Lee Rigby’s widow Rebecca Rigby, left, ran out of court in tears as Michael Adebolajo described how he killed the soldier as part of a ‘military operation’. He and Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of murdering Fusilier Rigby (right) by running him down with a car and then hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives near Woolwich Barracks in south east London on May 22.
Mrs Rigby left the Old Bailey courtroom when Adebolago claimed the soldier was moving after he was hit by the car. Adebolajo, who was giving evidence for the first time, told the jury: ‘Al Qaeda, I love them, they’re my brothers.’
Woolwich ‘murderer’ Michael Adebolajo yesterday admitted killing Lee Rigby in a ‘military attack’ and described his attempts to decapitate him at the Old Bailey today.
He told the court: ‘After I struck the neck, I used another of the knives I had sharpened to try and remove the head but I was unsuccessful in this attempt.’
In cross-examination, prosecutor Richard Whittam QC earlier asked Adebolajo: ‘You and your co-defendant, acting together, killed Lee Rigby, didn’t you?’
He replied: ‘Yes.’
The barrister asked: ‘That’s because together you had agreed to kill someone. Do you agree?’
Again, Adebolajo replied: ‘Yes.’
He went on: ‘We planned a military attack which obviously involved, sadly – it’s not something enjoyable, something fantastic – the death of a soldier. It’s a military attack.’
When asked whether the killing was political, he told the jury: ‘Jihad by its very nature is political.’
Adebolajo described the killing of Fusilier Rigby as a ‘military operation’.
He said: ‘No Muslim hopes to have to kill anybody, that’s the first thing to make clear.
‘Just as a general plans attacks knowing full well that when he plans this attack people will die, this is what happens in war, so when we target a soldier this is a similar thing.
‘I am a soldier and this is war.
‘It’s not a casual joke. It’s a military operation. This is how we see it.
‘To fight Jihad for the sake of Allah, it’s not something that is to be taken lightly, fun or something like this.
‘Those responsible for sending British troops to kill Muslims, it just so happens, those people who have influence and control over the military are the Government, yes.’
Asked if the attack was designed to intimidate the public, Adebolajo said: ‘The truth is this, the Government and the British public have become aware of Jihad over the past years, a lot of people know the only reason it is occuring is because of foreign policy.’
Adebolajo denied that he threw Fusilier Rigby’s body into the path of an incoming vehicle.
He told the jury he wanted to deter ‘have-a-go heroes’ from approaching him.
He refused to answer questions about how long he and Adebowale had allegedly spent planning the attack.
When asked when he had tried, unsuccessfully, to buy bullets for the gun, he said: ‘I will not be specific, but it was a long time before the incident.’
Adebolajo told the jury that he had not planned to run down Fusilier Rigby with his car.
‘As for the colliding with the soldier, that was not something that was pre-meditated. It just so happened that Allah caused him to cross in front of my car.’
He admitted that he was ‘not 100% sure’ that Fusilier Rigby was a soldier at the time of the attack.
Victim: The alleged killers of Lee Rigby cut his throat because it was ‘humane’, a court has heard
He told the jury the 25-year-old had moved, and was ‘maybe semi-conscious, but he did not sit up or stand up’.
Adebolajo admitted striking Fusilier Rigby’s neck but denied hitting his head.
He said the soldier had already been killed by the time Adebowale left the smashed car and arrived at his side.
Addressing Adebowale in the dock briefly, he added: ‘He (Adebowale) struck him twice with his knife – and forgive me for speaking my brother – but I prevented him doing anymore because I said he was already dead.’
Adebolajo said he handed a letter to an eyewitness to make it clear that the events happened ‘for one reason and one reason only – that’s foreign policy’.
He said: ‘The life of this one soldier might save the lives of many, many people, not just from Muslim lands but from this country.’
Adebolajo said he asked people at the scene at Woolwich Barracks to film him to ‘make it clear to everybody why the soldier lost his life’ and ‘how this can be avoided in the future’.
