assault: “saw Mair approach Cox from behind, stab and then shoot her, then stab both Cox and Carter Kenny… Then she saw Mair shoot Cox again. During the attack… could hear Mair saying: ‘Britain first, this is for Britain, Britain will always come first.’” Additionally: “repeatedly hit Mr Mair with her handbag… but was forced to retreat in fear of her own life being taken”.
Kelly, waiting in his car outside the library for his wife Doreen: “saw Jo Cox, who he recognised… heard a bang and saw Jo Cox roll into the road and then he saw a man ‘shoving it – a knife – at her’. He went to try and help. He was stabbed.”
Jack Foster, location unknown: “saw Thomas Mair standing with a gun… saw him raise the gun and shoot Jo Cox… shouted, ‘F****** leave her alone’… saw him reload or re-cock the gun and he shot Jo Cox again… remembers the shooter shouting, ‘Britain First’.”
Rashid Hussain, taxi driver dropping off fare: “challenged Mair, demanding that he leave her alone, but was warned: ‘You just go away, otherwise I’m going to stab you’… alleges Mair said words to the effect of ‘Britain first’.”
Sandra Major, Cox’s senior case worker: “described the firearm as being ‘brown wood with a metal tube at the end’… said that after Mrs Cox had been shot and stabbed, she ‘tried to get away from him’ but was shot again. She heard the killer shout: ‘Make Britain independent’.”
Shelly Morris, witnessed incident over the wall of a nearby care home. Purportedly first to call 999: “described hearing a loud bang and a loud piercing scream, and seeing Mair ‘swing the knife in a stabbing motion’… saw a man with a large steak knife with a jagged blade, which he wielded in a “stabbing motion”. The attacker stood over a figure and fired a gun twice.”
Playford, had been at the nearby shop Sandwich and Co: “saw the defendant leaving the scene and followed him towards the Vault pub… saw Mair disappear wearing a light jacket and baseball cap, but re-emerge without the jacket, carrying a holdall”.
The author notices that some of the witnesses appear to report two shots being fired, instead of three. This could be down to careless language that yet appears to be acceptable in such important cases. As far as the available information tells us, Foster doesn’t report the use of a knife. Of course, it is probably the case that there is more detail in a full statement made by this witness that is as yet unknown to us.
The author also notices that none of the witnesses used by corporate-media to establish a narrative on the day of the incident (as examined here) are named as supporting the prosecution – not thus far, at least. A tearful Darren Playford makes an appearance in a corporate-media report on Birstall on the day of the EU Referendum where the “vicar of Birstall, Paul Knight, asked the crowd to hold hands, chant ‘we stand together’ and pledge to stand up against hatred, violence and inequality wherever they encountered it.” In this particular article, Darren Playford is quoted as saying “I’m still shaking to be honest. It’s been a living nightmare, the same as for everybody who witnessed it”.
The author notices that there is an alteration in the narrative of Fazila Aswat. Granted, we heard her story first through her father, former Labour councillor Gulham Maniyar, in the hours and days after the incident:
Revealing what his daughter had told him about the tragedy, he said: “Jo was in my daughter’s car sitting in the back seat. The car stopped and Jo got out and my daughter went to park the car.
“By the time my daughter got out she saw Jo lying on the floor. She tried to help her but she couldn’t do anything. She’d been stabbed and shot. She didn’t know at the time how bad the injury was. “The gunman tried to chase someone away who tried to tackle them and then he came back again and shot Jo twice when Fazila was with her. The killer showed Fazila a knife but he didn’t attack her.
“He then disappeared. She doesn’t know where he went. Fazila just sat down with Jo. There was so much blood coming out and it was all on her clothes.”
Some of the information conveyed to us on the first day of the trial wasn’t new. The following is from an article, dated 18th June 2016, regarding the first hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court at which Mair was charged:
Mair told police he was a “political activist” as he was arrested a mile from the scene, the prosecution said. Officers said the accused said “it’s me” when he was confronted; he was then tackled to the ground, handcuffed and searched. During the arrest, Mair also confirmed his name.
Mair is alleged to have said “Britain first”, “this is for Britain”, “Britain always comes first” and “keep Britain independent” as he attacked the MP, prosecutors said.
Some key information from this hearing reappeared on Monday – and we’re specifically interested in the alleged admission to being a “political activist”. Interestingly, the four exclamations about Britain are identical to the content of the witness testimony of Cox’s political assistants.
