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Northern Ireland Assembly parties join together to pay tribute to soldier Lee Rigby butchered in street in Woolwich

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Drummer Lee Rigby was hacked to death in Woolwich

Drummer Lee Rigby was hacked to death in Woolwich

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Drummer Lee Rigby was hacked to death in Woolwich

The Assembly united across all parties to pay tribute to murdered soldier Lee Rigby and send condolences to his family.

Alliance Party leader and Justice Minister David Ford passed on his sympathies to the relatives, friends and colleagues of Drummer Rigby, who was hacked to death with knives and cleavers last Wednesday in Woolwich.

Two men were shot by police following the horrific incident.

One is still in hospital under guard, while the other was discharged and is in police custody.

Upon his release from medical care, Michael Adebowale (22) was arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer.

The second murder suspect, Michael Adebolajo (28), is still being treated for his wounds.

His family has issued a written statement condemning the killing and offering their sympathies to the Rigby family. Both men are Britons of Nigerian background who are understood to be converts to Islam.

A number of other people have been arrested and are being questioned about the murder which has sent shockwaves through Britain and around the world.

Mr Ford said: “On behalf of my party colleagues I want to extend my sympathy to the family and friends of Drummer Lee Rigby.

“As a resident of Antrim and a representative for South Antrim I was struck by the similarity of his murder on the streets of Woolwich with the terrible events at Massereene Barracks four years ago. Drummer Lee Rigby survived a tour of duty in Afghanistan, only to be murdered in such brutal fashion on the streets of London.

“We stand together, united in opposition to the terror that took the life of Drummer Lee Rigby.

“We stand together in solidarity and support and we must stand together in opposition to those who seek division.”

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt (below) conveyed his condolences to the soldier’s family.

He said: “This is the first occasion on which the House has had an opportunity to say a few words since the barbaric murder of Lee Rigby last Wednesday.

“I believe that the people of Northern Ireland are looking for opportunities to express sympathy to the family, support for the armed services and solidarity against terrorism. So, my party has called on our 26 local councils to open books of condolence.

“We would also like to see, on the day of the funeral, gathering places where people can go for a minute's silence in respect for Lee Rigby and for our armed services.”

Sinn Fein’s Mitchel McLaughlin also expressed his party’s revulsion at the killing.

He said: “People can have their views on all sorts of issues. However, this murder was particularly shocking and should be properly condemned.

“On behalf of my party, I extend our condemnation of the attack and our sympathy to the young man's family.”

The SDLP’s Alex Attwood said: “My party and I wish to extend to Drummer Lee Rigby's family and colleagues in the Army our condolences and sympathy on this terrible murder.

“A short while ago, I attended the family home and funeral of Corporal Channing Day not far from this building. In that family, the sense of loss but also the sense of pride was very clear and evident, and the loss and pride at the death of Drummer Lee Rigby have also been very clear and evident.”

Brenda Hale, herself a military widow, spoke for the DUP.

She said: “We need to remember that at the heart of all this is a young widow and a young son.

“My deepest condolences go to Mrs Rigby, her son Jack, and to the wider family circle.”

Belfast Telegraph