Counter-terrorism officers have been drafted in to help police investigate the brutal killing of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox.
West Yorkshire Police’s temporary chief constable Dee Collins has confirmed that a full murder investigation has now been launched into the “brutal attack” that led to 41-year-old mum of two Mrs Cox’s death.
She said: “We have now confirmed that just before 1pm yesterday (Thursday 16/06/16) Jo arrived in a vehicle in company with two colleagues outside the library on Market Street and, whilst enroute to the library where she had a scheduled constituency meeting, she was attacked and sustained serious injuries from both a firearm and a knife.
“Despite assistance from passers-by, the ambulance service and police officers who were quickly on the scene, she sadly died of her injuries.
“We have had overwhelming support from the public in respect of this incident which assisted us in quickly locating a suspect who was tackled by unarmed officers and arrested.
“A murder investigation is under way by West Yorkshire Police who are working together with the North East Counter Terrorism Unit, who will bring specialist assets in support of the enquiry.”
She said the alleged killer’s mental health status was now “a clear line of enquiry which we are pursuing”, adding that his alleged links to right wing extremism were also “a priority line of enquiry which will help us establish the motive for the attack on Jo”.
“We are keeping an open mind and I do not wish to add to the speculation as we need to ensure that we conduct a professional investigation and do not compromise the need to bring the person responsible to justice,” she added.
“Based on information available at this time, this appears to be an isolated, but targeted attack upon Jo - there is also no indication at this stage that anyone else was involved in the attack. However we will be investigating how the suspect came to be in possession of an unlawfully held firearm.”
Temp Chief Constable Collins also confirmed police are aware of two previous unrelated incidents which culminated in Jo receiving a malicious communication of a sexual nature at her parliamentary office in Westminster.”
Neither are linked to the current suspect, and West Yorkshire Police itself has not been made aware of any complaints or concerns from Jo Cox.
A 52-year old man remains in custody in connection with the killing and has been medically examined by specialists.
They have determined that he is “both fit for detention and fit for interview and detectives will continue to question the suspect during the day,” Dee Collins said, adding: “This remains an active investigation.”