Violence broke out in the Old Bailey dock yesterday after Lee Rigby’s murderers began hurling abuse at the judge and fighting with prison guards during their sentencing.

Michael Adebolajo, 29, was given a whole-life term, while Michael Adebowale, 22, was jailed for life with a minimum of 45 years – meaning he could be back on the streets by the age of 67.

In extraordinary scenes, the two Muslim extremists yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘You (Britain) and America will never be safe’ during their sentencing at the court in Central London.

The British-born extremists mowed down Fusilier Rigby in a car before hacking him to death in the street in front of horrified onlookers near Woolwich Barracks in south-east London in May last year.

They both claimed that they were ‘soldiers of Allah’ and were motivated by the plight of Muslims abroad to carry out the killing, and have shown no remorse.

Michael Adebolajo described himself as a 'soldier of Allah'


Michael Adebowale hacked at his body in the most appalling crime

After sentencing began, the two men shouted at Mr Justice Sweeney in protest at his remarks and were pinned to the ground by several security guards and taken back to the cells.

The judge was forced to sentence the men in their absence after they were bundled out of the courtroom following their violent outburst.

The killers had to be pinned to the ground by nine security guards and Rigby’s family began sobbing as they watched the incident in horror, being handed tissues by court staff.

The relatives were forced to get up from their seats, cowering away from the violence which was happening just feet away, according to reporters in court.

Adebolajo shouted Allahu Akbhar, and Adebowale called out ‘that’s a lie’ and ‘it’s not a betrayal of Islam’ as the judge told them they had been radicalised.

The prisoners were dragged down to the cells – one head first – and could be heard banging on the ceilings below after being taken down as the judge condemned their ‘barbaric’ murder. 


The judge said the pair’s behaviour was ‘sickening and pitiless’, and that Adebolajo had no hope of rehabilitation.

‘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 challenged what you had done and said.’


Three people were arrested outside the Old Bailey yesterday as far-right protesters gathered ahead of the sentencing of the two Muslim fanatics.

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

Protesters, many from far-right political organisations, demonstrate outside the Old Bailey


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.

Condemned prisoners were once led from the Old Bailey via ‘Dead Man’s Walk’ to be executed at the nearby gallows until 1868.

Hundreds of people would crowd into the narrow thoroughfare, with the ‘best view’ reputed to be from the Magpie and Stump pub.

Yesterday the sounds of chanting, sirens and renditions of the hymn Jerusalem could be heard by those inside the courthouse as police were forced to close off the road.

The struggle in the dock was triggered when the killers, both wearing Islamic robes, reacted angrily to comments that Mr Justice Sweeney made about their extremist beliefs.

He told them: ‘You each converted to Islam some years ago. Thereafter you were radicalised and each became an extremist, espousing views which, as has been said elsewhere, are a betrayal of Islam.’

Noth men had sat in silence for more than an hour after Adebolajo refused to stand for the judge, which he also did throughout his trial.

Dressed all in black, he sparked the sudden violent outburst, first saying ‘liar’ and then jumping in the air to shout ‘that’s a lie’ directly at the judge.

Adebowale ranted about America and Britain, and his accomplice joined in, screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ and hurling abuse at the prison guards who grappled him to the ground.

Both men were grabbed around the face as guards struggled to control them, and taken down to the cells. The soldier’s family were visibly distressed, and one relative needed medical treatment.

The judge made sure that the family were okay before starting his sentencing remarks again. He said that the murder also betrayed ‘the peaceful Muslim communities who give so much to our country’.

The judge said the men had carried out the killing to show ‘your extremist views, to murder a soldier in public in broad daylight and to do so in a way that would generate maximum media coverage including getting yourselves killed by armed officers who were bound to arrive at the scene’.

Describing how the pair mowed Rigby down at 30-40mph, he said: ‘He had done absolutely nothing to deserve what you went on to do to him.’

Mr Justice Sweeney added: ‘It is no exaggeration to say that what the two of you did resulted in a bloodbath.’ Adebolajo tried to behead the soldier while Adebowale stabbed him in the chest.

‘You both gloried in what you had done,’ the judge told the court, and said it had a ‘severe and lasting impact’ on his loved ones.

There were also dramatic scenes outside the Old Bailey as roads near the court were closed and members of the public shouted at prison vans leaving the building.

A number of far right protesters had remained outside the court all day, with two sets of gallows, calling for the killers to face the death penalty.


Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick

Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, who heads Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, said: ‘Today’s (Wednesday’s) sentence reflects the true horror of their actions in taking this young man’s life in such a barbaric way.

‘Our thoughts remain with Lee’s loved ones, who have shown dignity and strength throughout the judicial process.’

Sue Hemming, head of special crime and counter terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, acknowledged that the soldier’s family had found the whole court process distressing.

She said: ‘Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale revelled in one of the most appalling terrorist murders I have seen whilst head of counter terrorism at the CPS.

‘Not only was the attack brutal and calculated, it was also designed to advance extremist views. As a solider, Fusilier Lee Rigby was targeted in a clear act of revenge, deliberately carried out in full view of members of the public for maximum impact.’


Rigby’s family later said that Adebolajo and Adebowale had received the ‘right prison terms’, adding: ‘We feel satisfied that justice has been served for Lee.’

Adebolajo is already appealing his conviction on technical legal grounds, using public funds to pay his legal fees.

