Wife thought Woolwich soldier would 'be safe in UK'

Drummer Lee Rigby's family paid tribute to him in an emotional news conference

The wife of the soldier murdered in south-east London has said she expected her husband to be safe in the UK.

Rebecca Rigby said Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, had many times before walked safely down the street in Woolwich where he was attacked on Wednesday.

Two women, aged 29 and 31, arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, have been released without charge, but a man, 29, remains in custody.

Murder suspects Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale remain in hospital.

Drummer Rigby, the father of a two-year-old boy, was killed in front of dozens of people on Wednesday afternoon.

Shortly after the killing, 28-year-old Mr Adebolajo was filmed by a passer-by saying he had carried out the attack because British soldiers killed Muslims every day.

Armed police arrived on the scene and shot the two suspects, who had made no attempt to flee.

Lee Rigby and his family Lee Rigby's family wept at a news conference as they told of their loss
Footage of shooting

At a news conference on Friday, Mrs Rigby, 30, sitting alongside other family members, said she had been aware of the dangers of her husband serving in countries where there was armed conflict, but added: "You don't expect it to happen when he's in the UK. You think they're safe."

She sobbed: "I love Lee and always will. I am proud to be his wife. He was a devoted father to our son Jack and we will both miss him terribly."

Drummer Rigby's stepfather, Ian Rigby, said: "We would like to say 'Goodnight Lee, rest in peace our fallen soldier. We love you loads and words cannot describe how loved and sadly missed you will be'."

Mr Rigby added that his stepson "adored and cared a lot for his family, he was very much a family man, looking out for his wife, young son Jack, younger sisters, whom in turn they looked up to him".

He said his "heart skipped a beat" when he saw TV footage of the attack in Woolwich, knowing that Drummer Rigby was in the area. The family did not get confirmation until several hours later that he had been killed.

Mr Rigby also revealed the contents of Drummer Rigby's final text message to his mother, 46, in which he told her how much he loved her and said that she was not only his mother, but also his best friend.

In other developments:

  • Police said the cause of Drummer Rigby's death has not yet been confirmed
  • Searches continue at five residential addresses in London and one in Lincolnshire
  • Leaders from the Muslim community and the Church of England - including the Archbishop of Canterbury - held a joint news conference in Leicester. Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra of the Muslim Council of Britain called on "all our communities - Muslim and non-Muslim - to come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail"
  • There were prayers, readings and candles lit in memory of Drummer Rigby at a service in his hometown of Middleton, Greater Manchester
  • Military charity Help for Heroes said it has received £600,000 in donations and pledges since the murder
  • Hundreds of bunches of flowers were tied to the railings of the barracks in Woolwich where Drummer Rigby had been based at the time of his murder
  • Two men from Bristol were arrested, and then bailed, for making allegedly offensive comments on Twitter about the Woolwich murder
  • A 22-year-old man was charged with an offence of malicious communications after he posted comments about the murder on Facebook, Lincolnshire Police said

The family's statements come after video footage, obtained by the Daily Mirror, emerged showing the moment police shot Mr Adebolajo, originally of Romford, east London, and Mr Adebowale, 22, of Greenwich, south-east London.

Drummers

  • Drummers are musicians as well as fully trained fighting infantrymen
  • Can be deployed to any area in the world within 24 hours
  • Given drum training, and play drum scores relevant to their regimental tunes
  • Some can also play the bugle

The video shows one of the men charging at police sitting in a patrol car. He appears to drop a knife as he runs toward the car, before being shot and falling to the ground.

The other man is shown aiming a gun at officers as he runs in a different direction. Eight shots in total can be heard on the video.

Both of the suspects remain under armed guard in separate London hospitals in stable conditions, with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police are said to be standing guard outside Mr Adebowale's home in Greenwich.

Woolwich attack Michael Adebolajo is seen lying on the road after he was shot

Earlier, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles defended the security services against criticism after it emerged that the murder suspects had been known to them for eight years.

He told BBC Breakfast: "Peers and MPs will do a thorough investigation in terms of what the security forces knew but I've seen experts on security explaining how difficult it is in a free society to be able to control everyone."

Mr Adebolajo was photographed in 2006 being restrained by police during a scuffle outside the Old Bailey.

He was part of a group who were asked to stay in a demonstration pen, but they broke out, attacking police officers in the process.

Map showing the area of the attack

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