‘Charismatic’ killer of Lee Rigby has converted prisoners to Islam, judge told

adebolajoadebolajoScreen Shot 2017-10-31 at 20.21.51A Muslim extremist jailed for life after being convicted of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby is looked up to by fellow prisoners, a High Court judge has been told.

Michael adebolajo was “charismatic” and intelligence suggested that he had helped convert other inmates to Islam, Mr Justice Langstaff heard.

Detail of the influence adebolajo wielded in jail has emerged after he took legal action against the Ministry of Justice.

adebolajo claims that he was injured by prison officers during an incident in a cell and wants compensation.

Mr Justice Langstaff oversaw a preliminary hearing in the case at the High Court in London on Tuesday.

He said any trial was some distance off and made an order barring prison officers involved from being identified in media reports.

Fusilier Rigby, 25, died after being attacked near Woolwich Barracks in south-east London in May 2013.

adebolajo, who is in his early 30s, and Michael Adebowale, who is in his mid-20s, were convicted of murder following a trial at the Old Bailey.

adebolajo was given a whole-life jail term.

Adebowale was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 45 years.

Jurors heard that they mowed down Fusilier Rigby in a car before hacking him to death.

Mr Justice Langstaff said adebolajo, who was not at Tuesday’s hearing, had complained about an incident in a cell while on remand in July 2013.

Lawyers representing the Ministry of Justice said prison officers likely to give evidence at any trial could be in danger if their names emerged in media reports.

They gave the judge detail of the influence adebolajo had in prison.

“He forms relationships easily,” said the judge.

“He is charismatic.

“There is intelligence suggesting that he has had some influence on the conversion to Islam of some individuals.”

The judge added: “There is a large group of people who look up to adebolajo.”

Mr Justice Langstaff said the incident at the centre of adebolajo’s claim had occurred while he was awaiting trial.

Five prison officers had been escorting adebolajo. Physical force had been used to restrain him.

He had been held by the head and an arm and had lost two front teeth.

The judge said the use of physical force by prison officers had to be justified.

Ministry of Justice lawyers told the judge that prison officers were “deeply unhappy” about being involved in legal proceedings.

Mr Justice Langstaff said adebolajo had not been given legal aid to pay for lawyers to represent him.

He said adebolajo might have to represent himself at any trial and suggested that it would be in the interests of justice if public funding could be given.

“If and when this case comes to trial it will be a great pity to justice, and in particular the presentation of the claimant’s case, if some means were not found to ensure he had professional help,” said the judge.

“If that could be done by public funds all the better.”

adebolajo had screamed ”Allahu akbar” as he and Adebowale were sentenced by a judge at the Old Bailey in February 2014 after being convicted of Fusilier Rigby’s murder.

The two British-born extremists, who were dressed in Islamic robes, erupted with rage as Mr Justice Sweeney told them that they had been radicalised and betrayed their religion.

Both were pinned to the ground and bundled out of court by prison officers.

Mr Justice Sweeney said: “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.”

He added: “You decided between you, and in order to advance your extremist cause, to murder a soldier in public in broad daylight and to do so in a way that would generate maximum media coverage.”

Rigby Killers: How They Were Drawn To Extremism

Here are profiles of Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.

Suspect Michael Adebolajo Michael Adebolajo

Michael Adebolajo horrified millions of people by appearing on camera with bloodied hands clutching a knife and a meat cleaver moments after killing Lee Rigby.

The 29-year-old, who was raised as a Christian, became a committed Islamic extremist who tried to join jihadis in east Africa, and then brought terror to the streets of the UK.

In the shocking footage, he was seen ranting about how Muslims in other countries had to witness similar horrors to that which he and Michael Adebowale had wreaked in south-east London.

Another film clip captured him charging towards police clutching a knife and a meat cleaver, and flying through the air after he was shot by the embattled marksmen.

Giving evidence in court, he only showed emotion when talking about his religious beliefs, but remained calm when describing his chilling attempts to decapitate Fusilier Rigby.

He told jurors that he had converted to Islam in 2002 or 2003, when he was a student at the University of Greenwich, and chose to take the name Mujahid Abu Hamza.

Adebolajo said he wanted to be called Mujahid, meaning fighter, after he learned “how much Allah loves the mujahideen”.

He was born to Nigerian parents at King’s College Hospital in south-east London on December 10 1984, and later went to Marshalls Park School in Romford, east London, where he made friends with Kirk Redpath, who went on to become a Lance Corporal in the British Army and was killed in an explosion in Iraq.

Adebolajo told jurors that most of his friends growing up were white British, and that he blamed Tony Blair for Mr Redpath’s death.

His nurse father Anthony and social worker mother Tina had tried to dissuade him away from the clutches of Islamic extremism, but in 2010 he was arrested in Kenya, apparently trying to get to Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabaab.

Adebolajo said he wanted to get to the African country so that he could live under Sharia law.

His friend Abu Nusaybah claimed that Adebolajo was asked to work for the British security services after he was caught, and Adebolajo told police that MI5 had visited his home.