Earlier, the bereft widow of Rigby told the judge who sentenced his killers that their child will grow up seeing images of his dead father that ‘no son should have to endure’.

Rigby, 25, was ‘mutilated, almost decapitated and murdered’ by Adebowale and Adebolajo, who ambushed him outside his barracks in Woolwich, south-east London, on May 22 last year.

His widow Rebecca Rigby, 30, said in her victim impact statement: ‘The one thing that overrides everything is that I know my son (Jack) will grow up and see images of his dad that no son should ever have to endure, and there is nothing I can do to change this.’

She spoke out after her husband’s family arrived at the Old Bailey wearing matching t-shirts demanding justice for the murdered soldier.

In her statement, read by the prosecution, Mrs Rigby, with whom the soldier has a three-year-old son, went on: ‘I felt like I didn’t want to go on.

‘When you wave someone off you accept that there is a chance you will never see them again.

‘You do not expect to see this on the streets of the UK. Lee will never be forgotten. We will always love him and miss him every day.’

The court also heard part of a statement from the soldier’s stepfather, Ian Rigby.

He said: ‘After all he had been through in Afghanistan all Lee was doing was just walking through London. Just seeing on the television and seeing the violence of it you just can’t comprehend. You take it all in and it doesn’t click in your head, it is like being somewhere else.

Wife: Lee Rigby’s widow Rebecca was at the Old Bailey for the sentencing of his two killers

‘You’re watching it without being actually there.’

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said that the family’s lives had been devastated.

He said: ‘The scale of the impact on them of the nature of the murder of Lee Rigby in the circumstances made so public during the trial and after such a killing causing a son to pre-decease his parents and stepfather and leave those others who loved him without a husband or a soul mate is too obvious to set out in detail.

‘He had, as your lordship knows, a young son. All their lives have been irreparably changed for the worse.’

In December the two fanatics were found guilty of butchering the father-of-one but their sentencing was delayed until yesterday after Strasbourg judges said that whole-life tariffs are unlawful.

But last week senior British judges defied the European Court of Human Rights ruling, leaving judge Justice Sweeney free to decide whether Adebolajo and Adebowlale should die behind bars.

Adebolajo’s QC told the court that sentencing his client to life without parole would make him a ‘martyr’, while Adebowale’s legal team said a whole-life term would be ‘inhuman’ for a man that age.

Adebolajo’s defending barrister David Gottlieb argued against his client being handed a whole-life order, with no hope of parole. Mr Gottlieb said: ‘He should not in these circumstances be deprived of any hope of release.’


This is the full statement from the family of murdered soldier Lee Rigby following yesterday’s sentencing of his killers:

‘The Rigby family welcomes the whole life and significant sentences that have been passed down on Lee’s killers.

‘We feel that no other sentence would have been acceptable and 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. It just remains to be said: rest in peace Lee.

‘We would now ask to be left to continue our grieving for him in private.’

The barrister said Adebolajo was ‘not someone incapable of change without proper encouragement’.

Adebolajo, who has two children and four stepchildren, did not intend to physically injure anyone other than the victim, he said.

Mr Gottlieb went on: ‘There’s no evidence that the defendants were part of a wider network or cell or support group.’

While the killing of a British soldier had caused anger, Mr Gottlieb said, his murder can not be likened to a mass casualty event like the 7/7 attacks in London.

Rigby’s murder shares characteristics of a hate crime or the killing of a police officer, more than a murder to advance a political cause, Mr Gottlieb said.

The barrister said it was accepted the defendants ran the soldier over in a car to render him unconscious.

Nor is there any evidence they deliberately mutilated Rigby’s body, he added. ‘There’s evidence he can be rehabilitated now, not much evidence but some evidence,’ Mr Gottlieb said.

During their trial, Rigby’s bereft family were forced to watch footage and hear gruesome accounts of the soldier being run down at 40mph and hacked to death in the street.


The jury, who were all offered counselling, took just 90 minutes to find the killers guilty of the fusilier’s murder, but not guilty of the attempted murder of police.

Adebolajo had admitted they executed the father-of-one but claimed they were not murderers because they are ‘soldiers of Allah’ at ‘war’ with Britain over its foreign policy.






Witnesses to his death said Muslim convert Adebolajo had held the British soldier by the hair and tried to hack off his head ‘like a butcher attacking a joint of meat’.

Shocking: A blood-drenched Michael Adebolajo (pictured) told witnesses in a video his attack on Drummer Rigby was an act of revenge - 'an eye for an eye'

Shocking: A blood-drenched Michael Adebolajo (pictured) told witnesses in a video his attack on Drummer Rigby was an act of revenge – ‘an eye for an eye’

The father-of-one almost had his head sliced off when his ‘motionless’ body was attacked in a ‘cowardly and callous’ execution.

The two men, armed with a rusty ‘cowboy’ revolver, then dragged his body into the road so everyone could see their ‘barbarous acts’, the court heard.

Father-of-one Rigby, from Middleton in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, died from multiple wounds after being attacked shortly after 2.20pm on May 22.

Mr Rigby was seen returning home to the barracks by train and on foot from his work at the Tower of London.

As he crossed the road he was suddenly hit from behind by a Vauxhall Tigra driven by Adebolajo, leaving him helpless on the ground. Adebowale was in the passenger seat holding the weapons.

