Lee Rigby trial hears from first aiders, police

The two men accused of murdering Fusilier Lee Rigby have gone on trial. Picture: PA
The two men accused of murdering Fusilier Lee Rigby have gone on trial. Picture: PA
Share this article
Have your say

AN ARMED police officer thought one of soldier Lee Rigby’s alleged murderers was going to kill her as he ran towards marksmen waving his hands in a chopping motion, a jury has heard.

The officer, identified only as D49, said in a statement she “instantly” thought she would die, when Michael Adebolajo, 28, ran towards the BMW X5 she had driven to Woolwich in the aftermath of the soldier’s death.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam, QC, read her account to jurors at the Old Bailey, in which she said: “I saw a black male running at me waving both his hands in the air in a chopping motion. In his right hand I saw what I call a meat cleaver or a machete.

“I instantly thought, ‘he’s going to kill me’. I went to draw my Glock [handgun]. Due to my position in the car – the internal door has a panel jutting out – I could not immediately draw my Glock. It was a split-second decision to draw my Taser.

“I could still see the look in the suspect’s eyes. They were so wide and I could see the whites of them. He was shouting.”

She then saw a second suspect, said to be Michael Adebowale, 22, holding a gun. “I thought, ‘oh my God, he’s going to shoot me’. I feared for my life.”

Adebolajo and Adebowale are accused of murdering Fusilier Rigby near Woolwich Barracks in south-east London on 22 May, as well as attempting to murder a police officer and conspiracy to murder a police officer. They deny the charges.

A second armed officer, identified as E48, was in court to give evidence in person.

Video footage of Adebolajo charging towards the officers and flying into the air as he was shot was played to the court. Adebowale was also seen falling to the ground as he was shot.

D49 kept her gun trained on Adebolajo as he lay on the ground, while E48 rushed back to the car to get a medical kit. He and another officer administered first aid to Adebowale.

E48 told the court that the officers had very little time to react when Adebolajo ran at them.

“He started to move towards the vehicle which started to raise my perception of the threat,” the officer said. “He almost instantly broke into a sprint and I realised we were being attacked. ”

The officer said D49, who was driving the car, was left “essentially unable to defend herself”.

He told the court: “She had a pane of glass to protect her. It was not ballistic glass.”

The marksman opened fire on Adebolajo as he ran towards the car, telling the jury he was in “the frame of mind” that the suspect posed a threat. He then saw Adebowale, who was lying on the ground after being shot, raise his arm, the court heard.

“I’ve still got a distinct image in my mind of him holding a black revolver in his hand, which struck me as unusual because he’d just been shot.”

The court also heard a statement from paramedic Nicholas Goh, who described Adebolajo as saying: “I don’t want anyone to die, I just want the soldiers out of my country. I did it for my God.”

Another paramedic, William Woolston, said in a statement that Adebolajo told him he believed in sharia law, and made repeated statements about British soldiers raping and killing women in Afghanistan.

The trial continues.


Lee Rigby murder trial hears eyewitness accounts