Drummer Lee Rigby's family reject 'extremist' groups using Woolwich murder for political gain

Family statement: 'Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others'

Family and colleagues of Drummer Lee Rigby have distanced themselves from “extremist” groups using his brutal murder as an excuse to commit violence and make political gains. The condemnation comes as a blow to groups planning to hold a series of marches across the country tomorrow.

The English Defence League and the British National Party have both planned nearly 60 different demonstrations across Britain and anti-fascists have vowed to oppose them. Unite Against Fascism and Hope Not Hate both told The Independent they would be in London to counter demonstrations by the two groups, while large EDL marches are also expected in Leeds and Manchester.

But the young soldier's relatives urged mourners to show their respect in a “peaceful manner” amid increased tensions between political and religious groups.

In a statement released through the Ministry of Defence, family members including his mother Lyn, stepfather Ian, wife Rebecca and son Jack, said: “We would like to emphasise that Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others.

”We would not wish any other families to go through this harrowing experience and appeal to everyone to keep calm and show their respect in a peaceful manner.“

A message circulated from Army HQ warned former soldiers that “Far-Right, extremist organisations (English Defence League in particular) will seize any opportunity to align veterans with their cause”. It added: “Veterans should be strongly discouraged from wearing regimental headdress or accoutrements if they are attending events organised or affiliated with extremist organisations.”

It also made clear that serving soldiers were barred from taking an “active part in the affairs of any political organisation, party or movement and they are not to participate in political marches or demonstrations”.

And retired Brigadier Ian Liles, Regimental Secretary of the Fusiliers Association, linked to Drummer Rigby’s Regiment, wrote to members: “I want to make absolutely clear the Regiment’s view on this. The hackle and the Regiment is not to be associated with any organisations which seek to exploit the death of one of our Regimental family for a range of self-serving and unhelpful reasons.

“It is wrong and disgraceful that the death of one of our own should be exploited in this manner and that dishonour, by wrongful association, is brought onto the Regiment. We are to remain dignified with our heads held high and respect Fusilier Rigby in the way we have all our dead; with honour and pride.”

And there was a further blow for EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, when a serving soldier - who had proposed taking his place on a sponsored walk in aid of Help for Heroes after the charity refused EDL donations – withdrew his offer. The soldier had been forced to deny racist sympathies over the plan, which he said was simply to ensure the charity did not miss out on money, and eventually announced he was pulling out today.

Meanwhile, it was also announced that one of Drummer Rigby’s suspected killers Michael Adebolajo was discharged from hospital where he had been recovering after he was shot by police. The 28-year-old had already been arrested on suspicion over the killing, and was further arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer.

Michael Adebowale, 22, has already been charged with murdering the young soldier and is due to appear at the Old Bailey on Monday. Separately today, officers said they had arrested two men aged 42 and 46 in east and north London on suspicion of being involved in the supply of illegal firearms.

And an inquest into Drummer Rigby's death was opened and adjourned during a brief hearing at Southwark Coroner's Court this morning.  The court heard that he was killed as he returned to his barracks after a day working at the Tower of London.

A friend of a suspected Woolwich attacker who was arrested after being interviewed on Newsnight has appeared in court charged with three terror offences unrelated to the Woolwich murder. Abu Nusaybah gave an interview to the BBC last week claiming that his friend Michael Adebolajo had been offered a job by MI5.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss