Lee Rigby trial: Soldier near-beheaded - accused

One of the alleged murderers of Fusilier Lee Rigby told detectives the soldier was struck in the neck until his head “almost detached”, a court heard yesterday.

The car used in the killing of Fusilier Rigby. Picture: PA
The car used in the killing of Fusilier Rigby. Picture: PA
The car used in the killing of Fusilier Rigby. Picture: PA

Michael Adebolajo, 28, is accused of hacking Fusilier Rigby to death with a meat cleaver and knives, along with 22-year-old Michael Adebowale, on 22 May near Woolwich Barracks in south east London.

During police interviews played to the jury at the Old Bailey, Abebolajo said there was a “war between the Muslims and the British people” and he was a “soldier of Allah”.

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Asked what happened to Fusilier Rigby, Adebolajo said: “He was struck in the neck with a sharp implement and it was sawed until his head, you know, almost detached and may Allah forgive me if I acted in a way that is displeasing to him.”

In an earlier interview, the murder suspect told officers the “leaders” of Britain were “wicked, corrupt, selfish and oppressive” and he was “particularly disgusted by David Cameron, the Miliband brothers and what’s-his-name, Nick Clegg”.

He added that people did not realise the “wickedness and corruption” of former prime minister Tony Blair.

Occasionally revealing his face to the camera’s view, Adebolajo said: “It’s for those people who have not yet understood the nature, the nature of the war that’s ongoing and has been ongoing for some many years between the Muslims and the British people.”

He went on: “The proof that this war between the people of Britain and the Muslims is that unfortunately it has to be interpreted in this way simply because your leaders, you have leaders who rule over you, unfortunately they rule over you in a very wicked, corrupt, selfish and oppressive manner.”

Fusilier Rigby’s widow, Rebecca, left the court in tears as the interviews were played.

Adebolajo discussed politicians gathering in the House of Commons and paying tribute to soldiers killed in Afghanistan “as a disgusting practice”.

He said Prime Minister Mr Cameron was “trying to emulate the footsteps of Tony Blair as if he worships him”.

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Adebolajo told the detectives that British soldiers were being sent to “Muslim lands to commit mass murder”. He said he was ashamed to be called British because it was associated with the “murder, pillaging and rape of innocent people”.

In his third interview with police, Adebolajo asked one of the officers to explain why he was questioning him.

“Relate it back to why you feel this will benefit Lee Rigby’s family and ensure the safety of the British people,” he said, covered in a blue blanket with a copy of the Koran in front of him. The officer replied: “Lee Rigby was a soldier who was killed on Wednesday 22nd, as you know.

“The family of Lee Rigby are obviously very upset about it, and I’m trying to ask you as part of an investigation.”

Earlier in the day, the jury heard evidence from forensic psychiatrist Tim McInerney that Adebolajo showed “no regret or remorse”. Adebolajo told the psychiatrist that his actions had been “on the basis of his religious beliefs and because British soldiers were killing people in the Middle East”.

Reading a statement, prosecutor Oliver Glasgow said: “He showed no signs of regret or remorse.”

Mr McInerney added that Adebolajo warned he would be a “continuing risk to the British military”.

Adebolajo and Adebowale both deny murder, as well as the attempted murder of a police officer and conspiracy to murder a police officer.

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Pathologist Simon Poole told the court that Fusilier Rigby suffered “numerous and very deep” wounds to his neck, and that it would have taken “severe force” to inflict some of them.

There were stab wounds nearly 6in (14.4cm) deep in his chest, some of which had damaged his lung and breastbone, and injuries to his arms.

Dr Poole found that the cause of death was “multiple incised wounds”. He said one of the wounds to the soldier’s arms could have been defensive, or could have been inflicted as he lay unconscious.

The trial continues.