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Why are the missing Malaysian Airlines passengers’ phones still ringing? Relatives’ agony as search zone now switches to entirely new area and Iranian man on missing passport traced and ‘isn’t terroris

The ‘unprecedented mystery’ behind the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 deepened on Monday when relatives claimed they were able to call the cellphones of their missing loved ones.

According to the Washington Post, family of some of the 239 people on board the vanished Boeing 777 said that they were getting ring tones and could see them active online through a Chinese social networking service called QQ.

One man said that the QQ account of his brother-in-law showed him as online, but frustratingly for those waiting desperately for any news, messages sent have gone unanswered and the calls have not been picked up.

This new eerie development comes as the Malaysian authorities said they had identified one of the men on two stolen European passports who were on the flight – and that he was not considered likely to be a terrorist

He was a 19-year-old Iranian asylum seeker called Pouiria Nur Mohammad Mehrdad who was trying to meet his mother in Germany.

 

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The two men who travelled on the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on stolen passports. The younger man (left) was identified as Pouiria Nur Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, said by police in Malaysia to be an Iranian asylum seeker on his way to Germany to meet his mother. The older man (right) remains unknown.

The two men who travelled on the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on stolen passports. The younger man (left) was identified as Pouiria Nur Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, said by police in Malaysia to be an Iranian asylum seeker on his way to Germany to meet his mother. The older man (right) remains unknown.

Separately, the search for any trace of the missing airliner has now shifted to the Straits of Malacca, at least 100 miles away from where it was last recorded by electronic monitoring devices.

The dramatic shift raises the possibility that it flew undetected, crossing mainland Malaysia, before ditching into the sea.

However the phantom phone calls and online presence set off a whole new level of hysteria for relatives who have spent the past three-days cooped-up in a Beijing hotel waiting for some concrete information on the missing plane.

Repeatedly telling Malaysian Airlines officials about the QQ accounts and ringing telephone calls, they hoped that modern technology could simply triangulate the GPS signal of the phones and locate their relatives.

However, according to Singapore’s Strait Times, a Malaysia Airlines official, Hugh Dunleavy has confirmed to families that his company had tried to call the cellphones of crew members and they too had also rang out.

He is reported to have told relatives that those phone numbers have been turned over to Chinese authorities.

One man who had asked police to come to his house and see the active QQ account on his computer was devastated to see that by Monday afternoon it had switched to inactive.

According to China.org.cn, 19 families of those missing have signed a joint statement confirming that their calls connected to their loved ones but that they rang out.

The relatives have asked for a full investigation and some complained that Malaysian Airlines is not telling the whole truth.

The International Business Times reported that the sister of one of the Chinese passengers also rang his phone on live television.

‘This morning, around 11:40, I called my older brother’s number twice, and I got the ringing tone,’ said Bian Liangwei, sister of one of the passengers according to IBT.

At 2pm, Bian called again and heard it ringing once more.

‘If I could get through, the police could locate the position, and there’s a chance he could still be alive.’

However, at a press conference in Beijing, Malaysian Airlines spokesman Ignatius Ong said one of the numbers that had been passed on to the airline’s head office in Kuala Lumpur failed to get through.

‘I myself have called the number five times while the airline’s command center also called the number. We got no answering tone,’ said Ong.

Indeed, authorities Authorities hunting for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner expanded their search on land and sea Tuesday, reflecting the difficulties in locating traces of the plane more than three days after it vanished.

Malaysia Airlines said in a statement the western coast of the country, near the Straits of Malacca, was ‘now the focus’ of the hunt. That is on the other side of peninsular Malaysia from where flight 370 was reported missing.

WHY ARE THE PASSENGERS’ PHONES STILL RINGING?

After three days, wouldn’t the phone batteries be dead by now? 

Not necessarily. Smartphones are renowned for their poor battery life and will typically last up to around 24 hours. But the batteries of older phones can last considerably longer. 

For example, the Nokia 100 boasts a standby battery life of a staggering 35 days. Smartphone batteries can also last longer if the handset isn’t being used, and especially if the phone is in Flight Mode. 

However, if the phone is in Flight Mode, it switches off all wireless activity meaning calls wouldn’t be able to connect, effectively ruling out this theory.  

If the phone batteries are dead, wouldn’t the call go straight to voicemail?

In a word, yes. However, the process of sending the call to voicemail can differ depending on the service provider. 

For example, the majority of phones will go straight to voicemail, or callers will get an out of service message if voicemail hasn’t been set up. 

This will occur even if the phone is underwater, or not near a cell signal. 

However, some service providers will ring once or twice before the phone goes to voicemail, or cut off. This may explain the reports that claimed phones rang before seeming to hang up.

Some reports claim the phones are just ringing and ringing though. How is this possible?

Telecoms expert Alan Spencer told MailOnline that if the phones are really ringing, they can categorically not be under the sea. 

He added that the phones will only be ringing if they are ‘switched on, not in water, the battery is charged, and [they are] near a mobile cell site.’