He was then mutilated and ‘almost decapitated’. One bystander said Adebolajo had ‘pure evil’ in his eyes as he hacked the soldier to death with a meat cleaver.

Another described how the men behaved like ‘animals’ as they mutilated their victim.  

After the soldier was dead Adebolajo ranted at bystanders about how the murder of Rigby was ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth’.

The Islamic extremist launched a series of tirades at bystanders, police and medics, even handing a note to one trying to justify his ‘heinous behaviour’.

Proud career: Lee Rigby joined the Army in July 2006 and joined the Corps of Drums and was later posted to Afghanistan

Proud career: Lee Rigby joined the Army in July 2006 and joined the Corps of Drums and was later posted to Afghanistan

Mobile phone footage was shown to the court of Adebolajo clutching a meat cleaver and with his hands dripping in blood, making his speech as the motionless, ‘almost decapitated’ body of Rigby lay nearby.

In the clip, he says: ‘The only reason we’ve killed this person is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers.

‘It’s an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. These soldiers go to our land, kill, bomb our people.

‘Remove your governments – they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? You think politicians are going to die?

‘No, it’s going to be the average guy, like you, and your children. So get rid of them – tell them to bring our troops back so we can all live in peace. Leave our land.’

Meanwhile women raced to the side of the lifeless soldier even as his bloodied killers stood over his body.

CCTV footage showed the women, later dubbed the ‘angels of Woolwich’, kneeling at Rigby’s side.

Throughout their trial Adebowale, also known as Ismail Ibn Abdullah and Adebolajo, also known as Mujaahid Abu Hamza, were flanked by up seven prison guards.

Jurors were shown footage of them being gunned down by armed police when the defendants tried to attack them.

Adebolajo is seen to fly across the road as shots are fired at him and received a gunshot wound to his upper left bicep.

The court heard as he lay in the road he said to paramedics: ‘Please let me lay here, I don’t want anyone to die, I just want the soldiers out of my country.

Message: Michael Adebolajo thanked police for shooting him and told them he killed Lee Rigby ‘for my God’, the prosecution said

‘Your government is wrong, I did it for my God. I wish the bullets had killed me so I can join my friends and family.’

Adebolajo later told officers: ‘I am a Muslim extremist, this may be the only chance you meet one. Your people have gone to Afghanistan and raped and killed our women. I am seeking retribution I wouldn’t stoop so low as to rape and kill women.

‘I thank the person who shot me, because it is what Allah would have wanted.’

Adebolajo added: ‘I love Allah more than my children.’

The first armed officer on the scene, named only as E48, said Adebowale was shot in the leg and stomach, and when he raised his arm holding the gun they fired twice at his hand and blew off a digit.

‘He raised one of his arms up. I’ve still got a distinct image in my mind of him holding a black revolver in his hand,’ he told the court.

‘The next two shots shot his thumb off. The hand holding the weapon’.


Jurors were seen sobbing and Rigby’s family repeatedly fled the court in tears as the horrific last moments of the soldier’s life were played to the court.

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale’s refusal to admit murder meant that CCTV of them stabbing him and trying to hack off his head was repeatedly shown to the Old Bailey.

Witnesses to the horrific crime described how they had struggled to get on with their lives and had feared they themselves would be murdered.

One bystander said Adebolajo had ‘pure evil’ in his eyes as he hacked Rigby to death with a meat cleaver, holding his hair and ‘chopping’ at his next like ‘it was a tree’.

The court was told of the preparations for the murder. CCTV images showed Adebolajo buying kitchen knives and petrol in the hours before the murder of Rigby.

The suspected Islamic terrorist, wearing a black beanie hat, was filmed the day before the killing as he paid £24.99 for a set of five knives at Argos.

He also bought a knife sharpener. The next day, he was filmed as he filled his car with petrol.

Terrified witnesses described how the two men armed behaved like ‘animals’ as they mutilated their victim.


Drummer Lee Rigby relaxing on leave from the army

Lee Rigby, right, joined the Army in July 2006 and joined the Corps of Drums and posted to the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

His first posting was in 2006 to Cyprus. In 2007, he joined the Corps of Drums in the machine gun platoon on a mission to Jordan where he learned to be a machine gunner.

The battalion returned to London in 2008 and he became an ‘integral member’ of the Corps of Drums.

His public duties included being part of the Household Division’s Beating the Retreat on Horse Guards, a ‘special honour for an infantry Corps of Drums.’

In 2009, he joined operations in Helmand Province of Afghanistan, serving as a machine gunner as part of a fire support group.

On his return to Britain, he completed a second tour of public duties and then moved to Germany where he was held in readiness for ‘contingency operations’ as part of the Small Scale Contingency Battle Group.

In 2011, Fusilier Rigby took up a recruiting post in London where he also assisted with duties at regimental headquarters in the Tower of London and was based at Woolwich barracks.

He was ‘callously’ murdered outside his base on May 22 last year.

Others thought the attackers were trying to resuscitate him as his body rocked from the force of their deadly blows.

Rigby’s grieving widow Rebecca ran from the Old Bailey courtroom in tears as horrific details of his final moments were revealed.

His sister Sara McClure, fiancée Aimee West and other family members sat in silence just yards away from the alleged killers.

Members of the public were left in shock with some unable to sleep for days because of the barbarity of the attack.

