March 10 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Monday, December 23, 2013
“Home-grown terrorist” Michael Adebolajo was a “good-natured and easy-going boy”, according to his former Romford school.
Adebolajo, 29, butchered Drummer Lee Rigby in the street in Woolwich with Michael Adebowale, 22, in a bid to spark a wave of extremist violence across the country in May.
He was filmed by a member of the public brandishing a bloody meat cleaver saying he had committed the murder in revenge for Muslim deaths in British conflicts.
But former teachers and friends at Marshalls Park School, in Pettits Lane, remembered Adebolajo as a popular teenager, who even became a prefect.
Headteacher Pam Mason said: “He was a good-natured and easy-going boy. Michael was liked by both staff and peers.
“He had a strong group of friends but he could mix well with others and he was popular and well liked across a wide range of students.
“Michael was bright and confident and had a good sense of humour.
“He had a good work ethic and gained the grades he needed to be accepted on to his chosen courses at Havering Sixth Form College. He enjoyed being at school.”
Former schoolmates identified Adebolajo on the day of the Woolwich attack from television footage.
A past Marshalls Park pupil, who was friends with Adebolajo’s younger brother, said: “He was a clever guy but he was cheeky. I’d never have seen him as a Muslim extremist.
“His family were very Christian. They moved to Lincoln when we left school in about 2003. I haven’t heard from them since.”
A number of other Marshalls Park alumni left similar thoughts on the Recorder’s Facebook page.
One wrote: “I grew up with him for years – through juniors, outside football leagues and seniors.
“He was in my form and my mate. This really makes no sense.”
Adebolajo had no contact with the school after leaving in 2001.
His former friend and fellow Marshalls Park student, Kirk Redpath, joined the Army and was killed by an explosive device in Iraq.
Adebolajo, who was “disgusted” by the invasion of Iraq, converted to Islam in his first year at Greenwich University.
Extremist Omar Bakri Mohammed, then leader of the extremist group Al-Muhajiroun, has since claimed he personally converted Adebolajo.