Video footage of soldier Lee Rigby being mown down by a car and his alleged murderers dragging his body into the middle of the road has been shown to a jury.
There were gasps in oak-panelled Court Two of the Old Bailey as CCTV clips were played, and relatives of the fusilier left the room in tears.
Lee Rigby's wife, Rebecca, arriving at the court today. Pic: PA.
Prosecutors claim that the 25-year-old was victim to “a cowardly and callous murder” when Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, ran him over, dragged him into the middle of the road and attacked him with a meat cleaver and knife.
Richard Whittam QC told the court: “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.”
Adebolajo tried to decapitate the soldier while Adebowale stabbed and cut him, the jury heard.
The first piece of footage showed a Vauxhall Tigra, that prosecutors claim was being driven by Adebolajo, swerve across Artillery Place in Woolwich, south east London, and mow down the fusilier.
Other footage showed the two men dragging his body into the road.
The jury was told that the car was driven “straight at” Fusilier Rigby at a speed of 30-40mph.
Witness Gary Perkins described the attackers’ actions as being “like a butcher attacking a joint of meat”, while Amanda Bailey, who saw the events from inside her Peugeot 206, said one of the attackers looked as if “he didn’t care”.
Mr Whittam told the jury: “As she put it, ’I was so shocked that all I could do was sit there and stare at what was happening. I couldn’t believe what was going on. He was determined and he wasn’t going to stop. He didn’t care’.”
Michael Adebolajo (right) and Michael Adebowale (second right), the two accused of Lee Rigby's murder. Pic: Elizabeth Cook.
Adebolajo clutched a copy of the Koran in the dock as the prosecution began.
Mr Whittam told the jury that members of the public showed “bravery and decency” in the aftermath of the alleged attack.
“Such heinous behaviour is in distinct contrast to the bravery and decency shown by some of the members of the public present. Despite the abhorrence of the scene, one woman went to the lifeless body of Lee Rigby and stroked him to provide some comfort and humanity to what had unfolded. Others went to see if they could provide first aid.
“Another woman engaged Michael Adebolajo in conversation despite the fact that he was still holding the meat cleaver and his hands were covered in blood.”
The court heard that the two men were also armed with a gun, and have admitted posession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Mr Whittam told the jury of eight women and four men that the firearm was part of the plan the pair had made, and was used partly to frighten off members of the public before the emergency services arrived.
As a police vehicle swung into Artillery Place, both men moved towards it, Mr Whittam said, and Adebolajo raised the meat cleaver above his head.
Adebolajo and Adebowale are both accused of attempting to murder a police officer, and conspiracy to murder a police officer on or before May 22.
Armed officers shot both defendants and they were arrested, the court heard.
Mr Whittam told the court the defendants had been together for five hours before the alleged murder and added “it was clear” there had been an agreement to attack the police when they arrived.
The events took place within yards of Mulgrave Primary School, the court heard, to which children were returning from a visit to the library. Members of the public turned them back to avoid the “awful” scene.
A number of women went to the scene to comfort the soldier, the jury heard.
One of the women was Amanda Donnelly Martin, who was with her daughter.
Another woman,Vikki Cave, approached the body to see if she could help, Mr Whittam said.
She heard the taller of the alleged killers talking about “religion”, the jury was told.
Mr Whittam said he was “saying things about religion such as ’these soldiers go to our land, kill/bomb our people – so an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’".