Murderers in the name of Islam: Muslim converts who hacked Private Lee Rigby to death in the street are found guilty by jurors in just 90 minutes
Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale admit killing Lee Rigby in May
But they denied murder on the basis they were ‘soldiers of Allah’
However the killers were cleared of attempted murder of police on May 22
Lee Rigby’s family say afterwards that justice has been done after trial
‘No one should have to go through what we have been through as a family’
The Muslim converts accused of murdering Lee Rigby were found guilty in just 90 minutes today for carrying out a crime that appalled the world in name of Islam.
Fusilier Rigby was ‘mutilated, almost decapitated and murdered’ by Michael Adebowale, 22, and Michael Adebolajo, 28, who ambushed him outside his military barracks in Woolwich, South East London.
During their trial Lee Rigby’s bereft family have been forced to watch footage and hear gruesome accounts of the soldier being run down at 40mph and hacked to death.
Adebolajo, the only of the suspects to give evidence, claimed they were not murderers because was they were ‘soldiers of Allah’ at ‘war’ with Britain over its foreign policy.
Fusilier Rigby’s family broke down in tears as the verdicts were given and Aimee West, his fiancée of his estranged wife Rebecca Rigby,the mother of his son, sobbed outside court as a statement was read.
Through Detective Inspector Pete Sparks, they said: ‘No one should have to go through what we have been through as a family.
‘We are satisfied that justice has been done, but unfortunately no amount of justice will bring Lee back.
‘These people have taken him away from us forever but his memory lives on in all of us and we will never forget him.
‘Lee will be sorely missed by his siblings, nieces, nephew and all of those who loved him.
‘We now ask that we are left alone to grieve through our loss.’
Judge Justice Sweeney had earlier expressed his ‘gratitude and admiration’ for the soldier’s family and told jurors: ‘It’s no doubt a case
that is going to stay with us all for a long time.’
His mother also said in a television interview released today that her ‘brave’ son has ‘become a figurehead to unite the country and bring people back together’
Witnesses to his death said Muslim convert Adebolajo had held the British soldier by the hair and tried to hack off his head ‘like a butcher attacking a joint of meat’.
Shocking: A blood-drenched Michael Adebolajo (pictured) told witnesses in a video his attack on Drummer Rigby was an act of revenge – ‘an eye for an eye’
The father-of-one, 25, almost had his head sliced off when his ‘motionless’ body was attacked in a ‘cowardly and callous’ execution.
The two men, armed with a rusty ‘cowboy’ revolver, then dragged his body into the road so everyone could see their ‘barbarous acts’, the court heard.
Father-of-one Mr Rigby, from Middleton, Rochdale, Lancashire, died from multiple wounds after being attacked shortly after 2.20pm on May 22.
Mr Rigby was seen returning home to the barracks by train and on foot from his work at the Tower of London.
As he crossed the road he was suddenly hit from behind by a Vauxhall Tigra driven by Adebolajo, leaving him helpless on the ground. Adebowale was in the passenger seat holding the weapons.
He was then mutilated and ‘almost decapitated’.
One bystander said Adebolajo had ‘pure evil’ in his eyes as he hacked the 25-year-old soldier to death with a meat cleaver.
Another described how the men behaved like ‘animals’ as they mutilated their victim.
After the soldier was dead Adebolajo ranted at bystanders about how the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby was ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth’.
The Islamic extremist launched a series of tirades at bystanders, police and medics, even handing a note to one trying to justify his ‘heinous behaviour’.
Mobile phone footage was shown to the court of Adebolajo, 28, clutching a meat cleaver and with his hands dripping in blood, making his speech as the motionless, ‘almost decapitated’ body of Rigby lay nearby.
In the clip, he says: ‘The only reason we’ve killed this person is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers.
‘It’s an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. These soldiers go to our land, kill, bomb our people.
‘Remove your governments – they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? You think politicians are going to die?
‘No, it’s going to be the average guy, like you, and your children. So get rid of them – tell them to bring our troops back so we can all live in peace. Leave our land.’
Meanwhile women raced to the side of the lifeless soldier even as his bloodied killers stood over his body.
CCTV footage showed the women, later dubbed the ‘angels of Woolwich’, kneeling at Lee Rigby’s side.
Throughout their trial Adebowale, also known as Ismail Ibn Abdullah and Adebolajo, also known as Mujaahid Abu Hamza, were flanked by up seven prison guards.
Jurors were shown footage of them being gunned down by armed police when the defendants tried to attack them.
Adebolajo is seen to fly across the road as shots are fired at him and received a gunshot wound to his upper left bicep.
The court heard as he lay in the road he said to paramedics: ‘Please let me lay here, I don’t want anyone to die, I just want the soldiers out of my country.
Message: Michael Adebolajo thanked police for shooting him and told them he killed Lee Rigby ‘for my God’, the prosecution said.
