Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Rigby killer launches appeal bid

A picture of Michael Adebolajo taken during interviews with police which was shown in court during his trial

One of the two men found guilty of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby has lodged an application to appeal against conviction, the Judicial Office confirmed today.

The Court of Appeal move has been made by Michael Adebolajo, 29, following his conviction with co-defendant Michael Adebowale, 22, at the Old Bailey last month.

British Muslim converts Adebolajo and Adebowale ran Fusilier Rigby down in a car before hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives in a frenzied attack. They dumped his body in the middle of the road near Woolwich Barracks in south east London on May 22 last year.

The verdicts, which took the jury just 90 minutes to reach, provoked widespread condemnation of the attack from high-profile figures including the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Theresa May.

Adebolajo, a married father of six, and Adebowale lay in wait near Woolwich Barracks and picked 25-year-old Fusilier Rigby to kill after assuming he was a soldier because he was wearing a Help for Heroes hooded top and carrying a camouflage rucksack.

After driving into the young father in their Vauxhall Tigra, the killers - who had armed themselves with eight knives, including a meat cleaver and a five-piece set bought by Adebolajo the previous day - butchered him in the street in front of horrified onlookers.

One witness described their actions, yards from Mulgrave Primary School, as being ''like a butcher attacking a joint of meat''.

The jury of eight women and four men sat through weeks of evidence including shocking footage of Adebolajo with bloodied hands confessing to the killing and claiming his actions were ''an eye for an eye''.

Both men were shot by police in dramatic scenes captured by CCTV.

Adebolajo was seen dropping the meat cleaver as he sprinted across the road towards a police car, collapsing to the ground when he was shot.

Adebowale, who moved along a wall to draw fire from the officers, was seen folding over as he was shot by one of three armed officers.

Both men asked to be called by their adopted Islamic names in court - Adebolajo as Mujahid Abu Hamza, and Adebowale as Ismail Ibn Abdullah - and claimed they carried out the murder because they were ''soldiers of Allah''.

The jury was told this was no defence in law to the charge.

The men were cleared of the attempted murder of a police officer, and had previously admitted possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Mr Justice Sweeney said he will sentence the pair after a key Court of Appeal ruling on the use of whole-life jail terms.

A date for the appeal judgment has not been announced following a recent hearing before a panel of five leading judges, headed by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas.

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