x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Guilty verdict in Lee Rigby murder case

Jury in trial of two men accused of murdering soldier Lee Rigby on a London street has been told that the pair wanted to scare police officers into killing them in a bid for martyrdom.

Family members and loved ones of British soldier Lee Rigby arrive at the Old Bailey court in central London where two men faced trial accused of the soldier's murder. Leon Neal / AFP
Family members and loved ones of British soldier Lee Rigby arrive at the Old Bailey court in central London where two men faced trial accused of the soldier's murder. Leon Neal / AFP

LONDON // A jury at London’s Old Bailey criminal court decided that Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, were guilty of murdering soldier Lee Rigby on May 22 in Woolwich, southeast London.

The two British citizens had denied murder, with Adebolajo saying the killing was part of a war for Allah in response to Western wars in nations such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

The jury was told on Wednesday that the pair, both converts to Islam, wanted to scare police officers into killing them in their bid for martyrdom.

Adebowale, 22, and co-defendant Adebolajo, 29, ran over Rigby in Woolwich, southeast London, on May 22 before attacking his unconscious body with knives and a meat cleaver.

Adebowale’s defence lawyer Abbas Lakha told the Old Bailey jury that both men wanted to make the officers who arrived at the scene fear for their lives, as only then would they shoot at the suspects.

He also said that a 90-year-old gun Adebowale brandished when armed police arrived was incapable of killing anybody as it was unloaded and needed oiling.

“His actions from beginning to end speak for themselves and they tell you loud and clear that it was martyrdom that he was after,” Mr Lakha said.

* Reuters