The mother of Michael Adebowale, one of the two men convicted of hacking soldier Lee Rigby to death has blamed “the evil ones” of Islam for luring her son into a world of fanaticism.
Juliet Adebowale also spoke of her sorrow for the fusilier's family, saying: “That poor, poor family have lost a son – but so have I”.
Adebowale, 22, and Michael Adebolajo, 29, were found guilty at the Old Bailey yesterday of murdering the young soldier near Woolwich Barracks on 22 May following a three week long trial. They had claimed to have been “soldiers of Allah” fighting a war in retaliation for British foreign policy. The pair were told they face life behind bars and will be sentenced in January.
Ms Adebowale, 52, a former probation officer, told The Sun her son adopted extreme Muslim views just seven weeks before the murder took place when he met Adebolajo during a march.
She said her son – who was raised in a Nigerian Christian family - had been a shy boy who was bullied at school, and converted to Islam at 17 to protect himself from local gangs after he witnessed a friend being murdered.
But he became drawn in by extremism, and his mother was so concerned she befriended the mosque he attended to speak with its Imam.
Ms Adebowale told the newspaper: “They said not to worry, it would be OK. Then I had the shock of my life in May when that harrowing act took place with that older man. It was so out of character, he was very vulnerable. When people are vulnerable the evil ones will lure them.
”He had known Adebolajo since they went on a march at the end of March. I still can't comprehend what happened, what got into his head. The extremism is tearing us apart.”
She said her son has been on suicide watch and is on strong medication. “He does not want to live anymore”, she said.
Additional reporting by Press Association