Re-posted from the Telegraph news website in the UK on 5.23.2013:
There has been a huge outpouring of sorrow and grief in London over the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby. Today the Telegraph published an extensive update on the horrific crime yesterday which took Rigby’s life and I am re-posting the update in full below:
Follow live coverage following a terror attack in Woolwich, London, yesterday, in which a soldier was apparently beheaded by two Islamist terrorists.
By Hayley Dixon
4:16PM BST 23 May 2013
Soldier murdered in Woolwich named as Drummer Lee Rigby
Full story: ‘soldier beheaded’ in ‘Islamist terror attack’
Two suspects shot and injured by armed police
Theresa May convenes meeting of COBR
Prime Minister returns from France
Police appeal for calm following ‘attack
Eyewitness: attack like ‘something out of a film’
Aerial footage shows crashed car and blood
17.46 The Rt Revd Mark Davies, The Bishop of Middleton, says: “The nation has been shocked by Lee’s death. But the greatest burden is carried by those he knew and loved.
“Our prayers and sympathies are with his family, friends and those he served with.”
17.35 Nicola James, 45, who lives next to the Greenwich flat that was raided by police earlier, tells Josie Ensor she had seen the second suspect around the estate in the last few months.
She says: “After his girlfriend’s mother died a month ago he kept coming around. I think she had converted to Islam for him two years ago.
“There were lots of small children in the house which might have been them. She sometimes wore a burka and other times would cover her whole face.
“He was always preaching in Woolwich High Street, while you could hear the girlfriend praying and chanting in the flat.
“The family were all quite quiet, they didn’t socialise with people on the estate.”
17.27 Sergeant Barry Ward, Drum Major Second Fusiliers, says: “Drummer Rigby was a loving father with a very bubbly character. He was an excellent Drummer, loved his job and was a highly popular member of the Platoon.
“He had served in Afghanistan as an FSG Operator and was very diligent in his work. He was always around when needed and will be sorely missed by all members of the Second Fusiliers Corps of Drums.”
17.26 Ned Miller, Warrant Officer Class 1, Regimental Sergeant Major Second Fusiliers, says: “Riggers is what every battalion needs. He was one of the Battalion’s great characters always smiling and always ready to brighten the mood with his fellow Fusiliers.
“He was an excellent drummer and well respected within the Drums platoon. He was easily identified whilst on parade by the huge smile on his face and how proud he was to be a member of the Drums.
“He would always stop for a chat just to tell me Manchester United would win the league again. My thoughts are with his family and they will always be part of the Fusilier family.”
17.23 Captain Alan Williamson, Adjutant Second Fusiliers and Drummer Rigby’s Platoon Commander from 2010-2011, says:Drummer Rigby was known as ‘Riggers’ within the Platoon and was “a cheeky and humorous man, always there with a joke to brighten the mood.”
He says: “He was an extremely popular member of the Fire Support Group (FSG). An excellent side drummer and highly competent machine gunner, he was always there to help out the younger members of the FSG whenever possible.
“His loss will be felt across the Battalion but this is nothing compared to how his family must be feeling at this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
17.21 Lieutenant Colonel Jim Taylor MBE, Commanding Officer Second Fusiliers, pays tribute to “a dedicated and professional soldier.”
He says: “He was a real character within the Second Fusiliers. Larger than life, he was at the heart of our Corps of Drums.
“An experienced and talented side drummer and machine gunner, he was a true warrior and served with distinction in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus.
“His ability, talent and personality made him a natural choice to work in the recruiting group. He will be sorely missed by everyone in the Second Fusiliers. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time. Once a Fusilier, Always a Fusilier.”
17.18 Drummer Rigby, 25, from Crumpsall, Manchester was from 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, attached to the Regimental Recruiting Team in London.
17.16 The Ministry of Defence pays tribute to Drummer Rigby as “an extremely popular and witty soldier.” In a statement it says: “Drummer Rigby was a larger than life personality within the Corps of Drums and was well known, liked and respected across the Second Fusiliers. He was a passionate and life-long Manchester United fan.
“A loving father to his son Jack, aged 2 years, he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. The Regiment’s thoughts and prayers are with his family during this extremely difficult time.”
17.03 The British soldier hacked to death has been named as Drummer Lee Rigby.
The wedding of murdered Woolwich soldier Lee James Rigby to Rebecca Metcalfe in October 2007. (Picture: Rossparry)
16.50 A family linked to one of the suspects would keep their neighbours up all night with Islamic chanting, neighbours have said.
Residents in a Greenwich estate said that one of the woman staying at the house, thought to be the girlfriend of one of the killers, converted to Islam two and a half years ago.
The flat is thought to belong to a woman who died five weeks ago. Since then her two daughters – one of whom neighbours said was the girlfriend of one of the suspects – would sometimes stay there.
The suspect who has not yet been identified – the man in the green jacket – was also seen there, along with a 15-year old boy, thought to be the son of one of the women.