One woman, Cheralee Armstrong, 38, told police the attack was so ferocious that ‘it was like they were trying to remove the person’s organs from his body.’ ‘I first saw a rocking movement. At first I thought they were resuscitating a man on the floor after a car crash,’ she said.

‘I then saw the feet of the man. They were jolting in rhythm with the two men standing over him.’

Describing one of the attackers, she said: ‘He kept ramming the two knives into the man on the floor with so much force.

‘When the knives came up I could see the whole length of the blades which were covered in blood.

‘It was like they were mutilating the person’s body. It seemed like they were trying to remove his organs from his torso. I shouted, “They are stabbing him. They are killing him.”

‘I then got out of the car and shouted, “Stop, stop.” The man in the hat was staring at me. His expression was blank, but pure evil and his eyes were bulging.’

Miss Armstrong said the two killers threw Mr Rigby’s body into the road ‘like it was a rubbish bag’ as she sat in a car with James Henegan, 39.

The jury then saw videos of Adebolajo as he was interviewed by police after he was released from hospital after he was shot after charging armed officers.

He told them: ‘It brings me little joy to approach anyone and slay them.’

During heated exchanges at Southwark Police Station, he attempted to justify the attack on Fusilier Rigby.

‘Can you believe me, It gives me no little joy’, said Adebolajo, clutching a copy of the Koran in his left hand.

‘I am not a man who gets enjoyment in horror movies, seeing blood and gore across the camera lens.’

A forensic psychiatrist who watched said he showed ‘no regret or remorse’ after the attack but was ‘not mentally ill’. 

Adebolajo and Adebowale were convicted after 90 minutes of deliberations by the jury.

The incendiary gestures of one of his remorseless killers at the moment he was found guilty left Drummer Rigby’s family further distraught.

Well known: Michael Adebolajo was jailed for assaulting police at a protest and later arrested in Kenya trying to join Somalian extremists but was still allowed to walk free and later kill Lee Rigby

Well known: Michael Adebolajo was jailed for assaulting police at a protest and later arrested in Kenya trying to join Somalian extremists but was still allowed to walk free and later kill Lee Rigby

Adebolajo grinned widely and kissed the Koran before being taken from the Old Bailey courtroom.

Mr Cameron and Theresa May said the nation had to confront the ‘poisonous narrative of the extremism’ after the verdicts were announced.

Questions remain over why the murderous fanatics who butchered soldier Lee Rigby were free to kill when they were both known to the security services for at least three years.

It quickly emerged in the wake of the killing that MI5 knew of both Adebolajo and Adebowale, but seven months on no answers have been given as to why they were not more closely monitored.

Within 24 hours of Lee Rigby’s murder security sources admitted the men were on their radar.

Adebolajo was the best known, after being seen at a number of extremist protests and spending 51 days in jail after assaulting police.

In 2010 he had tried to travel to Somalia but was captured in Kenya and brought back to the UK.

A SAS unit ‘snatched’ him as he prepared to enter the war-torn countries for terror training and to fight for the Al Qaeda linked terrorism group Al-Shabaab.

Adebolajo is also said to have links to the White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite, whose partner Germaine Lindsay, a 7/7 bomber, was in the dock with him in Kenya.

Sources say it was then that MI5 ‘tried to recruit’ Adebolajo to inform them about other extremists for cash.

A friend, Abu Nusaybah, claimed that MI5 asked him to work for them, and during the trial it emerged that when police asked for Adebolajo’s address, he told them that MI5 could give the location because they had visited him earlier in the year.


Lee Rigby relaxing with friends

May 22 2013

2.20pm – Lee Rigby is run down and then hacked to death 200 yards from the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich

6pm – Shocking footage emerges of Mic hael Adebolajo wielding a bloodied meat cleaver at the scene moments after the attack, saying: ‘We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you.’

May 26

Fusilier Rigby’s family visit the scene of his murder.

May 27  

It emerges Michael Adebolajo was arrested by Kenyan authorities three years before because they feared he was attempting to join Al-Shabaab.

May 28

Michael Adebowale, 22, is discharged from hospital and taken into custody at a south London police station.

May 29 

A post-mortem examination of the murdered soldier establishes the cause of death was “multiple incised wounds”.

The Crown Prosecution Service confirms Adebowale is to be charged with the murder of Fusilier Rigby. 

May 30

Adebowale appears flanked by two police officers and two security guards in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. He speaks only to confirm his name, date of birth and address during the short hearing.

May 31

Adebolajo is discharged from hospital and taken into police custody.

June 1

Adebolajo is charged with the murder of Fusilier Rigby and possession of a firearm.

June 3 

Adebolajo appears at Westminster Magistrates’ Court where he asks to be referred to as Mujaahid Abu Hamza.

September 27 

Adebolajo and Adebowale plead not guilty to murder.

December 19

Both defendants are found guilty of murder.

February 26 2014

The men are sentenced


‘Sickening and pitiless conduct’: Judge Mr Justice Sweeney’s sentencing remarks in full

Here are the sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Sweeney in full:

Michael Adebolajo (also known as Mujaahid Abu Hamza) and Michael Adebowale (also known as Ismail Ibn Abdullah) you have both been convicted, on overwhelming evidence, of the barbaric murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Artillery Place in Woolwich in the early afternoon of Wednesday 22 May last year.

