Jo Cox accused Thomas Mair will give no evidence in defence in murder trial

Thomas Mair denies Mrs Cox's murder

Jo Cox accused Thomas Mair will give no evidence in defence in murder trial

File photo of British Labour MP Jo Cox | Image: Yui Mok PA Wire/PA Images

The man accused of murdering MP Jo Cox will not present any evidence in his defence, the trial has heard.

Thomas Mair, 53, is accused of shooting and stabbing the mother-of-two as she arrived at Birstall Library in England for a surgery on the afternoon of 16 June - a week before the EU referendum.

The court has heard Mair shouted "Britain first" during the attack, had a stash of neo-Nazi material at his home in the West Yorkshire town and had collected a dossier on his 41-year-old Remain campaigning MP.

At the conclusion of the prosecution case, his lawyer Simon Russell Flint QC, told the jury that Mair, who denies murder, would not be going into the witness box.

He added that he would not be calling any evidence on behalf of Mair.

Trial judge Mr Justice Wilkie told the jury that they could draw inferences from the defendant's silence.

In his closing speech, Richard Whittam QC, for the prosecution, told of the "sheer barbarity" of Mrs Cox's death.

He said: "At 13.48 on the 16th of June in Market Street outside the public library in Birstall, the democratically elected MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox, was murdered as she carried out her duties on behalf of her electorate.

"Constituents were waiting to speak to her in the library.

"The sheer barbarity of her murder and the utter cowardice of her murder bring the two extremities of humanity face to face."

Mr Whittam said her attack "brought out the best of the people who were with her" - the two members of staff and Birstall residents who came to her aid.

He said they came from all walks of life, including a taxi driver and a 77-year-old man who was wounded as he tried to intervene.

Despite having the "element of surprise", Mair failed in his first attempt and came back to shoot and stab Mrs Cox once more, Mr Whittam said.

"Perhaps he underestimated Jo Cox's tenacity and courage."

He said all the evidence "compellingly establishes Thomas Mair was her murderer".

Mr Whittam said it was fitting the case had been held before another woman - whose statue holding the scales of justice adorns the Old Bailey.

At the conclusion of the evidence, the scales were "weighted only one way", he added.

Defending Mair, Simon Russell Flint QC said the killing of Mrs Cox as she carried out her "public duties" had been "truly shocking and appalling".

He told the court: "She was brutally and callously murdered and there is no issue or dispute about that."

Addressing the jury, he continued: "It is you, and you alone, who have been charged with the responsibility of determining what are the true verdicts on each of the counts on the indictment."

He added: "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."

Mair denies the murder, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon - a dagger.

He has also pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to pensioner Bernard Kenny, who tried to stop the attack on Mrs Cox.

The trial continues.