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Rebecca Rigby (second left), the wife of murdered Lee Rigby, weeps as a statement is read out by Detective Inspector Pete Sparks (right) outside the courthouse. Max Nash/PA Wire
lee rigby

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale convicted of Lee Rigby murder

Rigby’s family said justice had been done, but “no amount of justice will bring Lee back”.

TWO MUSLIM EXTREMISTS were today found guilty of hacking to death a British soldier in broad daylight on a London street.

Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, ran over Lee Rigby with a car before attacking him with knives outside his barracks in May.

Adebolajo tried to behead Rigby with a meat cleaver in front of horrified passers-by.

The pair had argued they attacked the 25-year-old soldier to avenge the deaths of Muslims at the hands of British troops.

Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain was united in condemnation of the killing, which state prosecutors described as “one of the most savage offences ever prosecuted by our counter-terrorism lawyers”.

Rigby’s relatives, who had walked out of the trial several times during harrowing evidence about his death, broke down in tears as the guilty verdicts were given.

Adebolajo kissed his copy of the Qu’ran as he was taken down to the cells at the Old Bailey court in London.

Jurors cleared Adebolajo and Adebowale of the attempted murder of a police officer.

The pair were shot by armed police at the murder scene in Woolwich, southeast London, after Adebolajo charged at them waving the meat cleaver, while Adebowale raised a rusty, unloaded gun.

The killers, both Britons who were raised by Nigerian Christian families before converting to Islam, may not be sentenced until January.

imageCourt artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of of Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo as they were found guilty of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

The court heard that they believed they were “soldiers of Allah” who were avenging the deaths of Muslims, but the judge ruled on Tuesday that this could not be used as a defence.

Minutes after the murder, Adebolajo, still wielding the cleaver and with his hands covered with blood, told onlookers the attack was “an eye for an eye”.

“We swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone,” he said in a rant that was filmed on a witness’s mobile phone.

“I apologise that women had to witness this today, but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe.”

Rigby’s family said justice had been done, but “no amount of justice will bring Lee back”.

His widow Rebecca, mother of their toddler son, sobbed as a family spokesman told reporters outside the court: “This has been the toughest time of our lives. No one should have to go through what we’ve been through as a family.”

Relatives of Rigby said Islam could not be held responsible for his murder.

“You can’t hold religion responsible for their views,” Rigby’s stepfather Ian said of Adebolajo and Adebowale in an emotional interview with ITV television.

“They’re using religion as an excuse for whatever they’ve been brainwashed with.”

He added that his stepson had become “a figurehead to unite the country and bring people back together”.

Read: Man accused of Lee Rigby murder “loves” Al Qaeda: “They’re my brothers” >

Read: Men accused of killing Lee Rigby in Woolwich plead ‘not guilty’ >

© – AFP 2013

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