You are British citizens, aged 29 and 22 respectively. Adebolajo you are married with four step children and two children of your own.

Having presided over your trial I am sure of the following facts.

You each converted to Islam some years ago. Thereafter you were radicalised and each became an extremist – espousing a cause and views which, as has been said elsewhere, are a betrayal of Islam and of the peaceful Muslim communities who give so much to our country.

‘Over a period of around two to three minutes you butchered Lee Rigby – going, as you were well aware, far beyond what was needed to murder him’


You decided, between you, and in order to advance your extremist cause, to murder a soldier in public in broad daylight and to do so in a way that would generate maximum media coverage, including getting yourselves killed by armed officers who would be bound to attend the scene in the aftermath of the murder – thereby expecting that you would become martyrs and each gain a place in paradise.

The planning took place over a period of time. You Adebolajo acquired an old handgun which, although it did not work, was to be used at the scene to keep the public at bay and to threaten the armed officers with when they arrived. The day before the murder you Adebolajo bought five knives and a knife sharpener – which you used to sharpen some of the knives in preparation for their use in the murder.

On the day of the murder the two of you met up some hours in advance. Eventually Adebolajo drove you both to Woolwich in his car, where you parked up in Wellington Street and waited to spot a soldier to murder. You had with you a total of eight knives and the gun. It was whilst you were waiting that Lee Rigby walked past. He was instantly recognisable as being a soldier as he was wearing a ‘Help for Heroes’ top and carrying his Army day sack.

He was 25 years old, had joined the army in 2006, and amongst other postings had seen active service in Afghanistan in 2009. An outgoing and popular personality, he was by the time you saw him in a recruiting post dealing with young people and involved in other duties at his Regimental HQ at the Tower of London. Indeed, he was on his way from his HQ to the Woolwich Barracks when you saw him. He had done absolutely nothing to deserve what you went on to do to him.

You stalked him in the car as he walked along Wellington Street, crossed the South Circular Road and went into Artillery Place where he crossed the road in front of you.

Seizing your opportunity Adebolajo, and once he was no longer looking in your direction, you accelerated hard to 30-40 mph and ran him down from behind. The impact carried him up onto the bonnet of the car breaking five vertebrae in his back and five ribs. The speed of the car was such that it carried up onto the pavement and crashed into the support of a road sign and stopped, depositing Lee Rigby in the area between the front of the car and an adjacent wall. He was unconscious and certainly unable to defend himself.

‘You carried and dragged Lee Rigby’s body into the road and dumped it there – thus eventually bringing the traffic to a halt’


You both exited the car armed with knives and over a period of around 2-3 minutes you butchered Lee Rigby – going, as you were well aware, far beyond what was needed to murder him. You Adebolajo concentrated on his neck – hacking at it repeatedly with first a substantial cleaver type knife and then another knife, all in an attempt to decapitate him for maximum horrific effect. In the end you failed but in the process you caused horrendous injuries as shown in the materials before the court.

You Adebowale concentrated on Lee Rigby’s torso stabbing him a number of times in the chest in frenzied fashion and with severe force. It is no exaggeration to say that what the two of you did resulted in a blood bath. Aspects of all this were seen, as they were intended to be, by members of the public.

Once you had finished, and again in order to achieve maximum effect, you then carried and dragged Lee Rigby’s body into the road in Artillery Place and dumped it there – thus eventually bringing the traffic to a halt.

In the thirteen minutes that passed between then and the arrival of the armed officers, the number of members of the public at the scene grew. You both gloried in what you had done. Each of you had the gun at one point or another and it was used to warn off any male member of the public who looked as though he might intervene.

Those who saw the gun believed that it was real and loaded.

You Adebolajo handed out a pre-prepared written statement seeking to justify your joint cause and actions. In addition, carrying the bloodied cleaver in your equally bloody hands, and knowing that you were being filmed, you made a political statement. Images of that filmed statement were broadcast around the world. The effect of the two statements was to seek to justify your joint actions as being retaliation for deaths in Muslim lands, and to incite the removal of the Government in this country.

‘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’


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.

The armed police officers arrived in a marked police vehicle. At that time, you Adebolajo were still armed with the cleaver and the other knife, and you Adebowale (by agreement between the two of you) were armed with the gun and a knife. You Adebolajo sprinted towards the officers jettisoning the knife and carrying the cleaver above your head as if intent on attacking one or more of them, whilst you Adebowale went down the adjacent pavement and pointed the gun at the officers.

The officers shot you both. They were clearly entitled to do so. It is thanks to their professionalism, including the speed with which they rendered First Aid, that neither of you was killed – especially in your case Adebowale, given that you pointed the gun at them again even after you had been shot for the first time.

As is clear from their moving Victim Personal Statements, and unsurprisingly, the consequences of the murder, its brutality and the publicity, have had a severe and lasting impact on those close to Lee Rigby.

You Adebolajo were the leader of this joint enterprise – albeit that Adebowale played his part enthusiastically. It was you who provided much, if not all, of the equipment and the car, and you were the mouthpiece on the day.

That said, neither of you, I am sure, has any real insight into the enormity of what you did, nor any genuine remorse for it either – only regret that you did not succeed in your plan to be shot dead, which has resulted in you being brought to justice before the courts.

Equally you, Adebolajo, who I have observed at length, have (I am sure) no real prospect of rehabilitation.

