Fusilier Lee Rigby trial: Prosecution key points

  • 29 November 2013
  • From the section UK
Lee Rigby Image copyright PA
Image caption Fusilier Rigby was allegedly murdered as he walked back to Woolwich barracks in May

The prosecutor in the trial of two men accused of murdering Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London, has outlined the case against them before a jury at the Old Bailey.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, deny murdering the soldier on 22 May.

They have also pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of a police officer and conspiracy to murder a police officer.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC outlined the Crown's case against the two men.

Mr Whittam said Lee Rigby was the victim of a "cowardly and callous murder" as he walked back to his barracks in Woolwich.

Buying knives

  • CCTV images show Mr Adebolajo purchasing a five-piece set of kitchen knives in a knife block and a knife sharpener at the Lewisham branch of Argos at 14:00 on 21 May. Some of the knives were used in the attack
  • The following day, Mr Adebolajo left his home address in a Vauxhall Tigra shortly after 08:00
  • The jury was shown CCTV footage of the Tigra's route that morning and of Mr Rigby's final movements
  • The car was seen at a Tesco in Greenwich, south-east London, that morning
  • A parking ticket was issued at 14:13 in the Woolwich area - less than 10 minutes before police were called to reports of an assault
  • CCTV shows Mr Rigby crossing the road wearing a Help for Heroes top and carrying a backpack

'Barbarous' attack

  • Footage showed the Tigra driving straight at Mr Rigby, tossing him into the air
  • It was a "deliberate act", the court heard, with the car estimated to be travelling at around 30 to 40mph and with no evidence to suggest that the driver braked at any stage
  • Footage showed Mr Rigby being hit from behind, and falling off the bonnet of the car onto the pavement. Eyewitness reports suggest Mr Rigby was left unconscious after being hit by the car
  • As the men came out of the car with knives, a local shopkeeper shouted out to try and stop the attack
  • Both men dragged Mr Rigby's body into the middle of the road in order for members of the public to witness their "barbarous acts"
  • They attacked the motionless body of Mr Rigby together. Mr Adebolajo used a meat cleaver to make a "serious and almost successful attempt to decapitate Lee Rigby" with multiple blows. Mr Adebolajo knelt down and took hold of the soldier by the hair, hacking at the right side of his neck just below the jaw line. At the same time, Mr Adebowale used a knife to stab and cut the fusilier's body

'Brave' witnesses

  • One witness, Amanda Bailey, is expected to say she was so shocked that all she could do was sit in her car and stare. "I couldn't believe what was going on. He was determined and he wasn't going to stop. He didn't care," prosecutors say she will testify
  • Despite the abhorrence of the scene, members of the public showed bravery and decency, the court heard. One woman, Amanda Donnelly, stroked Mr Rigby's body "to provide some comfort and humanity"
  • Another woman, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, engaged Mr Adebolajo in conversation, even though he was holding a meat cleaver and was covered in blood
  • Mr Adebolajo handed a religious letter to Ms Donnelly, the court was told. Footage was shown of him urging witnesses to contact Prime Minister David Cameron and ask him to bring troops back from Muslim lands. He was filmed talking about "an eye for an eye"
  • As traffic stopped and members of the public came forward to see what was happening, Mr Adebolajo brandished a gun at the driver of a white lorry
  • Both men took possession of the gun, which they initially used to frighten off members of the public before the arrival of the emergency services

Police shooting

  • When a police vehicle arrived, both men advanced towards it. Mr Adebolajo raised the meat cleaver above his head and got "very close" to the police car which had stopped in the middle of the road. Meanwhile, Mr Adebowale, now in possession of the firearm, ran along the side of the wall and aimed the firearm at the police officers
  • The three police officers in the car were armed and took the decision to use lethal force - only to be used if there is a real danger to life. "There clearly was here", said Mr Whittam
  • With the events unfolding in a public place, the risk to life was "very real", the court heard. School children returning to the Mulgrave Primary School just yards away after a library trip were turned back for their protection. Both young and old people witnessed the scene, while a pregnant woman hid on a bus after hearing shots
  • Both Mr Adebowale and Mr Adebolajo were shot and detained by police. Mr Adebolajo sustained a gunshot wound to his upper left bicep, while Mr Adebowale sustained gunshot wounds to his thumb, abdomen and thigh. The officers administered first aid while waiting for paramedics
  • On their arrival, Mr Adebolajo said: "Please let me lay here, I don't want anyone to die, I just want the soldiers out of my country. Your government is all wrong. I did it for my God. I wish the bullets had killed me so I can join my friends and family"
  • He told officers after being arrested that his named was Majuhid Abu Hamza, that he was the son of Nigerian parents and was born in the UK in 1984.

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