Woolwich killing: Transcript of interview with family of Drummer Lee Rigby


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The Independent Online

The family of murdered Drummer Lee Rigby fought back tears as they paid tribute to him today.

Here is a transcript of their interview this morning:

Ian Rigby (Drummer Rigby's stepfather): To do an introduction first, we have Rebecca, which is Lee's wife.

Rebecca Rigby (Drummer Rigby's wife): I just want to say that I love Lee, I always will and I'm proud to be his wife. He was due to come up this weekend so we could continue our future together as a family. He was a devoted father to our son Jack, and we'll both miss him terribly.

Ian Rigby: Thank you.

I now have a prepared statement made by all the family collectively. I'm going to read through and then we'll give you the opportunity of whatever questions we can answer without affecting the case as it stands.

What can we say about Lee, our hero? We are so proud of Lee.

When he was born the family adored him. He was a precious gift given to us.

Lee had a fiery temper. When he was younger I used to sit on him until he calmed down, until he was about 15 and then he got too big and he used to sit on me.

Lee's dream of growing up was always to join the Army, which he succeeded in doing. He was dedicated and loved his job.

Lee adored and cared a lot for all his family, and he was very much a family man looking out for his wife, his young son Jack and his younger sisters, who in turn looked up to him.

He always had the banter with them but would never, ever let any harm come to them. He was over the moon being a dad and an uncle and he adored all his family.

Lee was a man who loved people. He had many friends growing up in Middleton and on army duties all over the world where he'd been sent.

He believed life was for living and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Courtney and Amy, his younger sisters, wrote this for Lee: "Rest in peace Lee. We loved you so much and you didn't deserve this. You fought for your country and did it well. You will always be our hero, we are just upset you've left us so early. We love you Lee, goodnight."

The last text he sent to his mum, read: "Goodnight mum. I hope you had a fantastic day today, because you are the most fantastic, one in a million mum that anyone could ever wish for. Thank you for supporting me all these years. You're not just my mum, you're my best friend. Goodnight and love you loads."

We would like to say goodnight, Lee. Rest in peace, our fallen soldier. We love you loads and words could not describe how loved and sadly missed you will be.

We would like to thank everybody, the police and the army, for the amazing support we have received and for all the goodwill messages all over the country we are receiving in memory of Lee.

Our hearts have been ripped apart from us and everyone is struggling to cope with this tragedy, so we would ask the press to respect our privacy to grieve our son's parting as we try and come to terms.

Now I've got a little - it's basically like a poem that (Lee's sister) Sara (McClure)'s put on here.

"You fought bravely, and with honour died

You leave your family so full of pride

Sleep well young soldier, your job is done

Your war is over, your battle won

Our family chain is broken and nothing is the same

But as God takes us one by one, our chain will link again."

Thank you.

Right - we're prepared to accept questions. If you come directly through me, I'll answer what I can, and we'll take it from there.

Question: How proud was Lee to serve in the army?

Ian Rigby: Extremely. He's always wanted to serve for the army. He's been all over Cyprus, Germany...

Rebecca Rigby: He's been to Jordan.

Ian Rigby: Never more proud - he went to Jordan. His proudest moments were serving in London on ceremonials with the drum corps.

Rebecca Rigby: He was very proud to be a drummer.

Ian Rigby: He was.

Rebecca Rigby: He was very proud to take part in the ceremonial parades and beating the retreat with the drums while we were in London.

Rebecca Rigby: You don't expect it to happen.

Ian Rigby: No, you don't expect it, I mean...

Rebecca Rigby: When he's in the UK. You think they're safe.

Ian Rigby: When he's in Afghan, I mean, you come to terms with it.

Rebecca Rigby: You know there's dangers, don't you, when you go somewhere like that.

Ian Rigby: You don't expect something like that on your doorstep. It's very difficult.

Rebecca Rigby: He's walked up and down that road so many times before.

Question: When did you find out?

Ian Rigby: I mean, really, as soon as it came on the news, on the television. Obviously we didn't know it was Lee but your heart skips a beat when you see something like that on the telly when you know your son's in that area.

So as soon as it was released on the telly, you know, we were attempting to get hold of Lee, which obviously we couldn't.

And it was middle of the night probably when we actually got it confirmed to us it was Lee.

Question: What will you miss most about Lee?

Rebecca Rigby: Everything.

Ian Rigby: Everything. His love for his family, his incredible sense of humour. He was a loving son and a wonderful father and I just can't tell you how much he'll be missed.

Ian Rigby: Thank you.