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Lee Rigby murder defendants ‘cowardly and callous’

MURDER TRIAL: An artist's sketch of Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, standing trial at the Old Bailey (PA)

MURDERING BRITISH army soldier Lee Rigby was a “cowardly and callous” act, the prosecution has told an Old Bailey court as two men stand trial today charged with killing the serviceman.

The murder trial of Rigby, 25, who was murdered in Woolwich, southeast London, on May 22, has experienced numerous delays, but finally today defendants Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, have appeared in the dock as the case begins.

Both men, who are British and of Nigerian heritage, are accused of murdering Rigby by hacking him to death in broad daylight as the soldier made his way back to his barracks in Woolwich.

They are alleged to have attempted to decapitate Rigby.

Adebolajo, from Romford, Essex, and Adebowale, from Greenwich, southeast London, have also been charged with attempted murder of a police officer, conspiracy to murder a police officer, and possession of weapons.

They deny the charges, but have admitted possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear.

Family members of the murdered soldier are attending the trial in central London.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC told the court how the defendants drove a Vauxhall Tigra car at a speed between 30-40mph while they knocked down the fusilier.

The barrister said: “Both men then dragged his body into the middle of the road.

“They wanted members of the public to see the consequence of what can only be described as their barbarous acts.

“They had committed, you may think, a cowardly and callous murder by deliberately attacking an unarmed man in plain clothes from behind, using a vehicle as a weapon, and then they murdered him and mutilated his body with that meat cleaver and knives.”

The jury also heard details of the movements and planning of the defendants the day before Rigby was murdered, and how Adebolajo purchased a set of kitchen knives from an Argos store in Lewisham, southeast London.

The trial continues.

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