Jo Cox tried to shield her face with her hands to defend herself during shooting, court hears

Batley and Spen MP received fifteen stab wounds and was shot three times, Old Bailey hears

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The Independent Online

Jo Cox tried to shield her face with her hands as her killer shot her in the head, a court has heard.

The 41-year-old Batley and Spen MP received 15 stab wounds and was shot three times when she was set upon outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, days before the EU referendum.

Thomas Mair, 53, is accused of her politically-motivated murder as well as stabbing Bernard Carter-Kenny, 78, who tried to stop him.

Mair was armed with hollow-point rifle bullets more commonly used to kill vermin in a “humane” way when he murdered Mrs Cox, his trial also heard.

A plastic bag found in a holdall when the alleged killer, 53, was arrested was found to contain 25 live .22 calibre rounds, jurors were told.

Twelve of the rounds were lead hollow-point cartridges, firearms expert Andre Horne told the Old Bailey trial.

Mr Horne said hollow-points were designed to expand after firing, adding: “The idea of that is to cause a greater wound size, especially when hunting, which would be considered a more humane way of disposing of animals.”

He explained this was because a bullet staying together and causing a smaller wound might allow it to escape, prolonging its suffering before it died.

He added: “They are most commonly used for hunting vermin, squirrels, rabbits and other small animals.”

Mr Horne said that the bullets could be legally owned in the UK with the correct firearms licence.

Also on Friday, In statements read out at the Old Bailey, ambulance service staff told of treating Mrs Cox as she lay at the scene.

The MP was "unresponsive" and was given emergency treatment.

She had "swelling" on one of her eyes, an abdominal bleed and "straight edged puncture" wounds to her upper torso .

She was pronounced dead at 1.48pm.

Pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd carried out a lengthy post mortem examination on the body of 5ft tall Mrs Cox later the same day.

Dr Shepherd told jurors: "I concluded that Jo Cox died as a result of multiple stab and gunshot wounds."

Jurors were shown computer generated images of the body as he gave evidence in court.

Dr Shepherd catalogued the stab wounds, including to her chest cavity, stomach and hand.

One stab wound passed right through her arm and into her right side, he said.

Another stab wound entered into the right ventricle of her heart, the pathologist said.

One gunshot wound was found to her right forehead and the bullet fragmented, the doctor said.

A second bullet hole was on her right eyebrow, jurors were told.

The round did not penetrate the skull and was recovered from muscle "flattened and distorted", the doctor said.

The third bullet wound was to the chest and the bullet was found in the cavity.

A "through and through" entry and exit bullet hole was on her left hand.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC suggested: "It could be consistent with the hand being raised to the face and the bullet going through?"

Dr Shepherd replied: "Indeed. It could be with any of the injuries but I think it makes more sense that the hands were up covering the face and the bullet has gone through the right hand and ... into the head."

He went on: "I concluded that she received multiple stab wounds to the back, front and left side of the chest and abdomen.

"The stab wounds had penetrated her heart, left lung, stomach and liver."

Some stab wounds were inflicted with between "moderate and severe force", he added.

Mair denies the charges against him.

The trial continues. 

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