UK & World News
Lee Rigby Murder Trial: Guilty Verdicts
An Old Bailey jury has convicted two young London men of the brutal murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.
It took the jury of eight women and four men about 90 minutes to return guilty verdicts on Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22.
The pair were found not guilty of attempting to murder police officers at the scene of the killing on May 22.
Adebolajo glared at journalists as he was led to the prison cells and kissed his copy of the Koran. Adebowale did not react to the verdicts.
Mr Rigby's family and loved ones reached out to support each other, some of them in tears after the verdicts were delivered.
Relatives later sobbed on the court steps as a statement was read by Detective Inspector Pete Sparks on their behalf.
The statement read: "No one should have to go through what we have been through as a family.
"We are satisfied that justice has been done, but unfortunately no amount of justice will bring Lee back.
"These people have taken him away from us forever but his memory lives on in all of us and we will never forget him.
"We are very proud of Lee, who served his country, and we will now focus on building a future for his son Jack, making him as proud of Lee as we all are. Lee will be sorely missed by his siblings, nieces, nephew and all of those who loved him.
"We now ask that we are left alone to grieve through our loss."
The men will not be sentenced until January.
Speaking outside the court building, Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, who leads Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism teams, said: "[This attack] was intended to divide our communities, it has had largely the opposite effect and in fact brought people together."
A member of the public shouted "hang them" as Ms Dick addressed television cameras and waiting journalists.
Speaking in Brussels, David Cameron said: "We have to redouble our efforts to confront the poisonous narrative of extremism and violence that lay behind this and make sure we do everything to beat it in our country."
Home Secretary Theresa May said: "The sickening and barbaric murder of Drummer Lee Rigby united the entire country in condemnation.
"But we must not forget that this appalling and public act of violence and terror robbed his family and loved ones of a brave young man whose life was ahead of him."
Farooq Murad, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, called the murder a "barbaric act".
"Muslim communities then, as now, were united in their condemnation of this crime," he said.
"This was a dishonourable act and no cause justifies cold-blooded murder."
The murder of the off-duty soldier both horrified and united the nation, as politicians, faith leaders and members of the community in southeast London came together to condemn the killing.
The 25-year-old drummer with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was singled out by his attackers because he was a soldier.
Adebolajo, the only defendant who gave evidence, admitted killing the young serviceman, but claimed his actions were justified as part of a war against the British military and British government for wars waged by the UK in Muslim countries.
During the trial, he was asked directly for his defence to the charge of murder.
Adebolajo told the jury: "I am a soldier. I am a soldier of Allah and I understand that some people might not recognise this because we do not wear fatigues and we don't go to the Brecon Beacons to train. But we are still soldiers."
He told the court he considered al Qaeda to be "mujahideen".
He said: "I love them, they're my brothers. I have never met them. I consider them my brothers in Islam."
Both Adebolajo and Adebowale had been known to the police and security services because of their extremist beliefs, but they had not been considered a significant or immediate threat.
Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee is examining whether any opportunities to prevent Fusilier Rigby's murder might have been missed by the authorities.
Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick told Sky News the Met was fully co-operating with the inquiry.
Fusilier Rigby's mother, widow and other family members sat through each day of the three week long trial, listening to often very harrowing evidence and viewing graphic video of the events outside Woolwich barracks.
At times, the evidence was just too much for the family to bear and they left court in tears on several occasions.
It was also a very difficult trial for the jury to sit through.
On occasions, some were visibly distressed as they watched CCTV footage taken at the time of the attack and listened to testimony from some of the eyewitnesses.
Witness Cheralee Armstrong said in a statement that there was "pure evil" in one of the knifemen's eyes, and that she thought she would die.
At first she thought they were trying to help the soldier after a road accident, but then saw that they were stabbing and hacking at him.
"It was like they were mutilating the person's body. It seemed like they were trying to remove his organs from his torso," she said.
When she shouted at the attackers to stop, she described one of them looking at her.
"The man in the hat (Adebolajo) stared at me, his expression was blank. Pure evil, and his eyes were bulging," she said.
He then pointed a gun towards her and James Henegan, who was driving her in his Citroen C3.
Mr Henegan wept in court as he described the moment he left his car and saw one of the men withdraw the gun from what looked like a "carrier bag".
"I thought he was going to shoot ?fire a gun at us," he said.
The jury was told how Fusilier Rigby's killers refused to leave the scene after the murder, as they waited for police to arrive.
Those police officers were to have been their next victims, the prosecution claimed.
Dramatic CCTV and other video of the moments an armed response vehicle arrived outside the barracks were played to the jury.
There were gasps from the court as the footage showed the two men running towards the police vehicle and then being shot.
One of the officers - identified only as D49 - said she "instantly" thought she would die when Adebolajo ran towards her car.
She claimed he had a meat cleaver or machete and was "shouting something", adding that his eyes "were so wide" she could "see the whites of them".
Adebolajo claimed both men had wanted the police to kill them, to make them martyrs.
They did not get that wish, as both have since made a full recovery.
Nor did the jury believe their justification for killing Fusilier Rigby.
They ruled that death of the young fusilier was murder, pure and simple.
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