The trial into the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich this year begun at the Old Bailey today.

The prosecution against 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo and 22-year-old Michael Adebowale told the jury that the two men allegedly killed the 25-year-old soldier in a “cowardly and callous” way.

The prosecution claimed that the two men ran Rigby over with a Vauxhall Tigra that was travelling at up to 40mph. They then dragged the soldier’s lifeless body and began stabbing him and attempting to decapitate him with a meat cleaver.

Prosecutor Richard Quittam QC said:

At the same time as Michael Adebolajo used the meat cleaver, Michael Adebowale was using a knife to stab and cut at Lee Rigby’s body.

Both men then dragged Lee Rigby’s body into the middle of the road. They wanted the members of the public present to see the consequence of their barbarous acts.

They had committed a cowardly and callous murder by deliberately attacking an unarmed man in civilian clothes from behind using a vehicle as a weapon and then they murdered him and mutilated his body with a meat cleaver and knives.

Such heinous behaviour is in distinct contrast to the bravery and decency shown by some of the members of the public present.

The court was also told that the two men allegedly bought a set of five kitchen knives and a knife sharpener from Argos a day before the murder and which were used in the attack.


Armed with knives, a meat cleaver and an unloaded firearm, Adebowale and Adebolajo allegedly went on to carry out the attack on 22 May just outside the army barracks in Woolwich.

The jury were shown CCTV footage of the suspects’ movements before the attack, including their drive in the Vauxhall Tigra to the scene of the incident. Jurors were also shown CCTV footage of the actual murder.

Following the attack, the two suspects went on to allegedly explain their motives in footage recorded on mobile phones, with Adebolajo saying:

These solders go to our land, kill our people – so an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth. An eye for an eye – you will never be safe until you leave us alone.

This all took place as the suspects seemed to wait for police to arrive at the scene – a significant point as they also stand trial for conspiracy to murder a police officer, and witnesses claimed that the two seemed ready to carry out such an attack.

When the police arrived, the suspects moved towards the officers vehicle with Adebolajo aiming the empty gun at police. Both men were shot and detained.

Adebowale, also known as Ismail Ibn Abdullah and Adebolajo, also known as Mujaahid Abu Hamza, have plead not guilty to all charges.

The trial continues.