This means that if the phones are genuinely ringing, the plane needs to have landed on land – not in the sea – and be in a location where there is cell service, rather than landing in the middle of a jungle, for example.

Why can’t network operators locate the phones?

A number of family members have asked the network operators why they can’t use the phone’s signal to locate the missing people. 

Professor William Webb, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, told MailOnline: ‘The phones definitely won’t be working. They’ll be underwater, out of coverage and by this time out of battery. 

‘So there’s absolutely no way they could be used for triangulation. 

‘As to why they are ‘ringing’ it’ll be the same as if they were out of coverage – in some cases it may ring before going to voicemail.’

What about the T3212 timer I’ve read about? 

The T3212 is a timer that causes a phone to periodically send a message to the network saying where it is. 

But Professor Webb said this only works when the phone is turned on and it is in coverage. It won’t work when the battery is dead.

What about reports that passengers are appearing online, on the QQ social network?

When people sign into social networks including QQ, as well as Facebook, they appear online. 

This is the case whether they’ve signed in on a phone, tablet, PC, and laptop.

if missing passengers are shown as online, they may not be using the service on their phone. Instead they may still be logged in on another device. 

If this other device shuts down or goes into standby, however, or there is a long period of inactivity, the social network will log them out, which may explain why some accounts went from online to offline over a period of three days.

Civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the statement didn’t imply authorities believed the plane was off the western coast. ‘The search is on both sides,’ he said.

The Boeing 777 had 239 people on board when it vanished off radar screens early Saturday morning en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, triggering a massive international search effort.

Authorities began their hunt at the point the plane was last known to be, a spot in the seas between Malaysia and Vietnam. With no debris found, they have systematically expanded their search to include areas where the plane could have in theory ended up given the amount of fuel it had on board.

They have also said that the plane might have tried to turn back to Kuala Lumpur. On Sunday, Malaysia’s air force chief said there were indications on military radar that the jet may have done a U-turn.

Vietnamese planes and ships are a major component of the international search and rescue effort.

 

Search: A U.S. Navy SH-60R Seahawk helicopter takes off from the destroyer USS Pinckney in the Gulf of Thailand, to assist in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on Monday

Search: A U.S. Navy SH-60R Seahawk helicopter takes off from the destroyer USS Pinckney in the Gulf of Thailand, to assist in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on Monday

Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of Vietnamese People’s Army, said authorities on land had also been ordered to search for the plane, which could have crashed into mountains or uninhabited jungle.

He said that military units near the border with Laos and Cambodia had been instructed to search their regions also.

‘So far we have found no signs (of the plane) … so we must widen our search on land,’ he said.

Experts say possible causes of the apparent crash include an explosion, catastrophic engine failure, extreme turbulence, pilot error or even suicide.

This deepening of the already baffling mystery into the disappearance of flight MH370 comes as it was claimed that the two passengers traveling on stolen passports on the plane were Iranian nationals.

A friend of one of the two men told BBC Persia that he played host to the pair in Kuala Lumpur after their arrival from Tehran before they took off on the fateful journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
This photo provided by Laurent Errera taken Dec. 26, 2011, shows the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that disappeared from air traffic control screens Saturday, taking off from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport in France

This photo provided by Laurent Errera taken Dec. 26, 2011, shows the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that disappeared from air traffic control screens Saturday, taking off from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport in France

 

The source told the BBC service that the pair had bought the fake passports because they wanted to go and live in Europe.

The two men were using the passports of Christian Kozel – a 30-year-old Austrian and Luigi Maraldi, a 37-year-old Italian.

The friend, who knew one of the men from school said that both purchased the illegal and fake passports in Malaysia and one-way tickets to Amsterdam.

BBC Persia’s UN correspondent Bahman Kalbasi told the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that the two men were not sinister and were only ‘looking for a place to settle.’

Investigators in Malaysia are voicing skepticism that the airliner that disappeared early Saturday with 239 people on board was the target of an attack, U.S. and European government sources close to the probe said.

How the search is being stepped up

 
How the search is widening - but has still to find a thing: Strait of Malacca is now main focus of air and sea search but China is deploying ships, planes and helicopters to the South China Sea to try to find any trace of the Boeing 777. Its authorities say more needs to be done to find what happened to the plane.

How the search is widening – but has still to find a thing: Strait of Malacca is now main focus of air and sea search but China is deploying ships, planes and helicopters to the South China Sea to try to find any trace of the Boeing 777. Its authorities say more needs to be done to find what happened to the plane.

 

The fate of the Malaysian airliner that vanished about an hour into a flight to Beijing remained a mystery, as a massive air and sea search, now in its fourth day, failed to turn up any trace of the Boeing 777 plane.

Neither Malaysia’s Special Branch, the agency leading the investigation locally, nor spy agencies in the United States and Europe have ruled out the possibility that militants may have been involved in downing Malaysia Airlines Flight.

But Malaysian authorities have indicated that the evidence so far does not strongly back an attack as a cause for the aircraft’s disappearance, and that mechanical or pilot problems could have led to the apparent crash, the U.S. sources said.

‘There is no evidence to suggest an act of terror,’ said a European security source, who added that there was also ‘no explanation what’s happened to it or where it is.’

Meanwhile, dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries were still scouring the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam as questions mounted over possible security lapses that could have led to a downing of the Boeing 777-200ER after it climbed to an altitude of 35,000 feet.

Interpol confirmed on Sunday at least two passengers used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had used false identity documents.

Even so, one U.S. source said Malaysian authorities were leaning away from the theory that the plane was attacked.

Their view was mostly based on electronic evidence that indicates the flight may have turned back toward the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur before disappearing.

Even that information has not been clearly confirmed, and investigators and intelligence sources say the fate of the Flight MH370 is still shrouded in mystery.

One reason was that the aircraft had failed to make automatic contact with a flight data-monitoring system after vanishing from radar screens, two people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Such contact could have helped investigators determine what happened.

Also raising doubts about the possibility of an attack, the United States extensively reviewed imagery taken by spy satellites for evidence of a mid-air explosion, but saw none, a US government source said. The source described U.S. satellite coverage of the region as thorough.

With no success so far, authorities were planning to widen the search from Tuesday, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the head of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters on Monday.

‘Unfortunately we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft,’ he said.

‘As far as we are concerned, we have to find the aircraft. We have to find a piece of the aircraft if possible.’

Azharuddin said a hijacking attempt could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories.

 
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Made in Britain: Top inventions of 2014 include a bed with built-in Wi-Fi, an artificial pancreas and a super-strong spade

An artificial pancreas, a smart bed that massages you to sleep, and washing up gloves with a built-in soap dispenser are among the 20 shortlisted inventions of this year’s British Inventor’s Project. 

Other finalists include the Kikka Digga, a clip-on device that makes digging in the garden easier, and the Hydroguard, designed as a portable flood defence system.

The project’s finalists will be showcased at the Gadget Show Live in April and visitors will be able to use the products that have been specifically designed to help with everyday tasks.

 
A total of 20 inventions have been shortlisted as part of the British Inventors Project, including the Wi-Fi enabled bed from Balluga, illustration pictured. It is a smart interactive bed with adjustable firmness, climate control and a built-in vibro massage system

A total of 20 inventions have been shortlisted as part of the British Inventors Project, including the Wi-Fi enabled bed from Balluga, illustration pictured. It is a smart interactive bed with adjustable firmness, climate control and a built-in vibro massage system

 

All of the finalists will also present their products live on stage in the Innovation Theatre throughout the show, and one will be crowned British Innovation of the Year 2014.

The artificial pancreas, currently going through pre-clinical trials, was designed by Renfrew Group with support from researchers at De Montfort University.

It automatically regulates glucose levels using a so-called polymeric gel that manages the delivery of insulin into the peritoneum. It does not rely on the kind of electronic controls used in current artificial organs.

The Artificial Pancreas is an implantable device which has been designed specifically for sufferers of Type 1 diabetes – a large proportion of which are at risk of over or under medicating with current treatment methods, according to the inventors.

 
The HydroGuard invention, pictured, is a reusable flood protection device that can be quickly put in place by homeowners. It fits any door type and is expandable, meaning the unit expands to fit any door size. It works by sealing the door and prevents water from being able to get through

The HydroGuard invention, pictured, is a reusable flood protection device that can be quickly put in place by homeowners. It fits any door type and is expandable, meaning the unit expands to fit any door size. It works by sealing the door and prevents water from being able to get through

 

 
 
 
This illustration shows how the Kikka Digga folds up

It can be fitted to any garden fork or spade and helps increase the amount of pressure and force is placed on the utensil

 

The Kikka Digga device, illustration pictured left, is an invention designed to ‘overcome the laborious task of digging.’ It attaches to any garden fork or spade, pictured right, and has a step that’s used to place more evenly spread pressure and force to the digger. The product is currently at final prototype phase

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Commuter X4 rear lighting system for cyclists, pictured, was designed to give them better protection and make them more visible on the road at night

The Commuter X4 rear lighting system for cyclists, pictured, was designed to give them better protection and make them more visible on the road at night

 

‘We have reached a critical point in the development of a device which could ultimately immeasurably improve lives,’ said researcher Professor Taylor.

The Balluga Bed is a smart interactive bed with adjustable firmness, climate control and a built-in vibro massage system, all with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

This project has so far been funded privately but inventors from Balluga are set to launch an Indiegogo crowdfunding project in the coming weeks.

The Kikka Digga device is an invention designed to ‘overcome the laborious task of digging.’ It attaches to any garden fork or spade and has a step that’s used to place more evenly spread pressure and force to the digger.

THE BRITISH INVENTOR’S PROJECT FINALISTS

 

 
Hummingbird Corkscrew, pictured, is a new design for an easy way to open wine bottles

 

Artifical pancreas: Developed by medical scientists form the Renfrew Group and DeMontfort University, the device automatically regulates glucose levels using polymeric gel that manages the delivery of insulin into the peritoneum. It does not rely on the kind of electronic controls used in current artificial organs.

