Monday 23 October 2017

Lee Rigby Trial: ‘I thought I was going to die’ says female police officer

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of the two men accused of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo (left) and Michael Adebowale (right) during their trial at the Old Bailey
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of the two men accused of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo (left) and Michael Adebowale (right) during their trial at the Old Bailey
Lyn Rigby, mother of murdered British soldier Lee Rigby, and stepfather Ian Rigby arrive at the Old Bailey in London
Lee Rigby's mother Lyn Rigby, sister Sara McClure and fiancee Aimee West at the Old Bailey during the trial of Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, who stand accused of his murder

Margaret Davis and Jamie Grierson

An armed police officer thought one of Lee Rigby's alleged murderers was going to kill her as he ran towards marksmen waving his hands in a chopping motion, a jury has heard.

The officer, identified only as D49, said in a statement that she "instantly" thought she would die when Michael Adebolajo, 28, ran towards the BMW X5 she had driven to Woolwich in the aftermath of the soldier's death.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC read her account to jurors at the Old Bailey, in which she said: "I saw a black male running at me waving both his hands in the air in a chopping motion. In his right hand I saw what I call a meat cleaver or a machete.

"I instantly thought 'he's going to kill me'. I went to draw my Glock. Due to my position in the car, the internal door has a panel jutting out, I could not immediately draw my Glock out due to this. It was a split second decision to draw my Taser.

"I could still see the look in the suspect's eyes. They were so wide and I could see the whites of them. He was shouting something."

She then saw a second suspect, said to be Michael Adebowale, 22, holding a gun.

"I thought 'Oh my God he's going to shoot me'. I feared for my life."

A second armed officer, identified as E48, was in court to give evidence in person.

He sat behind two large screens in the witness box, passing his warrant card to the judge to confirm his true identity.

Video footage of Adebolajo charging towards the officers and flying into the air as he was shot was played to the court.

Adebowale also falls to the ground as he is shot.

D49 is seen keeping her gun trained on Adebolajo as he lies on the ground, while E48 is seen rushing back to the police car to get a medical kit.

He and another officer then administer first aid to Adebowale.

Mr Whittam asked him why only one armed unit was sent to the scene.

E48 told the court: "It is always better to have more armed units but that was not something we could do at the time."

The prosecutor asked whether that was because of the "urgency" of the situation, and the officer replied: "Yes."

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