Woolwich attack: Soldier Lee Rigby's killers fight in court as they're jailed for life

Murderers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale who killed soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich

Murderers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale who killed soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

TWO murderers who brutally hacked soldier Lee Rigby to death in Woolwich fought with prison officers and shouted "allahu akbar" before they were given life sentences today (February 26).

In an unprovoked attack, British Muslim fanatics Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale mowed down the 25-year-old in a Vauxhall Tigra as he crossed the road to Woolwich Barracks on May 22.

This afternoon Adebolajo was sentenced to a whole-life term, while Adebowale must serve a minimum of 45 years in jail.

There were protestors with nooses chanting outside the Old Bailey ahead of the sentencing.

And, prior to their sentencing, violence broke out in the dock when Judge Justice Sweeney told the killers they had “betrayed Muslims”.

Adebolajo shouted “that is a lie” before a scuffle broke out between the defendants and security staff in the dock with the pair chanting “Allah, Allah”.

The pair were dragged down into the cells leaving Judge Sweeney to sentence them in their absence.

He said: “It is no exaggeration to say that what you did resulted in a bloodbath.

“Your sickening and pitiless conduct was in stark contrast to the compassion and bravery shown by the various women at the scene who tended to Lee Rigby’s body and who challenged what you had done and said.”

Sentencing Adebolajo to his whole life in prison he said there was no chance of his rehabilitation. He added: “It is one of those rare cases where the seriousness is extremely high."

He went on to say the lesser sentence for Adebowale  was down to his age (22), lesser involvement in the crime and pre-existing mental health conditions.

In a statement read after the sentencing by family liaison officer Detective Inspector Pete Sparks, the soldier's family said: "We would like to thank the judge and the courts for handing down what we believe to be the right prison terms.

"We would also like to thank everyone who has supported us in the last nine months.

"It has brought us a lot of comfort and we feel satisfied that justice has been served for Lee. We now ask to continue to grieve in private."

Prosecuting, Richard Whittam had called for the judge to give the killers whole-life terms and spoke of the impact on the soldier's family.

He said: "All their lives have been irrevocably changed for the worst."

In a victim impact statement by Mr Rigby's widow Rebecca she said: "I was so much in the public gaze, I couldnt go anywhere or do anything. I felt like I didn't want to go on."

She went on to say the worst thing was her son Jack will grow up with those public images of his father.

She added: "Lee will never be forgotten. We will always love him and miss him everyday."

Speaking against a whole life ruling David Gottlieb, defending Adebolajo, said: "The defendant is not so deprived of all human dignity that he has no possibility of atonement in the future."

Calling for a more lenient sentence for Adebowale, Abbas Lakha added that such a sentence would be "inhuman, extinguishing any hope of release."

Horrified eyewitnesses to the murder described how the father-of-one was butchered “like a joint of meat” before being dragged into the road, yards from Mulgrave Primary School.

News Shopper: Lee Rigby was murdered in a brutal attack in south London

After the killing, the blood-smeared pair waited for armed police officers to arrive, while talking to passers-by and posing for pictures before Adebolajo sprinted at a police car with a meat cleaver while Adebowale ran against a wall holding a gun.

Married father-of-six Adebolajo, who admitted the sickening killing but denied murder, told Old Bailey jurors he loved al-Qaeda and was a “soldier for Allah” killing another soldier as part of a war.

The 29-year-old, of Oakwood Close, Lewisham, was sentenced after previously being found guilty of murder.

News Shopper: Sketch of the two men accused of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo, left, and Michael Adebowale during their trial at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Adebowale, aged 22, of Thames Street, Greenwich, was also convicted of murder.

Their fate behind bars comes after a landmark Court of Appeal ruling last month which upheld UK judges’ right to jail the most serious offenders for the rest of their lives.

Adebolajo is currently appealing his conviction at the Court of Appeal.

The pair chose Fusilier Rigby, from Crumpsall, Manchester, as their victim because he was wearing a Help for Heroes hooded top that day, and they assumed he was a soldier.

