Man launched horrifying attack on Jo Cox and ‘very coldly’ walked away: Witnesses

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An 999 call made by an eyewitness after Jo Cox was brutally attacked has been played at the murder trial of the man accused of killing her. Darren Playford was heard telling the operator “He’s shooting everyone.”

The operator asked: “Who’s shooting everyone?”

“The gunman. Outside the library in Birstall,” Mr Playford answered.

He also told the operator the man had also “stabbed a lady”, adding: “He’s following me at the moment. I’m just trying to get away from him.”

Mr Playford also said the attacker had gone behind the Vaults pub and changed his clothes.

He said: “If you hurry up you’ll get him. It’s chaos, he’s stabbed and shot people.”

Earlier, eyewitnesses described how the Labour MP was shot and stabbed before her killer “coldly walked away”.

Thomas Mair, 53, is accused of repeatedly shooting and stabbing the 41-year-old outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, in June.

Mrs Cox, who had supported the Remain campaign leading up to the EU referendum, was set upon in front of her staff and shocked residents.

David Honeybell told jurors at the Old Bailey, he witnessed a man stand over Mrs Cox, cock his gun and “blast” her.

“He just walked away with not a care in the world, he just walked away,” he added.

Taxi driver Rashid Hussain told the jury he had dropped off a fare when he was alerted to loud noise like “fireworks going on”.

He then described seeing a man “stabbing somebody” behind a car.

“He was standing up and she was on the road…she was bleeding, Mr Hussain said.

“I said: ‘what are you doing, what’s wrong with you.’ He said: ‘Move back, otherwise I’m going to stab you.'”

“He shot twice. He moved back and shot again.”

Clarke Rothwell told the court he heard Mrs Cox’s attacker shout words to the effect of “this is for Britain” and “put Britain first”.

  • Tearful witness describes how attack has affected her

Tracy Bywood, was in a care home kitchen overlooking the scene, and also described seeing a man attack Mrs Cox.

She said the MP “went down on the floor like a sack of potatoes”

“It was so awful to see a woman have such animosity shown towards her,” she added.

Fighting back tears, she told the court: “I know it was a popping noise because I won’t even buy Pringles any more, I can’t handle the noise of the seal breaking.”

Ms Bywood added that after carrying out the attack, Mrs Cox’s assailant appeared to be calm.

“He was just so peaceful. He was just so calm as if he hadn’t done anything wrong.”

  • “He looked me right in the eye and lifted the gun”

Julie Holmes saw the attack unfold from her cake shop on Market Street.

She told jurors, after the attacker shot and stabbed Mrs Cox he looked over to where she was.

Ms Holmes said: “He took a step into the road and he looked around and he looked over to where I was standing.

“He looked me right in the eye and lifted the gun, not pointing it at me but as a gesture, saying ‘here I am’.”

Mair denies Mrs Cox’s murder, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon – a dagger.

He also pleads not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Carter-Kenny on the same date.

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