Sentence for murder is mandatory – it must be one of life imprisonment. But I must also identify the minimum term that you must serve.

‘Neither of you, I am sure, has any real insight into the enormity of what you did, nor any genuine remorse for it either’


The prosecution assert that, in each of your cases, this was (in the terms of paragraph 4(c) of Schedule 21 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003) a murder done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

The prosecution equally assert that, in each of your cases, and in accordance with the provisions of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, this was a murder with a terrorist connection.

Hence the prosecution submit that this is an offence the seriousness of which is exceptionally high, and that thus my starting point should be a whole life term.

The prosecution also submit, obviously correctly, that in the light of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Attorney General’s Reference (No.69 of 2013) [2014] EWCA Crim 188 it is open to me to go on to impose a whole life term in relation to each defendant. They draw my attention, in particular, to the public nature of what happened, to the fact that there was a significant degree of planning or premeditation, that Lee Rigby was providing a public service or performing a public duty, and to the treatment of his body.

As to the starting point it is submitted, amongst other things, on your behalf Adebolajo that I should not be bound by the reasons that you yourself have given for your actions, but should regard this offence as being one motivated by simple religious hatred actions, or the equivalent of the murder of a police officer, and thus the equivalent of an offence requiring a starting point of less than a whole life term. It is urged, although it is accepted that there is not much evidence to support it, that you are someone who can be rehabilitated in time.

As I have already indicated, I am sure that is wrong. It is urged that I should be flexible in my approach to the provisions of Schedule 21 – which I am. It is further submitted that it is of significance that there is no evidence that you were part of a wider group, that there was no intention to physically harm more than one victim who was chosen purely at random because of his profession, and that there is no evidence that the plot was part of a wider network or support group, and that thus this is not a case to take the sentence of last resort as my starting point.

‘The officers shot you both. They were clearly entitled to do so. It is thanks to their professionalism, including the speed with which they rendered First Aid, that neither of you was killed’


Similar points are urged in relation to you, Adebowale, together with other points which in my judgment come more appropriately into consideration in deciding what the appropriate actual sentence is in your case. I am sure that this was (in the terms of paragraph 4(c) of Schedule 21 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003) a murder done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

I am equally sure that, in each of your cases, and in accordance with the provisions of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, this was a murder with a terrorist connection – though I am careful to avoid double counting in that regard.

I equally have no doubt that this is an offence the seriousness of which is, in fact, exceptionally high, and thus my starting point in relation to it should be a whole life term.

Whilst I agree with Mr Lakha that there are three aggravating features, namely a significant degree of planning and premeditation and planning, the fact that the victim was performing a public duty, and the way that the body was treated, I have included all of these in the overall facts that I have found.
I must however go on to consider my actual sentence.

In your case Adebolajo there is no mitigation, and whilst to state the obvious, this is not a case of mass or repeated murder it is nevertheless one of those rare cases where not only is the seriousness exceptionally high but the requirements of just punishment and retribution make such an order the just penalty. Accordingly in your case I propose to impose a whole life term.

In your case Adebowale I am persuaded that the combination of your lesser role, your age and your pre-existing and continuing mental condition mean that it is not appropriate in your case to impose a whole life term. Nevertheless in your case there must still be a very substantial minimum term. The term that I propose to impose is one of 45 years less 272 days spent on remand.

Michael Adebolajo I sentence you to life imprisonment with a whole life order. Michael Adebowale I sentence you to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 45 years less 272 days spent on remand.

In both your cases I make a Notification Order for the maximum of 30 years. In each of your cases there will be an appropriate victim surcharge.

The British men who became soldiers of Allah: How Adebolajo ‘fell in love’ with Al Qaeda and Adebowale abandoned gang life and hoped to become a martyr


Convert: Married father-of-six Michael Adebolajo was arrested in Kenya (pictured) seeking terror training but was allowed to return to Britain and kill Lee Rigby


Michael Adebolajo was once a Christian who would sit and read the Bible by candlelight and went to church each Sunday with his parents.

But during his trial he told the jury of his conversion to Islam and how ‘religion was everything’ to him, so much so he abandoned his family to kill Lee Rigby and hoped police would shoot him dead.

The 28-year-old father-of-six, who murdered the Fusilier four days after his youngest child was born, said that having a family was not an excuse not to fight.

‘I love Allah more than my children,’ he said.

‘Allah might throw me in the hellfire’ and said his ‘brothers’ in Al Qaeda were his inspiration to go to ‘war’ and die.

Adebolajo said he became a ‘soldier of Allah’, who he believed sent Rigby to him to kill, and that he hoped to be accepted into Paradise as a martyr after his crime.

‘My religion is everything,’ he said.

‘When I came to Islam I realised that… real success is not just what you can acquire, but really is if you make it to paradise, because then you can relax.’

Adebolajo said he converted to Islam in his first year at Greenwich University, and was no longer someone ‘who never did think of killing a man’.

He told the jury of eight women and four men: ‘My parents used to take us to church every Sunday.

‘The memory that sticks in my mind… is probably every New Year’s Eve in the evening around 11 o’clock we would gather around in candlelight and read passages from the Bible.

He said that, growing up in Romford, the ‘vast majority’ of his friends were white British, and one, Kirk Redpath, joined the Army and was later killed in Iraq by an IED.

Adebolajo said: ‘I hold Tony Blair responsible for his death.’

