The alleged killer of Labour MP Jo Cox purchased a gun-making manual and Nazi literature from a far-right neo-Nazi group, new documents suggest.
52-year-old Thomas Mair was detained by police after the multiple shooting and stabbing of the MP in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on Thursday.
Ms Cox, a former aid worker, campaigned tirelessly for Syrian refugees and was a vocal supporter of the European Union and the benefits of multicultural immigration.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre, an established US civil rights group, has produced receipts and invoices bearing Mr Mair’s name that it says are from the neo-Nazi National Alliance group.
The receipts suggest Mr Mair bought $670 USD in printed material from the white supremacist group, which was until 2013 was one of the largest neo-Nazi organisations in the US.
He appears to have purchased a handbook on building improvised weapons, explosives, and incendiaries, according to the records.
In addition, the receipts suggest the purchase of Ich Kampfe, a handbook written by Adolf Hitler formerly given to all Nazi Party members.
The text of that book was drawn up by leaders of paramilitary organisations within the Nazi machine - including the infamous SS and SA - and describes their actions and methods.
The receipt documents, which date from between 1999 and 2003 show Mr Mair’s name and an address in Batley, in Ms Cox’s constituency.
The Independent reported yesterday that Mr Mair may have also had links to the “Springbok Club”, an organisation which has defended the white supremacist apartheid regime in South Africa.
That group, which says it is “pro-free market capitalism and patriotism and anti-political correctness”, has also campaigned against the European Union. The group has condemned Ms Cox’s killing.
Speculation has raged about the motive for the attack after a number of separate eyewitnesses said Ms Cox’s attacker shouted “Britain first” – a longstanding far-right slogan – during the assault.
“Britain First” is also the name of a far-right organisation in Britain which recently publicly advocated “direct action” against Muslim elected officials. The group says it condemns Ms Cox’s killing.
The attacker was also said by eyewitnesses to have used a gun of antique appearance.
Eyewitnesses say Ms Cox was shot either two or three times outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall Library. She was left lying in a pool of blood and then taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary, where she died.
Eyewitness accounts from the scene paint a confused picture of events, with some reports suggesting Ms Cox intervened in a fight between two men. Others say she was directly targeted by her attacker. There has been speculation over whether Mr Mair had a history of mental health problems.
Political friends and supporters of Ms Cox gathered in parliament square on Thursday evening for an impromptu vigil.
Stood amongst tearful colleagues, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in an opening address that Ms Cox was an “exemplary MP, a real servant of democracy in every way”.
A second vigil will be held on Friday night, with others also set to take place across the country.
West Yorkshire police said on Thursday that the incident was “localised” and that they were seeking nobody else either than Mr Mair in relation to the killing.
Campaigning during the European Union referendum has ceased until this weekend as a mark of respect to Ms Cox.