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article imageOp-Ed: Lee Rigby murder trial told killing was 'cowardly and callous'

By Eileen Kersey     Nov 29, 2013 in Crime
London - The trial of Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, the two men accused of killing soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich in May, has begun in London.
Both men were caught on camera at the scene of the killing and footage included one of the suspects with blood on his hands apologizing to the public for the brutal violence they had witnessed. Even so the men are pleading not guilty which means they are innocent until proved otherwise.
BBC News reports from the Old Bailey, London:
Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC told jurors that the two suspects drove a Vauxhall Tigra "straight at" Fusilier Rigby at around 30-40mph.
He said: "Both men then dragged his body into the middle of the road. They wanted members of the public to see the consequence of what can only be described as their barbarous acts.
Their appearance in court has attracted a mass of media attention and protests. Days ago both men appeared briefly in court for a "mention hearing" and the Daily Mirror reported protesters from The British National Party and the English Defence League quickly congregated outside the court. A group of angry veterans joined the protest group.
The two men accused of the murder are in court Friday surrounded by heavy security. They are sitting in a glass-lined dock. Both men are also charged with the attempted murder of a police officer and conspiracy to murder a police officer. They continue to deny all charges.
Some of Lee Rigby's family were in court.
Lee was killed on May 22 as he returned to his barracks in Woolwich. He had completed and survived tours of duty in Afghanistan but was to die brutally on the streets of London. He was not in uniform at the time of his death but was wearing a Help For Heroes charity sweatshirt.
He died after he was hit by a car, allegedly driven by Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale. The two men then jumped out of the car and attacked Lee with long knives. Rigby was almost decapitated in the attack.
When police officers finally arrived on the scene the two men ran at them brandishing knives. A police officer and the suspects sustained injuries.
The trial began Friday with the prosecution. The Daily Mirror reported from the court late Friday that:
Adebolajo later told officers: "I am a Muslim extremist, this may be the only chance you meet one.
"Your people have gone to Afghanistan and raped and killed our women. I am seeking retribution I wouldn't stoop so low as to rape and kill women.
"I thank the person who shot me, because it is what Allah would have wanted."
Adebolajo added: "I love Allah more than my children."
At hospital he told doctors he did not want to be touched by any women. He made no reply to being arrested on suspicion of murder.
The following day Adebolajo told another officer: "My intention was never to harm civilians.
"There were women and children around. My intention was to hurt military only."
He added: "The reason that we are fighting is because we believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth".
As day one in court drew to a close Lee Rigby's family members left the court in tears. The trial resumes Monday 12pm.
If the men had admitted guilt the court process would have been much easier for Lee's loved ones. It would have still been an unbearable experience for them but less brutal.
Instead the men have declared they are innocent and what could be a lengthy trial has begun.
British justice may at times be an "ass" but it is worth protecting. Unless we want to sink to the level of terrorists, thugs and killers these men must have their "day in court."
In other countries the suspects would probably have been shot dead at the scene. Would that have been a better option? It would have been less costly than a trial and a possibly lengthy term in jail. It would have also prevented the pair using the court as a sounding board for any crackpot ideologies.
If found guilty they will not be handed down a death sentence as capital punishment does not exist in the UK. Even a whole-life term in jail may end up challenged by the European Court of Human Rights which maintains that UK criminals should always have the chance of freedom to work toward.
However, if these men are found guilty, who will advocate they are ever released back into society?
Six months after the murder of Lee Rigby, his mother, father, partner and son are facing their first Christmas without him. Hopefully this trial will end before Christmas 2013 allowing the family some closure.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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