Lee Rigby killer Michael Adebolajo launches appeal against conviction

Fusilier Rigby was killed on 22 May 2013 in Woolwich, south-east London

Michael Adebolajo in court
Michael Adebolajo in court

One of the two men found guilty of murdering off-duty British soldier Lee Rigby, has lodged an application to appeal against his conviction, the Judicial Office confirmed today.

Fusilier Rigby was killed on 22 May 2013 in Woolwich, south-east London. He was first run over with a car then attacked with a meat cleaver and knives in the road near Woolwich barracks.

Adebolajo, 29, from Romford, east London, said during the trial that he was a "soldier of Allah" and that the killing was an act of war.

He and his co-defendant Michael Adebowale, 22, from Greenwich, south-east London, are currently awaiting sentencing.

The two men were found guilty of the murder, which drew widespread condemnation from high-profile figures including the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Theresa May, in just 90 minutes by a jury last month.

Adebolajo, a married father of six, and Adebowale lay in wait near the barracks and picked 25-year-old Fusilier Rigby to kill after assuming he was a soldier because he was wearing a Help for Heroes hooded top and carrying a camouflage rucksack.

After driving into the young father in their Vauxhall Tigra, the killers - who had armed themselves with eight knives, including a meat cleaver and a five-piece set bought by Adebolajo the previous day - butchered him in the street in front of horrified onlookers.

One witness described their actions, yards from Mulgrave Primary School, as being "like a butcher attacking a joint of meat".

The jury of eight women and four men sat through weeks of evidence including shocking footage of Adebolajo with bloodied hands confessing to the killing and claiming his actions were "an eye for an eye".

Both men were shot by police in dramatic scenes captured by CCTV.

Adebolajo was seen dropping the meat cleaver as he sprinted across the road towards a police car, collapsing to the ground when he was shot.

Adebowale, who moved along a wall to draw fire from the officers, was seen folding over as he was shot by one of three armed officers.

Both men asked to be called by their adopted Islamic names in court - Adebolajo as Mujahid Abu Hamza, and Adebowale as Ismail Ibn Abdullah - and claimed they carried out the murder because they were "soldiers of Allah".

The jury was told this was no defence in law to the charge.

The men were cleared of the attempted murder of a police officer, and had previously admitted possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Mr Justice Sweeney said he will sentence the pair after a key Court of Appeal ruling on the use of whole-life jail terms.

A date for the appeal judgment has not been announced following a recent hearing before a panel of five leading judges, headed by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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