Balluga Bed: A smart, interactive bed with adjustable firmness, climate control and a built-in vibro massage system, all with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Commuter X4: A rear lighting system for cyclists to give better protection and make them more visible on the road at night.

Doorjammer: A portable door-stop for use in hotels to give travellers additional security and peace of mind.

Roam folding bike: A folding bike which can be packed away and towed easily like a wheelie suitcase.

Rotite: A clip that joins two surfaces together.

Kikka Digga: A device which clips on to a garden fork or spade and makes light work of heavy digging.

Move It Furniture: A range of flat-pack cardboard furniture that is light to carry, but durable when assembled.

 

 

Plume Mudguard: A retractable mudguard which clips to any standard bike.

Splatform: A freeform construction toy for modellers.

Hummingbird Corkscrew: A new design for an easy way to open wine bottles (pictured above).

Marxman Pen: A simple way to mark up walls and ceilings for drilling which can be operated with one hand (pictured below).

 
Marxman Pen is a simple way to mark up walls and ceilings for drilling which can be operated with one hand

 

 

 

 

Mini Rigs are high-volume, battery-operated speakers

Retrack: A device that clips to the back of a helmet and records bike rides and skateboard jumps from various angles. It then produces a 3D animated action replay on a smartphone that shows different angles, showing your speed, angle of descent and the movement.  

 
 

 

Sq-easy Glove: A washing-up glove with an in-built refillable soap dispenser.

Hydroguard: HydroGuard is a reusable flood protection device, which can be quickly put in place by homeowners. It fits any door size and type, and seals entrances to prevent water entering the home.

 
Beachbag Plus is a beach bag that folds out over a beach lounger with cool bag, wet pockets and secret pockets for valuables

 

All Product Design: A matchbox-sized device that powers garden lights, for example, using radio waves and mobile signals. All Product Design has also invented a device that collects power from ‘flat’ batteries to extend their life by around three weeks.

Mini Rigs: High-volume, battery-operated speakers (pictured above).

Tappy: A bath tap protector for small children that also transforms into a hand puppet.

Beachbag Plus: A beach bag that folds out over a beach lounger with cool bag, wet pockets and secret pockets for valuables (pictured right).

Pinstar Putting Cup: Designed for golfers, this putting target can be used indoors and outdoors, on any carpeted or smooth grass surface, for putting practise.

IT-Tub: Technology for sealing tubs and pots that is easy to lock and open again as well as being airtight and watertight when closed.

 

Its inventors claim it ‘splits the ground like a hot knife through butter’ and was designed with developing countries in mind, ‘for those that cannot afford a plough or need help in growing both large and small scale – agriculture and horticulture.’

At the moment the product is currently at final prototype phase and should be ready for production ‘very soon.’

Elsewhere, the HydroGuard is a reusable flood protection device, which can be quickly put in place  by homeowners. 

 

 

 

 

Sq-easy Gloves, pictured, are another finalist. They are washing-up gloves with an in-built refillable soap dispenser

Sq-easy Gloves, pictured, are another finalist. They are washing-up gloves with an in-built refillable soap dispenser

 

It fits any door type and is expandable, meaning the unit expands to fit any door size. It works by sealing the door and prevents water from being able to get through.

HydroGuard has produced the first full-scale prototype, which will be launched at the Gadget Show Live and will be followed by a Kickstarter campaign.

Another finalist is the Sq-easy Gloves – washing-up and cleaning gloves that are fitted with an in-built, refillable soap dispenser.

As wearers wash up, they can squeeze a small capsule of liquid to produce more suds. Sq-easy Gloves has also developed a family range for parents to use while bathing their children – removing the need to hold the child in one hand and use shampoo in another.

The firm is finalising a contract with a manufacturer based in China, once this is done they will pay for tooling equipment and then go on to receive production samples. After this stage they plan to go to full production and have the product available later in the year.

 
The Doorjammer, pictured, is a portable door-stop for use in hotels to give travellers additional security and peace of mind

The Doorjammer, pictured, is a portable door-stop for use in hotels to give travellers additional security and peace of mind

 

Developed by medical scientists, the artificial pancreas, illustration pictured, automatically regulates glucose levels using polymeric gel that manages the delivery of insulin into the peritoneum

Developed by medical scientists, the artificial pancreas, illustration pictured, automatically regulates glucose levels using polymeric gel that manages the delivery of insulin into the peritoneum

 

Meanwhile, the All Product Design is a matchbox-sized device that powers electronics, such as garden lights, by harnessing radio waves and mobile signals.

All Product Design has also invented a device that collects power from ‘flat’ batteries to extend their life by up to three weeks – depending on the device.

Mark Sheahan, inventor in residence at the British Library’s Business and IP Centre, and a British Invention Project finalist with his It-Tub technology, said: ‘It’s fantastic the Gadget Show Live is helping to shine a much-needed spotlight on British inventors and innovation.