Police ‘armed to the hilt’ smashed their way into the home morning, carrying machine guns and wearing bullet proof vests.
Neighbour Nicola James, 45, said of the family: “When you walked passed you would hear them singing Muslim songs. You would hear them chanting through the windows.
“The gran who used to live there died and since then there has been a lot of comings and goings.
“I saw the man who was in the video in the green jacket go inside the house. I think he was a boyfriend.
“The woman I think he went out with wore a full niqab. She converted to Islam about two and a half years ago.
“There’s a teenage boy who lives there sometimes too. He used to cause trouble on my part of the estate. He came over to my part of the estate once and my dog bit him.
“The family tried to take me to court but I won the case. His mum headbutted me.”
16.47 Alfie Swain, who said he had met the victim, told BBC News of his grief at the news. He said: “I can’t explain it, how much it hurts. It’s just disappointing.
“I’d met him in and out of the Army base itself. Hearing that he’s gone is just destroying. He was a nice man. He was caring, loving. To hear that he’s gone is just disappointing.
“I’m just terribly, terribly upset. I just want to burst into tears right now.
But the would-be soldier said yesterday’s atrocity will not stop him from joining the Army.
“I’ve wanted to join the Army since I was a kid, I’ve been thinking about it so now I’m going to do it.
“I’m going to join up no matter what. I know it’s going to be hard for me but I’m going to join up and do the best that I can.
16.40 The charity Help For Heroes was swamped with donations today, leading to its website crashing.
The popular military support group was deluged with calls, donations and demands for its merchandise, prompting its website to go down due to massive internet traffic.
Supporters took to Twitter and social networks in a bid to boost the charity’s coffers after a soldier wearing a Help For Heroes top was hacked to death by Islamic extremists in Woolwich, south east London, yesterday.
Celebrities such as Michael Vaughan, the ex-England cricketer, and the adventurer and broadcaster Ben Fogle were among those urging well-wishers to give money to the charity.
Today, Help For Heroes offered its thanks for the “extraordinary demonstration of support”.
16.16 Julie Siddiqi, of the Islamic Society of Britain, tells the Telegraph that Britain’s Muslim community have been left “sickened” by the horrific killing of a soldier in Woolwich “just like everybody else”.
Julie Siddiqi, of the Islamic society of Britain, has spoken of the feeling in the Muslim community
16.10 Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political Editor, has apologised for saying the attackers were of “Muslim appearance”.
The corporation received 43 complaints after Mr Robinson used the term on the 6 o’clock news.
In his blog today the senior journalist wrote that his instinct told him was that it was an act of terrorism, and he had tried to establish whether this was true.
“With minutes to go before the BBC News at Six I was told by a senior Whitehall source that the incident was being treated as a suspected terrorist incident and being taken very seriously indeed.
“This information changed the news from a crime story to something of more significance. The police had, I was told, described the attackers as being “of Muslim appearance” and shouting “Allahu Akbar”. On air I directly quoted a senior Whitehall source saying that the police had used that description.
“That phrase “of Muslim appearance” clearly offended some who demanded to know what it could possibly mean. Others were concerned that it was a racist generalisation.”
He said later reports and videos backed up the idea that the attack was linked to terrorism.
“Despite this and the fact that I was directly quoting a source I’m sorry for using a phrase that, on reflection, was both liable to be misinterpreted and to cause offence.”
15.48 Parents at Mulgrave Primary School, next to the site of the killing, described to Claire Carter a school in ‘lock down’ after the murder.
Terri Vosper said: “I used to see the guy around in Woolwich praying and preaching for Allah and stuff like that. I’ve lived here my whole life and I don’t want to live here anymore.
“We’ve been told the headteacher saw the body outside and then there was a lock down. All the gates were locked and the doors and windows, and all the curtains got shut.”
Parents said children were told to go into the hall after the school was closed, and wait for their parents.
Penelope Marsh, who has a four year old at the school, said: “As soon as the headteacher knew what was going on they just closed the school up.
“It went into lockdown. They closed everything up, pulled down all the blinds and kept the children in. They sent us a text message to come and pick the children up. “
Natasha Wood, 26, said she thought she had seen one of the men and the two women, who tried to help the victim, before in Woolwich. She said: “Luckily the playground my son was in is at the back so he didn’t see anything.
“It was mad. We had to wait for ages. I just wanted to get my son. We had to wait for ages for them to open the gates.
“One of the guys involved definitely looked familiar. We have probably passed him in the street.
“Those two women were so brave to go there when that happened.”
Parents said they had heard the headmaster had seen the body and then said the school must be locked to protect the children.
Some parents said their children had been scared to go to school on Thursday.
Twitter: Boris Johnson - overwhelming message from the community meeting – London won’t be divided by this sickening atrocity.
15.38 Residents in the quiet Lincolnshire village of Saxilby have expressed their surprise that officers from Scotland Yard had raided a home in the area in connection with yesterday’s brutal murder.