Old Bailey jurors found the pair guilty of murder but not guilty of attempting to murder a police officer on December 19.

Arrests outside court

Three people were arrested outside the Old Bailey today as far-right protesters gathered ahead of the sentencing.

Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the court building, waving Union flags and chanting.

A City of London Police spokesman said two men were arrested, one on suspicion of actual bodily harm and one for affray.

A woman was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

The police spokesman said there was a "significant police presence" in the area.

The street has been closed in both directions outside the court .

Supporters of the British National Party and the English Defence League gathered around gallows which had been constructed in the street and many held placards which read: "Restore capital punishment".

The crowd cheered when the sentences was announced.

News Shopper: The car allegedly used to run Lee Rigby down

LATEST WOOLWICH ATTACK STORIES:

MORE FROM THE ARCHIVE:

Video: Graphic footage of police shooting Woolwich attack suspects

Video: Car veers towards Lee Rigby

Live blog: Woolwich attack aftermath as it was reported in real time

Map: Events of May 22 when Lee Rigby was killed

Pictures: Photos from the day of the attack and afterwards

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:54pm Wed 26 Feb 14

ELVIS83 says...

They should be torched every day the scum of the earth.
They should be torched every day the scum of the earth. ELVIS83
  • Score: 44

9:28am Thu 27 Feb 14

Grant2436 says...

There are still 5 Prison Officers that have been suspended for 7 months now and may lose their jobs because of these scum bags.
One states that his tooth was knocked out by them, so they are still ruining peoples life's.
There will never be justice, a life sentence is not enough....they should be hanged for their heinous crime .
There are still 5 Prison Officers that have been suspended for 7 months now and may lose their jobs because of these scum bags. One states that his tooth was knocked out by them, so they are still ruining peoples life's. There will never be justice, a life sentence is not enough....they should be hanged for their heinous crime . Grant2436
  • Score: 28

12:23pm Thu 27 Feb 14

kentlad says...

Grant2436 wrote:
There are still 5 Prison Officers that have been suspended for 7 months now and may lose their jobs because of these scum bags.
One states that his tooth was knocked out by them, so they are still ruining peoples life's.
There will never be justice, a life sentence is not enough....they should be hanged for their heinous crime .
Totally agree..... i back the prison officers all the way!

Thats how **** our justice system is people like this commit murder and they still have human rights.... what a load of crap!!!!
[quote][p][bold]Grant2436[/bold] wrote: There are still 5 Prison Officers that have been suspended for 7 months now and may lose their jobs because of these scum bags. One states that his tooth was knocked out by them, so they are still ruining peoples life's. There will never be justice, a life sentence is not enough....they should be hanged for their heinous crime .[/p][/quote]Totally agree..... i back the prison officers all the way! Thats how **** our justice system is people like this commit murder and they still have human rights.... what a load of crap!!!! kentlad
  • Score: 28

9:08pm Thu 27 Feb 14

fatboy2000 says...

Allah wont help you now, but Alan will. he's in Cwing ready to give you the service you require :-)
Allah wont help you now, but Alan will. he's in Cwing ready to give you the service you require :-) fatboy2000
  • Score: 1

6:04am Fri 28 Feb 14

sarfflondonbird says...

And all appeal rights should not be given under any circumstances whatever. Enough monies have been wasted on these pair of scum oiks. As I said before, a rat invested darkened cell with only bread and water, no communication with anyone from the outside what so ever, no TV, games, exercising or any other luxuries, no warm clothing or blankets, straw on floor for bedding. Get the picture? If we must keep them in jail at our expense then they deserve no better than what had already been mentioned.
And all appeal rights should not be given under any circumstances whatever. Enough monies have been wasted on these pair of scum oiks. As I said before, a rat invested darkened cell with only bread and water, no communication with anyone from the outside what so ever, no TV, games, exercising or any other luxuries, no warm clothing or blankets, straw on floor for bedding. Get the picture? If we must keep them in jail at our expense then they deserve no better than what had already been mentioned. sarfflondonbird
  • Score: 10

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree