Tommy Mair, a 52-year-old man being detained by police for the murder of a British lawmaker Jo Cox, has been linked to a neo-Nazi organization in America, the Washington Post is reporting.
According to a watchdog group that follows extremist behavior, Mair, a long time supporter of the white supremacist group National Alliance, had bought a book about the “chemistry of powder and explosives,” as well as the Improvised Munitions Handbook, which details how to make a homemade gun from parts available in DIY stores. Cox was shot with a weapon witnesses have described as antique or homemade.
Police units who searched Mair’s house discovered Nazi regalia and extremist literature.
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The information emerged Friday as police authorities tried unraveling why the 52-year-old, who hardly expressed strong political views, suddenly stabbed and shot Jo Cox, a rising star in British politics, after a constituency meeting. Mair shot Cox three times, calmly reloading his weapon as she bled to death. He had repeatedly kicked her in the head before walking away. Mair, a former psychiatric patient, had also stabbed a 77-year-old man in the stomach who tried to intervene. The killing has halted Britain’s European Union referendum campaign a week before voting is meant to begin.
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Police authorities say the alleged killer, who was coherent during questioning, had deliberately targeted the female politician after a constituency meeting Thursday. Witnesses say before he stabbed and shot the 41-year-old mother of two, he has shouted “Britain First!” Britain First is an anti-Islam, right-wing group, known for staging anti-Muslim demonstrations. The organization has denied any involvement in Thursday’s attack, stating on its website that it “would never encourage behavior of this sort.”
Nick Lowles, of the anti-extremist group Hope Not Hate, revealed that Mair was affiliated with a number of extremist groups that dated back a number of years, but did not take up any prominent memberships. He described the murder coming ahead of debates about immigration as “increasingly toxic.”
“This leads to increase prejudice. This leads to increased hate. And at some stage it leads to violence, whatever the outcome of those debates; the U.K. has become a much more intolerant and divided society. It’s going to take a long time to heal.”
Far-right literature receipts recovered from Mair’s residence go back as far as the 90s and show that he spent over $620 on material that called for the extinction of Jewish people and the creation of an all-white country.
Cox was an advocate for a cosmopolitan and racially-inclusive Britain, despite the hate towards immigrants in some quarters that facilitated an anti-EU campaign. Her death poses questions about how lax her security details were, especially when she had received death threats in March.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Labor Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn visited a makeshift memorial ground in Birstall, near the city of Leeds, where the killing occurred Friday. Corbyn called Cox’s murder “an attack on democracy.”
Anna Turley, a Labour lawmaker said Cox was aware of the overwhelming nature of aggression and hostility towards female MP’s, especially on social media, but strongly believed in what she was fighting for.
The killing of Cox has the whole of Britain in a state of shock and has prompted plenty of condolences across the political landscape. Pro and Anti-E.U. parties have announced that they are putting a halt to their campaigns in respect of the lawmaker who was a keen supporter of keeping Britain together in its 28-year-old bloc and who was clamoring for more aid for Syrian refugees.
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