The Commons Intelligence and Security Committee is looking at what security services knew about the suspects before the murder, and is expected to make at least some parts of its findings public.

In police interview and throughout his court appearances he rambled on about his political and religious motivations.

Before his defence case began, a hearing took place to establish ground rules for what would happen in court, to try to stop him using the Old Bailey as his soap box.

Mr Justice Sweeney told his barrister David Gottlieb: “In the light of what we all saw in the (police) interviews what needs to be clearly understood is that in the court arena at least a question is not a cue for a speech, it’s a cue for an answer.”

Adebolajo was held at high security Belmarsh prison after he was charged with the murder of Fusilier Rigby, and there he claimed that he was attacked by a group of prison officers, and lost his front teeth when they put him under restraint.

Five members of prison staff were suspended after the incident, but the Prison Officers’ Association insisted that only approved restraint techniques had been used.

 

Michael-Adebowale Michael Adebowale

Michael Adebowale attacked three police officers in his first 24 hours in custody, it can now be reported.

The 22-year-old, who was confronted by courageous “Woolwich Angel” Ingrid Loyau-Kennett in the aftermath of Fusilier Rigby’s murder, was said to be “very unpredictable” when held by police.

As a teenager, he was victim of a knife attack in which his best friend was killed, and he told psychiatrists that he was haunted by the voices of his would-be killers.

He was discharged from hospital six days after Fusilier Rigby’s murder, and was formally charged on May 29, appearing in court for the first time the next day.

There the rare step was taken of allowing him to be handcuffed while in the dock because of the risk to police, prison and security officers.

It emerged that he had attacked three police officers in 24 hours. The first incident was when he was in his cell picking out his stitches, and when a police officer came in to stop him, he punched him in the face with his right hand.

Then when he was interviewed for the first time, he spat in an officer’s face; and in a third incident he spat in a glass of water and threw it in a police officer’s face.

While in prison he told psychiatrist Dr Neil Boast that he would hear voices in the morning for about 10 minutes.

The medic described: “People he doesn’t know and people who took part in an assault on him when he was injured and a friend was killed. He hears people he doesn’t know speaking in a Nigerian accent about him.”

Experts said he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after being a victim of the knife attack at the age of 16. Police said he was “quite a troubled young man” who had gone missing from home more than once.

Former bare-knuckle fighter Lee James was found guilty of murdering 18-year-old Faridon Alizada in 2008 at a flat in Erith, south east London, and wounding Adebowale and another 16-year-old friend.

Adebowale, who was known as Tobi, was the son of Juliet Obasuyi, reportedly a probation officer, and his father Adeniyi, who works for the Nigerian High Commission.

He was raised as a Christian in south east London, and went to school in Kidbrooke. As he moved into his teens, he became involved in drugs and was linked to the Woolwich Boys gang – as was Adebolajo.

His concerned mother appealed for her friend Richard Taylor, the father of tragic Damilola who was killed at the age of 10 in a knife attack, to mentor her son, but he later fell into extremism.

Mr Taylor said that he was “terribly shocked” to see him involved in the brutality, having spoken to him only two months before the murder, but that he felt there was nothing that could have changed the 22-year-old.

In an interview with ITV News, he said: “Having seen how my own son was stabbed to death, it made me feel that…at the end of whatever happens, they will still be alive, they will still be on the street or maybe they will take them away from the public and go and change their faces. They don’t deserve to live.”

Adebowale, who asked to be called Ismail Ibn Abdullah in court, ultimately chose not to give evidence and refused to explain his horrific actions to the jury or Fusilier Rigby’s family.

BBC Panorama has obtained footage of Adebowale speaking at a demonstration associated with radical preacher Anjem Choudary.

The event took place outside St Paul’s Cathedral in central London and both Choudary and Adebowale were in attendance.

The never-before-seen footage shows Adebowale publicly embracing extreme Islamist views.

He is heard saying: “You talk about Britain, talk about there being a problem in Britain. Islam is going to take over the whole world, you can see it. It’s coming, inevitably, even if you hate it.

“In Somalia we see that there was a few people who rose up to establish Islamic law, and what happened?

“America came and dropped bombs on their heads and then after they dropped bombs on their children’s heads, on their mothers’ heads, on their wives’ heads and innocent people.

“The prophet said if you see an evil, like, change it with your hand if you can do so; if you cannot do so then speak out against it, and if you cannot do that then hate in your heart.”

Choudary denies meeting Adebowale there or organising the event – although his mobile number is on the web poster.

He told Panorama he was unaware that Adebolawe had been at the protest which he attended.

Lee Rigby Murderers Sentenced Today

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale
Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale

Wednesday February 26, 2014.

Sentencing was delayed by Mr Justice Sweeney to allow time for a specially-constituted court to decide if “whole-life” tariffs can still be handed to criminals who have committed the very worst of crimes. Mr Justice Sweeney’s move was a clear signal that a whole-life order – that is, sentenced to life in prison with no minimum term or chance for a Parole Board review – was firmly on the table for at least one of the defendants.