“I knew nothing until this morning,” one man said. “I went out about 9.30, saw one police car and a few guys starting to walk around.
“I didn’t think much to it but when I came back about one and a half, two hours later, police, media were all here.”
He said he had not seen anyone in the area who resembled either of the Woolwich suspects. He added: “It is unusual to see an ethnic minority face around here. This is traditional, rural middle England. It’s just the way it is.
“So if they were living here, or one of them, or a family was here, they pretty well kept themselves to themselves.”
Police cars blocked off the roads and officers appeared to be searching a large executive house. It is thought they had been working inside for some hours.
15.36 A police raid on a flat on a housing estate in east Greenwich, south-east London, this morning, is thought to be linked to the attack.
This afternoon two police vans were stationed outside the ground-floor flat on Eastney Street, with about a dozen officers stationed outside. The front door of the flat had been shattered.
One neighbour said four people had been led away from the flat at 6am, and that two children, aged three and seven, were also taken away.
The 62-year-old, who did not want to be named, said: “I’ve never noticed anything suspicious.
“When I saw the police here, first of all I thought it was drugs, then I heard people saying it was something to do with what happened yesterday.”
The flat has now been sealed off by officers.
The suspect named by sources as Michael Adebolajo, left, and the second alleged killer are rumoured to have been schoolmates
15.21 Former neighbours of Michael Adebolajo have described him as a “nasty kid” who once punched a young girl neighbour in the face.
Whilst some have described his family as devout Christians, others have painted a different picture and blamed his home life for his alleged actions.
One 68-year-old Romford resident, who did not want to be named, said she was informed by a young girl’s brother that she had been attacked by him.
“He said Michael had spat in her face and then punched her. I looked out the window and he was stood in his front garden in a rage. The police turned up but I don’t think he was ever arrested,” she said.
The incident happened ten years ago and the neighbour and the family have since moved.
She added: “He was very aggressive. I would see him in the street and say a neighbourly ‘hello’, but he would just glare at you and suck his teeth.”
She believed his mother worked in healthcare and spent a lot of time outside London.
She continued: “The father was never around much, it seemed the kids were on there own a lot.
“Michael would regularly have a large group of friends over and they would sit in the garage with music blaring. They would also bring in lots of beer.”
“The house was like How Clean Is Your House. I once caught a glimpse inside when the door was open, there was food everywhere. They also had a problem with rats.”
The woman said Michael’s mother and sisters were very pleasant but she knew them only to say ‘hello’.
Another neighbour Graham Silverton, 62, said: “What chance did he have with that father. He would go into a rage with people for parking outside his house. It’s the father’s bloody fault.
“The day they moved out I was so happy. The father was a complete nutcase.”
15.06 A former friend of Michael Adebolajo has said he had no idea that the football loving Spurs fan had become radicalised.
Window cleaner Graham Wells, 30, said that he knew Michael as ‘Jay’ and lived in the flat below the one he shared with his sister in Romford.
He described him as a ‘lovely bloke who always had a smile on his face’.
Mr Wells, who last saw him a year ago, said: “He was a lovely bloke. I am surprised – cutting a soldiers head off in the middle of London is not really on.
“I lived in the middle flat, that’s how I got to know him. Before that I knew of him from Marshalls Park school. I went to another school, but we used to go over to the park to play football. He was a Tottenham fan and played in midfield.
“I never had any inclination that he was getting radicalised. He used to be, like most men his age, smoking a bit of green. He never used to drink at all.
“He became a bit more within himself but every time we were together he was all right. He lived above me, I think him and his sister.
“He was more of an acquaintance to me and he wasn’t close enough to me to tell me where he was born and things like that. He moved out a year ago.”
Mr Wells, who claims he recognised Adebolajo from today’s papers, said: “He never expressed any opinion – no politics whatsoever.
“I think he might have been radicalised by the internet. He was the sort of person you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of because he was a big fellow, and you basically would not want to get involved.”
15.02 The son of Ingrid Loyau-Kennett has described how her intervention in yesterday’s attack was motivated by her “incredible maternal instinct”.
She was in London celebrating her son Basil Baradaran’s 23rd birthday when she came across the horrifying street execution.
Basil, an animation graduate who lives close to the murder scene with sister Pawony, 24, said: “Mum came up to visit for my birthday and we’d had a lovely celebration.
“I was meeting her at the train station when she walked up and started telling me had happened.
“My first thought was for her safety but I could see she was completely intact. I couldn’t believe what she was telling me.
“I don’t know what was going through her mind or how she found the strength to do what she did but I’m totally awestruck. I’m about as proud as a son could be.”
He added: “As amazed as I am by what she did, it’s actually what I’ve come to expect from her.”
14.57 Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, has said: “No cause justifies this murder…These voices of extremism have no place in our mosques.”
14.48 The sister of Michael Adebolajo – the man believed to be one of the attackers – was led away from her home in Harold Hill by police earlier today and the property was searched by detectives, it has been reported.
