LONDON: The man accused of murdering the Labour MP Jo Cox was remanded in custody yesterday (Saturday) after a brief court hearing in which he answered a request for his name with the words "death to traitors, freedom for Britain".
Thomas Mair, 52, who told police he was a political activist, it was revealed, refused to give his age or address during the extraordinary hearing at Westminster magistrates' court.
The 15-minute session began with a moment of drama as Mair, dressed in prison-issue grey sweatshirt and sweatsuit trousers, was led into the dock handcuffed to a prison officer.
Deputy chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot immediately adjourned proceedings so that the handcuffs could be removed as no request had been made for the prisoner to be restrained.
Mair, with grey goatee beard and closely cropped hair, had arrived at court in a prison van, escorted by two police cars.
Nearly 20 journalists packed into the press and public benches to witness the first glimpse of the man accused of murdering Mrs Cox since photographs of his arrest appeared following the attack last week.
Asked to state his name, Mair said only: "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain."
The court heard that moments after being held by two police officers following the shooting, Mair stated "I am a political activist" and that material "relating to extreme Right-wing and white supremacist organisations" was found at his home, along with newspaper articles about the Batley and Spen MP.
In a summary of the case against Mair, prosecuting counsel David Cawthorne told the court that Mrs Cox was attacked as she was leaving a surgery for constituents at Birstall library at around 12.45 last Thursday.
Bernard Carter-Kenny, a retired miner who had dropped his wife off at the library, suffered severe stab wounds to his abdomen as he tried to help Mrs Cox during the attack.
After being repeatedly stabbed, the MP was shot three times as she lay on the ground, said Mr Cawthorne.
He added: "The defendant continued to stab Mrs Cox as she lay fighting for her life. Whilst doing so the defendant was heard to say words to the effect of 'Britain first, keep Britain independent, Britain always comes first, this is for Britain'."
Mrs Cox was pronounced dead at 13.48 as a result of multiple stab and gunshot wounds.
Mr Carter-Kenny is currently in the high dependency unit of Leeds General Infirmary.
Mair was detained by police at 13.25 after two PCs noticed him carrying a black holdall, wearing a black baseball cap and matching a description of the assailant. The two officers seized a number of items from Mair's bag, including a single-barrelled firearm and several rounds of ammunition, along with a bloodstained mobile phone and a dagger.
He is charged with murdering Mrs Cox, maliciously causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Carter-Kenny, carrying a blade and having with him a firearm with the intent to commit and indictable offence.
The case is being dealt with by the Crown Prosecution Service's Special Crimes Counter Terrorism Division and has been transferred to London because of its "special nature".
Mair, who is being held at Belmarsh Prison, south-east London, said nothing as he was remanded in custody.
He will appear for a bail hearing at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, tomorrow, although it is not anticipated he will request bail.
His defence solicitor, Keith Allen, said his client had not indicated how he would plead to the charges.