Thursday 19 April 2018

Man accused of Woolwich murder rants: I am a soldier

Lee Rigby
Lee Rigby
Court artist sketch of Michael Adebolajo kissing the Koran, as he appears at Westminster Magistrates Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Tom Whitehead London

Michael Adebolajo, the man accused of murdering soldier Lee Rigby, told a court: "I am a man, I am a soldier."

The 28-year-old suspect, who wants to be known as Mujaahid Abu Hamza, made a series of outbursts during a bail hearing at the Old Bailey in London.

He also told the court: "This whole trial is about more than that (legal arguments). It's not about me, even though I played a major part in proceedings.

"It's really and truthfully about the good, honest, decent, hardworking British members of society, whether they be Muslim or non-Muslim.

"They are the ones that have suffered the most."

The court also heard that he agrees with the prosecution's view that he is "sane".

Adebolajo appeared via video link from Belmarsh high-security prison flanked by two prison guards in riot gear.

He was initially in handcuffs after prison staff assessed him as "unpredictable". But he had them taken off after objections from his defence lawyer.

UNUSUAL

He is accused of murdering Drummer Rigby outside Woolwich barracks in London on May 22, along with co-accused Michael Adebowale (22).

During the hearing, he regularly interrupted the proceedings and his video link was eventually closed down after repeated warnings by Mr Justice Sweeney.

The judge took the unusual step of allowing the proceedings to be reported in full following an application from his defence team and representations from the media.

Adebolajo was charged on Saturday after spending more than a week in hospital after being shot by police.

He is also accused of the attempted murder of two police officers and possession of a firearm.

He appeared in court with his left arm in a cast and wearing a prison-issued red T-shirt and jumper.

The court heard that Adebolajo had been seen by psychiatrists three times while in hospital and at least twice since he had been discharged and in custody, and had been declared fit for interview in all.

His defence barrister David Gottlieb told the court: "It's the prosecution's case that he is completely sane. He doesn't suffer from any mental disorder at all. Mr Hamza agrees with that."

Earlier in the hearing Adebolajo had complained that his privacy had been violated by being made to have his "private parts" examined twice ahead of his appearance.

"I'm a man, I'm a soldier, I'm a British citizen," he said. "And you can't see my privates."

Describing the prison officer who had asked to examine him as a "jobsworth", he added that after the experience: "I cried like a baby, you know, into my sleeve."

When reprimanded by the judge for interrupting, the defendant said: "Stop trying to stifle the truth.

"Wouldn't want the truth to get out, would we? Wouldn't want that."

Adebolajo will appear at the court again, along with Adebowale, from Greenwich, south -east London, for a preliminary hearing on June 28.

His defence team did not apply for bail. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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