Lee Rigby's mother criticises lack of Ministry of Defence support

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Media captionLyn Rigby remembers hearing of the Manchester terror attack, on the fourth anniversary of her son's death

The mother of murdered soldier Lee Rigby has said the Ministry of Defence failed to support her family.

Lyn Rigby told the Victoria Derbyshire programme only her son's next of kin - his partner - received help, and "the main charities didn't want to know".

She said the recent attacks in London and Manchester had "brought everything back", but she had received no contact from the MoD to "check we're OK".

The MoD said it does its "utmost" to help families who have lost loved ones.

'Left by the wayside'

Lee Rigby was killed outside Woolwich Barracks in south-east London in May 2013, when Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale drove into the 25-year-old before hacking him to death.

Adebolajo later claimed he was a "soldier of Allah". Both were found guilty of murder.

Ms Rigby told the BBC: "The support we had, was from people we'd never met - the public.

"The Ministry of Defence... barely support people who aren't listed as next of kin. The main charities didn't want to know.

"We had an Army liaison officer for three months after Lee died, but after the funeral we've had no support from them since.

"Some families are 10 years on and they still haven't had support," she added.

"When Lee lost comrades in Afghanistan, he'd seen mums left by the wayside."

Image caption Lee Rigby died in May 2013

The recent terror attack in Manchester, in which 22 people were killed, took place on the fourth anniversary of Fusilier Rigby's death.

Ms Rigby - who lives in Manchester - said she was with family, remembering and celebrating her son's life, when she heard about the bombing.

"I just fell on to the settee, I was so heartbroken.

"There are so many parents who are left now without their children, having to go through what we've been through.

"All I can do is send our sincere condolences."

She said one of her daughters had now sought counselling again, after the events brought back memories of Fusilier Rigby's murder.

Ms Rigby added she has had "no contact from the Army or anyone - the MoD - after the Manchester bombing".

"Not a call to check we're OK or anything like that."

'I want to curl up'

She said the London Bridge terror attack in June - in which three men hit pedestrians with a van before carrying out knife attacks - was "like Lee's murder all over again".

"I didn't want to leave the house. I wanted to curl up in a corner and not leave."

She added: "I do get angry, but you can't give in to these people. You can't let them win."

Image caption Veterans are helping Ms Rigby to renovate Lee Rigby House

Ms Rigby has now set up a retreat, Lee Rigby House, where the families of fallen soldiers can go for support - and to grieve in peace away from the media.

"Lee would have wanted us to do this, for the families and the siblings," she said.

"We've got a long list of families who want to stay at the house."

Ms Rigby hopes the house - which will have space for two families to stay at a time - will open in early September, and wants it to become "a lasting legacy for Lee".

There are also plans to open another house for veterans.

Image caption Families staying at the house will also have access to large grounds nearby

She added: "People think you're strong on the outside when you're dying on the inside.

"We miss him so much every single day.

"The kids are saying, 'You're not the same person that you were before Lee died'. That's heartbreaking."

An MoD spokesman said: "We do our utmost to support Armed Forces families that have lost loved ones, providing trained visiting officers who offer guidance on accessing help, as well as a range of support from individual regiments, including financial aid.

"Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Drummer Lee Rigby."

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 BST on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel.

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