He then took the name Mujahid, meaning fighter, in 2002 or 2003, and began to consider himself a soldier.

‘When a soldier joins the Army he perhaps has in his head an understanding that he will kill a man at some stage. When I became a mujahid I was aware that perhaps I might end up killing a soldier,’ he said.

In 2010 he tried to travel to Somalia but was captured in Kenya and brought back to the UK.

MailOnline can now report it was a SAS unit that ‘snatched’ him as he prepared to enter the war-torn countries for terror training and to fight for the Al Qaeda linked terrorism group Al-Shabaab.

But he never made it across the border and Kenyan officials believe he was arrested north-east of the resort of Lamu.

Sources say it was then that MI5 ‘tried to recruit’ Adebolajo to inform them about other extremists for cash.

Referring to the links to the secret services Adebolajo said during the trial: ‘There’s a lot more to the story but I won’t mention that.’

Yet he was flown back to the UK but then allowed to roam the streets unchecked for the next two and a half years before he committed the horrific murder.

The killer told the jury that for years he used to attend demonstrations ‘in the hope it might make a difference’.

He added: ‘I was somewhat naive,’ and began to realise he was prepared to do much more.

He was jailed for 51 days for assaulting two police officers at another protest and in his cell he realised ‘no demonstration will make a difference’.

Over the next two years Adebolajo continued his radicalisation, building up a library of extremist material including the Al Qaeda magazine ‘Inspire’ and speeches by Al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone attack in 2011.

Adebolajo had underlined several passages in a document titled ‘Extreme Islam’ referring to martyrdom, including: ‘Allah does not like any drop, more than the drop of blood shed in His way. Martyrdom means transfusion of blood into society’

He also highlighted a passage stating: ‘That is why Islam is always in need of martyrs. The revival of courage and zeal is essential for the revival of a nation’ and a quotation from Mohammed that ‘Above every virtue, there is another virtue, but there is no virtue higher than being killed in the way of Allah.’

Another book featured a chapter titled: ‘The virtues of killing a non-believer for the sake of Allah.’

His fellow killer Michael Adebowale left school in 2007 as a model pupil who was ‘extremely shy and very polite’.

During his years at Sherington Primary School in Charlton, which was also attended by Daniel Day Lewis, and Kidbrooke School in south-east London, he was ‘a lovely boy who knew the difference between right and wrong’, friends said.

But within six years he had become a regular drug user, watched his friend stabbed to death in a gang fight and converted to Islam where he was ‘brainwashed’ by extremists.

People who knew him said he was a fun-loving schoolboy who was described as ‘always smiling’ and chatted to neighbours about Jamie Oliver recipes.


Barbarous: The men waited at the scene, speaking to witnesses and waiting for armed police to come hoping they would be murdered

The Lee Rigby murder trial was delayed for more than two weeks over claims that Michael Adebowale was mentally ill.

Adebowale was found unfit due to his ‘psychotic state’, which included hearing Nigerian voices in his cell at HMP Belmarsh and paranoid fears about being attacked and walking through doorways.

He talked about being influenced by ‘djinns’ or spirits and was heard saying: ‘I think I’m possessed.’

Adebowale also mentioned suicide to a prison officer.

He had to be handcuffed in the dock when he made his first appearance at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on May 30 after he assaulted three police officers in 24 hours during interview.

He punched the first officer in the face, spat in the face of the second officer and threw a glass of water over the third.

When Adebowale was transferred to the prison’s mental health wing he went on a hunger strike in protest.

The prison psychiatrist, Dr Ian Cumming, approved Adebowale’s transfer to Broadmoor Mental Hospital on November 14 – just four days before the trial was listed at the Old Bailey.

Adebowale was then assessed by a series of psychiatrists while at court to check whether he was fit to stand trial.

All four – Dr Neil Boast from Broadmoor, Professor Nigel Eastman, Dr Philip Joseph and Dr Cumming – found he was fit under the ‘Pritchard criteria’ – meaning he could give instructions to his barrister and was able to give evidence.

However Dr Boast and Professor Eastman advised delaying the trial for between a month and two months.
Adebowale has a history of mental illness going back to 2008 when he was stabbed and saw his friend murdered.

On 26 November the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, ruled that the trial could go ahead and prosecutor Richard Whittam QC finally opened the case on 29 November.

The trial ground to a halt again on 10 December just before Adebowale was due to give evidence.

Abbas Lakha QC, representing Adebowale, told the court he had concerns about his client’s ‘wellbeing’ and asked for time for him to be re-assessed by the psychiatrists.

But Adebowale revealed that he had been shown a statement from Adebolajo that Adebowale did not need to give evidence.

Dr Joseph added: ‘His position was that he wants to give evidence but he is not going to because he has been advised not to.’

In total the trial was delayed by more than 12 court days as a result of the mental health issue.

His transformation to a religious extremist, bent on killing, came after he was apparently radicalised after trying to escape gangland ‘trouble’ in the tough area he grew up in.

In his teens he began hanging around with members of the ‘Woolwich Boys’, who were involved in drug dealing, and regularly went missing from home.

At the age of 16 he was stabbed in the back by a drug-addicted bare-knuckle fighter, Lee James, during a frenzied knife attack at a crack den in Erith, southeast London.

His friend Faridon Alizada, 18, was stabbed to death in the same attack on 5 January 2008 and 16 year-old Ahmed Ahmed spent months in hospital after being stabbed in the spine.

