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Lee Rigby's parents: ‘Our son united country’
The family of murdered Lee Rigby said the young soldier’s horrific death had united the country and he had been “taken to everybody’s hearts like a son”.
His mother Lyn and stepfather Ian spoke in the aftermath of Michael Adebolajo, aged 29, and Michael Adebowale, aged 22, being convicted at the Old Bailey of Fusilier Rigby’s murder by running him down in a car and then hacking him to death.
Mrs Rigby said he wanted to join the Army since he was four, achieving his ambition by going on to serve with the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
“There was never any other career he wanted to do. Always the Army was number one and he followed his dream and obviously I supported Lee’s decision as that’s what he wanted to do. And we backed him all the way to get him into the Army,” said Mrs Rigby Having served in Afghanistan, she was relieved when he came back to the UK, and later took up a recruiting post based in London in 2011.
“I thought he’d be safe. You rest up easy – they’re not in the war zone and back home, doing a job that he loved doing. Nothing ever enters your head.”
Stepfather Ian Rigby said he believes that his stepson’s death had brought people together.
“He’s become a figurehead to unite the country and bring people back together,” he said.
“We’ve met such good friends, incredible friends out of nowhere that took us into their homes and brought us in with their families.” Mr Rigby added: “It shocked the nation and it made Lee part of everybody’s life, not just ours.
“Lee was taken to everybody’s hearts like a son.”
The funeral for Lee, who came from Middleton, took place at Bury Parish Church where people in their thousands lined the streets to pay their respects.
The trial had heard how British Muslim converts Adebolajo and Adebowale had lay in wait near Woolwich Barracks in London on May 22 and picked the 25-year-old to kill after assuming he was a soldier because he was wearing a ‘Help for Heroes’ hooded top and was carrying a camouflage rucksack.
Neither Adebolajo nor Adebowale had been able to offer any real defence for the barbaric attack during their trial, which was beset by legal delays.
The jury took little more than an hour to convict them of murder.
They will be sentenced at a hearing next month.
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