Moving on, some attention should be given to a portion of an address by Whittam to the jury (note the first sentance):
Jo Cox was plainly murdered. Thomas Mair clearly had the views which provided him with a motive — utterly misplaced, of course — to kill her because she was an MP who did not share his views.
Prior to her killing he researched Jo Cox and how to kill.
The CCTV recordings are clear he was there waiting.
He used both weapons and you saw him return on the CCTV to make sure she was dead.
From this we might perhaps wonder if the CCTV did indeed catch the attack as other reports of the jury watching CCTV footage would have us believe. It could just be a bad choice of words. However, the Telegraph reports that the attack “was captured in the distance by local council CCTV cameras.”
Finally, the author thought it important to remind the reader of the coming to light, in the hours and days after the incident, of Thomas Mair’s mental illness. This issue is not going to factor in the court case. The Guardian reported on 19th September that prosecutors told a hearing that “there would be ‘no medical issue’ when Mair, 53, went on trial”. Assumedly, whoever is defending Mair must have agreed with this before hand.
And yet, Emma Arbuthnot, deputy chief magistrate of Westminster, as she remanded Thomas Mair into custody at his first hearing said: “Bearing in mind the name he has just given he ought to be seen by a psychiatrist.” She was referring to the name that Mair gave to court that is discussed at the top of this article.
Soon after the incident, we also began to hear about Mair’s parlous state of mental health (from here):
Mair called in at Birstall Wellbeing Centre on Wednesday night [the night before the incident] “nervous” and “shaking”, according to one of its workers, Rebecca Walker.
The 43-year-old said she spoke to him for about 15 minutes and revealed she wished she could have done more to prevent the tragedy.
She added: “He was clearly having some kind of crisis. I think there was a real problem. You could see he suffered from depression, he didn’t make any eye contact with you.
“He didn’t have many friends or anybody to talk to. He said he had walked by the centre every day for years and wanted to come in but never did.”
Rebecca said Mair arranged to return to the self-funded centre the next day, but never did.
She told how she was stunned when she heard about Jo’s death. She added: “I blamed myself. I thought why didn’t I spot more signs? If I just had five more minutes I may have been able to sit down with him and have a cup of tea. It may have made a difference.”
Then there was this (from here):
The picture that emerged of the man known as Tom or Tommy from those who knew him best was of a quiet and caring loner. His half brother, who is mixed race, claimed he had been volunteering at a school for children with disabilities for several years and had never expressed any racist views. Duane St Louis, 41, described his brother as a devoted son who shopped for their mother twice a week and who had visited her on Wednesday night to help tune her TV.
In 2011, he was photographed by the local paper volunteering in nearby Oakwell Hall country park. The previous year he was quoted in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, saying he had begun volunteering after attending Pathways Day Centre for adults with mental health problems.
“I can honestly say it has done me more good than all the psychotherapy and medication in the world,” he said. “Many people who suffer from mental illness are socially isolated and disconnected from society, feelings of worthlessness are also common, mainly caused by long-term unemployment.
“All these problems are alleviated by doing voluntary work. Getting out of the house and meeting new people is a good thing, but more important in my view is doing physically demanding and useful labour.
“When you have finished there is a feeling of achievement which is emotionally rewarding and psychologically fulfilling. For people for whom full-time, paid employment is not possible for a variety of reasons, voluntary work offers a socially positive and therapeutic alternative.”
Talking outside his house in Dewsbury on Thursday, St Louis said he couldn’t believe the news. “I was watching Sky News and I recognised him in handcuffs on the ground,” he said. “It felt like a dream. I just couldn’t believe he’d do something like that.
“I phoned my mum and she was watching too. She tried to phone his mobile but couldn’t get through and she knew something was up.”
He insisted his brother had never expressed any racist views and seemed fine to have a mixed-race sibling. Asked whether he had any strong political views, St Louis said: “Not that I know of.” He said he had no idea how Mair had got hold of a gun and did not have any hobbies that would require a firearms licence.
Finally, I would ask the reader to think about how Mair is alleged to have looked at all the right sort of material that would incriminate him in a politically motivated murder – in a public library. Be clear that Mair didn’t have the use of his own computer. He was one of those people who go to the library to use the public ones. You see this sort of person in the library of your own town; the same ones are there every day.
Also, notice that Mair did not attack Fazila Aswat, a Muslim woman whose father was a senior local Labour party figure.