UK

Lee Rigby murder: Killers lose legal challenges

Adebolajo and Adebowale police shots
Image caption Michael Adebolajo, left, and Michael Adebowale killed Lee Rigby in London in May 2013

Two men convicted of killing Fusilier Lee Rigby in May 2013 have lost legal challenges against their sentences.

Michael Adebolajo's attempts to have his conviction overturned and whole-life sentence reduced were rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal.

Michael Adebowale, who was arguing for a reduction in his minimum sentence of 45 years, also had his case thrown out.

Fusilier Rigby's estranged wife Rebecca said: "We are relieved that this is over and justice has been done."

She added: "I would like to thank everyone for their continued support over the last 18 months and hope I can now build a future for my son Jack and ensure Lee's memory lives on."

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Media captionRebecca Rigby spoke briefly outside the Court of Appeal

Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, sitting with Lady Justice Hallett and Mr Justice Openshaw, said the sentences were "just" punishment for the "horrific and barbaric" murder.

The pair had "gloried" in what they had done, he said.

Adebolajo's attempt to challenge his conviction was "misconceived" and "completely hopeless", he said.

"They inflicted upon the family of Fusilier Rigby suffering extremely difficult to describe, and something they must live with for the rest of their lives," Lord Thomas added.

Adebowale, 23, watched the proceedings via video link from Broadmoor.

Adebolajo, 29, waived his right to do so from Frankland Prison, Country Durham.

'Memory alive'

Fusilier Rigby was killed on 22 May last year outside Woolwich barracks in south-east London.

Adebolajo and Adebowale drove into the 25-year-old before hacking him to death.

Fusilier Rigby's fiancee, Aimee West, said she was "relieved" and "thankful" after the hearing.

She added: "I hope that this is the last we will hear from them both, so that I can focus on rebuilding my life and keeping Lee's memory alive."

Last month, a report found Fusilier Rigby's death could not have been prevented despite his killers appearing in seven intelligence investigations.

The report, by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), revealed Adebowale had expressed his intent to murder a soldier in a "graphic and emotive" manner during an exchange with an overseas extremist in December 2012.

The intelligence agencies did not know about this exchange, understood to have been on Facebook, until after Fusilier Rigby's death.

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