24 May 2013

Woolwich suspect ‘has been preaching for years’

Communities Editor

A local man tells Channel 4 News Home Affairs Correspondent Darshna Soni that Woolwich suspect Michael Adebolajo “has been preaching extremist messages for years”.

Woolwich suspect 'has been preaching for years'

Could Wednesday’s attack have been prevented? This is one of the questions being asked by an inquiry ordered by David Cameron, into the decision not to monitor Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.

Channel 4 News has reported that Adebolajo used to attend events by the now banned Islamic group al-Muhajiroun.

We’ve now learnt that he was very well known locally for running a stall handing out extremist literature.

“He was a very angry person, always in your face.”

Danny Mercer told us that Adebolajo was a regular fixture on Woolwhich High Street.

He was often seen handing out leaflets that about British involvement in foreign wars.

“He was always confrontational and wanted to have his say. If any passer-by disagreed, or tried to have their say, he would get angry and verbally attack them.”

Mr Mercer claims that local beat officers were very well aware of Adebolajo’s stall, and would often talk to him, but never move him on.

He recalls an incident on a bus, which caused particular alarm: “We were going into Woolwhich to do some shopping, when he got onto the bus. He came onto the top deck and then suddenly started preaching… he scared everyone, he was getting very angry and talking about his hatred for the government.”

Mr Mercer tells of a local firebrand, well known by the community and by the police.

The question now being asked is whether Adebolajo’s activities should have been monitored.