'Butchered like a joint of meat': Jurors gasp as they are shown footage of Lee Rigby murder

Jurors told that Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale drove car straight at him at around 30mph to 40mph

The final moments of Fusilier Lee Rigby's life are captured in a series of CCTV images - some still, others moving, all apparently mundane. Wearing a "Help for Heroes" hoodie with a camouflage bag slung over his shoulder, he is filmed as he heads up the escalator at his local station. He is then pictured passing through the ticket barrier and starting his walk home to Woolwich Barracks. One shot shows him passing the Great Harry pub; two more the council offices and the library.

Then he is caught on film, a small figure in the distance walking along Artillery Place. From the footage it is clear he glances at the Vauxhall Tigra coming his way as he crosses the road. But he had turned his back by the time it veers over the central line and accelerates towards him. The 25-year-old is thrown on to the bonnet; the car then disappears off-screen.

In a split second the horrifying details of Lee Rigby's death were revealed at the Old Bailey yesterday, leaving the courtroom in silence.

The car was just the beginning. Like a "butcher attacking a joint of meat", Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, then set about the unconscious man with a cleaver and knives in a "serious and almost successful" attempt to saw off his head, Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, told the jury.

The attack is hidden from the sight of the camera fixed to the outside of a shop. But two small figures soon come back into shot, dragging the body of the dead 25-year-old into the road where he is dumped as a double-decker bus drives past. "They wanted the members of the public present to see the consequence of what can only be described as their barbarous acts," said Mr Whittam. "They had committed, you may think, a cowardly and callous murder by deliberately attacking an unarmed man in civilian clothes from behind using a vehicle as a weapon. Then they murdered him and mutilated his body with that meat cleaver and knives."

The court was told that Mr Adebolajo and Mr Adebowale killed the soldier in retaliation for the British military presence in Muslim countries.

As Mr Adebolajo was being taken away after being shot and injured by police, the court was told that he said to paramedics: "I did it for my God." Both Mr Adebolajo - who held a copy of the Koran in the dock - and Mr Adebowale deny murder.

The killing and its aftermath - caught on mobile phones and security cameras - was too much for some members of Fusilier Rigby's family. His widow, Rebecca, and his mother Lyn both left in tears before the footage was played.

Lee Rigby was killed on 22 May as he returned to barracks in south-east London from the Tower of London, where his regiment has its headquarters. His Army career included tours of duty in Cyprus, Germany and Afghanistan, the court was told.

Mr Adebolajo and Mr Adebowale had been driving around the area and had parked up when they spotted the soldier, it was alleged.  When they hit Fusilier Rigby they were travelling around 40 mph, the jury of eight women and four men was told.

Pictures shown to the jury reveal that the car smashed into a sign at such a speed that its front was destroyed. Fusilier Rigby was thrown off the bonnet and lay motionless two feet away. His eyes were open but he did not move, and he did not make a noise, witnesses told police.

Michael Adebolajo (left) and Michael Adebowale (right) at the Old Bailey Michael Adebolajo (left) and Michael Adebowale (right) at the Old Bailey (PA)
The court heard that Mr Adebolajo, the driver, was seen getting out of the car with a cleaver, Mr Adebowale with a pair of knives. Saraj Miah, who was having a cigarette outside a shop, told the men: "Don't kill him," but they did not listen, the court heard.

Amanda Bailey, who was driving past, saw Mr Adebolajo kneel down by Lee Rigby and grab his jaw, the court was told. He is then alleged to have repeatedly hacked at the right side of his neck just below the jawline.

Mr Whittam told the jury: "As she put it: 'I was so shocked that all I could do was sit there and stare. He was determined and he wasn't going to stop. He didn't care.'"