Asked why he ran at the police when they arrived, he said: ‘I was almost certain that I would be shot to death.’
Adebolajo said he had ‘nothing but admiration’ for the firearms officers who applied first aid after he was shot.
Turning to his hospital treatment, he said: ‘I believe this country, from what I experienced, we have the best nurses on the planet.’
‘They show so much kindness to me while I was handcuffed to my bed,’ he said. ‘In Islam we respect this, but we don’t respect oppressors.’
Adebolajo told the court a number of times: ‘I am a soldier.’
He also said he was shocked at how long it took for Fusilier Rigby’s body to be buried.
‘It shocked me to the core. I thought surely he would be buried by now, because obviously he’s a soldier like myself, and in Islam we bury our deceased immediately.’
The 28-year-old told the jury that he has no complaint against the police marksman who shot him in the wake of the killing.
‘When I read the statements of the armed officers, I thought maybe they thought I was going to be a jobsworth, trying to claim some type of compensation because my humerus was shattered etc etc.
‘It was a man who shot me, the female she Tasered me. I have no grievance with them, they are not the ones who are killing Muslims. They are just doing their duty.’
Asked by his barrister David Gottlieb if he had any regrets, the defendant replied: ‘I will never regret obeying the command of Allah.
‘That is all I can say. I am a mujahid, I’m a soldier, I’m doing what Allah commands me to do.
‘I can’t do anything else.’
He was then asked about his feelings towards Fusilier Rigby’s family.
Adebolajo, who used the name Mujaahid Abu Hamza, replied:
‘I have no animosity or bad feelings towards them. Every soldier has a family who loves him just like me.
‘My family didn’t stop loving me the moment I became a soldier.
‘I don’t blame them, I don’t wish bad upon them or harm upon them.
‘I killed somebody they loved and who was dear to them. At the same time people who I love and are dear to me are being killed as well.
‘You are not the only ones who feel pain in this country – Muslims feel pain and love too.
‘That soldier’s life or his death might protect the lives of other soldiers who are being sent to die in unjust wars.’
‘My religion is everything… Al Qaeda are my brothers’
Michael Adebolajo, 28, told the jury his ‘religion is everything’ and admitted he hoped to be accepted into Paradise as a martyr for Adebolajo today denied murder on the grounds he is a ‘soldier of Allah’, with the soldier’s relatives sat feet away.
Asked who Al Qaeda were by his counsel, Adebolajo replied: ‘Al Qaeda, I consider to be Mujahideen.
Evidence: Woolwich suspect Michael Adebolajo, who was surrounded in the dock by guards, today said he killed Lee Rigby because he is ‘at war’
‘I love them, they’re my brothers. I have never met them. I consider them my brothers in Islam.’
He added: ‘Mujahideen are the army of Allah.’
He went on: ‘My religion is everything.
‘When I came to Islam I realised that… real success is not just what you can acquire, but really is if you make it to paradise, because then you can relax.’
Adebolajo said he converted to Islam in his first year at Greenwich University.
When asked about his attitude to people in authority, he said:
‘Generally speaking, I don’t get along with them, generally. In most instances I don’t get along with authority, except for my mother and my father.’
As ground rules were set out for his giving evidence, including not speaking over the judge, he said: ‘I don’t believe in the law.’
When asked what his defence to the charge of murder is, Adebolajo said:
‘I’m a soldier. I’m a soldier of Allah and I understand that some people might not recognise this because we do not wear fatigues and we do not go to the Brecon Beacons and train and this sort of thing. But we are still soldiers in the sight of Allah as a mujahid.
Last seen: Drummer Rigby was seen here getting off a DLR train at Woolwich Arsenal Station, just before he was hacked to death on May 22
‘This is all that matters, if Allah considers me a soldier, then I am a soldier.’
He said he should be ransomed back to other jihadi fighters, set free or killed if he is found guilty.
