Rigbys: Now Lee can rest in peace
6:18am Thursday 27th February 2014 in © Press Association 2014
The family of murdered soldier Lee Rigby has welcomed the lengthy jail terms for his killers, saying he will now be able to rest in peace.
Michael Adebolajo, 29, was given a whole life term for the barbaric killing and Michael Adebowale, 22, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 45 years.
The fusilier's mother, Lyn Rigby, 47, of Middleton, Manchester, said she spoke to her son as she watched the two fanatics receive justice.
She told The Sun: "I told Lee, 'It's time for you to rest in peace my beautiful son. Justice has been done and sleep well until we meet again'," adding: "These sentences bring me comfort to know Lee will suffer no more - even though our pain goes on."
Mrs Rigby said she could never forgive the fanatics who took her son's life, and that her hatred for them "burns my soul", but that they family had been comforted by the sentences.
In an interview with the same newspaper the soldier's fiancee, Aimee West, who was also in court, said she hoped his killers would never be let out in her lifetime or that of his son, and said they had got what they wanted - "an eye for an eye".
Ms West, a former member of the Royal Military Police, said: "They wanted to die. They wanted to be martyrs. They said they wanted to be ransomed back to their own people or be killed.
"They will be denied that in jail, where they will be spending the rest of their days. They don't deserve anything less."
She added: "They need to be locked up forever because that's what they didn't want. That's the only thing that gives me comfort."
Adebolajo and Adebowale had to be dragged from the dock at the Old Bailey yesterday after they erupted with rage when Mr Justice Sweeney told the British-born extremists they had been radicalised and had betrayed their religion.
The judge was forced to sentence the "sickening and pitiless" killers in their absence for butchering the father of one in broad daylight near Woolwich barracks on May 22 last year.
They chose the young soldier as their victim because he was wearing a Help for Heroes hooded top, mowing him down in a car before hacking at his limp body with a meat cleaver and knives in an attempt to decapitate him.
As Mr Justice Sweeney began his sentencing remarks, Adebolajo screamed "allahu akbar" as he and Adebowale were pinned to the ground and bundled down to the cells by several prison officers following the shocking outburst.
The judge had told them: "You each converted to Islam some years ago. Thereafter you were radicalised and each became an extremist, espousing a cause and views which, as has been said elsewhere, are a betrayal of Islam and of the peaceful Muslim communities who give so much to our country."
Adebowale shouted "that's a lie" and "it's not a betrayal of Islam" and ranted about Britain and America.
Explaining his decision to give Adebolajo a whole life term, Mr Justice Sweeney said the 29-year-old, who has two children and four stepchildren, was the leader of the murderous plot and had "no real prospect of rehabilitation".
However, Adebowale's younger age, mental health problems and "lesser role" meant that he escaped spending the rest of his natural life behind bars.
In an emotional victim impact statement read to the court, the Fusilier Rigby's widow Rebecca said: "Of all the feelings I have, the one thing that overrides everything is that I know my son will grow up and see images of his dad that no son should ever have to endure, and there is nothing I can do to change this."
Outside the Old Bailey far-right protesters gathered to wave flags and chant, and erected two sets of mock gallows.