Rigby verdict: Killers 'should never be allowed to walk free'

The parents of murdered soldier Lee Rigby explain how they feel about the men who murdered their son.

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Two men have been convicted of murdering soldier Lee Rigby in May. His parents Ian and Lyn Rigby told BBC Panorama they do not think Michael Adebolajo or Michael Adebowale should ever be allowed to leave prison.

Drummer Lee Rigby had served in Afghanistan with his regiment, the Fusiliers, who he had joined in 2006 when he was just 19. His unit was based in Cyprus.

Talking to Panorama's Peter Taylor, Lee's mother Lyn Rigby said: "I wouldn't wish anybody to go through the same pain of what they put Lee through, what they put the family through."

"I don't think they should be able to come out and walk the streets again."

'Twisted views'

Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, rammed Fusilier Rigby with a car in Woolwich, south-east London, before attacking him with knives and a meat cleaver in front of onlookers.

Start Quote

The Army meant the world to him. He met a lot of friends and treated them all like brothers”

End Quote Lyn Rigby

Speaking before the verdict, Fusilier Rigby's stepfather Ian said he had faith in the court.

"You'd love to say you'd like to see the same thing happen to them as what they have done, but you live in a democracy and believe in the justice of this country."

Mr Rigby said he did not hold Islam responsible for his stepson's death.

He said: "Muslims do not, in the majority, have the same views as [Adebolajo]. The belief that was put in his brain, does not represent the entire Muslim faith.

"Lee was doing a job, serving Queen and country, and he had a right of safety, to walk the streets of London without being killed in the name of religion or somebody that's got whatever twisted views on that religion," he added.

'Very determined'

Mr and Mrs Rigby said their son loved serving his country but had struggled to pass the Army recruiting process because of his dyslexia.

Fusilier Lee Rigby Fusilier Rigby's mother found out about the attack on television

He failed the entry test twice but his mother said: "He was very determined, he wasn't going to give up. The two failures before did upset him and it did make him angry but he was always, after a day or so, determined, [saying] 'right, I'm going to do it again', and he did."

She said: "The Army meant the world to him. He met a lot of friends and treated them all like brothers. It was Lee's dream and he always wanted to do it."

He had nearly been killed when a bullet hit a picture frame next to his bed at a patrol base in northern Helmand province in Afghanistan.

Mrs Rigby said: "He did say once they'd just had a bullet fly past them you know, and it had missed him by inches. He'd phoned home straight after that and said that he'd missed us and that he'd loved us."

'No reply'

After returning to the military barracks in Woolwich, Fusilier Rigby kept in close contact with his parents.

Tributes left near the scene Floral tributes were left near the scene of Fusilier Rigby's death

"He always sent me texts on Mother's Day. I had a couple of messages from Lee [saying] hope you've had a good day, can't be with you, and I really want to be with you… that he loved me and thanked me for everything, and that I was his best friend. It made me cry that text," she added.

Ian also recalled the day Fusilier Rigby died: "Lyn had gone to work, and obviously the clips came on the telly of it going on. We found that it'd been going on for you know two or three hours... we knew Lee was in that area.

"Normally he'd phone straight away. So when it started happening we tried phoning Lee. [There was] no reply obviously. We tried phoning the barracks, which had gone into basic shut down then, so we couldn't get through."

Start Quote

I went to the window, and there were four gentlemen stood there. And I knew then why they were here”

End Quote Lyn Rigby

Mrs Rigby only became aware of the attack at work. "It was on the TV in the canteen," she said. "I actually sat there and watched it, watched it all not knowing. I tried Lee straight away, I couldn't get hold of him.

"I just thought to myself, it's got to be Lee because he's not phoned to say he's safe."

It wasn't until 02:00 that she found out it was her son who had been murdered.

Mrs Rigby recalls: "I was just going up to bed. So I went to the window, and there were four gentlemen stood there. And I knew then why they were here.

"I went downstairs, put the chain on the door, and asked for their ID cards.

"It's silly really, but you don't just open your door to any anybody at two o'clock in the morning.

"It was something that I didn't want to hear, and I knew then, and I just lost everything after that."

Panorama: Woolwich, The Untold Story, BBC One, Thursday 19 December at 22:35 GMT and then available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer

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