Ms Bailey told police that she saw the man hack at Fusilier Rigby's neck at least nine times. She drove off and spotted two classes of children from Mulgrave Primary School heading towards the area, and persuaded their teacher to take them away. The car immediately behind her was driven by electrician Thomas Seymour. He "instantly believed" that one of the attackers was "trying to cut the victim's head off", the court was told. Another car pulled up and the two people inside got out to see if they could help, before they realised that Fusilier Rigby was being attacked.

James Henegan and Cheralee Armstrong shouted at the men to stop. "They looked up as if neither were there ... and carried on," Mr Whittam said. As Mr Henegan and Ms Armstrong remonstrated with them, one of the men went to the car and pulled a 1920s revolver which he pointed at them. They jumped back into the car and drove a short distance, the court was told. The footage shows another driver setting his hazard lights and starting to get out of the car, before retreating when he realises what is going on.

People gathered at the scene, some believing that they were simply attending the aftermath of an accident, the court was told. In scenes of "bravery and decency", one woman, Amanda Donnelly Martin, who was with her daughter, went to the body of Lee Rigby and stroked him to "provide some comfort and humanity to what had unfolded", said Mr Whittam.

Another woman engaged Mr Adebolajo in conversation even though he was holding a meat cleaver and his hands were covered in blood, the jury heard. Viki Cave, a trained first aider who was driving nearby, saw Mr Rigby's body and went to help.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of a car running over Fusilier Rigby The jury was shown CCTV footage of a car running over Fusilier Rigby (Met Police)
One of the men was talking about religion and she heard him say something along the lines of: "These soldiers go to our land, kill or bomb our people," the jury was told. She then asked the man: "Are you going to hurt us?"

"He replied: 'No the women and children are safe. You need to get back when the police and the soldiers get here,'" Mr Whittam told the court.

Mr Adebolajo went over to the crowd and explained the motive for the attack, the court heard. The address, caught on mobile phone, showed an animated Mr Adebolajo declaring that the attack was an "eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth". He called for the overthrow of the Government.

"The law of self-defence does not allow someone to retaliate ... for an attack which is not reasonably necessary to save himself of herself or anybody else, but is tit-for-tat," Mr Whittam told the jury. "Killing to make a political point or to frighten the public, or to put pressure on the Government ... is murder and remains murder whether the Government in question is a good one, a bad one, or a dreadful one."

After the attack Mr Adebolajo and Mr Adebowale remained in the area until the arrival of the first police car, which carried an armed response team, the court heard. Further footage shows a man, allegedly Mr Adebolajo, charging across to the car and raising the cleaver above his head. Just as he reaches the driver's open door, he peels away and falls to the ground as he is shot in the bicep. Mr Adebowale, a Muslim convert who has adopted the name Ismael, is then seen holding a gun before he, too, is shot as armed officers jump from the car to confront him.

One officer runs back to the patrol car for a medical kit and provides first aid to the fallen Mr Adebowale, who was hit in the abdomen and thigh. The court was told that when paramedics tried to sit Mr Adebolajo up, he said: "Please let me lay here, I don't want anyone to die. I just want the soldiers out of my country."

The two men were given pain relief and taken to hospital where they were questioned by police, the court heard. Mr Adebolajo told the officers: "I am a Muslim extremist, this may be the only chance you meet one," the jury heard.

In a second interview, the day after the shooting, he claimed that his intention was never to hurt civilians. In a signed statement, Mr Adebolajo says: "We hope that one day Great Britain will replace those corrupt politicians with men or women who truly care about the security of their citizens by withdrawing from affairs of Muslims, including their lands."

As well as the murder of Fusilier Rigby, Mr Adebolajo, of Lewisham, and Mr Adebowale, of Greenwich, are both accused of attempting to murder a police officer, and conspiracy to murder a police officer on or before May 22. They have both admitted possession of a gun.

The case continues.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Arts and Entertainment
A shared vision: Cerys Matthews has been familiarising herself with Dylan Thomas’s material, for a revealing radio programme
arts + entsA singer, her uncle and a special relationship with Dylan Thomas
News
In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event
people
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years