Justice for family of murdered soldier

Fusilier Lee Rigby, 25, was murdered in Woolwich in May
Fusilier Lee Rigby, 25, was murdered in Woolwich in May

The family of murdered soldier Lee Rigby said they were satisfied justice had been done after two men were found guilty of his murder.

Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, were convicted at the Old Bailey after running Fusilier Rigby down in a car and then hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives in front of horrified onlookers outside Woolwich barracks in south-east London in May.

The 25-year-old drummer, who had served in Afghanistan, married Southowram girl Rebecca Metcalfe at St Anne’s Church, Southowram, in October 2007.

In a statement read by Detective Inspector Pete Sparks, the family said: “No one should have to go through what we have been through as a family.

“We are satisfied that justice has been done, but unfortunately no amount of justice will bring Lee back.

“These people have taken him away from us forever but his memory lives on in all of us and we will never forget him.

“We are very proud of Lee, who served his country, and we will now focus on building a future for his son Jack, making him as proud of Lee as we all are.

“Lee will be sorely missed by his siblings, nieces, nephew and all of those who loved him.

“We now ask that we are left alone to grieve through our loss.”

Fusilier Rigby’s family and friends, including his widow Rebecca, sat through weeks of harrowing evidence on the final movements of the soldier and his killers.

Neither Adebolajo nor Adebowale had been able to offer any real defence for the barbaric attack during their trial, which was beset by legal delays.

The jury took around 90 minutes to come to their decisions as relatives of Fusilier Rigby broke down in tears as the verdicts were given.

As the jurors were thanked for their service, Mr Justice Sweeney said: “It’s no doubt a case that is going to stay with us all for a long time.”

The judge expressed his “gratitude and admiration” for the soldier’s family.

He said they had “sat in court with great dignity throughout what must have been the most harrowing of evidence”.

The judge added: “I’m extremely grateful to them and can only sympathise with what has happened to them and its continued effect ... upon all their lives.”

He said he will pass sentence after a key appeal court ruling on the use of whole life terms in January.