Lee Rigby killers jailed for life after fight breaks out in dock during sentencing
The two Muslim fanatics who murdered soldier Lee Rigby in south-east London have been sentenced to life in prison.
Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, mowed the young soldier down in a car before hacking him to death in front of horrified onlookers near Woolwich barracks on May 22 last year.
Adebolajo was effectively told he would die behind bars after being handed a whole-life sentence with no chance of parole, while Adebowale was given life with a minimum term of 45 years.
They were not present to hear their own sentences after a scuffle broke out in the dock with guards. After Adebolajo and Adebowale shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is great) and declared that ‘you [Britain] and America will never be safe’, they were taken down to cells in the courtroom.
Police sitting with the family of Fusilier Rigby in court stood in front of the dock to prevent them from seeing the distressing scenes.
They had been told they could face whole-life jail terms after a key appeal court ruling last month found that the sentences can be used by UK judges.
Mr Justice Sweeney waited until after the decision to tell British-born Adebolajo and Adebowale their fate.
During their Old Bailey trial last year, Adebowale, from Greenwich, south-east London, offered no evidence in his defence, but Adebolajo, from Romford, Essex, gave a rambling testimony during which he told the jury he loved al-Qaeda.
He claimed that they were ‘soldiers of Allah’ and had carried out the sickening killing as revenge for abuse of Muslims abroad.
They chose Fusilier Rigby, 25, as their victim because he was wearing a Help for Heroes hooded top that day, and they assumed he was a soldier.
After the pair were convicted at the Old Bailey in December, Adebolajo kissed his Koran and raised it into the air as he and his accomplice were led down to the cells.
Fusilier Rigby’s family, who were praised for their dignity throughout the trial, welcomed the killers’ convictions.
His mother Lyn said: ‘We are satisfied that justice has been served, but unfortunately no amount of justice will ever bring Lee back.’
Fusilier Rigby’s widow Rebecca told the court in a moving victim impact statement that their son would be forced to see ‘images of his dad that no son should ever have to endure’.