'Outrage' if taxpayers' money helps Lee Rigby killer's appeal

Bury Times: Michael Adebolajo Michael Adebolajo

TAXPAYERS’ cash that could be spent on an appeal bid by one of Lee Rigby’s murderers would be better spent on the soldier’s memorial, says Bury North MP David Nuttall.

He said people will be outraged if public money helps Michael Adebolajo fight a legal case.

Drummer Rigby, aged 25, was a member of the 2nd battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, whose headquarters are in Bury, when he was murdered in Woolwich, London, last May.

Thousands of people lined the streets when his funeral took place at Bury Parish Church in July.

Michael Adebowale was jailed for a minimum of 45 years, while Adebolajo was given a whole life order, meaning he must stay in prison until he dies.

Adebolajo’s legal advisors are planning to appeal against the length of his sentence and, if a judge allows it, he would get legal aid to pay for barristers and other court costs.

In Parliament last Thursday, Mr Nuttall said: “May we have a debate on the use of public money in murder cases, so that the house can consider whether it is appropriate for legal aid to be spent on paying for an appeal by one of the murderers of Drummer Lee Rigby?

“The public are rightly outraged by this and believe the money would be better spent on providing a fitting memorial for Fusilier Rigby.”

Mr Nuttall said the debate should specifically be about whether people should be able to appeal against whole life orders.

“The judge has passed the whole life sentence for a reason and we should have debate on whether it should be the case that some crimes should be ‘unappealable’,” Mr Nuttall said.

Leader of the House of Commons Andrew Lansley MP answered: “What happened in Woolwich last year was a sickening and barbaric attack.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of the victim and with the community.

“They are grieving for someone they love. They have lost a brave soldier.

“On legal aid, (Mr Nuttall) will know that legal aid is available for all criminal cases in the Court of Appeal.

“However, a judge has to grant leave to appeal and the court can also grant legal aid.”

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