‘It’s not that we don’t have the creativity and talent in the UK, but we do struggle when it comes to attracting the funding and investment needed to both make that initial leap required to take a design to market.’

Other shortlisted inventions include the BeachBag Plus – a beach bag that folds out over a beach lounger with cool bag, wet pockets and secret pockets for valuables.

The bag is now on sale online with Bunker Bound and the inventor is talking to distributors and retailers in the UK who have agreed to take it this year.

These include The British Garden centres and the Oldrids group based in Grantham.

 

 

 

 

Legendary Moroccan ruler could have fathered 1,100 children – but he must have had sex every day for 32 YEARS

Sultan Moulay Ismaïl is known as a warrior as well as a the world’s most prolific father.

The Moroccan ruler, who led the country from 1672 to 1727 is rumoured to have sired over 1,000 children.

And while this might seem unlikely, scientists have worked out that it is theoretically possible, if the leader had sex once a day – for 32 years straight.

According to computer simulations, the amorous leader, who was the first sultan of the Moroccan Alaouite dynasty which is still the royal house of Morocco, could have set the record for the greatest number of children fathered by anyone throughout history.

The historical ruler holds the title in the Guinness Book of World Records, which says that he fathered 888 children.

But a French diplomat called Dominique Busnot who visited Morocco at the time, wrote that sultan Ismaïl had 1,171 children by 1704, as well as four wives and 500 concubines, LiveScience reported.

Scientists have previously dismissed the number of children as highly unlikely as women are only fertile for a few days every month.

A team of scientists from the University of Vienna created computer simulations to explore how many times sultan Ismail would have had to have had sex to be able to father 1,171 children in 32 years.

Virile: Sultan Moulay Ismaïl led Morocco from 1672 to 1727 and theoretically could have sired over 1,000 children as rumoured

Virile: Sultan Moulay Ismaïl led Morocco from 1672 to 1727 and theoretically could have sired over 1,000 children as rumoured.

Amazingly they found that not only was it possible, he would have had to have sex once a day over the lengthy period.

Anthropologist Elisabeth Oberzaucher, who was lead author of the study published in PLOS One, said: ‘We were as conservative as possible with our calculations and Moulay could still achieve this outcome.’

 
Scientists from the University of Vienna created computer simulations to explore how many times sultan Ismail would have had to have sex every day to be able to father 1,171 children in 32 years - and they found the answer was approximately once. A painting showing the sultan meeting a French ambassador is pictured

Scientists from the University of Vienna created computer simulations to explore how many times sultan Ismail would have had to have sex every day to be able to father 1,171 children in 32 years – and they found the answer was approximately once. A painting showing the sultan meeting a French ambassador is pictured

 

SULTAN MOULAY ISMAIL – THE FEARSOME RULER OF MOROCCO

Moulay Ismaïl is noted as one of the greatest figures in Moroccan history.

He fought the Ottoman Turks in 1679, 1682 and 1695/96. After these battles the Moroccan independence was respected.

The ruler also liberated several seaports occupied from Spain and Britain.

He is thought to have used 25,000 slaves for the construction of the capital in Meknes and displayed thousands of heads of slain rivals at the beginning of his reign.

He ruled until the age of 80 and is said to have fathered 888 children in his time – although there are reports of 1,171 children.

A number of different conception models were created. One model assumed the menstrual cycles of women did not synchronise, while another assumed they could and the quality of sultan Ismail’s sperm was also taken into account as well as how he aged.

The study said that the ruler would have had to have sex between 0.83 and 1.43 times a day to father so many children in 32 years.

The scientists also said that the rule needs a harem of between 65 and 110 women to do it – not the 500 concubines he is estimated to have had.

However, Dr Oberzaucher noted that the results of the study differed quite a lot depending on which model was used.

While the sultan was free to have sex with different women, any suspicion of adultery by the women was severely punished.

The sultan is said to have personally strangled unfaithful women as well as ordering their breasts to be cut off or their teeth pulled out. Other men who eyed up the women could also be punished by death.

Sultan Ismaïl ruled for the longest period of time in Morocco’s history and is remembered as a bloodthirsty warrior.

Reports suggest that he displayed between 400 and 1,000 heads of enemy chiefs and political rivals in the city of Fez at the beginning of this reign and over the next 55 years killed over 30,000 people off the battlefield.


Syria’s starving hordes: In a biblical picture of suffering, crowd stretching for as far as the eye can see gathers amid the rubble of Damascus for UN food hand-outs

Hundreds of men, women and children fight to get to the front of the queue as a refugee camp in Damascus receives food parcels after being cut off for months.

Today the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) called on rebel forces and Al-Assad’s troops alike to allow ‘safe and unhindered humanitarian access’ to thousands of civilians in Yarmouk, a Palestinian district in the Syrian capital.

Yarmouk has seen some of the worst fighting in the capital, leading to severe food shortages and widespread hunger.