A woman purporting to be Blessing Adebolajo told the Romford Recorder: “They have searched our home in Harold Hill; we didn’t know he was going to do this.”
Her friend told the local newspaper that the second man in the video of the attack attended the Marshalls Park School with Adebolajo.
The friend said: “They were always together at school. They were as thick as thieves. They may have even been related.
“Michael’s family were ultra-religious, they may have been born-again Christians. Michael got into Islam but no-one knew how much.”
Soldiers stand guard outside the barracks in Woolwich (EPA)
14.42 Mulgrave primary school have released a statement. Head teacher Dr David Dixon said: “To have an incident of this nature take place so close to the school was obviously very shocking for pupils, staff and parents.
“At the time, no one knew the exact nature of the incident and whether there was the potential for further risk to children’s safety. We therefore immediately put our contingency measures in place – making sure that all children were safe and helping them to stay calm, then making arrangements as soon as possible to contact parents and ensure children could safely be taken home.
“Today our priority has been to focus on ensuring children have as calm and as normal a day as possible. Parents have been very supportive of the school in this, despite the obvious shock at having such an incident take place in their community.”
Chair of Governors Ian Taylor added, “Mulgrave is a successful and harmonious school and the school’s strong and supportive ethos has clearly helped in our response to what’s happened. It’s clear from the comments of parents that our staff were exemplary in their response to the incident, and I would like to pay tribute to their calmness and professionalism.”
14.31 One of our reporters at the scene, Edward Malnick, has seen plain clothes detectives carrying out door to door enquiries and interviewing local residents.
14.22 Friends who attended Marshall Parks School in Romford with Michael Adebolajo have expressed their shock at news of his alleged actions.
They described him to Victoria Ward as a keen football player and a “peaceful”, “bright” student who was in the top sets for many subjects and “would never hurt a fly”.
Boris Johnson visited the scene of the killing today and talked to police officers (REUTERS/Luke MacGregor)
14.03 The chairman of the Islamic Society at Greenwich University as said he did not think that Michael Adebaloja, the man believed to be one of the attackers, was radicalised during his time there.
The Islamic Society chairman, who gave his name as Muhammed, insisted theirs was a peaceful group.
He said: “I do not know this guy and nor does anybody else I have spoken to from the society.
“I cannot speak for the group then because I was not here but as far as now is concerned we are a peaceful group.
“I would be very surprised if it was here (that he was radicalised).
On guest speakers, he said: “We would not have anybody here in my time with extremist views.”
13.45 David Cameron has arrived at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich to show his support.
A woman and her two children lay a postcard on floral tributes outside The Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich (Max Nash/PA)
13.28 Two women, believed to be sisters, have been handcuffed and led away from a property in Greenwich, ITV News reports. Neighbours say the door of the flat was smashed open by police officers wearing balaclavas and armed with machine guns.They were heard shouting “get down on the floor”. As well as the two women, a teenage boy, a toddler and a baby were also taken away.
The scene of yesterday’s murder (ITV News)
13.19 Labour leader Ed Miliband described yesterday’s murder of a soldier in Woolwich as “an act of complete cowardice”.
Mr Miliband spoke to Prime Minister David Cameron today about the killing, after cutting short a visit to Germany to return to London.
He said the opposition was offering its “full support” to the Government in its response to the outrage
In a televised statement, Mr Miliband said: “This was an appalling and horrific murder and all of my condolences are with the families and friends of the victim, and indeed with our troops because they serve incredibly bravely all around the world and they’ve seen one of their own murdered in an act of complete cowardice.
“There are people who try to divide us with acts like this. They’ve tried it before in London and they’ve failed and they will always fail.
“There will be people who try to use events like this to divide us and they will fail too.
“They will fail because the British people are united across different faiths, different religions, different backgrounds, in their abhorrence of this and in values of decency and tolerance. That is the true character of the British people and that’s why this terror will lose and will fail.
“We are a united country, not a divided country and anyone who tries to divide us will not succeed.”
13.14 Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of the British Forces in Afghanistan, has questioned whether the Government is providing the security services with enough resources so that they can monitor “peripheral players”.
They have feared an attack of this nature, carried out by a small number of individuals who have found what weapons they can, for some time, he said.
13.10 Here is a video of David Cameron’s statement on the attack.
12.58 Michael Adebolajo, said to be one of the suspects, was a student at Greenwich University in the early 2000s.
He lived in two different student flats on the campus in the Avery Hill area of Eltham – around three or four miles from where the murder took place.
This morning a security guard at the entrance to the campus said: “I don’t think the students here now will know him anyway because he left here in 2004.”
12.46 Local Muslims have said that they are afraid to leave their homes. One, Lucky Awale, witnessed the attack and said the suspect was “talking like a crazy man, saying ‘this Government needs to change’, things like that”.
“He wasn’t scared, he was saying ‘call the police’,” she said.
