23/11/2016 14:56 GMT | Updated 23/11/2016 15:23 GMT

Jo Cox Murderer Thomas Mair: How Nazi Propaganda Turned A Loner Into A White Supremacist Terrorist

'While Thomas Mair pulled the trigger, neo-Nazi propagandists must share some responsibility for fuelling and directing the hatred and violence inside him.'

The murder of MP Jo Cox was carried out in the name of white supremacy, the trial judge has said when sentencing her killer to life in prison.

Thomas Mair, 53, was described as a quiet, solitary man who enjoyed gardening, but during his trial he was revealed to have long-term links and interest to white supremacist and Nazi ideology, as well as weapons.

“You are no patriot,” Mr Justice Wilkie told him before passing sentence. “By your actions you have betrayed the quintessence of our country: its adherence to parliamentary democracy.”

He added: “It is clear ... that your inspiration is not love of country or your fellow citizens, it is an admiration for Nazism and similar anti-democratic white supremacist creeds.”

West Yorkshire PolicePA
The Nazi eagle police found on top of Thomas Mair's bookcase at his home in Birstall, West Yorkshire

The court how Mair shot and stabbed Cox while shouting “Britain first!” and “Keep Britain independent”, a week before the EU referendum in his hometown of Birstall, West Yorkshire. 

Anti-hate campaigners have warned Mair is not alone in his beliefs, and on “a growing list of British Nazi terrorists who believe they are at war with the system”.

Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, said at least 48 people on the Far Right have been convicted of terrorism, murder or violent acts in England and Wales in the last 16 years.
Thomas Mair killed Jo Cox while shouting "Britain first!" and "Keep Britain independent"

Sue Hemming, the Crown Prosecution Service’s Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism, said: Mair has offered no explanation for his actions but the prosecution was able to demonstrate that, motivated by hate, his pre-meditated crimes were nothing less than acts of terrorism designed to advance his twisted ideology.”

After Cox’s murder in June, it was revealed Mair had been in contact with American neo-Nazi group The National Alliance as far back as 1999 and South African White Supremacists in 1991.

Anti-hate group The Southern Poverty Law Center published receipts showing he had bought books including ‘Chemistry of Powder & Explosives,’ ‘Incendiaries’ and ‘Improvised Munitions Handbook’, which explained how to build a pistol out of pipes and material easily available in hardware stores.

He also bought Adolf Hitler’s ‘Ich Kampfe’, which was issued to members of the Nazi Party.

Southern Poverty Law Center
A May 1999 receipt showing Mair ordering books on how to build explosives and munitions as well as a handbook issued to Nazis in the 1940s
Southern Poverty Law Center
A page from the Improvised Munitions Handbook, showing how to build a pistol out of a pipe

Later receipts from May 2003 showed Mair bought a subscription to Free Speech, The National Alliance’s magazine.

Mair subscribed to S. A. Patriot, published by the pro-Apartheid group The White Rhino Club. In a January, 2006 blogpost, Mair was referred to as “one of the earliest subscribers and supporters” of the magazine.

A Google Books search reveals Mair wrote the magazine letters in 1991 and 1999.

“The nationalist movement in the U.K. also continues to fight on against the odds,” he wrote in 1991. “Despite everything I still have faith that the White Race will prevail, both in Britain and in South Africa, but I fear that it’s going to be a very long and very bloody struggle.”

In 1999, he wrote again saying he believed “the enemies of the old Apartheid system” were “not the Black masses but White liberals and traitors”. 

Lowles, from Hope Not Hate, said Mair’s ideology “sees the state - and in particular liberal politicians - as more of a target than minorities”.

He added this approach became predominant among British Nazis in the 1990s and “remains a strong pillar of their thinking today”.

“While Thomas Mair pulled the trigger, neo-Nazi propagandists must share some responsibility for fuelling and directing the hatred and violence inside him,” he said.

Mair shot Cox with a sawn-off .22 calibre German-made rifle, the trial heard.

When he was arrested, he was armed with expanding hollow-tipped bullets designed to inflict maximum damage, jurors were told.

Mair was found to have a bag containing 25 .22 rounds, of which 12 had hollow-point bullets made of lead.

Julia Quenzler /
Court sketch of a firearms expert testifying about the weapon Thomas Mair used

During the trial, it was revealed Mair kept Nazi artifacts in his home, including a statue of an Eagle.

He also had a publication on SS Race Theory And Late Selection Guidelines.

Another was entitled March Of The Titans: A History Of The White Race, and a double-page press cutting on Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik was also recovered from his housing association home.

A printout of a Wikipedia entry on the White Patriot Party was found in his drawers along with information on the BBB  - White Liberation Movement - a notorious South African neo-Nazi organisation.

West Yorkshire Police
Thomas Mair's book collection included volumes on Hitler and the Nazis

Mair also collected a dossier on Cox, who was campaigning for a Remain, and had printed out the biography from her website.

West Yorkshire Police
A printout of Jo Cox's biography, found in Thomas Mair's West Yorkshire home

Hope Not Hate said the National Alliance, which ceased to exist in 2013, also inspired nail bomber David Copeland, who targeted minorities with his attacks in 1999.

Paul Jeffries, its UK leader, lived “a little over a mile away from Mair” until his death a few years ago, Hope Not Hate said.

Lowles added: “More needs to be done to tackle the growing threat of Britain’s far right. While it might be numerically smaller than in the past, it is becoming more violent and dangerous.

“And while the authorities will always prioritise targeting those individuals who could carry out terrorist attacks, it is also vital that they target the people who peddle the hatred that inspired the likes of Thomas Mair.

“This is something they have repeatedly failed to do.”

Mair had lived at the same address in Lowood Lane, Birstall for 40 years. He shared it with his grandmother until she died in 1996.

Matt Cardy via Getty Images
Journalists report outside Thomas Mair's home in Birstall, two days after the killing

Neighbours described Mair as quiet but friendly man, who did voluntary work as a gardener and helped neighbours tend theirs.

In 2010, Mair spoke to local paper The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, about how volunteering as a groundsman at Oakwell Hall and Country Park had helped him overcome mental health issues.

He said: “I can honestly say it has done me more good than all the psychotherapy and medication in the world.

“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.”

Peter Byrne/PA Wire
A sea of flowers placed at a memorial in Birstall after the killing of Jo Cox

Mair’s younger brother Scott was stunned by the news of the murder of Cox. He told The Daily Telegraph: “I am struggling to believe what has happened. My brother is not violent and is not all that political... He has a history of mental illness, but he has had help.”

Mair offered no defence against the accusations at his trial.

Addressing the jury, his barrister Simon Russell Flint QC said: “You and you alone will determine whether Thomas Mair can return to his quiet and solitary existence or will be forever remembered as the man who assassinated Jo Cox.”

It took them 98 minutes to convict him.