 
Hour of need: Residents of Syria's besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of Damascus, crowding a destroyed street during a food distribution led by the UN agency

Hour of need: Residents of Syria’s besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of Damascus, crowding a destroyed street during a food distribution led by the UN agency.

UNWRA chief Chris Gunnes spoke today after a rare visit to Yarmouk on Monday where relief agencies have found it particularly difficult to provide food and medical assistance.

The Yarmouk Camp is a 0.8sq.mi. district of Damascus populated by more than 112,000 Palestinian refugees, who are mainly cut off from any foreign help.

Yarmouk Camp has been sealed since July 2013, resulting in acute and widespread deprivation, including severe malnutrition, while civilian residents are constantly exposed to the threat of death, injuries and trauma of the armed conflict.

The UN was given access to the camp by the Syrian authorities late January, which is when the photograph was taken.

However, following clashes in northern Yarmouk earlier this month, UNRWA said distribution of food parcels and medical supplies may be suspended yet again.

Christopher Gunness, from UNRWA, said: ‘It is impossible not to be touched by the apocalyptic scenes emerging from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus, besieged and cut off for months. 

The images are at once epic and personal. Row upon row of gaunt faces, serried ranks of grimy, raged figures; the delicate, hunger-ravaged features of children waiting in line for an UNRWA food parcel; the face of a mother creased in grief for a deceased child; tears of joy as a father is reunited with a long-lost daughter.

‘These are the vignettes of inhumanity that have become the regular fare of nightly news bulletins. They are UNRWA’s daily reality.’

The reports of humanitarian crisis came as more than 175 rebels and foreign fighters, including ‘Saudis, Qataris and Chechens,’ were killed Wednesday in a Syrian army ambush near Damascus, state news agency SANA reported.

It said an army unit ‘spotted Al-Nusra Front (jihadist) and Liwa al-Islam (Islamist) terrorists’ near Damascus, and ‘killed 175 of them and wounded several others.’

Yesterday the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres warned that Syrians could soon overtake Afghans as the world’s biggest refugee population.

No aid: Following months of starvation and battle, Palestinian residents wait for a United Nations aid ambulance in Yarmouk, Damascus

No aid: Following months of starvation and battle, Palestinian residents wait for a United Nations aid ambulance in Yarmouk, Damascus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The organisation is predicting that the number of displaced Syrians will pass four million by the end of 2014.

Opposition activists say more than 140,000 people have died in the conflict, which enters its fourth year next month. The U.N. says 9.3 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance.The number of Afghan refugees was 2.6 million at the end of 2012, UNHCR says.

Syrians, with nearly 2.5 million registered as refugees, should overtake that long before the end of the year. About one-half of the refugees are children.

‘It breaks my heart to see this nation that for decades welcomed refugees from other countries ripped apart and forced into exile itself,’ Guterres told the U.N. General Assembly. Just five years ago, Syria hosted the world’s second-largest number of refugees, he said.

Syria’s neighbors now plead for assistance as hundreds or thousands of people flee into their countries every day.

The number of Syrian refugees now registered in far smaller Lebanon, for example, is the equivalent of having 71 million of them registered in the United States or almost 15 million in France, Guterres said.

 

Chinese smog is so bad it’s like a ‘nuclear winter’ that’s even stopping plants’ photosynthesis

Pollution in Beijing is now so dense that its effects are comparable to that of a nuclear winter, Chinese scientists have said.

It has been predicted that if enough nuclear bombs were detonated, so many particles would be thrown into the air that the sun could be blocked out enough to alter the weather and damage the food supply.

This process is now under way in China’s capital city and six northern provinces, according to He Dongxian from China Agricultural University’s College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering.

Smog: Cars travel on an overpass amid thick haze in the morning in Beijing

 

Pollution crisis: Cars can barely be seen through the smog as they drive along a road in Beijing today

Pollution crisis: Cars can barely be seen through the smog as they drive along a road in Beijing today.

She warned that the toxic smog is hindering photosynthesis of plants and that if it lingers much longer, it could affect food production, according to The Guardian.

Dongxian demonstrated recently that seedlings in Beijing were taking over twice as long to grow as those in a lab.

 

‘Every farm is caught in a smog panic,’ she told The South China Morning Post.

Pollution has been so severe that aircraft have been grounded, roads closed and tourists numbers hit, while the direct danger posed to human health was underlined by the World Health Organisation, whose readings in Beijing on Tuesday had alarming results.

It was reported that the level of PM 2.5 particles, a key measure of pollution because they are small enough to be assimilated into the blood stream, reached 505 micrograms per cubic metre, far higher than the maximum level it considers to be safe, which is 25.

 

Buildings are seen shrouded in heavy haze at Qingdao development zone, Shandong province

Buildings are seen shrouded in heavy haze at Qingdao development zone, Shandong province

 

‘SMOG HAS A PLUS SIDE… BECAUSE U.S. LASER WEAPONS CAN’T GET THROUGH IT’

China’s naval chief has found a rather more positive side to the country’s awful pollution.

The smog, he says, provides an effective barrier against the emerging threat of laser weaponry.

Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong, a military expert at the National Defence University, spoke days after it was reported that the US Navy planned to deploy its first laser weapon aboard one of its ships in the Middle East.

He said lasers were ‘most afraid of smog’ because it severely hampers the distance it can be fired.

‘Under conditions where there is no smog, a laser weapon can fire (at a range of) 10 kilometres,’ he told CCTV’s Haixia Liangan (Cross-Straits) current affairs program, according to http://www.news.com.au.

‘When there’s smog, it’s only one kilometre. What’s the point of making this kind of weapon?’

Authorities have introduced anti-pollution policies and often pledged to clean up the environment but the problem has not eased.

Beijing has been draped in stinking smog for more than a week and in an effort to cut pollution, 147 industrial companies in the capital had cut or suspended production as of Tuesday, according to Xinhua.

City residents are growing angry and alarmed.

‘Of course, on days where pollution levels reach or even exceed the scale, we are very concerned and we have to see this as a crisis,’ Bernhard Schwartlander, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in China, told Reuters.

‘There’s now clear evidence that, in the long term, high levels of air pollution can actually also cause lung cancer,’ he said.

Hebei, a major industrial region surrounding Beijing, has some of the most polluted cities in the world’s most populous country. Shijiazhuang routinely recorded ‘beyond index’ measurements of polluting ‘particulate matter’ in early 2013.

The China Academy of Sciences identified the province as a major source of noxious smog that hung over Beijing a year ago.

The government said in an action plan for Hebei in September that it would ban new projects in certain industries, close outdated steel and cement facilities and slash coal use.

The province has promised to cut total steel capacity by 86 million tonnes, about 40 percent of last year’s production, by 2020. Official data suggests that is starting to happen.

 

New threat: A laser weapon aboard the destroyer USS Dewey in San Diego in this picture from 2012

Star Wars weaponry: A high-speed camera captures the first full-energy shots from an electromagnetic launcher which the U.S. Navy plans to deploy on one of its ships this year

Star Wars weaponry: A high-speed camera captures the first full-energy shots from an electromagnetic launcher which the U.S. Navy plans to deploy on one of its ships this year.

Meanwhile, a man in a smog-ridden northern city has become the first person in China to sue the government for failing to curb air pollution.

Li Guixin, a resident of Shijiazhuang, capital of the northern province of Hebei, submitted his complaint to a district court asking the city’s Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau to ‘perform its duty to control air pollution according to the law’, the Yanzhao Metropolis Daily said.

The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences recently ranked Beijing second worst in terms of living environment among 40 major cities around the world and said it was ‘barely suitable’ for living.

 

Preparing for war: Putin puts 150,000 troops on standby as Muslim supporters of Ukraine’s new government clash with pro-Russian group in Crimea

Vladimir Putin mobilised more than 150,000 troops and an armada of ships yesterday for a drill to test the combat readiness of forces in western Russia as tensions over Ukraine continue to grow.

In addition to the soldiers – nearly twice the British Army’s manpower after planned cuts – 880 tanks, 210 aircraft and 80 warships will take part in the operation.

The manoeuvres raised fears that the Russian president may be planning to send forces into Ukraine after the toppling of its Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych.

The might of the Red Army: Just a fifth of Russia's forces are considerably bigger than Britain's whole arsenal

The might of the Red Army: Just a fifth of Russia’s forces are considerably bigger than Britain’s whole arsenal

 

 

 

 

 

 
Clashes: Fist fights broke out today between pro- and anti-Russian protesters in the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine. In response Russia has reportedly ordered an immediate test of 150,000 troops

Clashes: Fist fights broke out today between pro- and anti-Russian protesters in the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine. In response Russia has reportedly ordered an immediate test of 150,000 troops.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu said unspecified measures were also being taken to protect the country’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea, southern Ukraine.

He claimed the operation was not linked to the crisis in Ukraine, insisting it was intended to ‘check the troops’ readiness for action in crisis situations that threaten the nation’s military security’.

The drill comes 48 hours after Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said the country’s interests and citizens in Ukraine were under threat in language that echoed his statements justifying Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 when he was president.

The US and EU nations have warned Russia against military intervention in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that Mr Putin wants to be part of a Eurasian union he is creating. The crisis began three months ago after Mr Yanukovych ditched closer ties with the EU in favour of Mr Putin’s scheme.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who is overseeing the reduction of the Army to around half the size of the Russian mobilisation, said yesterday: ‘We will obviously want to take proper cognizance of any activities by Russian forces. We urge all parties to allow the Ukrainian people to settle internal differences and determine their future without external interference.’

He was speaking as Nato defence ministers, meeting in Brussels, issued a statement ahead of a two-day summit supporting Ukrainian sovereignty and independence. US secretary of state John Kerry said Russia should respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine and be ‘very careful’ in its behaviour.

In a TV interview, he added: ‘What we need now to do is not get into an old Cold War confrontation.’

Mr Shoigu said the Russian tests will be conducted in two stages.