She said the men could not be real Muslims but suggested they had their own reasons for doing it.
“We live multiculturally, all kinds of people live here, all kinds of religions,” she added.
“For incidents like this to happen in the name of Muslims, it sends the wrong impression to people like the EDL, thinking that Muslims would be like that.”
Mrs Awale said her sympathy was with the dead man’s family and she was scared that such a violent attack could happen where she lived.
She continued: “We are scared as a community today. My sister lives near here and she is scared to come out, she is scared of the EDL and everything.
“Our kids are big enough to go to school by themselves but today we had to take them because we are scared.
“We are just asking for people not to take the wrong impression, the wrong idea, and take revenge on Muslims.”
Members of the English Defence League went to the scene in Woolwich to protest last night (Rick Findler / Barcroft Media)
12.38 The Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne has defended the amount of time it took for armed police to arrive at the scene yesterday.
He said he could not discuss the details of the attack, but added: “Please remain calm. London is at its best when we all come together and now is the time to do that.
“One point I would like to address is around some of the speculation as to how long it took the Met to respond yesterday as this incident started to unfold. We first received a 999 call from the public at 14:20hrs stating a man was being attacked, further 999 calls stated that the attackers were in possession of a gun. We had officers at the scene within 9 minutes of receiving that first 999 call.
“Once that information about a gun or guns being present was known firearms officers were assigned at 14:24hrs. Firearms officers were there and dealing with the incident 10 minutes after they were assigned, 14 minutes after the first call to the Met.”
12.34 Zak Dempster, 36, from the Royal Mechanical Engineers, Kent Regiment, placed flowers at the Woolwich barracks today wearing a Help for Heroes t- shirt.
He told Josie Ensor: “The victim was not from around here, he was from Lincolnshire and i think he served in the Yorkshire Regiment. He was just starting off his career god bless him, in his 20s.
“we’ve been advised not to go around wearing our Help for Heroes clothes or fatigues but I’m here to show they won’t stop us or knock us down.”
12.26 Police were today searching the home of a woman thought to be related to the one of the suspects.
Detectives and forensic officers were examining the top floor flat belonging to Blessing Daniels, who it believed to be related of Michael Adebolajo who sources have named as one of the killers.
Forensic teams were seen taking plastic boxes into the block where Ms Daniels lives, a three story mid century red brick building containing 12 flats.
Other policemen sat in a white transit van outside the estate in Harold’s Hill, Romford.
Police have only officially confirmed one raid, which took place in Saxilby in Lincolnshire last night, hundreds of miles from the scene of the attack.
A house in Saxilby, Lincolnshire, believed to be the home of relatives of Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo, was also raided last night.
12.25 At the Cobra meeting this morning it was agreed that issuing orders against wearing military uniforms in public would not be the right response to the outrage.
A No 10 source said last night’s advice was an “understandable reaction” while the circumstances of the attack were still unclear, but Mr Cameron and others at the meeting agreed that “the best way to defeat terrorists was to continue with normal life”.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “In light of yesterday’s events and the emerging situation, the military chain of command introduced a package of immediate reactive security measures on a precautionary basis.
“Following a review of the situation this morning, a decision has been taken to relax some of these temporary measures imposed yesterday, including advice to members of the armed forces in London not to wear uniform outside of defence establishments.
“The best way we can defeat terrorism is to carry on as normal, and that includes our personnel wearing their uniform.”
They MoD earlier denied that the guildance related to uniforms.
12.19 Military wives who laid flowers and tributes near the scene said that the victim was a young soldier, possibly a trainee.
One of the women, in her 20s, who did not want to be named, said: “We are a group of military wives. We live just outside the base. We are all just very numb at the moment – shaken up and very shocked.
“It could have been any one of our husbands. He was a young guy who cared very much about his job, like they all do.
“I think he was in training. The atmopshere is very quiet. No one really wants to talk. No one knows what to say.
“We are very sad and feeling quite raw at the moment. A lot of our husbands left the country this morning to go to Kenya.
“I don’t believe he was due to leave. He was an attachment to our batallion I think. He was in training to start off his life as a soldier.
“It could have been any person on the street but for it to be someone serving, we all feel targeted. It’s not nice.”
Boris Johnson has made a statement at the scene (BBC)
12.01 Both suspects were known to MI5 and the police, Whitehall sources have confirmed.
11.50 David Cameron has made a statement on the steps of Downing Street after chairing an emergency Cobra meeting.
Describing the attack as “sickening” he said: “We have all seen images which are deeply shocking. The people who did this were trying to divide us. They should know something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger.
“Today our thoughts are with his family… we have lost a brave soldier.”
He said that because investigations were ongoing there was a “limited” amount that he could say.
“I can say that already a number of things are clear, this country will be absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terrorism. We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms…
“This was not just an attack on Britain and the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam,” he said.
“We will defeat extremism by standing together,” Mr Cameron added.
“The fault lies solely and purely with the sickening individuals who carried out this appalling attack.”
