UK & World News

  • 4 December 2013, 5:36

Woolwich: Police Officer 'Feared Being Killed'

An armed police officer thought Drummer Lee Rigby's alleged murderers were going to kill her, a court has heard.

The officer, identified only as D49, said she "instantly" thought she would die when suspect Michael Adebolajo, 28, ran towards her car in Woolwich, southeast London.

In a statement, she claimed he had a meat cleaver or machete and was "shouting something", adding that his eyes "were so wide" she could "see thewhites of them".

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC read the police officer's account to jurors, in which she said: "I saw a black male running at me, waving both his hands in the air in a chopping motion.

"In his right hand I saw what I call a meat cleaver or a machete. I instantly thought, 'He's going to kill me'.

"I went to draw my Glock. Due to my position in the car ... I could not immediately draw my (gun). It was a split second decision to draw my Taser."

She then saw a second person, said to be Michael Adebowale, 22, holding a gun.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, he's going to shoot me'. I feared for my life," she said in her statement.

A second armed officer, identified as E48, was in court to give evidence in person.

Video footage of Adebolajo charging towards the officers and flying into the air as he was shot was played to the court.

Adebowale also falls to the ground as he is shot.

D49 is seen keeping her gun trained on Adebolajo as he lies on the ground, while E48 is seen rushing back to the police car to get a medical kit.

He and another officer then administer first aid to Adebowale.

E48 told the court that the officers had "very little time" to react when Adebolajo ran at them.

"He started to move towards the vehicle which started to raise my perception of the threat," the officer said.

"He almost instantly broke into a sprint and I realised we were being attacked. We had very little time to deal with the threat.

"He was coming at us."

The officer said that his colleague driving the car, D49, was left "essentially unable to defend herself".

He told the court: "She was defenceless, she had a pane of glass to protect herself, it was not ballistic glass."

The marksman opened fire on Adebolajo as he ran towards the car, telling the jury he was in "the frame of mind" that the suspect posed a threat.

"The second he started sprinting at us still in possession of that knife I made the decision to fire and until he fell away from the vehicle I was still in the frame of mind and I needed to take that decisive action to stop him."

He then saw Adebowale, who was lying on the ground after being shot, raise his arm in the air, the court heard.

"He raised one of his arms up. I've still got a distinct image in my mind of him holding a black revolver in his hand which I clearly saw, which struck me as unusual because he'd just been shot.

"The next two shots shot his thumb off. The hand holding the weapon", E48 said.

He said that he and his fellow officers will try to save the lives of suspects who have been shot.

"Once the threat is neutralised we have a duty of care to all persons to save life, no matter who they are."

Paramedic Nicholas Goh said when he arrived at the scene, he realised that Fusilier Rigby was dead.

In a statement read by prosecutor Oliver Glasgow, he said the soldier had suffered "injuries not compatible with life".

"I knew the man was dead and there was nothing I could do for him," he said.

The paramedic then went to treat Adebolajo, and described him saying: "I don't want anyone to die, I just want the soldiers out of my country.

"Your Government is all wrong. I did it for my God."

Another paramedic, William Woolston, said in a statement that Adebolajo told him his name was Mujahid Abu Hamza.

The 28-year-old said he believed in Sharia law, and made repeated statements about British soldiers raping and killing women in Afghanistan.

"He kept repeating these statements over and over in slightly varied forms and didn't stop talking about this for all of the journey to King's College Hospital," the paramedic said.

Mr Woolston's colleague Stephen Berry said Adebolajo told him that "British soldiers deserved to die" for raping and killing women "in our lands".

Once Adebolajo was taken to hospital, he remained under police guard.

Police Constable Melita Vejnovic told the court he had told her: "My intention was never to harm any civilians.

"There were women and children around, my intention was to hurt military only.

"He was in his kit, in his uniform, coming in and out of the barracks."

Earlier, a woman wept in court as she recalled seeing DrummerRigby's body dragged into the road in Woolwich.

Tina Nimmo told the trial she saw one of the alleged attackers stabbing the soldier and pleaded with the knifemen to stop as she shouted and swore at them.

She told the jury: "I wanted them to stop. At the time you just get on and do what you have to do. And that's what I had to do."

As the crowd approached, she told the jury the pair, who she said were holding two bloodied knives and a meat cleaver as well as the gun, "posed a bit more".

They were "very proud of what they had in their hands", she said.

Adebolajo and Adebowale both deny murdering the soldier, who the prosecution says was run over before he was attacked.

They also deny attempting tomurder a police officer and conspiracy to murder.

The trial at the Old Bailey continues.