‘Your government is wrong, I did it for my God. I wish the bullets had killed me so I can join my friends and family.’
Adebolajo later told officers: ‘I am a Muslim extremist, this may be the only chance you meet one. Your people have gone to Afghanistan and raped and killed our women. I am seeking retribution I wouldn’t stoop so low as to rape and kill women.
‘I thank the person who shot me, because it is what Allah would have wanted.’
Adebolajo added: ‘I love Allah more than my children.’
The first armed officer on the scene, named only as E48, said Adebowale was shot in the leg and stomach, and when he raised his arm holding the gun they fired twice at his hand and blew off a digit.
‘He raised one of his arms up. I’ve still got a distinct image in my mind of him holding a black revolver in his hand,’ he told the court.
‘The next two shots shot his thumb off. The hand holding the weapon’.
The court was told of the preparations for the murder.
CCTV images showed Michael Adebolajo buying kitchen knives and petrol in the hours before the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.
The suspected Islamic terrorist, wearing a black beanie hat, was filmed the day before the killing as he paid £24.99 for a set of five knives at Argos.
He also bought a knife sharpener. The next day, he was filmed as he filled his car with petrol.
Jurors and the pathologist who examined the Fusilier broke down today as the Old Bailey heard the injuries the soldier suffered when he was killed.
He died of multiple knife wounds and was almost decapitated in the attack, the prosecution said.
But it is believed although the car did not kill him he may not have been conscious when the pair murdered him, the jury was told.
Pathologist Dr Simon Poole examined Fusilier Rigby’s body for six hours during the post mortem on May 23.
He said all the injuries were consistent with being hit by a car and attacked with bladed weapons and the cause of death was multiple incised wounds.
Jurors were shown graphic representations of the numerous injuries Fusilier Rigby sustained in the fatal attack.
They included fractures to the left side of his back, consistent with a single high-energy blunt force impact which could have been the impact with the car and stab wounds to the body, neck and head.
The jury then saw videos of Adebolajo as he was interviewed by police after he was released from hospital after he was shot after charging armed officers.
He told them: ‘It brings me little joy to approach anyone and slay them.’
During heated exchanges at Southwark Police Station, he attempted to justify the attack on Fusilier Rigby.
‘Can you believe me, It gives me no little joy’, said Adebolajo, clutching a copy of the Koran in his left hand.
‘I am not a man who gets enjoyment in horror movies, seeing blood and gore across the camera lens.’
A forensic psychiatrist who watched said he showed ‘no regret or remorse’ after the attack but was ‘not mentally ill’.
Lee Rigby’s murderers had threatened bystanders and police with a ‘cowboy’ gun from the 1920s that could not be fired.
After he hacked the soldier to death Adebowale’s role was the wave the weapon at those who tried to approach them.
The pair had hoped that by having the gun the police would shoot them dead and send them to ‘paradise’ as martyrs.
The revolver used by the attackers was a 9.4mm KNIL model 91 revolver, manufactured between 1920 and 1922, the court heard.
Testing later revealed it could not be used to fire ammunition and only worked after the moving parts were oiled and lubricated.
Adebowale has lost at least the thumb on his right hand after he waved it at police after already being shot.
When asked when Adebolajo had tried, unsuccessfully, to buy bullets for the gun, he said: ‘I will not be specific, but it was a long time before the incident.’
He said they chose Fusilier Rigby because he was wearing an army-style rucksack, but admitted they were not completely sure that he was in the Army.
Michael Adebolajo was once a Christian who would sit and read the Bible by candlelight and went to church each Sunday with his parents.
But during his trial he told the jury of his conversion to Islam and how ‘religion was everything’ to him, so much so he abandoned his family to kill Lee Rigby and hoped police would shoot him dead.
The 28-year-old father-of-six, who murdered the Fusilier four days after his youngest child was born, said that having a family was not an excuse not to fight.
‘I love Allah more than my children,’ he said.
‘Allah might throw me in the hellfire’ and said his ‘brothers’ in Al Qaeda were his inspiration to go to ‘war’ and die.
Adebolajo said he became a ‘soldier of Allah’, who he believed sent Rigby to him to kill, and that he hoped to be accepted into Paradise as a martyr after his crime.
‘My religion is everything,’ he said.
‘When I came to Islam I realised that… real success is not just what you can acquire, but really is if you make it to paradise, because then you can relax.’
Adebolajo said he converted to Islam in his first year at Greenwich University, and was no longer someone ‘who never did think of killing a man’.
He told the jury of eight women and four men: ‘My parents used to take us to church every Sunday.
‘The memory that sticks in my mind… is probably every New Year’s Eve in the evening around 11 o’clock we would gather around in candlelight and read passages from the Bible.
He said that, growing up in Romford, the ‘vast majority’ of his friends were white British, and one, Kirk Redpath, joined the Army and was later killed in Iraq by an IED.
Adebolajo said: ‘I hold Tony Blair responsible for his death.’
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