He also praised Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, who spoke exclusively to the Daily Telegraph last night to tell us how she confronted the attackers.
Quoting the interview with Claire Duffin, the Prime Minister said: “When told by an attacker that he wanted to start a war in London she replied “You’re going to lose, it is only you versus many” – she spoke for us all.”
He acknowledged that it has been widely reported that the suspects were known to the security services, and said the IPCC and the Intelligence and Security Committee would be investigating.
He acknowledged that the public would have questions they needed answers to in light of the attack.
11.30 Michael ‘Mujaheed’ Adebolajo, who sources have claimed is one of the suspects, converted to Islam a decade and was always of “impeccable character”, radical cleric Anjem Choudary has said.
He said they both attended Mulgrave Primary school, which is located next to the scene of the killing, adding: “I saw the pictures of him last night, his name is Michael Adebolajo.
“I went to the same primary school as him in Woolwich, Mulgrave, and grew up in the same area and he came to the local mosque – it was a peaceful community with lots of Muslim people from Somalia and Pakistan. I didn’t know him that well so I can’t say where his family was from.”
Choudary led Islamist group Al-Muhajiroun, the banned forerunner to Islam 4 UK, where Adebolajo often appeared alongside other radical protesters.
Mr Choudary continued: “He converted around 2003 to Islam, before I met him and I knew him as his convert name ‘Mujaheed’ when he used to attend our demonstrations and lectures. I last saw him in 2011, he was a very nice man with impeccable character and nothing unusual about him.”
He said: “What he did was unusual and it’s not the kind of view that I propagate and I do not condone the use of violence, but those views are out there. Some members of the Muslim community struggle to express themselves and he is making his voice heard in blood.”
Choudary suggested that it was possible the attack was motivated by British government foreign policy in the Muslim world, and that this may not have been an isolated incident.
11.21 There have been raids at an address in Greenwich, it has been reported. Neighbours have told the BBC that four people – two sisters in their 30s, an older woman and a teenage boy, were all taken away in a police van and police continue to search the address. The Metropolitan Police have refused to confirm any searches which have taken place since a raid in Lincolnshire yesterday.
The suspect has been names as Michael Adebolajo (ITV)
11.13 One of the suspects, who was filmed explaining the reasons behind the attack as he held a blood soaked meat clever and knife, has been named by sources as 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo.
11.05 Scotland Yard have officially confirmed that the man was a serving soldier, but will not be releasing his identity yet in line with his family’s wishes.
A spokesperson said: ” We can confirm that the man who died in Woolwich yesterday, 22 May is a serving soldier.
“We believe we know his identity but he has yet to be formally identified. His next of kin have been informed. In line with the wishes of his family we will not be releasing his identity at this stage.
“A post-mortem examination will take place later today, 23 May.”
11.02 Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, has sent a letter of condolence to the Queen over yesterday’s events in Woolwich, calling it “an act of horrific brutality”.
The full text reads: “I was deeply saddened and shocked to hear of the terrible attack yesterday in London. It was an act of horrific brutality.
“In my name and on behalf of the people of Israel, I wish to extend my sincere condolences to the family of the victim and the people of Britain.
“Terrorism is a global threat and one the world must fact together. i know that the people of Britain will stand strong in the face of this threat and the State of Israel stands side by side with them.
“Please accept, your Majesty, my deepest sympathy.”
10.53 Parents passed through the police cordon in Woolwich this morning to drop their children off at Mulgrove Primary School, which is just metres from the scene of the attack.
They told how the pupils heard the popping of gunshots before they were quickly rushed away from windows by teachers and into the safety of the school hall.
Mother-of-two Chkondi Mhango, 34, said her 10 year-old daughter Collete was left terrified she was going to die after she saw a man with a gun outside the school.
She said he daughter “kept saying to me ‘mummy, what if I had died? What if he had come in and shot everybody in the school?’
“I think some of the kids who saw it were by the playground, and then they were told to go inside by the teachers.”
“It is horrifying to know that my daughter saw that from her school. It is not an experience anyone should go through.
“She was really upset. She didn’t want to go to sleep yesterday, she was too scared she was going to have nightmares. She was terrified.
“I’m worried that she might be traumatised by what she saw, she is only 10 years-old and these things can stay with you for life.
“The teachers acted quickly, they sent a text to all the parents and we all rushed down to pick our kids up.”
10.44 A Lincolnshire Police Spokesperson has confirmed that the raid was carried out by Scotland Yard.
They said: “Lincolnshire Police can confirm that the Metropolitan Police executed a search warrant under PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) at an address in Lincolnshire.
“This is in connection with the ongoing investigation into the murder of a man in Woolwich. The Metropolitan Police are not prepared to discuss the matter further at this stage.”
10.35 Lincolnshire Police have confirmed that they have raided an address in the county are working with the Metropolitan Police in connection with the attacks, the BBC have reported.