It is still down to Mr Justice Sweeney to decide if a whole-life term is appropriate. Last week, a panel of five judges, including the most senior judge in England and Wales,

Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, declared that sentencing judges can continue to impose whole-life tariffs. The guidance comes in the wake of a decision by the European Court of Human Rights last year in an appeal by three murderers.

More follows…

Hostage incident linked to Rigby murder – Muslim inmates intimidated to join prison gang

full sutton

Prison chiefs have linked an attack on a prison officer to the Lee Rigby murder and warned prison staff of an increased risk of threats, according to reports – while an increasing number of Muslim inmates complain they are being intimidated to join the Muslim Brotherhood, a prison gang, and some have received injuries following a refusal to do so.

A male prison officer was left with a broken cheekbone after being held hostage by three male prisoners, two aged 25 and one aged 26, at HMP Full Sutton in Yorkshire on Sunday.

An email circulated to staff in top-security jails and young offender institutions and seen by The Times said: “Three Muslim prisoners took an officer hostage in an office.

“Their demands indicated they supported radical Islamist extremism.

“All staff are reminded to remain vigilant to the increased risk of potential attacks on prison officers inspired by these and last Wednesday’s events.”

Counter-terrorism officers have been brought in to investigate the attack at the maximum security jail, during which a female warder was also injured.

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

These include a 50-year-old man, arrested on Monday, who was released on bail yesterday.

A 22-year-old man arrested in Highbury, north London, on Sunday and three men detained on Saturday over the killing have all been released on bail, as has a fifth man, aged 29.

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

Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said he was aware of an ‘increasing number of complaints’ from Muslim prisoners in the High Security prison estate who claim to have been intimidated to join the prison-based ‘Muslim Brotherhood’.

Mr Leech said: “Radicalisation of Muslims in the High Security Estate is nothing new and the existence of the Muslim Brotherhood is equally well-known, what I find disturbing is that I have seen an increasing number of Muslim inmates and their families complaining that their loved ones are being intimidated into joining this group and some have received injuries, perhaps unconnected with their refusal, after persistently declining to join.

“One firm of personal injury solicitors I am in touch with confirm they act for a Muslim inmate seriously injured in Full Sutton prison after he continually refused to join the Full Sutton Muslim Brotherhood – unusually and perhaps of significance is the fact that prison staff at HMP Full Sutton have given evidence supporting his case.

“Prison gangs like the Muslim Brotherhood can feed on fear and perpetrate a belief that there is safety in numbers – we should not forget that the Prison Inspection report published in April 2013 on Full Sutton said:

We had two main areas of concern. First, the perceptions of black and minority ethnic prisoners and Muslim prisoners about many aspects of their treatment and conditions were much more negative than for white and non-Muslim prisoners. For example, significantly fewer told us staff treated them with respect and significantly more said they felt unsafe.

“Treating all prisoners with respect and equality is the challenge for the management of Full Sutton, a Maximum Security prison which in so many other respects has shown itself well able to rise to difficult challenges and overcome them – and on this important one it must not be allowed to fail.”

Lee Rigby Accused Released From Hospital

Michael Adebowale
Michael Adebowale

One of the men shot by police in the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby has been discharged from hospital, Scotland Yard said.

The 22-year-old, understood to be Michael Adebowale, from Greenwich, south-east London, was taken into custody at a police station in south London.

He was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Drummer Rigby on May 22, and was further arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer. He will now be interviewed by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command.

Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo, 28, have been recovering in hospital after they were both shot by armed police in the immediate aftermath of Drummer Rigby’s murder.

The young soldier was hacked to death near Woolwich barracks in south-east London last Wednesday, and since his death detectives have arrested 10 people. These include Adebowale and Adebolajo, as well as a 50-year-old man who was held in Welling, south-east London on Monday and is currently being questioned.

A 22-year-old man arrested in Highbury, north London, on Sunday, and three men detained on Saturday over the killing have all been released on bail, as has a fifth man, aged 29. Two women, aged 29 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder but later released without charge.

In the wake of the attack it emerged that Adebolajo and Adebowale were both known to MI5. Adebolajo was also arrested by Kenyan authorities three years ago because they feared he was attempting to join an al Qaida-linked militant group, the country’s anti-terrorism police said.

The murder has sparked a flurry of activity by far right group the English Defence League, and on Monday more than 1,000 supporters marched to Downing Street chanting “Muslim killers off our streets” and “There’s only one Lee Rigby” in tribute to the soldier.

A massive police presence kept them separate from a smaller group of anti-fascist activists, with officers making 13 arrests in total for a range of public order offences. Forces charity Help for Heroes announced it will not accept any donations raised by EDL leader Tommy Robinson or other members of the group, or any political party.

Police are now investigating two attacks by vandals on the RAF Bomber Command memorial and the Animals in War memorial in London. Both were daubed with graffiti and although the words written on the two memorials have now been covered up, it is thought “Islam” had been written on each of them.