London terror victim's identity revealed

21:34, May 23 2013
The scene following the attack just a few blocks from a military training barracks in southeast London.
The scene following the attack just a few blocks from a military training barracks in southeast London.
A man is dead after being reportedly attacked with a machete in the incident.
A man is dead after being reportedly attacked with a machete in the incident.
''You people will never be safe,'' a man with bloodied hands carrying a machete and knife told a nearby cameraman.
''You people will never be safe,'' a man with bloodied hands carrying a machete and knife told a nearby cameraman.
London Terror
Forensic police work at the scene where a man was hacked to death.
London Terror
A tent covers part of the gruesome killing scene in South London.
London Terror
Police carry equipment at the scene after the attack.
London Terror
A forensic police officer works at the scene.
London Terror
Footage showing two men with machetes and meat cleavers following the attack. Pictured left, mother of two Ingrid Loyau-Kennett confronts one of the men and tells him: "It is only you versus many and you are going to lose."
London Terror
A screen grab showing a crashed car and a line of blood related to the Woolwich incident.
London Terror
Police arrest the two men following the brutal killing.

The soldier who was butchered to death on a south London street has been named as 25-year-old father Lee Rigby.

The Afghan war veteran was killed by two men using meat cleavers and knives in Woolwich on Wednesday (local time).

Rigby was a member of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Britain's Ministry of Defence said he joined the army in 2006, and was posted in Cyprus, Afghanistan and Germany before becoming a recruiter, assisting with duties in the Tower of London.

Captain Alan Williamson, the adjutant of the 2nd Fusiliers, calls Rigby "a cheeky and humorous man, always there with a joke to brighten the mood."

He says the loss of Rigby "will be felt across the battalion, but this is nothing compared to how his family must be feeling." Rigby had a 2-year-old son, Jack.

Lee Rigby
SLAUGHTERED: Lee Rigby was 25 years old and a father.


Meanwhile, it's emerged the two British men of Nigerian descent accused of killing him - in revenge for wars in Muslim countries - were known to security services.

One man, filmed calmly justifying the killing as he stood by the body holding a knife and meat cleaver in bloodied hands, was named by acquaintances as 28-year-old Londoner Michael Adebolajo - a British-born convert to radical Islam.


So frenzied was the attack, some witnesses thought they were trying to behead and disembowel the victim.

The attack, just a month after the Boston Marathon bombing and the first Islamist killing in Britain since local suicide bombers killed 52 people in London in 2005, revived fears of "lone wolves" who may have had no direct contact with al Qaeda.

British media said police raided homes of relatives in the city and near the town of Lincoln. Adebolajo and the other man, who may have been born abroad and later naturalised as British, are both in custody in hospitals after being shot by police.

Prime Minister David Cameron held an emergency meeting of his intelligence chiefs to assess the response to what he called a "terrorist" attack; it was the first deadly strike in mainland Britain since local Islamists killed dozens in London in 2005.

"We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms," Cameron said outside his Downing Street office.

"This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country. There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act."

He said there would be a review of how intelligence had been handled - Adebolajo had been known to authorities for handing out radical Islamist pamphlets in Woolwich.

The two men had been considered to pose no serious danger to the public until the attack, according to a government source.

Another source close to the inquiry said the local backgrounds of the suspects in a multicultural metropolis - nearly 40 per cent of Londoners were born abroad - and the simplicity of the attack made prevention difficult.

"Apart from being horribly barbaric, this was relatively straightforward to carry out," the source said. "This was quite low-tech and that is frankly pretty challenging."

Anjem Choudary, one of Britain's most recognised Islamist clerics, told Reuters Adebolajo, was known to fellow Muslims as Mujahid - a name meaning "warrior": "He used to attend a few demonstrations and activities that we used to have in the past."

He added that he had not seen him for about two years: "When I knew him he was very pleasant man," Choudary said. "He was peaceful, unassuming and I don't think there's any reason to think he would do anything violent."

A man called Paul Leech said on Twitter he had been at school in the east London suburb of Romford with the man seen claiming the attack: "Michael Adebolajo u make me sick," he wrote. "How could someone who was a laugh and nice bloke at school turn out like that. I'm ashamed to have known u."


The two men used a car to run down Rigby outside Woolwich  and then attacked him with a meat cleaver and knives, witnesses said.

Rigby, who had a two-year-old son, was not in uniform. The bandsman had been working as an army recruiter in London

A dramatic clip filmed by an onlooker showed one of the men, identified as Adebolajo, his hands covered in blood and speaking in a local accent apologising for taking his action in front of women but justifying it on religious grounds:

"We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day," he said. "This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

The attack revived fears of "lone wolves". These may have had no direct contact with al Qaeda but are inspired by radical preachers and by Islamist militant Web sites, some of which urge people to attack Western targets with whatever means they have.