‘As an enemy soldier, I believe I should be ransomed to my mujahid brothers.
‘Or I should be set free, or I should be killed.’
Earlier the court heard how he attended demonstrations against British foreign policy which were organised by al Muhajiroun, a group proscribed under the UK Terrorism Act.
Adebolajo said the group’s co-founder Anjem Choudary was a ‘good man’ but he disagreed with some of his views.
The court heard that he used to attend the events ‘in the hope it might make a difference’, but added: ‘I was somewhat naive.’
‘In reality, no demonstration will make a difference,’ he added.
After one protest he was jailed for 51 days for assaulting two police officers. In 2010 he attempted to travel to Somalia but was captured in Kenya and sent back to the UK.
Adebolajo and Adebowale deny murdering Fusilier Rigby, conspiring to murder a police officer and attempted murder.
They admit possessing a firearm.
The trial continues.
Shocking: This is the Vauxhall Tigra that was used during the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby which was shown in court during the trial of Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22
Evidence: This giant knife was found on the passenger seat of the vehicle that ploughed into Drummer Rigby at 40mph on May 22. It was not used in the killing
Gunfire: The armed officers shot Adebowale, right, and Adebolajo, left on the floor, and he said today he had ‘nothing but admiration’ for them but admitted he believed he would be shot dead
Adebolajo became a father for the sixth time four days before he carried out Woolwich murder, court told
Testimony: Giving evidence for the first time Michael Adebolajo said he loved Al Qaeda and said its members were his ‘brothers’
Father-of-six Michael Adebolajo’s youngest child was just four days old when he killed Lee Rigby, the Old Bailey heard today.
Married Adebolajo told the jury that having a wife and children was not an excuse not to fight.
He said ‘Allah might throw me in the hellfire’ if he ‘did not fight for this reason’.
Earlier he described how he was brought up as a Christian who became a ‘soldier of Allah’.
He admitted today to killing the Fusilier but denies murder, he told the jury.
He told the jury of eight women and four men: ‘My parents used to take us to church every Sunday. The memory that sticks in my mind… is probably every New Year’s Eve in the evening around 11 o’clock we would gather around in candlelight and read passages from the Bible.’
Adebolajo told the court that he took the name Mujahid, meaning fighter, in 2002 or 2003.
‘Growing up I never did think of killing a man. This is not the type of thing that the average child thinks of and I was no different.
‘When a soldier joins the Army he perhaps has in his head an understanding that he will kill a man at some stage. When I became a mujahid I was aware that perhaps I might end up killing a soldier.’
In 2010 he tried to travel to Somalia but was captured in Kenya and brought back to the UK.
Adebolajo said: ‘There’s a lot more to the story but I won’t mention that.’
He said that, growing up in Romford, the ‘vast majority’ of his friends were white British, and one, Kirk Redpath, joined the Army and was later killed in Iraq by an IED.
Adebolajo said: ‘I hold Tony Blair responsible for his death.’
He told the jury that he and Adebowale prayed to Allah that they would attack a soldier and not a civilian.
‘To be 100 per cent, I don’t believe there’s a way to know 100 per cent that was a soldier, however there were some steps that we took.
‘For example before we started out on that day and the night previous to that I started worshipping Allah and begging him that … we strike a soldier and a soldier only.’
Planning: Adebolajo said today that before he killed Lee Rigby he ‘started worshipping Allah and begging him that we strike a soldier and a soldier only’
Adebolajo earlier told the jury that he used to attend demonstrations ‘in the hope it might make a difference’.
He added: ‘I was somewhat naive.’
Adebolajo told the court that at one demonstration he was arrested and sent to prison.
He said that in his cell he realised the demonstrations were ‘impotent rage’.
‘In reality, no demonstration will make a difference,’ he added.
Background: Adebolajo, 28, pictured in a police interview, said today he was brought up as a Christian but became a Muslim when a student at Greenwich University