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Trial begins of man accused of anti-Brexit MP Jo Cox's murder

A 53-year-old man has gone on trial in London accused of murdering parliamentarian Jo Cox a week before Britain's EU referendum in June. The mother of two was shot and repeatedly stabbed outside her constituency office.

A British prosecutor told the jury at the Old Bailey courthouse in London on Monday that the accused, Thomas Mair, had repeatedly shouted "Britain First" as he rushed at the opposition Labour Member of Parliament on June 16.

An artist's impression of Thomas Mair

An artist's impression of Thomas Mair

Prosecutor Richard Whittam said Mair carried out a "cowardly attack" outside Birstall Library, near the northern English city of Leeds, where the 41-year-old Cox had arrived for an advice session with constituents.

Cox was shot three times and suffered multiple stab wounds in the attack, Whittam added.

Murder footage shown

In the first day of a likely three-week trial, the jury was shown video footage of the moment the mother of two was attacked.

CCTV images were shown of Mair visiting the crime scene a day before the killing, where he accessed Cox's Twitter and Wikipedia pages on a library computer.

Her death shocked the country and led to the suspension for several days of referendum campaigning which had been growing increasingly bitter. Cox, a former aid worker, had been a strong supporter of Britain remaining in the European Union.

A week after her death, a narrow majority of British voters decided that the country should renounce its EU membership.

Multiple charges

The 53-year-old Mair is charged with murder of the MP, causing grievous bodily harm to a 77-year-old pensioner who came to her aid, and possession of a firearm and a dagger.

Last month, the unemployed gardener declined to respond to the charges during a plea hearing via video link from prison. Instead a judge entered a plea of not guilty on all charges on his behalf.

At his first court hearing in June, Mair had said his name was "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain."

Cox was the first British MP to be killed in 26 years, following the murder of Ian Gow, who was murdered by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) car bombing in 1990.

Watch video 01:35

Jo Cox's sister pays tribute in Birstall

mm/se (dpa, Reuters)

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