On the afternoon of 22 May 2013, a British Army soldier, Fusilier Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was attacked and killed by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeast London.
Rigby was off duty and walking along Wellington Street when he was attacked. Adebolajo and Adebowale ran him down with a car, then used knives and a cleaver to stab and hack him to death. The men dragged Rigby’s body into the road and remained at the scene until police arrived. They told passers-by that they had killed a soldier to avenge the killing of Muslims by the British armed forces. Unarmed police arrived at the scene nine minutes after an emergency call was received and set up a cordon. Armed police officers arrived five minutes later. The assailants, armed with a cleaver and brandishing a gun, charged at the police, who fired shots that wounded them both. They were apprehended and taken to separate hospitals. Adebolajo and Adebowale are British of Nigerian descent, were raised as Christians, and converted to Islam.
On 19 December 2013, both of the attackers were found guilty of Rigby’s murder. On 26 February 2014, they were sentenced to life imprisonment, with Adebolajo given a whole life order and Adebowale ordered to serve at least 45 years.
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