Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Rigby killer's mother: forgive him

Michael Adebowale is facing life in prison for the murder of soldier Lee Rigby

The mother of one of the Muslim extremists who butchered Fusilier Lee Rigby has asked the soldier's family to forgive her son.

Juliet Adebowale said in a television interview that she wanted to meet with Fusilier Rigby's loved ones to express her "heartfelt" condolences.

Michael Adebowale, 22, and Michael Adebolajo, 29, were found guilty at the Old Bailey yesterday of murdering the young soldier near Woolwich Barracks on May 22.

Mrs Adebowale, 52, a former probation officer, told ITV London: " My desire would be to meet with the family of the victim and to express my heartfelt condolences. Because I think we've both lost our sons."

Addressing Fusilier Riby's mother, she said: "Please, Lynette, I want you to find a space in your heart to forgive Michael for what he has done.

"He was such a sweet boy and something happened to him. I lost him. I am sorry. I really condemn the whole thing."

She added: "I wish I could make things better again. I just wish something better could be worked out to ensure this does not repeat itself. No more of this violence, these violent killings again. It's sad. It's a tragedy."

In an earlier interview with The Sun, Mrs Adebowale said that her son adopted extreme Muslim views only seven weeks before the killing when he met Adebolajo during a march.

She told the newspaper that her son - raised as a Christian - had been a shy boy who was bullied at school, and became a Muslim at 17 to protect himself from local gangs after he witnessed a friend being murdered.

But he was drawn in to extremism, and his mother was so concerned she befriended the mosque he attended to speak with its Imam.

Ms Adebowale said: "They said not to worry, it would be OK. Then I had the shock of my life in May when that harrowing act took place with that older man. It was so out of character, he was very vulnerable. When people are vulnerable the evil ones will lure them.

"He had known Adebolajo since they went on a march at the end of March. I still can't comprehend what happened, what got into his head. The extremism is tearing us apart."

Ms Adebowale also told how her son had fallen under the spell of the older Adebolajo, and has been on suicide watch since having psychotic episodes in which he saw "Christian angels" trying to lure him back from Islam.

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