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Lee Rigby murder: Map and timeline


Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, were found guilty in December 2013 of murdering soldier Lee Rigby as he returned to his barracks in Woolwich, south-east London.

The pair drove their car at Fusilier Rigby before attacking him with knives and attempting to decapitate him. The soldier, a father of one from Middleton, Greater Manchester, died of multiple cut and stab wounds after the attack on 22 May. Here is what happened that day.

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  • 21 May, 14:13 - Michael Adebolajo buys knives


    The day before the attack, Michael Adebolajo visits Lewisham Argos and buys a five-piece set of kitchen knives and a knife sharpener.

  • 22 May, 13:00 - Two men leave home


    Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale leave Adebolajo’s address at Greenwich House, Oakwood Close, Lewisham, in a Vauxhall Tigra and drive towards Woolwich.

  • 22 May, 13:30 - Killers' car seen


    Adebolajo and Adebowale's car (seen in the foreground) travels along Wellington Street and Artillery Place in Woolwich before continuing to an area just south of the Woolwich ferry.

  • 22 May, 14:10 - Lee Rigby arrives at station


    Lee Rigby, wearing a Help for Heroes hoodie and carrying an army backpack, arrives at Woolwich Arsenal DLR Station. He walks along Wellington Street before crossing John Wilson Street and entering Artillery Place. He crosses Artillery Place away from the Army barracks towards a shop on the other side of the road.

  • 22 May, 14:13 - Killers park car


    Adebolajo and Adebowale’s Vauxhall Tigra is seen on Wellington Street and parks facing Artillery Place.

  • 22 May, 14:18 - Car driven at Lee Rigby


    Michael Adebolajo drives the Tigra at 30-40mph (48-64km/h) straight at Lee Rigby as he crosses the road in Artillery Place. Adebolajo and Adebowale get out of the car armed with a meat cleaver, knives and a revolver. They attack the motionless body of Mr Rigby and Adebelojo attempts to decapitate him.

  • 22 May, 14:21 - Fusilier Rigby dragged into road


    Adebolajo and Adebowale drag Mr Rigby into the middle of the road. Video footage shows Adebolajo telling passers-by: 'The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. This British soldier is one – he is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' Later, speaking into a mobile phone camera with bloodied hands, he went on: 'You people will never be safe. Remove your governments – they don't care about you.”

  • 22 May, 14:29 - Unarmed police arrive at scene


    Unarmed police arrive at the scene, set up a cordon, and remain behind it. Five minutes pass before their armed colleagues arrive.

  • 22 May, 14:34 - Armed police shoot attackers


    Armed police arrive at the scene. Adebolajo and Adebowale, one brandishing a cleaver and the other a revolver, run towards the police before being shot and falling to the ground. The same officers administer first aid 40 seconds later. The two assailants are taken to hospital.

Note: some timings are approximate.


The men, both Muslim converts, were in possession of a gun and eight knives on the day of the attack. Adebolajo had visited an Argos store in Lewisham, south-east London, the day before the murder to buy a knife sharpener and five-piece knife block set, costing £44.98. The gun, a 90-year-old 9.4mm-calibre Dutch revolver, was not loaded.

image copyrightMet Police

Adebolajo's letter

Adebolajo handed a letter to witness Amanda Donnelly Martin when she arrived at the scene shortly after Lee Rigby's murder.

Addressed to "my beloved children", it urged people to seek martyrdom, and stated: "If you find yourself curious as to why carnage is reaching your own towns then know its simply retaliation for your oppression in our towns."

image copyrightMet Police

Produced by Lucy Rodgers and Salim Qurashi