UK & World News
Woolwich: Adebolajo Evidence 'Is No Defence'
The claim by Woolwich murder trial defendant Michael Adebolajo that he is "a soldier of Allah" is no defence to the charge of murder, a jury has been told.
Mr Adebolajo†and Michael Adebowale are accused of running down off-duty soldier Lee†Rigby†with a car and then hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives in a street in south-east London.†
Mr Justice Sweeney†told the jury at the Old Bailey that nothing said by Mr Adebolajo in his evidence amounts in law to a defence to the charge of murder.
He said: "I have ruled that nothing said by the first defendant and... his evidence - in short he was a soldier of Allah and was justified in doing what he did - amounts in law to a defence to this count.
"So nothing that he has said amounts in law to a defence to count one."
In his closing speech, prosecutor Richard Whittam QC†said Islam was not on trial and told the jury: "The action of these two men acting together as they did, crashing their car into and breaking the back of Lee Rigby and then killing him is indefensible in the law of this country.
"Killing to make a political point, to frighten the public or to put pressure on the Government or as an expression of anger is murder."
He added: "It remains murder whether the Government in question is a good one, bad one or a dreadful one. We submit to you, it is clearly murder."
Fusilier†Rigby's family were in court as Mr Whittam showed the jury once again images of bloodied knives, and also replayed video clips of the May 22 killing.
Replaying a video clip showing Fusilier Rigby being dragged into the road, Mr Whittam said: "Is this a humane killing?
"Is this a killing with an attempt to decapitate and then deposit the body in the middle of the road causing traffic to stop and turn around?"
Mr Whittam recalled witness accounts previously read to the jury as well as extracts from a note handed to Amanda Donnelly-Martin at the scene.
"What was the purpose of what they have done, killing Lee Rigby in the way the had done, in putting the body there and staying at the scene? To borrow a phrase from the first defendant - carnage."
Mr Adebolajo's defending counsel, David Gottlieb, said a proper charge for his client would have been "treason, terrorism, or maybe manslaughter".
In his closing speech, Mr Gottlieb said: "All deaths outside of lawful deaths are cruel, needless and unnecessary.
"Do you think really that this is the cruellest, most sadistic, most callous, most cowardly killing that's ever occured in our nation's history? It isn't."
Mr Gottlieb said Mr Adebolajo's family were "victims" in the case as much as the family of Fusilier†Rigby and told the jury†that his client had been "demonised and painted as a monster".
The defending barrister also suggested that Mr Adebolajo was "the most law-abiding terrorist in the history of this country" as his client paid for a parking ticket moments before the alleged murder took place.
Mr Gottlieb later explained that he was using a "Sherlock Holmes" approach, adding: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
He said there were unarmed police near the scene, but Mr†Adebolajo chose to wait for armed teams, which would not fit with an intention to kill an officer.
The barrister went on to tell the panel of eight women and four men that the issue of what motivated Mr†Adebolajo "raises awkward questions" for the UK's†political leaders.
He said: "A person, a human being, can do the most evil act in the world and not actually be evil themselves."
The alleged killers no longer face a charge of conspiracy to murder a police officer after the judge discharged the jury from any further consideration of that count.
Mr Adebolajo, 29 and Mr Adebowale, 22, still face counts of murder and attempted murder of a police officer, which they both deny.
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