8 Apr 2014

Woolwich murder: Michael Adebolajo launches appeal

Michael Adebolajo, one of the men found guilty of murdering soldier Lee Rigby, launches an appeal against his whole-life sentence.

Michael Adebolajo (MET POLICE)

Adebolajo was sentenced at the Old Bailey in February alongside Michael Adebowale, who was jailed for life with a minimum term of 45 years.

The pair were sentenced by Mr Justice Sweeney for butchering the 25-year-old father of one in broad daylight near Woolwich Barracks in south east London on 22 May last year.

The pair were convicted of Rigby’s murder in December, and since then the court of appeal has ruled that whole-life sentences for the “most heinous cases” are justified.


During their trial last year, Adebolajo, from Romford, Essex, argued that he was a “soldier” who was “obeying the command of Allah”. The Muslim convert said he did not regret killing Rigby, and also said that he “loves” al-Qaeda.

Adebolajo horrified millions of people by appearing on camera with bloodied hands clutching a knife and a meat cleaver moments after killing Rigby.

The 29-year-old, who was raised as a Christian, became a committed Islamic extremist who tried to join jihadis in east Africa, and then brought terror to the streets of the UK.

In the shocking footage filmed just after the incident, he was seen ranting about how Muslims in other countries had to witness similar horrors to that which he and Adebowale had wreaked in south-east London.

‘Meat cleaver’

Another film clip captured him charging towards police clutching a knife and a meat cleaver, and flying through the air after he was shot by the embattled marksmen.

Giving evidence in court, he only showed emotion when talking about his religious beliefs, but remained calm when describing his chilling attempts to decapitate Fusilier Rigby.

He told jurors that he had converted to Islam in 2002 or 2003, when he was a student at the University of Greenwich, and chose to take the name Mujahid Abu Hamza.

Adebolajo said he wanted to be called Mujahid, meaning fighter, after he learned “how much Allah loves the mujahideen”. In police interviews and throughout his court appearances, he spoke about his political and religious motivations.