A NORTH Yorkshire stable-hand whose gun was stolen and later used to murder MP Jo Cox has spoken of his feelings of guilt.
Former jockey Zach Gaughan, of Thirsk, North Yorkshire, had bought the .22 Weihrauch rimfire rifle when he set up his own pest control business in West Yorkshire.
The gun was stolen from the back of his vehicle in August 2015 and was later identified as the weapon used to kill Batley and Spen MP Mrs Cox outside her Birstall surgery in June last year.
Mr Gaughan, 24, told The Sun newspaper this week that he was “devastated” when he received a call from police telling him that his weapon fell into the hands of Thomas Mair.
Nazi fanatic Mair used the rifle to shoot Mrs Cox three times and stabbed her 15-times in the brutal attack.
Mr Gaughan told The Sun: “When police rang they said the gun had been used in an incident but didn’t say anything more.
“When I turned on the news I knew it was my gun.
“I felt guilty and responsible.
“To know my gun was used to kill someone makes me sick to the pit of my stomach.”
Mr Gaughan said that the fact he is soon to become a father himself heightens his
heartache towards Jo Cox’s bereaved husband Brendan and their two children.
He believed that he had locked his Mitsubishi L200 when he left the weapon in a gun sleeve and covered up with coats inside the vehicle.
“I’d been out shooting rabbits on a farm,” he said.
“I parked the vehicle — I’m pretty sure I locked it — and gave a rabbit to my uncle and had a cup of tea.
“When I went back my dog was loose on the road and the back passenger door had been broken into.
“The rifle was gone.”
The theft resulted in Mr Gaughan, who was living in Keighley at the time, losing his gun licence and his business as police deemed he had breached his licence conditions by leaving the rifle unattended.
Murderer Mair, 53, was given a whole life term for the killing carried out during the EU referendum campaign.
At his seven-day trial at the Old Bailey, evidence revealed Mair admired Nazis and similar anti-democratic white supremacist groups.
The court heard that when he carried out the attack on Mrs Cox he reportedly shouted slogans such as “keep Britain independent”, and ‘Britain first’.
Mair was also found guilty of grievous bodily harm against a passerby, Bernard Carter-Kenny, a retired coal miner who was stabbed when he came to Cox’s aid, possession of a firearm with intent and possession of a dagger.