Duo guilty of murder of UK soldier
Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale are convicted of murdering off-duty British soldier Lee Rigby in a frenzied attack on a London street.PT1M17S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2zom5 620 349 December 20, 2013
London: Two converts to Islam were found guilty of murdering an off-duty British soldier in a terror attack on a busy London street that transfixed the country.
Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, were found guilty after the jury reviewed the charges for less than two hours. The men, who face as long as life in prison, will be sentenced at a later date.
Adebolajo and Adebowale ran over soldier Lee Rigby then got out of their car and nearly decapitated the unconscious soldier in a series of assaults with knives and cleavers, prosecutors said during the trial.
Michael Adebolajo (left) and Michael Adebowale (right) who were found guilty of the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby. Photo: AFP
"The sickening and barbaric murder of Drummer Lee Rigby united the entire nation in condemnation," U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May said in a statement. "We must not forget that this appalling and public act of violence and terror also robbed his family and loved ones of a brave, young man with his life ahead of him."
Rigby, 25, was attacked just after 2pm on May 22 outside a military barracks in the Woolwich neighbourhood of southeast London. Televised images of the bloodshed were transmitted around the world as police quickly called it an act of terror on British soil.
Adebolajo, who has asked to be called Mujaahid Abu Hamza, and Adebowale, who goes by the name of Ismail Ibn Abdullah, were shot, wounded and arrested by police at the scene of the crime.
As the two men were taken back to jail, Adebolajo kissed his copy of the Koran and raised it in the air.
He said during the trial that he considered himself a "brother" of the terror group al-Qaeda and told the court that he didn't regret "obeying the command of Allah" in the attack on Rigby.
Both men were cleared by the jury of eight women and four men of charges that they attempted to murder a police officer.
Rigby's family were present throughout the trial, sitting through televised footage of the attack and testimony from Adebolajo.
"You'd want to know what could possibly be in their brains that could make them do something like this." Rigby's step-father, Ian, told ITV News in an interview. "Maybe it would make me understand a little bit."
Rigby, the father of a two-year-old son when he died, was a drummer in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. A fan of the Manchester United soccer team, he served as a machine gunner in Cyprus and then in 2009 as a member of a fire support group in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
"We are pleased that justice has been done," Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick said in a statement.
"This horrific attack, which took place in broad daylight on the streets of London, shocked the country and was intended to divide communities. It had largely the opposite effect and has, in fact, brought people together."