Thomas Mair showed no emotion today as he was found guilty of the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox and jailed for life.
Jurors at the Old Bailey had also found the 53-year-old guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to commit murder, possession of an offensive weapon – a dagger – and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Bernard Carter Kenny.
Mr Kenny, now 78, had heroically tried to intervene when he saw Mair attacking 41-year-old Mrs Cox outside Birstall Library on June 16.
Sentencing Mair to a whole life term, Justice Mr Wilkie said: “Because she was a member of parliament your crime has an additional dimension that calls for particular punishment.
“In the true meaning of the word she was a patriot. You affect to be a patriot. You are no patriot.
“By your actions you have betrayed the quintessence of our country – parliamentary democracy.”
A catalogue of evidence was presented to jurors as the court heard about the events of June 16 and the police investigation which they triggered.
Drawing on CCTV footage, forensics, expert witnesses and the testimony of more than a dozen eye witnesses, the prosecution left the jury in no doubt that Thomas Mair was guilty of murdering MP Jo Cox and stabbing pensioner Bernard Carter Kenny.
Sue Hemming, head of special crime and counter-terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Mair has offered no explanation for his actions but the prosecution was able to demonstrate that, motivated by hate, his pre-meditated crimes were nothing less than acts of terrorism designed to advance his twisted ideology.”
Mair was living alone on Birstall’s Fieldhead Estate in the semi-detached home which he had shared for most of his life with his late grandmother.
It was, by all accounts, a life largely spent in solitude.
Neighbour Katie Green said: “There were no family or friends that ever came. He was always on his own.”
Thomas Mair may not have been overtly political as far as the outside world was concerned, but it became clear during the trial that his actions on June 16 were most likely fuelled by far-right beliefs.
Hours were spent in local libraries visiting sites such as the Occidental Observer, which covers “politics and society from a white nationalist and anti-Semitic perspective”.
Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen said: “It is still hard to comprehend the magnitude of what happened in the quiet market town of Birstall on that day in June.
“Thomas Mair is a cold blooded killer. He calmly planned her death, lay in wait and then killed Jo in a sustained attack as she went about her daily business of trying to help people in her local community.”
The rifle used by Thomas Mair to murder Jo Cox had been stolen from a car in another part of West Yorkshire less than 12 months before the killing.
Officers believe the weapon likely came into Mair’s possession just weeks before he murdered his local MP.
Brendan Cox, the MP’s widower, said: “The killing of Jo was a political act, an act of terrorism – but in the history of such acts it was perhaps the most incompetent and self-defeating.
“An act driven by hatred which instead has created an outpouring of love.”
Kim Leadbeater, Mrs Cox’s sister, said: “Jo would have been extremely impressed although not at all surprised by the courage of her staff and constituents during this process and, indeed, on June 16.
“There may have been one act of extreme cowardice on that day but there were many acts of bravery, particularly from Fazila and Sandra and Bernard Kenny. We think about them often.”
Jeremy Corbyn said: “Jo Cox believed passionately that all people can achieve their full potential given the opportunity. Her murder was an attack on democracy, and has robbed the world of an ambassador of kindness and compassion.
“The single biggest tribute we can pay to Jo and her life will be to confront those who wish to promote the hatred and division that led to her murder.
For people in Birstall, June 16 began like any other Thursday, with a market in the cobbled square that lies at the centre of their quiet community.
Many of those browsing its stalls through the morning were no doubt already looking forward to watching that afternoon’s Euro 2016 football match between England and Wales.
Work will have been uppermost in the thoughts, however, of the area’s MP, the hugely popular and enthusiastic Jo Cox.
The Rev Paul Knight conducted a vigil at St Peter’s Church in the village on the day of Mrs Cox’s death.
He said: “It was a very distressed, shocked atmosphere. People didn’t know what to do or how to put their feelings into words.”
“We make no apology for choosing not to put a picture of Thomas Mair on the front page of your newspaper tomorrow.
“No doubt there will be publications which choose to permit his image to glare from the news stands, but to us, to the people of Jo Cox’s constituency, to her family and friends, he is not important. He is forgotten. He has no power.”
“A hard truth, the conclusion of this disturbing case must not prompt an irrational response which widens divisions in a fractured society where those who shout loudest appear to hold sway.
“As the MP’s widower Brendan tweeted at the outset of Mair’s trial, it’s important to ‘remember Jo’s life and what she stood for, not the manner of her death’.
“Yet it’s more profound than this. It should be a source of pride that Britain has a Parliamentary democracy where MPs are accessible to their constituents.”
“Many of those who read the coverage coming out of the courtroom have described it as harrowing – and they are right to do so.
“I cannot begin imagine what it must have been like for Mrs Cox’s parents and sister, who have spent almost every day in court listening to the evidence.
“Of all the remarkable things the court has witnessed in this past week or so, the dignity with which they have carried themselves is the most remarkable of all.”