Lee Rigby killing indefensible, court hears

Court sketch
Image caption Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale are on trial at the Old Bailey

The men accused of killing soldier Lee Rigby set out to cause "carnage", a court has heard.

Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of running Fusilier Rigby over in a car and hacking him to death.

In his closing speech, the prosecutor said their actions were "indefensible in the law of this country".

The judge dismissed Mr Adebolajo's defence that he was a "soldier of Allah". Both men deny the charges.

Mr Justice Sweeney told a jury at the Old Bailey that "nothing" said in Mr Adebolajo's evidence "amounts in law to a defence to this count [of murder]".

"Both defence counsel must and will respect that ruling in their speeches," he added.

Image caption Richard Whittam QC said the men stayed at the scene to cause "carnage"

In his closing speech, prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said: "Islam, one of the world's great religions, is not on trial."

He once again showed the jury photographs of knives with blood on them, and replayed the video in which Fusilier Rigby is seen being knocked down by a Vauxhall Tigra.

"What was the consequence of driving into Lee Rigby? The consequence was it broke his back," Mr Whittam said.

'Murder remains murder'

And he asked jurors what "purpose" the defendants had had in killing Fusilier Rigby, dragging his body into the road and then staying at the scene.

"To borrow a phrase from the first defendant - carnage," he said.

On the charge of attempted murder of a police officer, Mr Whittam said Mr Adebolajo raised a meat cleaver "above his head" and "got very close" to the car police arrived in before he was shot.

Finishing his speech, he said the murder of Fusilier Rigby near Woolwich Barracks in London on 22 May was "indefensible in the law of this country".

"Killing to make a political point, to frighten the public, to put pressure on the government or as an expression of anger is murder and remains murder whether the government in question is a good one, a bad one, or a dreadful one," he said.

The men face counts of murdering Fusilier Rigby and of the attempted murder of a police officer.

However the men will no longer face charges of conspiracy to murder a police officer.

The judge told jurors the two men were discharged from any further consideration of one count of conspiracy to murder a police officer for each defendant, saying that it overlapped with the allegation of attempted murder.

'Awkward questions' for MPs

Mr Adebolajo's defending barrister David Gottlieb, told the jury that they "genuinely have a choice" to acquit his client, and that they will be under pressure "from outside, from the mob, from the world, to convict".

Turning to the attempted murder charge, he said it is "possibly the most ridiculous charge ever put before a judge and jury in the history of this country".

Mr Gottlieb told the jury that there were unarmed police near the scene, but Mr Adebolajo chose to wait for armed teams, which would not fit with an intention to kill an officer.

The barrister went on to tell the jury that the issue of what motivated Mr Adebolajo "raises awkward questions" for MPs.

He said: "A person, a human being, can do the most evil act in the world and not actually be evil themselves."

The barrister went on: "All I'm asking on behalf of my client is that you try this case according to the same standards that you would for anybody else."

The trial was adjourned to Wednesday.

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