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Jo Cox’s sister explains why it was important her niece and nephew saw their dead mum

It's a year since Jo was murdered

A year ago today, the nation was shocked when MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death in her constituency of Birstall by a far right extremist.

She left behind a husband, two children and a devoted sister.

MP Jo Cox was murdered in Birstall last year (Credit: JoCoxFoundation)

A year on, the family are marking her death with various events, including street parties and baking contests.

Her sister Kim Leadbetter appeared on Loose Women today and spoke about the devastation of her loss but also explained why she and Jo’s husband Brendan decided to allow her children to see and touch their dead mother’s body when they were just three and five years old.

Sister Kim says she and Jo’s husband Brendan wanted her kids to say goodbye to their mother (Credit: ITV)

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“We deliberated over that for so long,” she said. “It goes against every part of your being, you think there’s no way that’s the right thing to do.

“But Brendan got advice from psychologists and said they should, because they won’t understand what happened otherwise.

“Their mum goes to work and they never see her again; how can a child process that?

Kim says that Brendan got advice from psychologists about letting his kids see they dead mother (Credit: ITV)

“You can’t say she’s just gone to another room, because that’s not true.

“Mummy’s not coming back and you have to be very clear about that.

“There was acute amount of pressure, but it made them understand what happened.”

Kim says “the hardest thing is being around Jo’s kids because I know how much she loved them” (Credit: ITV)

Kim says that even a year on she is finding it hard to deal with the death of her “best friend”, especially when she visits Brendan and her nephews.

“By far the hardest thing is being around Jo’s kids because I know how much she loved them and how much they loved her,” shared.

“She was a really hands on mum, despite being successful in work.

“When I enjoy time with them, I feel like I have no right. I have to remind myself I have.”

Jo’s husband Brendan says her murder “took the heart out of our family” (credit: Twitter)

Meanwhile, Brendan has opened up about the effects of his wife’s murder.

“When Jo was killed a year ago it took the heart out of our family,” he told the Telegraph.

“The first emotion was shock, both numbing and shattering.

Brendan has written a book about his wife Jo with money going to the charities she supported (Credit: ITV)

“That in time gave way to a grief that remains very fresh, very raw and continues to hit us in vicious waves when we least expect it. But our family has not been broken.”

He also told the paper that while the killer had “aimed to divide communities” it instead “brought them together”.

Brendan says Jo’s death borough communities together and not spirited them as the assassin had intended. (Credit: ITV)

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Brendan, who has written a book about Jo called More In Common, added: “Her killing by a far-right extremist shocked the country and unleashed a wave of compassion and kindness that has comforted us ever since and for which we are extremely grateful.

“At a time when extremists of all types are trying to divide our communities there is a huge ground swell of people who just want to focus on the things that unite us, who want to draw closer to their neighbours and communities.

“I think people are sick of the narrative of hatred and division that neither represents who they are nor our great country.”

Brendan’s book Jo Cox: More In Common is out now. For info about events taking place to mark the anniversary of her death go to www.jocoxfoundation.org