Murderer Michael Adebolajo: From regular Romford churchgoer to wannabe Islamic martyr

16:16 19 December 2013

CCTV shown during the trial of Adebolajo and Adebowale (right) as they speak to a member of the public. Picture: Metropolitan Police

CCTV shown during the trial of Adebolajo and Adebowale (right) as they speak to a member of the public. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Romford murderer Michael Adebolajo, who asked to be known in court as Mujaahid Abu Hamza, was a dedicated jihadi already on the radar of the British security services when he killed Lee Rigby.

Adebolajo was known to the British Secret Service before the killingAdebolajo was known to the British Secret Service before the killing

The son of Christian Nigerian immigrants, he was born in Lewisham, south London, and grew up in Eastern Avenue, Romford.

He went to church every Sunday and was taught about the Bible and Jesus every Saturday by a friend of the family named “Ron”.

After attending Parklands Junior School, in Havering Road, Romford, and Marshalls Park Secondary School, in pettits Lane, he went to Havering Sixth Form College in Wingletye Lane, Hornchurch.

He claimed that most of his schoolfriends were white.

Kirk Redpath and Adebolajo were best friends at secondary schoolKirk Redpath and Adebolajo were best friends at secondary school

His former friend and fellow Marshalls Park student, Kirk Redpath, joined the Army and was killed by an explosive device in Iraq.

Adebolajo, who said he was “disgusted” by the invasion of Iraq in 2003, converted to Islam in his first year studying building surveying at Greenwich University in south London. He did not complete the course.

Extremist Omar Bakri Mohammed, then leader of the extremist group Al-Muhajiroun, has since claimed he personally converted Adebolajo.

Adebolajo began regularly attending demonstrations organised by hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who was also a leading member of Al-Muhajiroun before it was banned in 2005.

Adebolajo went to Marshalls Park SchoolAdebolajo went to Marshalls Park School

At one of the protests outside the Old Bailey in 2006 Adebolajo was arrested after punching a female officer in face and a male officer in the groin.

On November 1 that year he was convicted of two counts of assault at City of London Magistrates Court and jailed for 51 days.

In 2009 he was photographed at an English Defence League march.

The following year he attempted to travel to Somali to become a jihadi with the Al Shabaab terrorist group.

He was captured in Kenya and appeared in court but a few days later was deported to the UK.

After his return Adebolajo was approached by MI5 and his family later claimed they were trying to recruit him to spy on extremist groups. His family also claimed his brother, a teacher in Saudi Arabia, was approached by MI6.

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.”

Adebolajo, who is married with six children, believed his reward would be shahada, or martyrdom, and a place in paradise along with 70 members of his family.

Instead it is likely to be a life sentence with a minimum term of 40 years behind bars.

Related articles

Latest News Stories

Robert Knowles serving food platters and salt beef sandwiches at the TapRoom micropub in Upminster, which opened on Saturday

The borough’s first micropub finally opened on Saturday and welcomed its first customers with locally sourced pork pies, cheese platters and real ale.

File photo dated 28/09/15 of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who is warning the Government's failure to invest in Britain's infrastructure is putting the future prosperity of the country at risk.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP is due to visit Havering on today to speak to young Labour members.

Yesterday, 14:12
Chancellor George Osborne outlined the government's spending plans in his Autumn Statement and Spending Review (Pic: PA/Yui Mok)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced his budget proposal for the next five years – here are the main things to know.

Yesterday, 11:56
Picture: Google maps

A man has been arrested os suspicion of stabbing a 16-year-old boy near Havering College.

Yesterday, 11:23
The London Fire Brigade has put forward proposals to axe 13 fire engines - including one from Stratford - to save £11million

‘All the conversation now is about social media, removing something as important as this is a false economy’ say Tories

Yesterday, 08:45
Ingrebourne Valley Ltd has lodged an appeal against the council's refusal to the planning application to merge Hornchurch Country Park with Ingrebourne Hill by dumping waste

Controversial plans to dump waste and double the size of Rainham’s Ingrebourne Hill will be considered again next month.

Yesterday, 07:00
80 years old Arthur Boulton, ex marine, competative smimmer and powerlifter.

As the evenings get colder and darker making it to the gym can be a battle for even the most strong-willed.

Most read news

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


Tesco - Every little helps

Would you like to have the opportunity to win a huge £2,500 to spend at Tesco? Well with this amazing prize you can do exactly that! MyOffers are giving you the chance to get your hands on £2,500 to spend on anything you desire may it be free weekly groceries for the foreseeable future, a new TV, home decoration or even a new sofa!

You could get your hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge!

Here’s your chance to win one of the most feature-packed smartphones on the planet, from tech giants Samsung, The Samsung S6 Edge!

Digital Edition

Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder