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'Britain first'cry then three shots from homemade gun.

Byline: Chloe Glover News Reporter

THE man who shot MP Jo Cox shouted "Britain first, Britain first".

The claim came from eye-witness Clarke Rothwell, who was within yards of the shocking scene outside Birstall Library, where the 41-year-old MP was gunned down at her weekly surgery.

He described how the gunman had what seemed to be an old gun and was also stabbing the MP with a large hunting knife on Market Street.

Mr Rothwell, a 42-year-old gas engineer, said: "I was outside the sandwich shop close to the library when I heard a popping sound.

"I looked round and there was a guy standing over a woman on the floor.

"He seemed to have what looked like an old gun, like a musket, in his hand and he shot her again in the middle.

"He then seemed to shoot a third time, towards her head or face.

"He was also stabbing at her with what looked like a hunting knife, about a foot long. He was stabbing her and waving the knife around.

"There was blood on her head, hands and around her.

"About six or seven of us were trying to help and the man swung his knife around and caught one man who had stepped forward in the stomach and blood started pouring out. People said the victim was called Bernard and he fell to the floor before being dragged off to be helped in the shop.

"People came rushing out with their first aid kits to try to help them both.

"The attacker was shouting what sounded like 'Britain first, Britain first' repeatedly but then seemed to panic because of the crowd and hurried off.

"He seemed scared and hurried off towards Union Street, dumping a padded jacket on the floor.

"I got into my van and tried to follow him but I lost him.

"I'm just so shocked - dumbfounded." A second witness, car wash worker Karman Kinder, told of the "terrifying" moment he saw the Birstall gunman.

He said seconds after hearing the shots which hit Labour MP Ms Cox, he saw a man hurrying away.

Mr Kinder, who works on Smithies Lane, said: "I heard the shots and set off towards the library.

"As I went up the road there was a guy on the other side, hurrying down the street. He looked old and had his face down and then I saw he was holding a gun in his hand.

"Other people were chasing him and he disappeared into a side street.

"It was terrifying." Mr Kinder made his way to the Market Place and saw distressing scenes outside the library.

"A woman was screaming, saying "oh Jo, oh Jo, oh Jo."

"A woman was lying injured on the floor and another person was holding their stomach."

Jonathan Taylor, who lives on nearby Carr Street, described his shock.

"When I walked past I saw paramedics doing CPR on the injured man on the floor.

"It's just really scary and I can't understand why someone would do this.

"She was only doing her job. "The whole community is in shock."

Hichem Ben Abdallah said: "He was kicking her as she was lying on the floor."

He said that after a bystander intervened, the attacker produced a gun, stepped back and shot her twice.

Mr Abdallah, 56, was in the cafe next door to the library when he heard screaming and went outside.

He said: "There was a guy who was being very brave and another guy with a white baseball cap who he was trying to control and the man in the baseball cap suddenly pulled a gun from his bag.

"He was fighting with her and wrestling with her and then the gun went off twice."

Mr Abdallah said the weapon looked handmade and that the man who had been wrestling with the assailant continued to do so, even after he saw the gun. He said: "The man stepped back with the gun and fired it and then he fired a second shot. As he was firing he was looking down at the ground."

| "SHOCK" and "terror".

These were the words on the lips of the Birstall community who found themselves at the centre of the Jo Cox shooting.

Shutters were pulled down on corner shops as the news of the fatal on the Batley and Spen Labour MP emerged. Handfuls of people looked on in disbelief from behind blue police tape. Witnesses described hearing a popping sound coming from near the Birstall Library on Market Street.

This was where Mrs Cox had been holding her weekly surgery.

"The neighbourhood is in shock", said one resident, Colin Fryer.

"I just can't believe this. It's a normally quiet area so I imagine that everyone is really shook up."

One ambulance parked in the centre of the street was believed to have contained the man named locally as Bernard.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 17, 2016
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