Heroic OAP who tried to tackle Jo Cox murder suspect was a former Yorkshire miner and rescue worker

Flowers laid in Birstall  Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Flowers laid in Birstall Picture: Ross Parry Agency

A heroic pensioner who was injured as he tried to tackle a man who shot and killed Batley and Spen Labour MP Jo Cox is believed to be ex-miner and former mines rescue worker Bernard Kenny, 77.

Sources have revealed Mr Kenny, who lives in Birstall where the attack took place, saw the alleged killer verbally abusing Mrs Cox as she left her Birstall constituency office where she had been conducting a regular advice surgery.

As the assault began, it is believed Mr Kenny grappled with the assailant.

He was either shot or stabbed by the attacker in the abdomen, but his injuries are not life-threatening.

Local sources said Mr Kenny is an ex-miner from Shawcross colliery in the Dewsbury area.

He later went on to join the Mines Rescue Service – elite teams of miners called in after accidents or disasters at Yorkshire coal mines.

One source said that he was involved in the pit rescue operation at Lofthouse colliery in West Yorkshire in 1973, when an inrush of water killed seven miners.

West Yorkshire Police’s temporary chief constable Dee Collins confirmed earlier today that a full murder investigation has now been launched into Mrs Cox’s death - and counter terrorist police will be drafted in to help.

She said that just before 1pm on Thursday, Jo Cox arrived with two colleagues outside the library on Market Street where she had a scheduled constituency meeting.

She was attacked and was injured by both a knife and a gun, and despite help from passers-by, the ambulance service and police officers who were quickly on the scene, she sadly died of her injuries.

“During the course of the incident a 77 year old man bravely intervened to assist Jo and in doing so sustained a serious injury to his abdomen and although now stable he remains in hospital,” the senior officer added.

“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.”