A woman lays flowers outside the barracks in Woolwich (REUTERS/Neil Hall)
10.20 Former security minister Lord West has added his voice to calls to revive the Government plans to extend internet and email monitoring powers to the security services.
Lord West said that the Communications Data Bill would have allowed investigators to get hold of the attackers’ phone records to trace their contacts.
Lord West told Sky News: “If we don’t get a Communications Data Bill, then in the future we won’t be able to find that sort of information.
“That information is extremely important for our security services to be able to pin down people, find out who they are linked with, who maybe radicalised them – was it just themselves or is there someone radicalising more people?
“We need to know this information and I do think that the Communications Data Bill which was due to come through and has been put on pause by the Deputy Prime Minister, I think that’s a terrible mistake.”
The bill was dropped from the Queen’s Speech following opposition from the Liberal Democrats.
10.12 The Ministry of Defence have dispelled rumours that armed personall have been told to cover their uniforms when they are in public. A spokesperson said: “We have issued guidance for extra vigilance, but this does not extend to uniforms.”
Boris Johnson is understood to be on his way to Woolwich.
10.00 The emergency Cobra meeting chaired by David Cameron has come to an end. Leaving the meeting, which lasted around one hour, Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, appeared to indicate that yesterday’s attack was being seen as a one-off incident.
He said: “Everything I am hearing leads me to think that Londoners can go about their business in the normal way and we are going to bring the killers to justice.”
09.56 Numerous religious leaders have spoke out against the attack and called for calm in the community. Julie Siddiqi, of the Islamic Society of Britain, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “We can’t allow the voices of Nick Griffin and the far right to become louder than ours in the coming days. They will say what we have to say and it gives us even more incentive to speak out and come together and not allow people like that to divide us as a country.
“The people who did this act yesterday do not speak in my name, do not speak for my community or the rest of the country. We have to come out with the strongest condemnation, which is what I’m seeing this morning.
“All of the Muslim organisations have come out with the strongest possible terms to say there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever, no justification for anything like this.
“This is one of the most shocking things I have seen in recent years and to have the people of Woolwich have to experience that so close to them, I just feel is absolutely horrific.”
09.45 Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of the British Forces in Afghanistan, has told BBC News he believes this morning’s Cobra meeting will try to ascertain whether the attack was part of a wider extremist conspiracy.
He says: “I don’t think it looks like that myself but I think they will want to know that. And the second thing, I think, in that area is there will be a great deal of concern that this form of attack now, which I think has been long feared by the security services, could lead to copycats.”
09.43 The Woolwich killers are of Nigerian background, sources have confirmed, but both are understood to be British citizens.
The men, who are being treated in separate hospitals while under arrest, are most likely to have converted to a radical form of Islam, it is understood.
They are not thought to have links to terror groups based in Nigeria, such as the jihadist militant organisation Boko Haram.
The Foreign Office warns of a high threat from terrorism in the West African nation and raises the prospect of a risk of retaliatory attacks following the French intervention in Mali.
Boko Haram is the most prominent terrorist threat in Nigeria. The group’s extremists aspire to establish Islamic law in Nigeria and carry out attacks across states mainly in the north.
In 2011, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the bombing of the UN building in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, which killed 23 people in an act that showed the group could target Western interests.
The group, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege”, was blamed for nearly 800 killings last year alone.
The barracks in Woolwich which are close to the scene of the attack
09.23 Speaking ahead of today’s Cobra meeting Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has called on Londoners to go about their normal business.
He said: “I’m sure this will have occurred to many people, and that is that it is completely wrong to blame this killing on the religion of Islam, but it is also equally wrong to try to draw any link between this murder and British foreign policy or the actions of British forces who are risking their lives abroad for the sake of freedom.
“The fault lies wholly and exclusively in the warped and deluded mindset of the people who did it, and what we need now is, for the sake of the victim and the sake of his family, for those killers to be brought to justice.”
Mr Johnson also paid tribute to the “exemplary courage” of the people of Woolwich.
“And today, I think I want to pay particular tribute, not just to the work of the police and security services yesterday, but also, above all, to the people of Woolwich, who showed such exemplary courage and bravery in a very difficult situation indeed.
“I think it’s very important that they take their cue, the people of London should take their cue, from the behaviour of the people of Woolwich yesterday, who showed such astonishing natural courage in dealing with an appalling event, and who stood up to these killers, and I think that that’s the spirit of London, and that’s what I would call upon people to do today: go about their lives in the normal way.”
09.20 David Cameron will be making a statement this morning after he chairs the emergency Cobra meeting.
09.10 Former home secretary Lord Reid has condemned the “brutal, inhumane and terrible murder of an innocent person” as he said the terrorist attack “won’t work”.
While he said the threat from terrorists was continual, he insisted they would not succeed in their bid to “impose their will on others” in the UK.
Lord Reid told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland the killing in Woolwich was a “horrific and terrible attack”, and added: “The bad news is that becomes harder to prevent.”
