Woolwich terror attack: Suspect Michael Adebowale saw friend 'literally sliced to pieces' in 2008

Reports suggest mother tried to stop Adebowale's radicalisation by taking him to local imam

Michael Adebowale, one of the suspects in the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, saw a friend “literally sliced to pieces” when they were both teenagers.

Lee James, a bare-knuckle fighter who was suffering from a drug-induced psychotic episode, murdered 18-year-old Faridon Alizada in 2008 and also stabbed Adebowale, then 16.

The Old Bailey heard that the youths were members of the "Woolwich Boys" gang.

The judge said that the dead man had been literally cut to pieces in an early morning attack at a flat in Erith, southeast London.

Reports today also say Adebowale's mother sought help from a local mosque because she feared her son was going off the rails after he dropped out of university nine months ago.

Juliet Obasuyi, a Christian probation officer, approached an older neighbour for advice

The neighbour, who did not wish to be named, told The Times that Ms Obasuyi took her son to an imam for help.

Both Adebowale, now 22, and his 28-year-old co-suspect Michael Adebolajo appear to have converted to Islam around the time they left college.

Adebolajo was said to have been popular at his school in Romford, Essex, but Adebowale was bullied at Kidbrooke High School in Greenwich.

A friend who has known him since he was 11 told The Times: “He was one of us ... just normal, nothing completely evil about him at all. He went around preaching Islam, preaching peace though. I must say the whole reform into Islam was quite a sudden change. It was a big shock. But it suited him. It looked like he was doing well.”

Simone Edwards, 22, a close friend of Adebowale’s, said that he converted after being bullied at school. She said: “He was kind of having problems with a couple of gangs. I think he was just looking for somewhere to belong. When he found Islam he finally found a piece of family."

One of Adebowale's neighbours, Magdalene Edwards, told told Channel 4 News: "He was a lovely boy. Very gentle natured, very respectful to elderly people.

"He was angry at a lot of things like a lot of young people are. About a year ago is when I saw him with this whole Muslim dress.

"I said to him are you a Muslim. And he said yes, he's gone that way now. I said just be careful, I'm aware that there are some that ride on the coat tales of Islam and they're really not serving their cause."

Both suspects are still in hospital under guard, and are understood to be in no state to be charged.

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

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border