Closing arguments heard at trial over British soldier's slaying

Aimee West, fiancee of  Lee Rigby, arrives at the Central Criminal Court in London on December 17.

Story highlights

  • Defense lawyers give closing arguments
  • Judge expects jurors to retire to consider verdicts Thursday
  • Killing of soldier Lee Rigby outside barracks in southeast London shocked the nation
  • Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale deny murder and attempted murder charges
A London court heard closing arguments Wednesday in the trial of two men accused of the brutal daylight killing of British soldier Lee Rigby.
Judge Nigel Sweeney told jurors at the Old Bailey criminal court he expected them to retire to consider their verdict on Thursday morning.
Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of murder and attempted murder of a police officer. They have denied the charges.
The prosecution says the suspects deliberately attacked an unarmed man from behind using a vehicle as a weapon, "and then they murdered him and mutilated his body with a meat cleaver and knives."
The killing of Rigby outside the Woolwich Barracks in southeast London on May 22 shocked the nation. He left behind a wife and a young son.
Closing arguments
Defense lawyers on Wednesday finished their closing arguments.
Lawyer David Gottlieb referred to his client Adebolajo by his Islamic name, Mujahid Abu Hamza, describing him as intelligent, totally sincere in his beliefs and as someone who has shown "absolute honesty and moral conviction."
While Adebolajo took to the stand earlier this month, Adebowale has not given evidence during the trial.
His lawyer, Abbas Lakha, also referring to his client by his Islamic name, Ismael Abdullah, asked jury members to set aside their prejudice and emotion in this case.
He echoed Adebolajo's testimony regarding their intent. When he was asked earlier this month what his defense to the charge of murder was, Adebolajo said: "I am a soldier. I am a soldier of Allah."
Both defense lawyers argue that is not the same as intent to murder.
Adebolajo had told the court he killed the soldier because he is fighting a war.
"I do not dispute I killed him," he said under cross-examination.
In regard to the charge of attempted murder of a police officer, Lakha said both defendants intended to make police feel threatened because they wanted to be shot.
The gun Adebowale aimed at police was not loaded; he knew that he would not be able to harm police, the lawyer said.
He then played to the jury the CCTV footage of the moment the defendants were shot by police.
"Here is a man who knows he has an empty gun in his hand and cannot harm anyone," he said,
Lakha said a note that Adebolajo later handed to a bystander was a joint note and could be regarded as a suicide note as part of it read "If I live beyond this day."
In its closing remarks on Tuesday, the prosecution described the attack as "cowardly and callous," saying, "Islam, one of the world's great religions, is not on trial."