Artist sketch of Thomas MairImage copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Thomas Mair (centre) denies murdering MP Jo Cox

The man accused of murdering Jo Cox MP had a bag of bullets in his pocket when he was arrested, a court has heard.

PC Craig Nicholls said he also saw what looked like a gun in a holdall when he and PC Jonathan Wright detained Thomas Mair in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

PC Nicholls said the man put his arms up and said “It’s me” when the officers arrested him on 16 June.

Mr Mair, 53, from Birstall, denies murder. He is accused of shooting and stabbing the MP for Batley and Spen.

Mrs Cox, 41, was set upon outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds.

The defendant denies murder, grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon – a dagger.

The Old Bailey trial has has also heard how 77-year-old Bernard Carter-Kenny was injured as he tried to save Mrs Cox, 41.

Image copyright PA
Image caption PCs Craig Nicholls (left) and Jonathan Wright arrive at the Old Bailey

PC Nicholls told the court he was on unarmed patrol in a marked police car in Birstall with colleague PC Jonathan Wright when they were told to search for a man thought to be involved in a shooting.

Just after 1.30pm they spotted a man on Leeds Road, wearing a black baseball cap and carrying a black holdall in his hand, and followed him to Risedale Avenue, a cul-de-sac residential street.

‘Heavy impact’

The officers asked him to show his hands and he dropped the bag. He turned around to police, put his hands in his pockets and change fell out.

He put his arms up and said “it’s me”, PC Nicholls told the court.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Police released this photograph of Thomas Mair as the trial began, as well as several images of weapons that were shown to the jury

The officers got out of the patrol car, ran towards him and rugby tackled him to the ground with a “heavy impact”, the arresting officer said.

They found a large amount of bullets in a plastic bag in the man’s left trouser pocket and what looked like a pistol in his bag, he said.

He then told officers “I’m a political activist”, he said.

The man sustained injuries to his head as he “bashed” it against the ground when he came down, the court heard.

An ambulance took him to Leeds General Infirmary for treatment before he was later taken to a police station.

Questioned by the defence over whether the defendant had said he was a political activist, had said he had a knife or a gun, PC Nicholl said that he had said those words.

‘Gun set to fire’

Later the court heard from PC Ben Marston, a firearms officer who attended the scene after Mr Mair was arrested.

The holdall bag had fresh wet blood in it and what looked like the end of a rifle, he told the court.

He recovered the firearm, which had been set to “fire”, and made it safe, he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jo Cox’s sister Kim Leadbeater and her parents Jean and Gordon Leadbeater were in court on Wednesday

The jury also heard about a list from senior crime team investigator Matthew Bate of items found at the scene.

They included a dagger type knife and a clear plastic bag of ammunition.

A Tesco carrier bag was found, with another bag inside it containing a leaflet about the EU referendum – due to be held a week later.

And there was a wallet, containing cards including a library card.

The trial continues.

Who was Jo Cox?

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Jo Cox was a self-proclaimed “proud Yorkshire lass” whose work for charity took her around the world and whose political success led her to Westminster.

The 41-year-old mother-of-two was elected as MP for Batley and Spen in the 2015 election and increased Labour’s majority to 6,051 (from 4,406 in the 2010 election).

She described herself as “proud and humbled” to be the Labour MP for the place where she was born.

Mrs Cox first worked in politics after graduating from Cambridge University in 1995, but then built a career working for charities including Oxfam, Save the Children and the NSPCC.

She was described by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as “a much loved colleague, a real talent and a dedicated campaigner for justice and peace.”

Tireless campaigner turned political ‘star’

Source: BBC