Images of the blood-soaked suspect - who urged Britons to overthrow their government or risk having their children face the fate of the dead soldier lying just yards away - were splashed across the front pages of newspapers; so too were links to his clearly spoken, matter-of-fact video statement, made as the pair chatted calmly to bystanders before police arrived.

"We have all seen images that are deeply shocking," Cameron told reporters before visiting the barracks in Woolwich. "The people who did this were trying to divide us."

In Nigeria, with a mixed Christian-Muslim population and where the authorities are battling an Islamist insurgency, a government source said there was no evidence the Woolwich suspects were linked to groups in west Africa.

British investigators are looking at information that at least one of the suspects may have had an interest in joining Somalia-based Islamist al Shabaab rebel group which is allied to al Qaeda, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

Al Shabaab said on Thursday that such attacks were inevitable and linked the attack to the Boston bombing and last year's gun attacks in the southern French city of Toulouse.

"Toulouse, Boston, Woolwich ... Where next? You just have to grin and bear it, it's inevitable. A case of the chickens coming home to roost!" the rebels said on Twitter.


The grisly attack took place next to the sprawling Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, a south London working class district which has long-standing historic links to the military and is home to many immigrant communities, including Nigerians.

Rigby, who served in Afghanistan in 2009, was wearing a T-shirt reading "Help for Heroes", the name of a charity formed to help wounded British veterans. Britain has had troops deployed in Afghanistan since 2001 and had troops in Iraq from 2003-2009.

Witnesses said they shouted "Allahu akbar" - Arabic for God is greatest - while stabbing the victim and trying to behead him. A handgun was found at the scene.

Some onlookers rushed to help the soldier an one woman to engaged the attackers in conversation to calm them down.

"He had what looked like butcher's tools - a little axe, to cut the bones, and two large knives. He said: 'Move off the body,'" said French-born former teacher Ingrid Loyau-Kennett.

"He said: 'I killed him because he killed Muslims and I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan.'"

A trained first aider and Cub Scout leader, Loyau-Kennett was on a bus which was held up by the incident and she got off to try to help the victim. She found he was already dead.

Her attitude and that of other passers-by who remonstrated with the attackers was held up by Cameron as an example of resistance to attempts to terrorise the population:

"When told by the attacker that he wanted to start a war in London," Cameron said, "She replied, 'You're going to lose. It's only you versus many.' She spoke for us all."


London was last hit by a serious militant attack on July 7, 2005, when four young British Islamists set off suicide bombs on underground trains and a bus, killing 52 people and wounding hundreds. A similar attack two weeks later was thwarted.

In 2007, two days after police defused two car bombs outside London nightclubs, two men suspected of involvement, a British-born doctor of Iraqi descent and an Indian-born engineer, rammed a car laden with gas into the Glasgow Airport terminal, setting it ablaze. One of the attackers died and the other was jailed.

Britain has long known political violence on the streets. In 2009, two British soldiers were shot dead outside a barracks in Northern Ireland in an attack claimed by Irish republicans.

Woolwich, too, has seen attacks before. A soldier and a civilian were killed by an IRA bomb at a local pub in 1974. The barracks itself was bombed in 1983, wounding five people.

Since the 2005 bombings, known as 7/7, security chiefs say they have faced at least one plan to carry out an attack on the level of those attacks and have warned that radicalised individuals posed a grave risk to national security.

Peter Clarke, who led the investigation into the 7/7 bombings, said that if the Woolwich attackers did turn out to be acting alone, it showed the difficulty the security services faced in trying to stop them.

"An attack like this doesn't need sophisticated fund raising and sophisticated communications or planning," he told Reuters. "It can be organised and then actually delivered in a moment."

The bombing attacks on the Boston Marathon last month, which U.S. authorities blame on two brothers, have raised the profile of the "lone wolf" threat in the West. A Frenchman with Algerian origins killed three off-duty French soldiers and four Jewish civilians on a rampage in southern France last year.

Britain's involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past decade has often stirred anger among British Muslims and occasionally made soldiers a target at home. British police have foiled at least two plots in which Islamist suspects were accused of planning to kill soldiers, including by beheading.

Cameron's office officials had welcomed the condemnation from most mainstream British Muslim groups and that the national security committee had discussed community cohesion.

In signs of a backlash after the attack, more than 100 angry supporters of the English Defence League, a far-right street protest group, took to the streets late on Wednesday.

Separately, two men were arrested in connection with separate attacks on mosques outside London. No one was hurt.