UK & World News

  • 6 December 2013, 7:12

Woolwich Killing: 'He Was First Soldier We Saw'

A man accused of killing Fusilier Lee Rigby told police he was targeted because "he was the soldier that we spotted first", a court has heard.

In a police interview played to jurors at the Old Bailey, Michael Adebolajo said the 25-year-old soldier was a "fair target" because people joined the Army understanding their lives would be at risk.

He told officers that Fusilier Rigby was "like the non-Muslim version of myself" and said the alleged murder was not a "personal vendetta".

During his statement, Adebolajo told police he felt he was "not in control of myself" when he hit the soldier with his car close to Woolwich barracks in southeast London on May 22.

He said he was "not sure how I struck the first blow", but added: "The most humane way to kill any creature is to cut the jugular."

Some of Fusilier Rigby's family shook their heads as the interview continued, with Adebolajo telling officers: "Why make it prolonged? He may be my enemy. But he is alive. So I struck at the neck and attempted to remove his head to be sure, you know."

The court heard how Adebolajo, who at one stage asked counter-terrorism detectives if he could speak to Fusilier Rigby's family, "did not expect to live beyond that day".

"I did not expect to be alive to go to prison, or whatever," he told police, 10 days after the attack.

Jurors also heard him talk about his political beliefs, describing Conservative and Labour politicians as "filthy pigs" but saying he "admired" Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

During police interviews, Abebolajo also said there was a "war between the Muslims and the British people" and he was a "soldier of Allah".

The court also heard that extremist material belonging to Adebolajo was found when they searched his father's house, including a book called Extreme Islam and a book with a chapter entitled "The virtues of killing a non-believer for the sake of Allah".

Works by Anwar al-Awlaki, who was described to the jury as a Muslim scholar who was arrested in the Yemen, were among the material, and a copy of the magazine Inspire, which the court heard is reportedly published by al Qaeda.

Adebolajo, 28, and his co-defendant Michael Adebowale, 22, deny murdering Fusilier Rigby, attempting to murder a police officer and conspiracy to murder.

The trial continues.