Rigby murder suspects wanted martyrdom, court hears

LONDON Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:41pm GMT

The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is carried by members of his regiment after his funeral service at the parish church in Bury, northern England July 12, 2013. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is carried by members of his regiment after his funeral service at the parish church in Bury, northern England July 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Nigel Roddis

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LONDON (Reuters) - The jury in the trial of two men accused of murdering soldier Lee Rigby on a London street heard on Wednesday that the pair wanted to scare police officers into killing them in their bid for martyrdom.

Michael Adebowale, 22, and co-defendant Michael Adebolajo, 29, are accused of running over Rigby in Woolwich, southeast London, on May 22 before attacking his unconscious body with knives and a meat cleaver. They both deny murder.

Adebowale's defence lawyer Abbas Lakha told the Old Bailey jury that both men wanted to make the officers who arrived at the scene fear for their lives, as only then would they shoot at the suspects.

He also said that a 90-year-old gun Adebowale brandished when armed police arrived was incapable of killing anybody as it was unloaded and needed oiling.

"His actions from beginning to end speak for themselves and they tell you loud and clear that it was martyrdom that he was after," Lakha said.

The two men are charged with the murder of Lee Rigby and the attempted murder of a police officer.

The jury is expected to retire to consider their verdict by the end of the week.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)

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