Lee Rigby murder trial: accused had 'pure evil' in his eyes, court told
The Islamist fanatic accused of murdering Drummer Lee Rigby and trying to hack off his head had “pure evil” in his eyes, a court heard yesterday.
The second attacker “looked mad, like he had escaped from a mental hospital”, the jury at the Old Bailey was told.
One witness described a “horrific frenzied attack by two knife-wielding crazy men” while another said it looked like they were trying to remove the victim’s organs.
The disturbing images of the moment Mr Rigby, 25, was allegedly run over and hacked with knives and a meat cleaver were read to the jury on the second day of the murder trial.
Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, deny murdering Drummer Rigby close to his Woolwich barracks in south-east London on May 22.
However, the barrister for Adebolajo said his client was “anxious” to let one witness know there was no way that the witness could have stopped the events.
Rebecca Rigby, the widow of the soldier, for the second time opted to leave the court as the events were retold.
Witnesses described their shock and horror at what unfolded in a series of statements read out by the prosecutor, Richard Whittam QC.
Cheralee Armstrong, 38, told how she saw two men “huddled” over a third man on the ground after a road accident and thought they were trying to resuscitate him.
But then she saw his body “jolting in rhythm” with the “rocking” motion of the two men and realised they were stabbing him.
“It was like they were mutilating the person’s body. It seemed like they were trying to remove his organs from his torso,” she said.
When she shouted “they are stabbing him, they are killing him,” one of the men turned.
“The man in the hat stared at me, his expression was blank but pure evil and his eyes were bulging,” she said.
The jury had previously been told the man in the hat was Adebolajo.
He pointed a gun towards her and James Henegan, who is the father of her children.
“I thought I was going to die. I could only think about my kids and James,” she said.
Of the second attacker she said: “He looked mad, like he’d escaped from a mental hospital.”
She said the pair “threw” Drummer Rigby’s body into the road “like a rubbish bag”.
Mr Henegan, who gave evidence in person, said: “I thought he was going to shoot … fire a gun at us.”
He wiped away tears as David Gottlieb, for Adebolajo, said his client was “very anxious” for him to know “there was nothing he could have done to change what happened”.
In her statement, Amanda Bailey, another witness, told how, after Drummer Rigby had been run over, she thought one of the men was reaching for his phone to call an ambulance, but he pulled out a knife.
She said she saw him start hacking at the body.
“I couldn’t believe what was going on. He was determined and he wasn’t going to stop. He didn’t care. It was broad daylight and this man didn’t care.”
John Power, a taxi driver, said it looked like a man “chopping a tree with a small chopper or axe”.
Thomas Seymour, an electrician, said he saw one of the men stab the soldier 10 or 20 times while the other was “hacking the victim’s head”.
“Due to the craziness of what was going on around me, I assumed it was gang or drug-related,” he said.
Gill Hucks said: “What I saw then I can only describe as a horrific frenzied attack on the man on the floor by two knife-wielding crazy men.”
Her work colleague Gary Perkins said it was like a “butcher attacking a joint of meat”.
Saraj Miah, a businessman, said he could not sleep for two weeks adding: “I told them not to kill him. They did not listen to me.”
The court heard earlier how the accused men drove around the area for up to an hour before targeting Mr Rigby.
They also deny attempting to murder a police officer and conspiracy to murder a police officer.
The trial continues.