Teen terror suspect in Jo Cox killer 'hero' U-turn

Jo Cox by her houseboatImage source, Brendan Cox
Image caption,
The accused posted a picture of Jo Cox's killer on the day she died and hailed him a hero, the court heard

A teenage terror suspect who branded MP Jo Cox's killer a "hero" has told a jury he no longer holds that view.

The 17-year-old posted a picture of Thomas Mair on Facebook the day the MP died, praising him for his actions.

But he told the court earlier: "Even if we do consider someone an enemy, I don't think they should be murdered."

The boy, who was arrested after posting pictures of a homemade bomb online, denies the preparation of terrorist acts and a count of making explosives.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The trial at Leeds Crown Court is expected to last about three weeks

Mrs Cox was murdered by Mair on 16 June in Birstall, West Yorkshire, just days before the EU referendum in which she had campaigned to remain in the EU.

The boy from Bradford posted the picture with the caption "Thomas Mair is a HERO".

He also wrote: "We need more people like him to butcher the race traitors."

However, asked by his barrister Rupert Bowers QC if he stood by his comments, he said: "No."

Under cross examination, he said: "At the time I was writing this I probably did agree with Thomas Mair and expressed it in an edgy way."

Prosecutor Barnaby Jameson then asked why he had used the term "race traitor" in his post about the MP's murder.

Referring to an article about Mrs Cox's humanitarian work, he said: "She was more interested in bringing refugees over here and things abroad."

'I was being edgy'

Leeds Crown Court has heard the defendant, who cannot be identified because of his age, is a member of neo-Nazi youth group National Action.

He was asked about another social media post from June 2016 featuring German soldiers defending the Normandy beaches with the words "let us remember the TRUE heroes who gave their lives on D-day".

The defendant replied: "I was being edgy I guess."

The judge, Mr Justice Goss, asked: "Is this intended to convey your view that the Germans were the true heroes on D-Day?"

"No," he replied.

Holocaust denial

The jury was shown video clips of the defendant dressed in a German military uniform talking to people online via the social network Omegle.

The videos show other users reacting negatively to the defendant's outfit and comments.

He told the court he also wore a Donald Trump t-shirt in order to offend people he met online.

He went on to say he did not believe the Holocaust had happened and that if a woman was pregnant with a disabled child "it shouldn't be born".

Mr Jameson asked if his opinion on disabled people was "in accordance with Nazi policy?".

"I guess," the boy said.

The trial continues.

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