At first, military units will be brought to ‘the highest degree of combat readiness’ and deployed to land and sea positions.

The second stage will include tactical exercises involving warships from the northern and Baltic fleets, while some warplanes will move to combat airfields. Mr Shoigu said the forces must ‘be ready to bomb unfamiliar testing grounds’.

The change of government in Kiev has raised questions over the future of Russia’s naval bases in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, the lease for which was extended until 2042 by Mr Yanukovych. Most observers believe the new leadership will not push for the withdrawal of the Russian fleet, as this could create further tensions.

Yesterday, thousands of protesters took part in rival rallies in Crimea’s administrative capital Simferopol ahead of a planned session of the region’s parliament.

Fights broke out between pro-Russians and more than 10,000 Muslim Tatars who rallied in support of the interim government, chanting: ‘Ukraine is not Russia!’

Independence Square to hear former economy minister Arseny Yatseniuk nominated as their new leader

 

 
Shift: The new Ukranian cabinet (announced in Kiev, pictured) will be pro-Western after months of protests which demanded the government prevent itself sliding under the grip of Russian influence. Tensions remain

Shift: The new Ukranian cabinet (announced in Kiev, pictured) will be pro-Western after months of protests which demanded the government prevent itself sliding under the grip of Russian influence. Tensions remain

The tensions in Crimea highlight the divisions that run through the nation of 46million, and underscore fears that the country’s mainly Russian-speaking east and south will not recognize the interim authority’s legitimacy.

Ethnic Ukrainians loyal to Kiev have joined the Tatars in an alliance to oppose any move back towards Moscow.

Ukraine’s interim president Oleksandr Turchinov has expressed concern about the ‘serious threat’ of separatism following the ousting of Mr Yanukovych, who was last night put on the international wanted list, accused of being behind the killing of more than 100 protesters by riot police last week.

Russia has portrayed the overthrow of Mr Yanukovych, whose whereabouts are unknown after he fled on Thursday, as a violent seizure of power, while many EU countries back the regime change.

Pro-Ukraine protest groups last night named their proposed cabinet for the interim government. MPs were expected to vote on the nominations today.

The ‘Euromaidan’ council of protest leaders made its announcement of Yatseniuk, plus candidates for several other key ministers, after its members addressed crowds on Kiev’s Independence Square.

Oleksander Turchinov said the new government would have to take unpopular decisions to head off defaulting on its debts and to guarantee a normal life for Ukraine’s people.

The Euromaidan’s proposals have yet to be approved by parliament.

The council also named career diplomat Andriy Deshchytsya as foreign minister.

Oleksander Shlapak, a former economy minister and former deputy head of the central bank, was named as finance minister.

Andriy Paruby, head of the ‘self-defence’ force protecting the Kiev protest zone from police action during the three months of conflict, was named secretary of the powerful National Security and Defence Council.

AFTER SNIPERS AND PETROL BOMBS, THE NEW THREAT TO THE PEOPLE UKRAINE IS FINANCIAL COLLAPSE

Ukraine has just emerged from a bloody revolution, but its problem have only just begun

Ukraine has just emerged from a bloody revolution, but its problem have only just begun

As tensions flare between the East and West of Ukraine, and politicians scramble to from a government, a new threat to Ukraine’s future has emerged.

The country faces financial collapse as international loans dry up.

The interim president Olexander Turchynov has appealed for £20billion from foreign nations in order to stop the country going bankrupt.

And now concerned citizens are withdrawing money from their bank accounts en masse, worried that they will lose everything if the nation goes bust.

In just two days from February 18, around £1.8bn was withdrawn from bank accounts across the country.

After an agreement to sign a deal introducing a new interim government withdrawals slowed down in the West, but remain high in the East where tensions over Russia’s relationship with the country remain high.

The interim government is now considering measure to limit cash withdrawals to stop the banks going into meltdown.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Lilit Gevorgyan, senior economist at IHS Global Insight in London, said: ‘Ukraine’s economy needs rescue and that adds pressure on the revolutionary political forces to create a truly national unity government.

‘The large bailout plan that Ukraine currently seeks won’t be handed out by international donors to a weak and non-inclusive government.’

The final insult: Court terror for Lee Rigby’s family as his Muslim killers are dragged from dock shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ while fighting prison guards – before judge tells them life will NOT mean life

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 ARRESTED OUTSIDE OLD BAILEY DURING PROTESTS

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.

POLICE: THIS WAS TRUE HORROR

 
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.’

‘THEY ARE THE RIGHT PRISON TERMS’: RIGBY FAMILY STATEMENT

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.

HOW SOLDIER ‘CALLOUSLY’ MURDERED SERVED HIS COUNTRY

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.

TIMELINE: THE MURDER OF LEE RIGBY AND THE CONVICTION OF HIS KILLERS

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.

MURDER TRIAL DELAYED BECAUSE OF SUSPECT’S ‘PSYCHOTIC’ STATE

 
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 HANDED BLOOD-STAINED NOTE TO WOOLWICH WITNESS

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’.