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Woolwich attack pair found guilty of Lee Rigby murder
TWO cold-blooded killers have been found guilty of hacking soldier Lee Rigby to death in Woolwich.
In an unprovoked attack which sent shockwaves around the world, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale mowed down the 25-year-old in a purple Vauxhall Tigra as he crossed to Woolwich Barracks on May 22.
Traumatised eye-witnesses described how the father-of-one – whose back was broken when he was hit by the car - was then attacked “like a joint of meat” before being dragged into the road.
The blood-smeared pair then waited for armed officers to arrive, while talking to passersby and posing for pictures before Adebolajo sprinted at the police car with a meat cleaver while Adebowale ran against a wall holding a gun.
Adebolajo, who admitted the killing but denied murder, said he was a “soldier for Allah” killing another soldier as part of a war.
Old Bailey jurors found Adebolajo, aged 29, of Oakwood Close, Lewisham, guilty of murder but not guilty of attempting to murder a police officer.
Jurors reached an identical verdict in the case of Adebowale, aged 22, of Thames Street, Greenwich.
In the trial's opening speech, prosecutor Richard Whittam told the court: "They both attacked the motionless body of Lee Rigby.
"He was repeatedly stabbed and it appears it was Michael Adebolajo who made a serious and almost successful attempt to decapitate him with multiple blows to his neck made with the meat cleaver.
"At the same time as Michael Adebolajo used the meat cleaver, Michael Adebowale was using a knife to stab and cut at Lee Rigby's body.
"Both men then dragged his body into the middle of the road. They wanted the members of the public present to see the consequence of what can only be described as their barbarous acts.
"They had, you may think, committed a cowardly and callous murder by deliberately attacking an unarmed man in civilian clothes from behind using a vehicle as a weapon and then they murdered him and mutilated his body with that meat cleaver and knives.
"Such heinous behaviour is in distinct contrast to the bravery and decency shown by some of the members of the public present."
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "The whole country was completely shocked by the murder of Lee Rigby and the whole country united in condemnation of what happened and I'm sure everyone will welcome these verdicts.
"We have to redouble our efforts to confront the poisonous narrative of extremism and violence that lay behind this and make sure we do everything to beat it in our country."
Profile of victim Lee Rigby:
Born: July 4 1987. From Crumpsall, Manchester.
Drummer Rigby, who joined the Army in 2006, had served in Helmand province, Afghanistan, where he was a member of the Fire Support Group in Patrol Base Woqab.
His son Jack was just two years old at the time of his death when he was working at the recruiting team as part of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
The Manchester United fan was wearing a Help for Heroes hoodie on the day he was killed and Adebolajo admitted he was not 100 per cent sure he was a soldier but had “begged Allah” for it to be the case.
At different points during the trial, his mother Lyn, fiancée Aimee West and estranged wife Rebecca Rigby left the courtroom sobbing.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
- 2.01pm Adebolajo visited a store in Lewisham where he purchased a five-piece set of knives in a block and a knife sharpener.
- From around 09:30am Adebolajo and Adebowale were together at Greenwich House.
- Around 1pm: Adebolajo and Adebowale left Greenwich House and headed towards Woolwich. They travelled along Wellington Street and Artillery Place at around 1.30pm and parked in Wellington Street facing Artillery Place.
- 1.35pm Fusilier Rigby entered Tower Gateway DLR station.
- 2.10pm: Fusilier Rigby arrived at Woolwich Arsenal DLR station, left the station and crossed into Wellington Street. He crossed over John Wilson Street in the direction of the barracks.
- Moments later he crossed Artillery Place away from the barracks towards a shop on the other side of the road.
- By this time the Tigra had moved from where it was parked in Wellington Street.
- Adebolajo drove the Tigra straight at Fusilier Rigby, striking him from behind and carrying him on the bonnet.
- The car hit a post in the pavement and Fusilier Rigby fell to the ground.
Adebolajo delivered blows to the soldier’s neck while Adbowale used a knife to repeatedly stab him.
- Both men dragged his mutilated body into the middle of the road which is just yards from Mulgrave Primary School where passersby shielded children from the scene.
- Adebolajo brandished a gun at the driver of a white Volvo lorry
- Passersby talked to the killers and two of the “Angels of Woolwich” stopped to comfort the soldier while the third stood up to the men.
- 2.34pm Armed police arrived at the scene and Adebolajo charged at their car with a meat cleaver which he waved in a chopping motion before being shot to the ground. The police shot Adebowale in the leg and stomach
- Adebowale’s thumb is also blasted as he raises a gun, which turns out not to be loaded
- The firearms officers then administer first aid until paramedics joined them.
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