British soldier’s killer jailed for life

February 27, 2014 - 5:49:01 am

Protesters demonstrate outside the Old Bailey court in London ahead of the sentencing of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale yesterday.

LONDON: A Muslim extremist convicted of hacking British soldier Lee Rigby to death on a London street was ordered yesterday to spend the rest of his life behind bars, while his fellow killer was jailed for a minimum of 45 years.

Michael Adebolajo, 29, who received the whole-life term, and Michael Adebowale, 22, were dragged from the dock at the Old Bailey court in London after they started screaming at the judge during the sentencing.

The Muslim converts were found guilty in December of ploughing into Rigby with a car before attacking him with knives and a meat cleaver in broad daylight outside his barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, in May 2013.

Minutes before judge Nigel Sweeney passed sentence, Adebolajo started shouting “Allahu akbar” and Adebowale called out “that’s a lie” in response to claims that they had been radicalised.

They then scuffled with guards before being carried down to the holding cells.

Sweeney said the pair’s behaviour on the Woolwich streets was “sickening and pitiless”.

Yesterday’s sentencing had been delayed for several weeks because the judge wanted clarification on a European ruling that made it uncertain whether whole-life jail terms could still be imposed.

England’s Court of Appeal upheld the right to do so on February 18.

Adebolajo and Adebowale said they had attacked the off-duty 25-year-old fusilier to avenge the deaths of Muslims at the hands of British troops.

Adebolajo tried to behead Rigby with a meat cleaver in front of horrified passers-by.

The pair were shot and wounded by armed police at the murder scene in Woolwich, southeast London, after Adebolajo charged at them waving the cleaver, while Adebowale raised a rusty, unloaded gun.

A jury found them guilty within hours on December 19 and Sweeney said he was considering whole-life terms.

But the European Court of Human Rights last year condemned whole-life terms as a violation of prisoners’ rights, causing the Court of Appeal to launch a review.