Jury shown shocking details of Fusilier Lee Rigby's death
2:10pm Friday 29th November 2013
2:10pm Friday 29th November 2013
JURORS have been shown footage of a car being driven into fusilier Lee Rigby before he was allegedly hacked to death "like a butcher attacking a joint of meat".
Michael Adebolajo, aged 28, of Oakwood Close, Lewisham, and Michael Adebowale, aged 22, of Thames Street, Greenwich, are charged with murdering the soldier as he walked back to Woolwich Barracks on May 22.
CCTV showed the moment a purple Vauxhall Tigra veered across the road at Artillery Place and slammed into the back of the soldier as he crossed, lifting him on to the bonnet and then the pavement.
Drummer Rigby, wearing a Help For Heroes hooded top, was hit at 30 to 40 mph, the court heard, rendering him unconscious.
The court heard two men then came out of the car armed with a meat cleaver, knives and a revolver before attacking the 25-year-old and then dragging his body into the road.
Opening the case, prosecutor Richard Whittam said: "They both attacked the motionless body of Lee Rigby.
"He was repeatedly stabbed and it appears it was Michael Adebolajo who made a serious and almost successful attempt to decapitate him with multiple blows to his neck made with the meat cleaver.
"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 his body into the middle of the road. They wanted the members of the public present to see the consequence of what can only be described as their barbarous acts.
"They had, you may think, 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 that 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."
Witness Gary Perkins claimed to see Adebolajo sawing at the soldier's neck while Adebowale hacked at the body "like a butcher attacking a joint of meat."
Shopkeeper Ibrahim Elidemir saw the car hit Drummer Rigby. Mr Whittam said: "He saw the driver attacking the throat of Lee Rigby with the chopper and the passenger stabbing his body.
"He said to the men 'don't kill him' but they did not listen. He told them not to leave. The passenger had a gun and aimed it at him."
Amanda Bailey was driving when the Tigra cut across her, and said she saw it accelerate. After it hit the soldier "she saw that his eyes were open but they looked frozen."
Mr Whittam said: "She saw the driver was carrying a cleaver in his right hand. He knelt down by Lee Rigby and took hold of his hair.
"He then repeatedly hacked at the right side of his neck just below the jaw. He was using considerable force, bringing his hand into the air each time before he struck."
Jurors were told how the events took place yards from Mulgrave Primary School. Mr Whittam said children were returning from a school visit to the library and members of the public turned them back so that they could not see "the awful scene" in Artillery Place.
As people comforted the victim, the armed men waited for police to arrive, jurors heard.
Once a police vehicle did swing into Artillery Place, dispatched from Lewisham, Adebolajo ran at it with a meat cleaver while Adebowale ran alongside a wall with the unloaded gun in hand, the court heard, raising and aiming it at the officers. Both men were shot.
Mr Whittam said of Adebolajo: "Had he not been shot it is difficult to think that he would not have succeeded in killing a police officer."
The court heard that Adebolajo had bought a five-piece set of kitchen knives, along with a knife sharpener, from the Lewisham branch of Argos the day before the attack.
Adebolajo has asked to be known as Mujaahid Abu Hamza in court, while Adebowale has asked to be called Ismail Ibn Abdullah.
They are also each accused of attempting to murder a police officer on the same day, and conspiracy to murder a police officer on or before that day.
They deny all charges but admit possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.
The trial continues.
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