He said it was “a testament to the effectiveness of our security forces in this country that they have prevented it for many, many years”.
The former home secretary added: “We can get complacent – its easy to think because there hasn’t been a terrorist attack in the recent past that somehow the threat has gone away. I have continually said it hasn’t, it’s there continually, it’s still substantial.
“The macabre manner of the killing and the propaganda associated with it was meant to terrify and frighten people, because that is the nature of what terrorists do – which is to try to impose their will on others, through fear and indiscriminate violence.
“But it won’t work. It never has in the past in this country and it won’t in the future.”
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, pictured talking to one of the attackers and inset, has been hailed for her bravery after telling her story exclusively to the Daily Telegraph last night
08.40 Ingrid Loyau-Kennett has spoken to ITV’s Daybreak about the moment she risked her own life to confront the attackers yesterday. She said: “I wanted him to concentrate on me and make sure he doesn’t have a funny idea.
“He told me he (the victim) was a British soldier – he didn’t look like a British soldier to me, he wasn’t in uniform. But I thought if another one passes by, or is in the area…”
Asked if she was scared, she replied: “No – better me than a child.”
“Unfortunately there were more and more mothers with children stopping around, so it was even more important I was talking to him and ask him what he wanted.”
She added: “People were more busy just trying to film and just stopping to watch.”
08.05 The Cobra meeting is due to begin in less than an hour. Prime Minister David Cameron has returned from Paris to chair the meeting.
A large police cordon remain in place around the murder scene, with a forensic police tent still standing in the road where the attack took place.
Well wishers have given bouquets of flowers to uniformed police officers at the scene. Around a dozen bunches of flowers have been rested up against a wall close by.
More flowers have been laid near the entrance to the barracks on the edge of the town.
08.00 The family of the soldier have been informed of his death.
07.30 The far-right and the English Defence League are using social media to exploit the terrorist attack, writes Jake Wallis Simons.
Riot police last night contained an EDL demonstration in Woolwich. Elsewhere, two men were arrested following separate attacks on mosques in Essex and Kent.
07.18 The car which witnesses claim was used to run the soldier over before the attackers began hacking at him with knives and a meat clever, was removed from the scene last night.
The blue vehicle, which appeared to have collided with a road sign in John Wilson Street, was covered with a red tarpaulin and taken away by a tow truck.
07.15 Senior Whitehall sources have confirmed to the BBC that the victim was a member of the armed forces. Security has been increased at army barracks across the capital.
One of the alleged attackers talks to a Ingrid Loyau-Kennett whilst still holding a bloodied knife (@dannymckiernan)
07.00 A random attack has always been MI5′s greatest fear, writes the Telegraph’s security editor Tom Whitehead. Dubbed the “Nike terrorists” after the sports giant’s slogan “Just Do It”, lone attackers are a new generation of of Islamic terrorists who are almost impossible to detect.
06.52 The Government’s emergency response committee, Cobra, will reconvene this morning to discuss security measures in the aftermath of the attacks. The meeting will be chaired by David Cameron who returned from Paris last night.
The two suspects have been arrested and are still under armed guard in hospital after being shot by police at the scene.
06.46 It took around 20 minutes for armed police to arrive on the scene yesterday. The attackers were seen pacing the streets with their blood soaked weapons and discussing their motives with passers-by. Gordon Rayner sets out the attack as it happened here.
06.40 The attack dominated the papers this morning, here is a round up of some of the front pages.
06.20 Cub scout leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett showed “extraordinary bravery” yesterday when she confronted the attackers and tried to get them to hand over their weapons. Speaking exclusively to Claire Duffin last night she said: “I asked him if he did it and he said yes and I said why? And he said because he has killed Muslim people in Muslim countries, he said he was a British soldier and I said really and he said ‘I killed him because he killed Muslims and I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan they have nothing to do there.”
06.15 Good morning and welcome back to the live blog, please follow us here for all the latest updates on the attack and its aftermath.
- Woolwich Terror Attack: Soldier Named (news.sky.com)
- Michael Adebolajo: British-born suspect in killing of Drummer Lee Rigby (thisismoney.co.uk)
- Woolwich Terror Attack: Cobra Meeting Convened (order-order.com)
- Woolwich attack reaction – BBC News (bbc.co.uk)
- Woolwich attack: Two men arrested after ‘revenge attacks’ on mosques as EDL supporters clash with police (metro.co.uk)
- Woolwich attack: RIP Woolwich Soldier Facebook page receives 1million ‘likes’ as users pay tribute to victim (metro.co.uk)
- ‘Soldier beheaded’ in ‘Islamist Terror Attack’ Outside Barracks In Woolwich (more details) (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- Londoner of Nigerian descent suspect in terror attack (vancouverdesi.com)
- (Video) British Soldier Beheaded In Woolwich, London + killers Exclusive interview. (alexixblog.wordpress.com)
- Another far more to this than meets the eye – man dead in suspected London ‘terror attack’ (davidicke.com)