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Life sentence for murderer of UK soldier Lee Rigby, accomplice gets 45 years

Published time: February 26, 2014 17:18
Edited time: February 27, 2014 04:34
Protestors demonstrate outside the Old Bailey court in London, on February 26, 2014, ahead of the sentencing of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale for the killing of British soldier Lee Rigby in May 2013 (AFP Photo / Carl Court)

Protestors demonstrate outside the Old Bailey court in London, on February 26, 2014, ahead of the sentencing of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale for the killing of British soldier Lee Rigby in May 2013 (AFP Photo / Carl Court)

Muslim convert Michael Adebolajo, who murdered Drummer Lee Rigby in a south-east London street attack in May last year, has been sentenced to life in prison. His partner in the crime, Michael Adebowale, was given a minimum 45 years behind bars.


Michael Adebolajo, 29 and Michael Adebowale, 22 were read out their jail terms late Wednesday afternoon at the Old Baily court in London.

Before the sentences were given, the two scuffled with security guards, meaning the sentence was delivered while they were absent.

The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, described the actions of the pair as “sickening.”

A photograph of Drummer (Private) Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is pictured in the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey in London (Reuters / Luke MacGregor)

Sue Hemming, head of special crimes and counter terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service expressed horror at the nature of the attack.“Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale revelled in one of the most appalling terrorist murders I have seen whilst head of counter terrorism at the CPS,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Today’s sentence reflects the true horror of their actions in taking this young man’s life in such a barbaric way,” added Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick in a statement released by the force, shortly after Sweeney's ruling.

Right-wing British National Party and English Defence League protesters gathered outside the court as the sentences were read. Many of them were wielding signs which demanded: “Restore capital punishment.”

The bloody broad-daylight street attack in May last year on Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London shocked the nation.

Replica hangman's gallows are seen during a protest outside the Old Bailey courthouse in London February 26, 2014. (Reuters / Neil Hall)

Rigby was murdered as he returned to the Woolwich barracks on May 22 last year. Adebolajo and Adebowale mowed him down with a car before attacking him with knives and attempting to hack his head off with a meat cleaver.

Graphic video footage of Adebolajo with blood-tainted hands circulated the globe. Sweeney underlined that this level of media coverage was part of their intention.

Both were found guilty in December last year. At the trial, Adebolajo claimed they were ‘soldiers of Allah’ and were acting in revenge against the treatment of Muslims abroad.

The attack saw a surge in anti-Islamic sentiment in the UK, with a rise in both hate crimes and anti-Islamic street protests.

Police forces nationwide reported a surge in assaults against Muslims last year, with Mosques being a prime target. A mosque in Harlow, Essex, was the subject of attempted arson in August last year, and in June, an Islamic centre was burned to the ground in Muswell Hill, north London in an overnight attack.

Comments (38)


Tony Blair 27.02.2014 18:17

I suggest you liberal marxists go & live in Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Saudi & see what its actually like in practice on the ground & come out of your ivory academic towers. I have.


Alan Rigby Marr 27.02.2014 17:45

Gentleman Fox
I am certainly not a defender of Islam, however there are highly civilised elements within it especially if one refers to some of the great spiritual works written by the Sufis. I am however bitterly opposed to extremist Moslems. Which we all are of course.


Gentleman Fox 27.02.2014 16:26

The topic that seems to be of discussion is Islam, not the policies of Muslims countries as that's a different topic altogether.

Whats ironic is the people who called for these two murderers in Woolwich to be killed via the abolished death penalty see the fact that Islam allows the death penalty to suddenly be barbaric after wanting it to be reintroduced!
The level of hypocrisy is ridiculous.

View all comments (38)
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