GREENWICH Council's leader has told groups wishing to pay tribute to murdered soldier Lee Rigby that Woolwich "does not want them here".

Mourners from across the country have come to pay their respects to the 25-year-old father-of-one at the site where he was hacked to death in Artillery Place on May 22.

But Councillor Chris Roberts has condemned organisations "political, extremist, or well-meaning" who he believes are seeking to promote themselves in the aftermath of the tragedy.

News Shopper: Cllr Chris Roberts

He said: "One of the saddest side effects of the tragic death of Drummer Rigby has been the attempt by so many organisations, whether political, extremist or well meaning in their intent, to seek to promote their own organisations on the back of this awful murder.

"There is nothing to prevent any individual coming to lay flowers or signing the book of condolences. However it seems for some this is not enough.

"For some, it seems to be an opportunity to promote their group and to publicise their own activities.

"It is difficult in these circumstances to believe they really do wish to pay their respects to Drummer Rigby, rather than use his death to promote themselves.

"We say again to these groups, we do not want you here."

Cllr Roberts - who went on an away day with his cabinet the day after the killing - has been accused of trying to stop the nation from mourning.

During the Duke of Edinburgh's visit to the Cutty Sark shortly after the murder, Cllr Roberts told an audience: "We want to grieve as a family and be left alone - so I hope it is not too long before the media feel they have taken enough photos."

News Shopper: Lee Rigby's family paid their respects at Woolwich Barracks


The organiser of a multi-faith ceremony who was told he could not hold the service at the spot where Lee Rigby was killed says he cannot understand the council’s standpoint.

Wilson Chowdry, of the British Pakistani Christian Association - which held their remembrance ceremony together with leaders from the major faiths in Woolwich Central Baptist Church on June 16 - said: "Lee Rigby was not a local resident - he stems from the north. He is a national hero.

"Those soldiers represent the UK so I don’t understand why the council would close this down and localise this national mourning."