James accused the boys of being supporters of Al Qaeda and claimed they had offered him money to act as a suicide bomber to blow up the nearby Bluewater Shopping Centre.

He screamed: ‘You f*****g Somalians, you want to ruin my country, you want to blow up my country, you want to sell drugs in my country. This is what you get.’

Adebowale was told to ‘disappear’ after he was caught up with a local gang known as the Woolwich Boys, and underwent a dramatic change of personality.

He was said to have left the Greenwich area for a year and returned about eight months before Drummer Rigby’s death, wearing traditional Islamic dress and a white skull cap, typically worn by Muslim men who have been on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

He also gave up alcohol and began distributing radical leaflets near his mother’s home in Greenwich.

Neighbours said his Nigerian-born mother, Juliet Obasuyi, was a probation officer and a ‘hard-working’ Christian woman who raised Adebowale alone after separating from his father.

She is said to believe her son was ‘brain-washed’ by people who turned him ‘against his own family’.

Adebowale was born in Denmark Hill, South London, in May 1991. His father was then a student at Rutherford College in Canterbury, Kent, and the couple were said to have separated soon after the birth.

At school he known as Toby or Tobi, an abbreviation of his second name Oluwatobi.

Luqman Ciise said on Twitter after his arrest: ‘I knew him personally, he was normal, smiling all the time. His name was Toby. Still can’t believe this . . . How did he get radicalised?’

Adebowale was said to have converted to Islam at 19.

In May his image became famous around the world, when he was seen holding a bloodied carving knife moments after the killing of Drummer Rigby.

A family friend, who was close to him from the age of five to 16, said she was ‘utterly shocked’.

‘He was genuinely a lovely boy. I never saw him be violent or anyone else be violent to him.

‘He didn’t know how to be rude, I never even heard him swear. Everyone liked him, he was just himself. He didn’t try to act like something he wasn’t.’

During the murder trial it emerged that he stabbed Lee Rigby so many times Adebolajo pulled him away from the soldier because he was dead.

He had been in the passenger seat of the car that ran the soldier down and he carried the knives and gun while Adebolajo drove.

Adebowale, who has a history of smoking cannabis, suffered a suspected ‘relapse’ into old problems after the murder of Lee Rigby.

On the night of May 28, before being interviewed, he began clawing at the bandages to his stomach, claiming he was ‘mad.’

During the interview he spat at and assaulted police officers and repeatedly had to be restrained.

In early November, two weeks before the trial, Adebowale appeared to become psychotic while in solitary confinement at Belmarsh prison and claimed that he was possessed or influenced by ‘djinns’ or spirits.

Despite his mental health problems, Adebowale was planning to give evidence in court and only changed his mind after his lawyers showed him a statement from Adebolajo saying he did not need to take the stand.

His defence team also used his history of mental illness to prevent the prosecution using his police interview in the trial or make comments to the jury about his refusal to give evidence.

Adebowale did however give a similar account to Adebolajo in his interview with prosecution psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph and said he thought the gun was loaded.

He said that he believed ‘he had been brain-washed by society from a young age’ and that the West could have prevented 9/11.

Adebowale admitted stabbing Lee Rigby in the torso three times and explained that he only stopped when he realised the soldier was dead.

‘He said the plan was to wait for the armed police and to be martyred,’ said Dr Joseph.

‘He said he was aware if he was not killed he would be in prison and was disappointed it didn’t happen.

‘He wasn’t trying to kill the police, he said he had a gun which he thought worked and it was to cause a police armed response to come and shoot him.’


Adebolajo's handwritten letter - page 1

Before Adebolajo, 29, and his accomplice Michael Adebowale, 22, were gunned down by armed officers, jurors were told he passed a bloodstained handwritten note to a bystander.

It read: ‘To my beloved children know that to fight Allah’s enemies is an obligation. The proofs of which are so numerous that but a handful of any of them cuts out the bewitching tongues of the Munafiqeen.

‘Do not spend your days in endless dispute with the cowardly and foolish if it means it will delay you meeting Allah’s enemies on the battlefield.

‘Sometimes the cowardly and foolish could be those dearest to you so be prepared to turn away from them.

‘When you set out on this path do not look left or right.

‘Seek Shaheedala oh my sons so that you might be raised together and if its Allah’s decree that you are not to be in the hearts of green birds.

‘Then be ready for to enter the University of Joosuf. Sijn. Be patient there and be firm there and inshallah you will meet your Lord with him pleased with you.

Adebolajo's handwritten letter - page 2


‘Verily Allah is with those who are patient.

‘If I live beyond this day and you find me talking other than this then know that perhaps Allah has left me to stray.

‘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.

‘Many of your people are aristocrats that directly benefit from invasion of our lands without material loss.

‘Whereas the average Joe Bloggs working class man loses his sons when they are killed by our brothers.

‘When the heat of battle reaches YOUR local street its unlikely that any of your so called politicians will be at risk or caught in the crossfire so I suggest you remove them.

‘Remove them and replace them with people who will secure your safety by the immediate withdrawal from the affairs of the Muslims.

‘Muslims will trade with you on fair terms but understand that the days of your international armed robbery is drawing to a close.

‘To humble yourselves willingly is better for you.

‘May Allah guide your nation to the truth’.