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Jo Cox death: Man who shot and stabbed Labour MP shouted Britain First, says eyewitness

Ms Cox dies following attack outside constituency office

Ashley Cowburn
Thursday 16 June 2016 14:40 BST

A man who fatally attacked and shot Labour MP Jo Cox outside her constituency office reportedly shouted “Britain First”.

The MP for Batley and Spen was pronounced dead just under an hour after being attacked outside her constituency surgery in Birstall.

According to the Guardian 38-year-old Graeme Howard said he heard a man shout “Britain First” during the attack.

Get the latest updates on Jo Cox via our liveblog

A second eyewitness Clarke Rothwell told the Examiner the man shouted “Britain First, Britain First”. She was reportedly within yards of the attack in Birstall.

He added: “I looked round and there was a guy standing over a woman on the floor. He seemed to have what looked like an old gun, like a musket, in his hand and he shot her again in the middle. He then seemed to shoot a third time, towards her head or face.

"He was also stabbing at her with what looked like a hunting knife, about a foot long. He was stabbing her and waving the knife around. A man who I know as Bernard tried to get near but the man swung his knife around and caught him in the stomach. Blood started coming out.”

Aamir Tahir, of the Dry Clean Centre, said the gunman was heard shouting "Britain first".

He said: "The lady I work with heard two loud bangs but I wasn't there, I was stuck in traffic at the time. I wish I was there because I would have tried to stop him.

"The whole street thinks it was me but it wasn't. Apparently the guy who did it shouted 'Britain first' and if I had been there I would have tackled him."

A witness told the Dewsbury Reporter: “The whole scene has been tapped off. There are armed police everywhere”. Another witness said an onlooker tackled a man to the floor and tried to take the gun from him. Moments later, a second shot was heard.

Witness Hithem Ben Abdallah, 56, was in the cafe next door to the library shortly after 1pm when he heard screaming and went outside. He told Sky News: "There was a guy who was being very brave and another guy with a white baseball cap who he was trying to control and the man in the baseball cap suddenly pulled a gun from his bag."

After a brief scuffle, he said the man stepped back and the MP became involved.

He added: "He was fighting with her and wrestling with her and then the gun went off twice and then she fell between two cars and I came and saw her bleeding on the floor."

Locals react to Cox shooting

Witness Daniel Blyth, 38, a company director from the town, told the Yorkshire Post newspaper that the assault was “unusual”. He added: “I saw seven police cars racing up Leeds Road towards Morley. They were unmarked BMWs,” he said.

“There are two helicopters flying overhead. It all seems very dramatic. I have heard that two people have been shot but I’m not who are why. It’s all very unusual for Birstall.”

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