Saturday 24 February 2018

Men accused of gruesome murder of Woolwich soldier appear in court

Michael Adebolajo blows a kiss at a member of the public gallery in the dock at Westminster Magistrates Court in this sketch by an artist
Michael Adebolajo blows a kiss at a member of the public gallery in the dock at Westminster Magistrates Court in this sketch by an artist
Michael Adebolajo kisses the Koran, as he appears at Westminster Magistrates Court in this court sketch
The van believed to be carrying Michael Adebolajo, 28, arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court, central London

Margaret Davis and Jamie Grierson

TWO men accused of murdering soldier Lee Rigby appeared in court for the first time today.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, from Romford in Essex, was at Westminster Magistrates' Court to face various charges.

He is accused of murdering drummer Rigby, 25. Co-accused Michael Adebowale, 22, appeared later in the morning via videolink.

Adebolajo is also accused of the attempted murder of two police officers and possession of a firearm, a 9.4mm KNIL model 91 revolver, with intent to cause others to believe that violence would be used.

Wearing a white T-shirt and white trousers, Adebolajo blew a kiss to a man in the public gallery, and they both pointed to the sky.

His left arm was fully bandaged and he held a copy of the Koran.

As he was asked to stand, Adebolajo said: "May I ask why? May I ask why?"

When told it is customary to stand, he said: "I want to sit."

Adebolajo was charged with the four counts on Saturday, having been discharged from hospital on Friday.

He was shot by police on May 22 and spent just over a week in hospital being treated for his injuries.

After standing when asked to at the end of today's short hearing, he asked Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot: "I would like to alleviate the pain if I may?"

He then kissed the Koran and raised his arm into the air.

Adebolajo was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey within 48 hours.

Adebowale, from Greenwich, south east London, appeared via video-link at the Old Bailey.

He is accused of murdering Drummer Rigby on May 22, as well as possession of a firearm, a 9.4mm KNIL Model 91 revolver, with intent to cause others to believe that violence would be used.

No application for bail was made during the brief hearing.

The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, told the court the defendant would reappear for a preliminary hearing on June 28, when his case is expected to be joined up with that of Adebolajo.

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