- POSTED: 20 Dec 2013 20:34
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Two men have been found guilty of murdering a British soldier on a busy London street. 25-year-old Lee Rigby was run over by a car and then hacked at with a meat cleaver by 29-year-old Michael Adebolajo and 22-year-old Michael Adebowale in May.
SINGAPORE: Two men have been found guilty of murdering a British soldier on a busy London street.
25-year-old Lee Rigby was run over by a car and then hacked at with a meat cleaver by 29-year-old Michael Adebolajo and 22-year-old Michael Adebowale in May.
They were found not guilty of attempting to murder a police officer at the scene.
In broad-daylight, on a busy London street, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale stood and waited for police, just moments after brutally murdering Drummer Lee Rigby.
Armed police arrived within minutes and fired shots at both men. Both are now facing life sentence.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Well the whole country was completely shocked by the murder of Lee Rigby and the whole country united in condemnation of what happened. And I'm sure everyone will welcome these verdicts today. I think it also shows that we have to re-double our efforts to confront the poisonous narrative of extremism and violence that lay behind this."
During the trial, the jury was shown a police interview with Adebolajo explaining that the pair had wanted to target a soldier.
Adebolajo said in the interview: "Between us we decided that the soldier is the fairest target because he joins the army with a kind of an understanding that your life is at risk if you join the army, you know?"
The family of Lee Rigby had been in court regularly throughout the trial, but left the Old Bailey as the jury was shown graphic images of the horrific attack.
Adebolajo described the killing as a "military operation", saying he was a "a soldier of Allah".
He told the court he was at war and therefore could not be found guilty of murder. But the judge told the jury nothing Adebolajo said in court amounted in law to a defence.
The men had previously been on the radar of security services and police in London, with questions now being raised about what UK security officials knew.
In 2010, Adebolajo was detained in Kenya on suspicion of seeking to train with an Al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia, according to Kenyan officials, and had appeared in court there.
Police in London admit there may have been missed opportunities.
Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner, said: "There may be, with the benefit of hindsight, things that not just the police, not just the agencies -- I'm sure all sorts of people are scratching their heads and saying how could I have stopped this… So there may be something which, when we look back, it looks like a missed opportunity to do more."
The judge said he would pass sentence following a key appeal court ruling on the use of whole life terms, in January 2014.