Monday 21 October 2019

Murdered soldier's fiancee tells of her devastation

Margaret Davis, Jamie Grierson and Ellen Branagh

The fiancee of murdered soldier Lee Rigby said tonight that she is "devastated" by his loss and has been moved by all the tributes to a "great man".

Aimee West released a short statement through Scotland Yard to say: "I am devastated by the loss of Lee who was a loving fiance.

"I am extremely proud of him and I am moved by all the flowers and tributes, and that he has been remembered by the nation as the great man that he was. I ask that mine and my family's privacy is respected during this difficult time".

Piles of floral tributes have been left near where Drummer Rigby was hacked to death in Woolwich, south east London, last week.

Commander Simon Letchford speaking to the media outside the Royal Artillery Barracks, in Woolwich, east London.
Commander Simon Letchford speaking to the media outside the Royal Artillery Barracks, in Woolwich, east London.
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, who was praised for her bravery in calmly talking to one of the attackers as he stood clutching a knife with bloodied hands, looks at the floral tributes outside the Royal Artillery Barracks, in Woolwich, east London
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, who confronted two men during an attack on British soldier Lee Rigby, speaks to the media at the scene of his murder in Woolwich

Earlier, detectives investigating Drummer Rigby's murder issued a new appeal for information at the scene as it was confirmed that the soldier died from multiple stab wounds.

Tributes have already been paid to the 25-year-old by relatives including his wife Rebecca, who is the mother of his two-year-old son Jack, and stepfather Ian.

Earlier today, Commander Simon Letchford renewed appeals for any witnesses to the attack, or anyone with any information, to come forward.

Police are also calling for information on the blue Vauxhall Tigra, registration N696 JWX, that hit Drummer Rigby last Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking at the scene in Woolwich, Mr Letchford said: "Seven days ago Lee Rigby was murdered in an act of violence that was shocking and horrific. Our thoughts are with Lee's family and friends at this very difficult time for them.

"A fast-paced and complex investigation is now under way led by detectives from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command.

"As part of that investigation, officers are asking for the public's help. We need to hear from anyone who may have seen Lee being attacked or who may have any other information that may help.

"This has been a difficult time for everyone in our city. What is important now is that we, as Londoners, come together. I would urge people to continue to show restraint and calm as our investigation continues to bring those responsible for Lee's death to justice."

Officers from the Counter Terrorism Command, Greenwich Borough and the Safer Transport Command distributed appeal posters and leaflets near where Drummer Rigby was killed.

Police also urged anyone who filmed or took photographs to send the moving or still images to, including their name and contact details, and not to delete them after sending them.

Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo were both shot in the wake of the brutal murder near Woolwich barracks. Adebowale was discharged from hospital and taken into police custody yesterday, while Adebolajo remains in hospital.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, praised for her bravery in calmly talking to one of the attackers as he stood clutching a knife with bloodied hands, returned to the scene of the murder today.

Speaking beside the piles of floral tributes to Drummer Rigby, she said: "It's the public displaying their shock and showing that they are behind the British Army and the soldiers and that this is something they will not accept."

The Frenchwoman, who has lived in Britain for nearly 30 years, has been thrust into the limelight since she confronted one of the alleged killers.

She said: "I don't want to think too much. Maybe later when I'll be on my own it will start to sink in."

Remembering the wake of the attack on May 22, she said: "I didn't have time to feel really, just something in my brain told me to do it and I just did it. I had a feeling that he wanted to communicate something.

"I wondered if he thought one murder might not be enough to get attention, maybe he needed to kill a second time. I didn't want him to think that."

A senior officer also revealed that the police marksmen involved in shooting two of the 25-year-old's suspected killers could be back on duty within weeks.

Chief Superintendent Alistair Sutherland said he 'certainly hopes' officers involved in the shooting of the two suspects will return to normal duties soon.

He said: "I will obviously speak to my counterparts in our department for professional standards and I will liaise with the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission), and then I will come to a decision around putting them back to ops.

"But at this stage, I would anticipate them being back on operational duty fairly quickly."

The officers, along with two of their commanders, are currently undergoing post-shooting assessments.

The IPCC is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting of the two men.

It said that two police officers had fired gun shots and one used their Taser when they were confronted by Adebolajo and Adebowale.

An inquest into Drummer Rigby's death will be opened and adjourned on Friday, and a post-mortem examination has confirmed that he died from multiple incised wounds.

So far, 10 people have been held by detectives investigating the young soldier's death, including Adebowale and Adebolajo.

In a statement released through his lawyers, Hayden Allen, 21, who was held on Saturday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, denied any involvement in the "atrocity". He was released on bail.

Others held include a 50-year-old man, arrested in Welling, south-east London, who was released on bail yesterday.

Two women, aged 29 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder but later released without charge.

PA Media

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