The heartbroken fiancée of murdered soldier Lee Rigby yesterday branded his killers “cowards” as they began the first day of their life sentences.
Aimee West, who planned to marry the soldier in 2016, said: “They are cowards. They compare themselves to British soldiers, they say they’re soldiers of Allah. They’re not soldiers, they can’t possibly compare themselves to Lee.
“They attacked an unarmed man, from behind using a car as a weapon. They are not soldiers.”
Michael Adebolajo, 29, was given a whole-life term for the barbaric killing and Michael Adebowale, 22, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 45 years at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.
Both killers showed no remorse, leaping to their feet when they were sentenced for the murder near Woolwich barracks in south-east London in May last year.
Miss West told a daytime ITV programme: “We’d spent the whole trial sitting there but there was a screen put up, but yesterday they took the screen down for us … Just to see them kick off in the way that they did and start shouting. It was quite violent and just brought it all back.
“Just the images going round in your head again of that day in May, what it would have been like to be there.
“It’s the best outcome we could have got and to see that they weren’t happy about it – that it’s not what they wanted – it wouldn’t be torture for them to be killed which is what they wanted. I want them to suffer and that’s what’s going to happen now.”
Fusilier Rigby, a father-of-one, had asked Miss West to marry him in February 2013, three months before he was murdered and just before she was posted to Afghanistan with the Royal Military Police.
“He was really scared about me going. I just had to keep reassuring him,” she said.
“He was definitely traumatised by his tour of Afghanistan. I just had to keep reassuring him that we do completely different jobs.
“He was so loud and bubbly, everyone knew if he was there, everyone knew about it, he just lit up the room.”
Miss West revealed that 20 minutes before he was murdered, Fusilier Rigby had phoned her on his way home and said he loved her.
“He was in London and I was in Afghanistan. If anything was going to happen to one of us, we always thought it would be me.
“We arranged a time for me to ring him and I tried to ring him and he either picks up straight-away or it goes to answer phone because he’s got no signal and his phone rung off and instantly I knew something was wrong so I just kept trying his phone.
“I rung my mum to try and get her to ring Lee to see if she could get hold of him and she said, ‘Have you seen the news?’ and I said, ‘No’ and panicked and she kind of backtracked so I went back to my laptop and looked on the news and it just came up that a suspected soldier had been murdered and you see the picture of Lee laying on the floor in his jumper and I knew it was him.
“I bought him that jumper. I was just so shocked and so panicked and there was nothing I could do because of where I was.”
The fusilier’s mother, Lyn Rigby, 47, of Middleton, Manchester, said she spoke to her son as she watched the two fanatics receive justice.
She said: “I told Lee, ‘It’s time for you to rest in peace, my beautiful son. Justice has been done and sleep well until we meet again’.”
Ms Rigby added: “These sentences bring me comfort to know Lee will suffer no more – even though our pain goes on.”