Questions remain over why police and intelligence agencies did not monitor the Muslim fanatics who beheaded a young soldier more closely, and an inquiry is being carried out by MPs on the Intelligence and Security Committee into how much they knew and whether the killers could have been stopped.
The devastated family of Lee Rigby have said they will “never forget” him as two Muslim extremists were convicted of his barbaric murder.
Michael Adebolajo, 29, showed no remorse as he kissed his Koran after he and fellow killer Michael Adebowale, 22, were told they face life behind bars for the atrocity.
Fusilier Rigby’s relatives, including mother Lyn, widow Rebecca and fiancee Aimee West, wept as the verdicts were given at the Old Bailey, and Mr Justice Sweeney praised their “great dignity” in sitting through harrowing evidence.
British Muslim converts Adebolajo and Adebowale mowed the young father down in a car before hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives in a frenzied attack, and dumping his body in the middle of the road near Woolwich Barracks in south east London on May 22.
The verdicts, which took the jury just 90 minutes to reach, provoked widespread condemnation of the attack from high-profile figures including the prime minister and home secretary Theresa May.
In a statement read by Det Inspector Pete Sparks outside court, Fusilier Rigby’s tearful relatives said: “No one should have to go through what we have been through as a family.
“We are satisfied that justice has been done, but unfortunately no amount of justice will bring Lee back.
“These people have taken him away from us forever but his memory lives on in all of us and we will never forget him.
“We are very proud of Lee, who served his country, and we will now focus on building a future for his son Jack, making him as proud of Lee as we all are.”
In stark contrast to the family’s grief, Adebolajo’s brother Jeremiah told reporters the attack on the soldier was “inevitable” and the justification for his death was “obvious”.
Adebolajo, a married father of six, and Adebowale lay in wait near Woolwich Barracks and picked 25-year-old Fusilier Rigby to kill after assuming he was a soldier because he was wearing a Help for Heroes hooded top and carrying a camouflage rucksack.
After driving into the soldier in their Vauxhall Tigra, the killers — who had armed themselves with eight knives, including a meat cleaver and a five-piece set bought by Adebolajo from Argos the previous day — butchered him in the street in front of horrified onlookers.
One witness described their actions, which took place just yards from Mulgrave Primary School, as being “like a butcher attacking a joint of meat”.
The men were both cleared of the attempted murder of a police officer, and had previously admitted possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Mr Justice Sweeney said he will sentence the pair in the new year, after a key appeal court ruling on the use of whole-life jail terms.
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