Romford man Michael Adebolajo guilty of murdering soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich
PUBLISHED: 13:04 19 December 2013 | UPDATED: 13:46 19 December 2013
Romford man Michael Adebolajo has been found guilty of the brutal murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
Muslim convert Adebolajo, who turned 29 today, and Michael Adebowale, 22, butchered the 25 year-old Fusilier to death “like a piece of meat” in a bid to spark a wave of extremist violence across the country.
The jury took just 90 minutes to find the two men guilty of murder at the Old Bailey today but they acquitted the pair of attempted murder of a police officer.
Adebolajo, also known as Mujaahid Abu Hamza, grew up in Eastern Avenue East and went to Marshalls Park School, Romford, where former classmates described him as “a good guy” during his time there.
He and co-defendant Adebowale, also known as Ismail Ibn Abdullah, of Greenwich, both denied murder and attempted murder of a police officer through the three-week trial.
Both accepted killing the soldier on May 22 but fought the case so they could publicise their extremist views about British foreign policy in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Members of Drummer Rigby’s family wept hysterically as the verdicts were announced.
The court heard the father-of-one was chosen at random by Adebolajo and Adebowale, who were on a mission to start holy war with their attack.
Spotting Drummer Rigby walking towards Woolwich Barracks, they rammed their car into him from behind at 40mph before mutilating his body as he lay defenceless with a broken back.
In a final indignity the father-of-one was dragged into the middle of the road on public display just yards from a primary school while the killers ranted to passers-by about their extremist views while armed with a gun, knives and a meat cleaver.
Adebolajo was also filmed on a witness’ mobile phone saying: “The only reason we’re doing this is Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers and this British soldier is one of them so an eye for an eye.
“We will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone.”
Despite the horrific scene, several brave women who became known as the “Woolwich Angels” approached to talk to the killers and protect the body from further mutilation.
Adebolajo was shot in the arm by police only a yard from the car and Adebowale was shot in the stomach and thigh by as he aimed a rusty revolver.
Both claimed they did not intend to kill the police officers and were hoping to be shot dead so they could be accepted as martyrs in paradise.
Possible failures by the security services to prevent the attack are now being examined by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.
Adebolajo, a former associate of hate preacher Anjem Choudary and the banned group Al Muhajiroun, was well-known to MI5 after being arrested on his way to Somalia to train and fight jihad two years earlier.
Adebowale, a former gang member and drug dealer, also attended demonstrations by extremist Muslim groups.
The pair now face being sentenced to a rare “whole life order” because the murder was carried out for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.